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Selling Car Model Kits on eBay


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Over the past year I have been selling off my collection of model car kits, mostly 1/24 and 1/25 scale, on eBay. So far, I've sold 500 and the average selling price has been $18 and the average shipping price has been $8.50. I've used USPS Priority Mail since a standard AMT/Revell/Monogram 1/24 or 1/25 kit fits right into the Regional Rate Box A (inner dimensions: 10" x 7" x 4.75". Payments are always safe and secure with PayPal on eBay and using shipping on eBay with USPS is easy, especially since USPS will come to your door to pick up shipments (you don't even have to go to the Post Office). The high price for my sales is a Revell Jungle Jim Monza Funny Car (with 2 figures) at $54. The low price is an AMT Valvoline Thunderbird NASCAR at $2. I'm probably not making a profit on these sales but I think I'm pretty close to breaking even (I don't remember how much I paid in most cases). I still have about 30 kits stashed away that I hope to build some day. Some of them will probably end up on eBay in the future. 

So, if you have a bunch of kits stashed away and want to sell them, consider eBay, it's easy, payment is safe and secure and the Mail Person will come to your house to pick up the kits you sell. The only downside is that you have to part with some of your prized possessions.

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I sold/sell pretty heavily on ebay for years, including kits. It can be a mixed bag.  With postage rates going up, a glutton of inventory on ebay due to lots of people downsizing, and ebay's fumbling with the search algorithm- my sales dropped drastically.  I pulled everything I had listed- from old stock Floquil paint to a good selection of kits of all genres.  For me it's not worth the aggravation anymore and the fees which keep going up. Don't get me started on the "managed payments" deal they are rolling out.

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54 minutes ago, RSchnell said:

I sold/sell pretty heavily on ebay for years, including kits. It can be a mixed bag.  With postage rates going up, a glutton of inventory on ebay due to lots of people downsizing, and ebay's fumbling with the search algorithm- my sales dropped drastically.  I pulled everything I had listed- from old stock Floquil paint to a good selection of kits of all genres.  For me it's not worth the aggravation anymore and the fees which keep going up. Don't get me started on the "managed payments" deal they are rolling out.

I more or less stopped selling on Ebay for similar (and more) reasons.

IMO, the only advantage over selling via forums or classifieds is that you don't have to mess with too many inquiries or offers. I recently sold most of my analogue photography and darkroom stuff, apart from 8x10" related items and things I need for alternative processes. It were only around 50 items, but handling all the inquiries, making special offers for bundles etc. was quite a nightmare...

Edited by mattg
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I've always been intrigued by eBay. I have surfed it many times and been tempted to buy, but never have. A few years ago I sold off several hundred kits via local shows and while I may have been able to get a few dollars more on the internet, selling them in person, collecting the cash on the spot and not having to hassle with listing and shipping them was worth it. 

I have heard that eBay fees are rising and its getting more cumbersome to deal with the process. Out of curiosity, if one was to sell a kit for say $30 plus shipping, what would they net after fees? Are the fees based on a percentage of the selling price or is it set amount (flat fee)?

I have seen more people listing on FB sites and seem to do okay, avoiding the eBay fees and using PayPal for payment.

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FULLY understand the ebay policy of the buyer is right no matter what. The last model I sold on ebay was mint sealed.  It sold for $30. The buyer decided he did not like the kit and asked to return it. So I had to pay to return the kit. So all my effort I lost $11 and it took weeks to get my refund from paypal. Just be aware of all the fees, real costs and the fact it may cost you $$ because the buyers Mom did not like them buying toys. Also new ebay policy on holding funds is a pain and they want control of your PP account. ebay was my way of selling my line of decals from 1997 until a few years ago. They seem to be doing their best to kill the goose. IMHO Only

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It has been my experience on Ebay that there fees are now close to 20% of the selling price (including shipping) plus they charge the buyer 8.25% tax. I can ship USPS Priority mail (from Texas) under two pounds for about $7.69 to anywhere in the lower 48 states. So with a selling price of $30 plus shipping minus fees you might clear around $22.46. 

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Ebay's algorithms suck balls, it really does. I've typed in specific words of something I look for, for instance- 'AMT 1967 1/25 Ford Mustang GT'  I find it, click on it, and in the sellers page about half way down will be similar recommended items. In there I'll find the exact same kit but cheaper! Even though I specifically typed in what I'm looking for it doesn't show up in the main search. The algorithms definitely favour the bigger sellers who sell bulk rather than those who sell random stuff now and again.

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1 hour ago, magicmustang said:

It has been my experience on Ebay that there fees are now close to 20% of the selling price

Actual fees on eBay for the average Joe selling a few kits is 10%.


https://pages.ebay.com/seller-center/get-started/seller-fees.html

PayPal fees are 2.9% plus 30 cents. Total fee is about 13.2%. Sellers also get a discount on shipping that the buyer doesn’t see, even though they “pay” for shipping. Sales tax is totally buyers responsibility and based on their location. 
There is no other market the size of eBay. It is literally a worldwide audience. If you are selling items that are high demand or low supply, you are best served by this arrangement. How many people go to a swap meet and would be willing to shell out $250 for a model? That happens regularly on eBay for the right kit.

Similar to what Churchill said about capitalism, eBay is the worst place to sell models, except for all the other places. 

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40 minutes ago, doorsovdoon said:

Ebay's algorithms suck balls, it really does. I've typed in specific words of something I look for, for instance- 'AMT 1967 1/25 Ford Mustang GT'  I find it, click on it, and in the sellers page about half way down will be similar recommended items. In there I'll find the exact same kit but cheaper! Even though I specifically typed in what I'm looking for it doesn't show up in the main search. The algorithms definitely favour the bigger sellers who sell bulk rather than those who sell random stuff now and again.

The search is only as good as the searcher and seller. If you search very specific terms, you will get very specific results. If the seller didn’t put in all the words you are searching, misspelled a word, etc, it won’t “result”. If you do a less specific search you may get more results you don’t want, but you can narrow and organize (lowest price) the results to lessen your scroll time.
Sellers sometimes place items in incorrect categories, also, so specific inquiries in “automotive model kits” might not find the kit listed in some other category of “Toys”.  

Edited by Erik Smith
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I've been buying and selling on eBay for a while now, and there are still deals to be had.

But I have been burned twice. Once as seller,  once as buyer, similar situation, yet I was burned both times.

In the first, I bought a two kit lot. The kits never arrived. I opened the investigation with EBay, the tracking number showed "in transit" and never did show that the item was delivered. Three months go by, and EBay says too bad so sad, because there was a tracking number I was not entitled to a refund. So that's $130 gone.

The second example, I sent a slotcar to a guy in England. Tracking number shows delivered, but he says he never got the item. EBay dispute said I have to refund him. There goes $100.

I actually gave up on EBay for a while after that, but then needed some things, and had to go back. Has been fine for a couple of years now.

 

Just know that if a transaction doesn't go perfectly for both the seller and buyer, you will most likely get screwed.

 

 

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2 hours ago, magicmustang said:

It has been my experience on Ebay that there fees are now close to 20% of the selling price

100% false. What is your source for that information?

Category

Insertion fee

Final value fee*- See: Notes for basic fees

Standard fees for most categories, including Music > Records, eBay Motors > Parts & Accessories, and eBay Motors > Automotive Tools & Supplies. For vehicles, see our Motors fees.

First 200 listings free per month, then $0.35 per listing

10% (maximum fee $750)

Books
DVDs & Movies
Music (except Records category)

12% (maximum fee $750)

Select Business & Industrial categories:

  • Heavy Equipment Parts & Attachments > Heavy Equipment
  • Printing & Graphic Arts > Commercial Printing Presses
  • Restaurant & Food Service > Food Trucks, Trailers & Carts

$20

2% (maximum fee $300)

Musical Instruments & Gear > Guitars & Basses

Free

3.5% (maximum fee $350)

Select Clothing, Shoes & Accessories categories:

  • Men > Men's Shoes > Athletic Shoes
  • Women > Women's Shoes > Athletic Shoes

Free if starting price**- See: Notes for basic fees is $100 or more

  • 0% if selling price***- See: Notes for basic fees is $100 or more
  • 10% if selling price***- See: Notes for basic fees is less than $100
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For me, I think what the OP said about breaking even sounds right. If you want to clear space or free up money to buy something else it seems to work out ok. In the early days of Ebay, I was able to sell and make some decent $$$ because you could buy older stuff relatively low at flea markets or garage sales and put it on and it would get bid up. Now everyone is an expert and uses it as a gauge to price their "rare and collectible" items. For instance, you will often now see Ollies blow out models or Hobby Lobby sale items that are $7-$10 in the store, wind up at the flea markets for $20+ and the seller will give you the "Yeah these are $30 on Ebay" spiel. 

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1 hour ago, Casey said:

100% false. What is your source for that information?

Category

Insertion fee

Final value fee*- See: Notes for basic fees

Standard fees for most categories, including Music > Records, eBay Motors > Parts & Accessories, and eBay Motors > Automotive Tools & Supplies. For vehicles, see our Motors fees.

First 200 listings free per month, then $0.35 per listing

10% (maximum fee $750)

Books
DVDs & Movies
Music (except Records category)

12% (maximum fee $750)

Select Business & Industrial categories:

  • Heavy Equipment Parts & Attachments > Heavy Equipment
  • Printing & Graphic Arts > Commercial Printing Presses
  • Restaurant & Food Service > Food Trucks, Trailers & Carts

$20

2% (maximum fee $300)

Musical Instruments & Gear > Guitars & Basses

Free

3.5% (maximum fee $350)

Select Clothing, Shoes & Accessories categories:

  • Men > Men's Shoes > Athletic Shoes
  • Women > Women's Shoes > Athletic Shoes

Free if starting price**- See: Notes for basic fees is $100 or more

  • 0% if selling price***- See: Notes for basic fees is $100 or more
  • 10% if selling price***- See: Notes for basic fees is less than $100

My information is basic math! I take my sold price verses what PayPal deposits in my account less monthly fees and it comes out to about 20% of the sale price.

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21 minutes ago, magicmustang said:

My information is basic math! I take my sold price verses what PayPal deposits in my account less monthly fees and it comes out to about 20% of the sale price.

What are monthly fees?

For sellers of less than 200 items a month, there are no additional fees.
 

Also, the PayPal deposit does not include the eBay fee of 10%. That is billed out separately at the end of the month. The PayPal deposit is the total sale (item plus shipping) minus the 2.9% plus 30 cents. 
At least that is how my account operates. 

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52 minutes ago, larman said:

For me, I think what the OP said about breaking even sounds right. If you want to clear space or free up money to buy something else it seems to work out ok. In the early days of Ebay, I was able to sell and make some decent $$$ because you could buy older stuff relatively low at flea markets or garage sales and put it on and it would get bid up. Now everyone is an expert and uses it as a gauge to price their "rare and collectible" items. For instance, you will often now see Ollies blow out models or Hobby Lobby sale items that are $7-$10 in the store, wind up at the flea markets for $20+ and the seller will give you the "Yeah these are $30 on Ebay" spiel. 

Generally true, but I still find flippable/keepable deals at the local flea markets.  Yeah, those Ollie's/Hobby Lobby "pickers" at the flea markets are funny.  "This kit costs $30 at Hobby Lobby!"  "But it only cost $7.99 at Ollie's. Where you bought it with that big red sticker, then crossed out the price with a black Sharpie."

I've been selling on eBay since the 1990's.  Back then there was no photo-hosting, you had to provide your own. Also no PayPal.  Payment was by Money Order, unless you were a merchant account that could handle credit cards.  So after the auction ended, there was a wait of about a week before the M.O.'s came in and you could ship the kit. For all its aggravations today, it's a much quicker, smoother and better system.

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1 hour ago, larman said:

For me, I think what the OP said about breaking even sounds right. If you want to clear space or free up money to buy something else it seems to work out ok. In the early days of Ebay, I was able to sell and make some decent $$$ because you could buy older stuff relatively low at flea markets or garage sales and put it on and it would get bid up. Now everyone is an expert and uses it as a gauge to price their "rare and collectible" items. For instance, you will often now see Ollies blow out models or Hobby Lobby sale items that are $7-$10 in the store, wind up at the flea markets for $20+ and the seller will give you the "Yeah these are $30 on Ebay" spiel. 

I agree with part of your assessment, though I think you are confusing two different markets. Easy to acquire kits are at best a break even enterprise. With shipping and fees, unless you’re getting wholesale price and selling a lot, it’s not worth your time. 
For rare kits and in auction format, I don’t think there is a better venue for selling your model to get market price. There is no other venue that has 182,000,000 customers. 

Edited by Erik Smith
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7 minutes ago, 89AKurt said:

I've been thinking about selling, read through the comments, just turned me off.  Big Corporation dings you left and right. ?  But good luck selling at any swaps that can be open because of CV-1984.

I wouldn’t be turned off. What are you selling? If it’s a Revell Corvette model, don’t bother. If it’s an AMT 1965 Falcon annual, sell it on eBay. 
A lot of the complaints here are not based on actual facts, they are conjecture and misrepresentations. Is eBay greedy? I believe it’s their fiduciary responsibility to maximize profits - they are a publicly traded company. That’s called capitalism. If they raise fees too high, people will leave, profits will fall, and either they make reconciliations or they continue to lose business and, eventually close. 
What are your options? Making your own website and selling? Taking them to a swap meet? Craigslist?

Edited by Erik Smith
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4 hours ago, Erik Smith said:

What are monthly fees?

For sellers of less than 200 items a month, there are no additional fees.
 

Also, the PayPal deposit does not include the eBay fee of 10%. That is billed out separately at the end of the month. The PayPal deposit is the total sale (item plus shipping) minus the 2.9% plus 30 cents. 
At least that is how my account operates. 

On my last sale thru Ebay, the winning bid was $12.50. They charged me .80 for PayPal fees, plus at the end of the month I was charged $1.62 for selling fees (don't forget they include shipping costs ($4.18 on this item) in your total sale price). $1.62 plus $.80 equals $2.42 divided by winning bid of $12.50 equals 19.36% fees. That is your total cost of doing business.

PS: Nobody should charge a fee on shipping!

PPS: They charge 8.25% tax on all sales, even individual to individual as well as business to individual and for states that do not have an intrastate tax agreement (class action suit coming?).   

Edited by magicmustang
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12 minutes ago, magicmustang said:

On my last sale thru Ebay, the winning bid was $12.50. They charged me .80 for PayPal fees, plus at the end of the month I was charged $1.62 for selling fees (don't forget they include shipping costs ($4.18 on this item) in your total sale price). $1.62 plus $.80 equals $2.42 divided by winning bid of $12.50 equals 19.36% fees. That is your total cost of doing business.

PS: Nobody should charges a fee on shipping!

PPS: They charge 8.25% tax on all sales, even individual to individual as well as business to individual and for states that do not have an intrastate tax agreement (class action suit coming?).   

Ah, so on low cost stuff the shipping gets you. That’s why I would stay away from selling small stuff or easy to find models. Could do some quick math and see where the breakpoint is. 
Agree about the shipping fee, but they had to get all the .01 plus 45.00 shipping sellers. 
The 8.25% tax would actually be a savings for me!

Edited by Erik Smith
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13 minutes ago, Erik Smith said:

Ah, so on low cost stuff the shipping gets you. That’s why I would stay away from selling small stuff or easy to find models. Could do some quick math and see where the breakpoint is. 
Agree about the shipping fee, but they had to get all the .01 plus 45.00 shipping sellers. 
The 8.25% tax would actually be a savings for me!

Agree. I've been buying and selling on Ebay since 1999, and their "quest for more money" is a turnoff.

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Buying on ebay is about perfect....no issue there.....

I don't like the sellers address??? I can return item with ZERO cost to me!!!!!Better than WalMart!!!!!

Also remember that ebay takes a percentage of your shipping cost.....so if you charge actual cost you loose money.

Just be informed......if you like ebay?? FANTASTIC....I may buy from you......but if I don't like the type of box you used to ship....it will cost YOU.

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