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  • My Quest to be an eBay PowerSeller


    Building your eBay Profile
    There are a lot of sketchy sellers on eBay, and one of the best ways to avoid being lumped in with these types is to have a solid eBay profile. For all you new users/investors visiting the site every day, don’t forget that buying the Lego is the fun part, but selling is where you actually make the money. I too love the rush of getting a great deal or discount on a set, but until I’ve taken photos, made the listing, found a buyer, packed it up and shipped it, it is just potential profit. So let’s say you have some sweet sets to sell this upcoming holiday season, but you are relatively new to selling – my advice is to not wait until October to try and build your reputation, but start now!
    If you are really serious about making money, and you are willing to start now, you can try to reach Powerseller status so that when you do sell some sweet Imperial Shuttles you’ve been sitting on, you’ll sell them more easily and keep more of the profit for yourself.

    Becoming a Power Seller
    What is a Power Seller?

    I am aiming to be a global Powerseller. I know a lot of new members are from around the world, and this will probably apply to you. Those looking for strictly the US Powerseller levels will not find them here, although the advice still might be helpful!

    I long for this designation. I’m sure that some of the other members on here have their own experiences to add, but I’ll fill you in on mine. The basics: You need 100 transactions and $3,000 in sales over a twelve-month period. (You can check your progress through the Account - Seller Dashboard) The benefits are sweet: you get a percentage of your fees back – up to 20%. You also get better visibility and a badge by your name, which might give buyers a better reason to bid on your auction compared to similar priced auctions.

    From my Seller’s Dashboard:
    Basic PowerSeller requirements: 12-month rating: (Mar 2012 to Feb 2013)
    Minimum global sales and transactions ($3,000.00 and 100 transactions)
    I mentioned that you can get up to 20% OFF fees from eBay if you are a PowerSeller and/or Top Seller. An eBay Top Seller is another designation in which you can save on eBay fees and gain other perks. Although easier to obtain the Top Seller status, it still requires a plethora of sales and top service to eBay buyers. Both the requirements for Top Sellers and PowerSellers are similar, but PowerSellers require more in the way of transactions and sales...triple the amount in fact. Here is the information on Top Seller status and PowerSeller status directly from eBay:

    Top Seller (Plus):

    To become a Top Rated Seller, you need to meet the following performance requirements:

    • Have an eBay account that's been active for at least 90 days.
    • Have a positive Feedback rating of at least 98%.
    • Have at least 100 transactions and $1,000 in sales with US buyers over the most recent 12-month period.
    • Upload tracking to your buyer's My eBay within your promised handling time for at least 90% of your transactions with US buyers in the last 3 months. Details below:
    • Handling time is measured by business days. Weekends and holidaysaren't counted
    • For example, if you specify 1-day handling time and a buyer pays for an item on Tuesday, you have until 11:59:59 PM Pacific Time on Wednesday to upload a tracking number. For a buyer's payment on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday a tracking number must be uploaded by 11:59:59 PM Pacific Time on Monday.
    • If a buyer purchases items from multiple listings, each listing (transaction) must have a tracking number associated with it. This is required even if each of the listings have been combined into a single order for shipment.

    Note: Sellers are not required to upload tracking for the following scenarios:

    Meet the following requirements for detailed seller ratings (DSRs):

    Notes:

    • Sellers with 400 or more transactions over the past 3 months are evaluated on their transactions with US buyers from the last 3 calendar months. For all other sellers, the rate is calculated from transactions with US buyers over the last 12 calendar months.
    • To measure your overall performance accurately, we count 1 and 2 ratings only if they come from 2 or more buyers within any given evaluation period. If you have more than 400 transactions, 3 or more buyers must leave low detailed seller ratings before they are counted. Also, if the same buyer accounts for more than 80% of your 1 and 2 ratings in a single category, we will only count one low detailed seller rating from that buyer for each applicable category.

    Meet the following eBay Buyer Protection and PayPal Buyer Protection cases standards:

    Notes:

    • Sellers with 400 or more transactions over the past 3 months are evaluated on their transactions with US buyers from the last 3 calendar months. For all other sellers, the rate is calculated from transactions with US buyers over the last 12 calendar months.
    • To measure your overall performance accurately, we count cases only if they come from 2 or more buyers within any given evaluation period. If you have more than 400 transactions, 3 or more buyers must open cases before they are counted.

    eBay may, at its sole discretion, temporarily grant Top Rated Seller status to an account even if it does not otherwise meet the requirements at the time of evaluation. This may be as a result of loss of Top Rated Seller status due to eBay or PayPal site outage, natural disaster, postal strike, or for any other reason that eBay may determine makes a temporary status change necessary.

    Top Rated Plus

    To qualify for Top Rated Plus, listings need to meet the following requirements:

    • Sellers must meet all of the requirements of a Top Rated Seller listed above.
    • Offer a 14-day or more, money back return policy.
    • Offer 1-day handling.

    Receiving the greatest benefits on your listings

    By meeting the performance requirements above, a Top Rated Seller will receive some additional exposure in Best Match. In addition, listings from Top Rated Sellers offering a 1-day handling time and a 14-day or more return policy with a money back option will also receive:

    • A Top Rated Plus seal on qualified listings
    • The greatest, on average, advantage in Best Match search for fixed-priced listings
    • A 20% final value fee discount on the item's sales price (not including the shipping cost)

    Listings in the following categories must offer a 1-day handling time to qualify for the 20% final value fee Top Rated Plus discount, but do not have to accept returns:

    • Bullion > Silver
    • Bullion > Gold
    • Bullion > Platinum & Palladium
    • Gift Cards
    • Tickets

    Listings offering a freight shipping service must accept returns, but will not be required to offer a 1-day handling time to qualify for the 20% final value fee Top Rated Plus discount.

    Listings within the Real Estate and Specialty Services categories, as well as listings that offer local pick-up only, aren't eligible for the additional benefits.

    Note: Offering a 1-day handling time or accepting returns is not a requirement of the Top Rated Seller program. However, it is a way to maximize the benefits you receive by qualifying for Top Rated Plus. For any listing to receive the Top Rated Plus seal, both a 1-day handling time and 14-day or more return policy with a money back option must be offered. No exceptions apply.

    Most listings that meet the requirements will show the Top Rated Plus seal Posted Imagewithin minutes of creating or revising your listing. However, there may be times when it may take up to 3 hours to process. The delay in the seal appearing does not impact your search placement. Top Rated Plus listings will continue to receive, on average, increased search exposure.

    Top Rated Plus best practices

    Follow these best practices to make sure you're prepared to meet buyer expectations for the 2 key services that earn you the top rewards:

    • Make sure you can fulfill your orders within the time promised and fulfill orders within 1 day when possible. To help ship items out quickly, you can use free carrier pickup (for Priority or Express Mail) with USPS and save yourself a trip to the post office.
    • Upload tracking on all of your orders. Use eBay label printing to automatically upload tracking to eBay. USPS Delivery Confirmation for First Class Package service is free when you print labels on eBay.
    • Offer a return policy that is 14 days or longer. Learn more about creating your return policy and get tips on how to set a clear return policy. Return policies must allow for "buyer's remorse" returns, although sellers may specify that items must be returned in original condition or charge a restocking fee for items returned opened or used.

    PowerSeller:

    PowerSellers enjoy special benefits, including:

    What are the requirements?

    To qualify for the PowerSeller program, sellers need to consistently sell a significant volume of items, provide a high level of service to their buyers, maintain a positive Feedback score, and meet the requirements for detailed seller ratings and eBay Buyer Protection and PayPal Buyer Protection case standards. Membership in the program is free.

    You don't need to apply for the PowerSeller program. If you qualify, you'll automatically be included. Just check your Seller Dashboard to see if you've achieved PowerSeller status. PowerSeller levels include Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Titanium depending on the number of items you've sold or the dollar amount of your sales.

    If you're not a PowerSeller yet, you can always work your way up by meeting these requirements:

    • Be registered with eBay for at least 90 days.
    • Have an account in good standing.
    • Maintain a positive Feedback of 98% or higher over the past 12 months.
    • Follow all eBay policies.
    • Have a minimum of 100 transactions and $3,000 in sales with US buyers over the past 12 months.
    • Receive at least a 4.60 average from US buyers across all 4 detailed seller ratings (DSRs).
    • For all transactions with US buyers, have no more than 1.00% of transactions with low DSRs (1s or 2s) on item as described, and a maximum of 2.00% of low DSRs on communication, shipping time, and shipping and handling cost.
    • For all transactions with US buyers, have no more than 1.00% of transactions result in opened eBay Buyer Protection and PayPal Buyer Protection cases, and no more than 0.30% of transactions result in closed cases without seller resolution.

    If your account falls below these requirements, you may lose your PowerSeller status.

    Here are the various levels for the Powerseller status:

    My problem? Plenty of sales, not enough total transactions – this is great for my overall profits per transaction, but I’m missing out on some advantages of being a power seller.

    My solution in theory? Polybags. Well, polybags, small sets and minifigs. My solution in action: I purchased a lot of 10 x 30210 (Frodo’s Cooking Corner) for an average price of just under $3.25 delivered. As soon as they are in my possession, I’ll list them separately and try to build my number of transactions on these smaller polybag auctions. I’ll keep you posted as I head towards becoming a Bronze Power Seller. There is plenty of extra information on Power Selling and such on your eBay dashboard. This is just enough to get you started. If you want to sell big in the future, you need to build a foundation now!

    Most Recent Acquisition: 2x Summer Riding Camp @ $82.50 each

    Wife (Pregnant) Anger Level: 5 – I sold two sweet posters this week on the ‘bay so the wife is pretty pleased to get more poster tubes out of the house. Plus she likes the look of Friends LEGO and is giving me the okay to get some. I can deal with a 5, people!

    I certainly have zero experience as any sort of seller on eBay. In fact, I have never sold anything on eBay. I have never sold any LEGO set in my life, so I might not be the best person to give advice on this issue. From a layman's standpoint, it looks like there are a ton of advantages to the eBay Powerseller program, but it looks like a lot of sales and work. For most LEGO resellers and investors, the Bronze Powerseller tier looks obtainable, but there is a huge jump to Silver. At $36,000 sales a year, we are no longer talking about a side hobby or part-time job. The major advantage of the Powerseller status is one that eBay does not promote, yet pays dividends every day, it's an under-the-radar advertisement for the eBay seller. I, for one, appreciate when I see an eBay seller with a Powerseller icon because I know that the seller is legitimate and I'm confident that the deal will most likely go smoothly. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule and some eBay Powersellers can have bad sales, but I have never had an issue with the hundreds of Powersellers that I have bought from in the past. Why? I guess because it is very hard to acquire the designation and these experienced sellers know how to list, market, package and ship items for sale on eBay. The Powerseller badge works as a promotion in a way. Many buyers feel the same way I do, so when comparing two comparable items for sale from two different sellers, I will go with the Powerseller or Top Seller designation more often than not. So while I cannot give you any key insider points on being a Powerseller, I can tell you as a Powerbuyer, that I think highly of the designation and prefer to buy from Powersellers, over the regular eBay sellers.“Ed”itor's Notes:


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    Guest skfdlty

    Posted

    Very nice article Veegs!! I have been wondering about this for quite some time. Thanks!! ;)

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    Good luck Veegs! I've been a PowerSeller & Top Rated seller for the last 2 years with $21k and $27k in sales respectively. It's a lot of work. I usually sell a hand full of items a week during the slower months and 1-2 dozen of items in peak months. At least 75% of my total sales being used and new Legos.

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    Good article! I learned a lot. I hadn't really thought about becoming a Top Seller before, but now I see it's certainly attainable, and worth going after.

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    Wow, Akohns, with $21 & $27 K you are quite a bit out of my league, but I'm glad that there are success stories out there. I'd be happy to be a Bronze Level Powerseller. And to Mr. Rockefeller - am I really respected? lol. Since the Mack's have been super busy adding to the site, I've actually been working on powerselling for a bit now. I'm hoping to do an Evaluation Corner highlighting which little gems I've been able to acquire and sell, but instead of talking hypothetical profits/investing, using my own data. I can attest that there is not only value in selling many small sets for powerseller & top seller status, but that there is a decent return on investment. Thanks for the positive feedback, guys & gals. I mostly just love talking about Lego, and my wife is frankly pretty sick of my babbling. Nice to have an audience!

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    Nice article Veegs, very informative. What is to stop someone gaming the system? i.e. have a friend buy up volumes of your auctions? Maybe they don't count if they are the same buyer, so setting up fake accounts? I bet people try and game the system all the time, but I also guess Ebay are going to have some sort of counter-fraud team looking for these loopholes.

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    Gromlin, from what I understand (okay, once I used my wife's account to attempt things like this) using a second account to buy from the first can work - BUT - the first account is still charged the final value fee, so you would be out 10% from ebay fees and 3% (or so) from Paypal. The other problem would be that although selling polybags and minifigs in this method would work, it would be pretty difficult to get $3000 worth of sales mostly from one account without raising eyebrows. To maintain your powerseller or topseller status you'd also have to keep doing this over time, which will eventually become costly. For me, it is just easier to sell the polybags and make a decent ROI.

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    Great job on this article. I have been selling on EBAY part time for over 10 years now (LEGO mostly, toys, and anything else I can turn a profit on) with sales close to 40K/year and have been a power seller and top rated seller since the beginning of the program. It is like pulling teeth keeping it though. But I must say, once I reached that status and started offering free shipping, my sales went up dramatically. Again, thanks for the time on the article. Very good read.

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    Great article. Have to re-read some of it to make sure I'm snot missing anything. I'v e been on ebay since 2000 and have been a top-rated seller for a little over 3 years. The funny thing is I haven't sold 1 lego item on eBay ever. Obviously that is going to change this year though. It is a little tough getting there at first but once you got the system down, it really is easy. Customer service is the hardest part. You will run into a-holes, just remember how to block bidders in the future. I'd say it's only maybe 1-2 per 100 transaction though. Best of luck and keep us updated

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    Nice job top put it together....I am a Bronze Power Seller/TopRated and still part-timer or hobbyist on eBay (for my consideration not IRS...PayPal or eBay report annual sales above 20k per year to IRS)

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    Great article! I do disagree with you on one small aspect. Where you make the money. Yes you realize your profits when you sell, and there are some things you can do (like becoming a power seller), that can increase profits. However, its when you buy that your really make the money. You determine how much you'll make by buying at a certain price. When you buy at value, you can't realize any profits until either the set retires, or selling overseas where the costs are usually higher (although they are coming down). The same principle applies to any investment, the price you obtain an investment determines your profit potential. If you buy a LEGO set at half off, you'll at least double your money, or better if overseas or after retirement. If this seems like I'm splitting hairs, you may be partially right, but more emphasis should be put on the art of purchasing, when investing. Again, great article. I just wanted to clarify this point.

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