Manage Your Auctions
Making Your Auctions Run More Smoothly
In this section, I discuss a few more things that you’ll need to round out your eBay home base. The following things are important, but you must decide which tools you’ll use. Some people prefer a totally automated office while others prefer the old-fashioned way. One of my favorite eBay power sellers works with file folders, a hand-written ledger book, and hand-written labels. If it makes you happy, do it your way. I’m just going to suggest a few options to ease the pain of paperwork.
Software you can use
These days, software is available on this planet to accomplish just about anything. It would seem fitting that an all-encompassing software exists that can help you with your auction, right? Well, maybe. It depends on how much you want your software to do, and how much of your business you want to fully control.
Throughout the following subsections, I go through some software examples that you may find useful.
Auction management software can be very helpful for automating tasks and making record-keeping easy. You can keep track of inventory, launch auctions, and print labels all by using just one program. Unfortunately, most of these programs can be daunting when you first look at them (and even when you take a second look).
But after you’ve mastered one, you’ll more easily manage your auctions.
You have choices to make regarding software: How much are you willing to spend, and do you want to keep your inventory and information online?
Maintaining your inventory online enables you to run your business from anywhere; you just log on and see your inventory. Online management software is tempting and professional, and may be worth your time and money.
A good many sellers prefer to keep their auction information on their own computers. It’s convenient and allows sellers to add a closer, more personal touch to their auctions and correspondence. Some folks say that keeping the information local, on your own computer, is more suited to the small-time seller. I really think it’s a matter of personal preference.
You may want to try some very basic HTML software to practice your ad layouts. Templates are available, but you’ll want to preview your auctions before you launch them.
You can either check out your auctions in these templates with full-blown Web page software (such as FrontPage), or you may want to keep it simple. I use some software called CuteHTML all the time because it’s about as simple as it can get. Go to www.globalscape.com where you can download a 30-day free trial. If you like it, buy it for only $39.99.
Spreadsheets and bookkeeping
Many sellers keep their information in a simple spreadsheet program such as Excel. It has all the functionality that permits inventory management and sales info. For bookkeeping, I like Quickbooks, which is as complete as it gets. It’s straightforward, but only if you have a basic knowledge of accounting.
Collecting the cash
Credit cards are the way to go for the bulk of your auctions. Often, credit cards make the difference between a sale and a no sale. People are getting very savvy (and more comfortable) about using their credit cards online because they’re becoming better informed about the security of online transactions and guarantees against fraud when certain credit cards are used for those transactions. So although you might truly love and adore money orders, you need to take credit cards as well. In this section, I discuss another decision you
need to make: Do you want your own private merchant account or would you rather run your credit card sales through an online payment service? For more about these options, read on.
Online payment services
If you want to accept credit cards for your eBay sales, you may want to go with the services of an online payment service such as Paypal. Paypal offers excellent services and their rates are on a sliding scale, depending on your monthly dollar volume. When online payment services accept credit cards they
charge you a small fee and process the transaction with the credit card company. The auction payment is then deposited in an account for you. Unless your sales go into tens of thousands of dollars a month, an online payment service can prove to be more economical than your own merchant account.