How to become a Trading Assistant

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So your thinking about becoming a Trading Assistant on eBay but not sure where to start or what is involved. I have written this guide to hopefully cover some of the areas which need to be considered and also what is involved in your work as a Trading Assistant.

The first thing to consider is do you really want to sell other peoples items for them?

Becoming a Trading Assistants means you will need to deal with real people face to face on a regular basis, a far cry from the usual dealings you have when on eBay via email and through the postal system. You will also come across a wide variety of items which will not always be within your field of knowledge (Unless you specialise in a particular field only) which you will need to feel comfortable handling.

So why would you want to do this?

Some of the benefits include:

You will help people who are unable to sell on eBay and the immense satisfaction this can bring.
You open a whole new gateway to FREE inventory, with no upfront costs to you and a potentially limitless supply.
You have the opportunity to handle and sell unusual and varied items, some of which you may never come across through normal sales channels.

Right, I have considered some of the pros and cons and want to be a Trading Assistant. Where do I start?

First things first, have you already sold on eBay? If not then you need to start!!! Before you sell other peoples items you really need to get a good understanding of the selling process. This will enable you to learn what works and doesn’t work as a seller and will give you the much needed knowledge to sell for others. After all, would you give your items to someone who had never sold before?

Next on your list is to get all the necessary systems together. This includes a contract which will spell out all possible occurrences. Things to get on paper are  – What service you are actually offering, who has possession of the item, what happens if the item doesn’t sell, how and when you will pass payment to your client and your fee structure. Yow will also need to set up systems to monitor client items and payments, this can be anything from an Excel spreadsheet to a fully blown consignment program.

Time on the above will pay dividends once you start getting busy selling items for others.

What to charge for your services?

This has got to be one of the biggest questions asked by new Trading Assistants and unfortunately there is no right answer. The main points you really need to consider are who is going to pay eBay & Paypal fees. Will it be the client or will this come out of your cut? Be careful if you are charging this on top of your commission as not every one understands the fees involved in selling and you could end up with one unhappy client when they receive a cheque far smaller than expected. Also bear in mind that your going to lose around 7-8% of your commission on these fees alone if you pay for them, so make sure you are charging enough to cover your hard work and expertise as well. The most tried and tested method is to charge on a graduated scale where the fees reduce as the sales value goes up. As a general guide commissions can vary between 10-40% depending on sales value. The other point to consider is if you will charge an upfront fee for listing. To some people this can be off putting. Paying to list unwanted goods can be seen as throwing good money after bad, but from your point of view it can take the risk out of not selling an item as your time has been compensated for.

I’ve got my contract in place, my systems are all ready and I have a fee structure, now I need clients, how do I find one?

First, get listed in the eBay Trading Assistant Directory. You have done your selling so you should meet the following requirements easily:

You've sold at least 4 items in the past 30 days.
You have a feedback score of 50 or higher.
97% or more of your feedback is positive.
Your eBay account is in good standing.

This is a good starting place to advertise your services, so make sure you write a good profile. Next step is to let all your friends, family, people in the post office etc know what you are doing. Even if they don’t have items or need help they will probably come across people that do and will spread the word. Once you start picking up clients and doing a good job you will start to get referrals, consider offering incentives to clients who refer you to others. The final step is to look at advertising locally perhaps fliers, local newspapers etc, just watch the costs!

I’ve got my first client, what happens now!

Congratulations! Now the real work starts.

Any item you agree to sell really needs to be in your possession, I can’t emphasise this enough. Imagine the situation, you’ve just sold the item, but your client has changed there mind or broken the item! You will have one unhappy buyer, and most probably receive negative feedback from them on your hard earned reputation!

This will be one of your bigger challenges, people are understandably cautious of giving there items to a stranger. How do you persuade them? Make sure you leave a receipt for every item you take (this covers both you and the client), make sure you have a contract in place and signed spelling out everything that has been agreed. This should go some way to relieve any worries, it’s also best to start with a few items so the whole process can be understood and a client’s confidence will grow when they see your great results!

The next step is to research any items you are not sure about. Most clients will have some expectation on what there item is worth. Sometimes your findings will not agree and there are various ways to handle this situation. Sometimes a middle ground can be found, or you can use other selling methods on eBay such as shop formats etc.

From this point on, it is pretty much like listing your own items. You should only sell products you are happy to stand by, and never be afraid to say no to any item which you would not be happy selling. It is your eBay reputation after all.

Once the item is sold and the buyer is happy, prompt payment to your client is a must along with a full breakdown of fees where applicable. You should now have a very happy client who will help spread the word on your great work!

I hope this guide is of some use and given a little insight into the work of a TA.
Happy eBaying

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