How to sell large, bulky items online
Need to sell something bulky that won't fit through the post? Here are the available options for cars, TVs, couches and more.
Selling small, secondhand items on auction sites like eBay is easy. All you need to do is list the item and then post it to the buyer. But what happens when the thing you want to sell is too large to fit inside a parcel?
Thankfully, there are options available that don't require hiring a delivery van. In this guide, we'll explain how to sell "big-ticket" items online, including large screen TVs, bulky furniture and vehicles.
Why postage isn't always the answer
Postage is calculated based on size, weight and location. For large and heavy items, this can translate to very expensive shipping fees. This is money that goes to the postal service instead of inside your pocket.
While it's possible to offer "free shipping" by incorporating the postage costs into your listing, this obviously results in a higher asking price. Remember: all it takes is a few extra bucks to turn prospective buyers off.
There's also the issue of reliable delivery. Do you really want to trust sending large, expensive items through the post? If it turns up damaged or broken, the buyer will almost certainly demand a full refund.
Finally, there are some items that are simply too large or impractical to send through the post. Try lugging a fridge to your local post office and see what happens.
Use a courier service
If you are selling a bulky item for a large amount of money, it might be worth using a courier service. These companies will pick up the product from your door and deliver it directly to the buyer for a nominated fee.
If your product weighs less than 25kg, Sendle is a particularly good option, especially as it's partnered with eBay. It boasts competitive pricing (including free pick-ups), insurance protection, a tracking dashboard for you and your buyer, integration with your My eBay account and signature on delivery at no extra cost. They also provide contactless delivery which is a very important service during the current health pandemic.
As an added bonus, using Sendle means you don't need to calculate the shipping or make an unnecessary trip to the post office. You can even use the service to deliver internationally.
Most courier companies offer reduced rates for repeat customers, which is something to keep in mind if you're a frequent seller.
Select local pick-up
Most online marketplaces provide an option for local pick-up. This means the buyer agrees to collect the item in person from a nominated pick-up address instead of having it sent to them.
For example, eBay lets you select 'No postage: Local pick-up only' via a drop-down menu in the Postage Details section when you create a listing.
It's best not to disclose your full address in the public post – instead, just supply your postcode or suburb. You can then share the pick-up address privately with an interested buyer.
Just make sure to keep records (such as a signed receipt or an email from the buyer) to prove the item exchanged hands.
Deliver the item yourself
If you have the means to deliver large, bulky items yourself, consider including this option in your listing. This is a variation on local pick-up, but provides a smoother experience for the buyer. (Namely, they don't need to find a suitably sized vehicle or take time out of their day to collect the product.) This should result in more offers to buy.
When going down this route, be sure to factor in approximate travel time and petrol expenses before agreeing to sell the item. Driving an hour to deliver a $100 couch probably isn't worth it, for example.
Post on eBay and Gumtree at the same time
While the options mentioned above do remove the delivery hurdle, they also result in fewer prospective buyers – instead of offering the product Australia-wide, you're only selling to nearby suburbs.
To help widen the net, it might be tempting to list the product on multiple e-commerce sites simultaneously. However, it's important to note that some sites have policies that specifically prohibit this practice. You also run the risk of two people purchasing your item at the same time, leaving one buyer disappointed and ready to give you a bad review.
One solution to this problem is the classified ads site Gumtree, which now comes with an in-built eBay integration tool. For select categories, this gives you the option to share your listing on eBay and Gumtree with the click of a button. This is made possible by the fact eBay owns Gumtree.
You can read more about integrating your eBay and Gumtree listings in this eBay blog post.
How to sell cars on eBay
Bunging a "for sale" sign on your dashboard used to be the best way to sell your car. These days, selling online is a much better option as it allows you to instantly reach thousands of potential buyers.
Selling a car online is much the same as any other product – you simply list the vehicle for sale (including the make, model and year), add some photos and a description and set a start price. Naturally, you should endeavour to be honest in the product description box, particularly when it comes to kilometres travelled, overall condition and any superficial or structural damage. Also be sure to include the terms for collection or if delivery is possible.
Some online auction sites require extra fees to list cars and other vehicles, but the additional costs are pretty negligible. eBay takes a $5 fee, for example.
You can find more advice on selling vehicles online at eBay's dedicated portal.
Main image: Getty
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