EBay has moved offline. Several companies, like Snappy Auctions and I Sold It On EBay, offer sellers franchises for brick-and-mortar eBay stores. These drop-off spots take customer items, evaluate, photograph, and list them online, collect the payments, and ship the items to their buyers. In other words, they do all the work—for a percentage of the selling price, of course. Beginner Strategies If you’ve contemplated jumping on the bandwagon and opening a physical drop-off location, fellow store-owner and eBay University instructor, Christopher Spencer has some advice for you: • Location is key. Get a good broker to help you identify convenient retail sites. It’s important to be in a high traffic area, such as a strip mall or a facility near good anchor stores, anyplace frequented by upscale individuals. To get high-quality merchandise, you need a higher level of clientele. • Take store layout into account. As your business develops, you’ll need exponentially more storage space. Advises Spenser, “Consider whether a building will fit your needs for future expansion, so you can avoid growing pains.” • Be careful what you accept. Don’t waste your time with items that won’t be worth the research and energy you’ll invest in them. Patrons sometimes bring in boxes of junk, or items with very little value. Be realistic with your clients, and counsel them what will and won’t bring in money. That way they know what to expect, and they aren’t disappointed by their final prices. • Charge a reasonable amount for your services. Keep yourself in line with what others are charging, rather than trying to undercut everyone in order to compete. Instead, add value to your services by focusing on areas at which you excel. If you have a staff member who specializes in a certain area, encourage your customers to bring in items in that field because you’ll be able to get them the maximum prices on eBay. • Concentrate on customer service. Exceed your customers’ expectations. Says Spencer, “Building a reputation and getting good clients is a matter of word of mouth and referrals, and that’s something people build over time.” Help Me Help You! People want help with things they don’t know how to do, or don’t have time to do—that’s why there’s such a need for this sort of service. It provides the convenience and ease of being able to just drop off an item and pick up a check. Though users have to pay a commission, they’ll typically get more for their item by using an experienced, knowledgeable seller, than they would by selling it themselves. To learn more about franchising opportunities, check out http://www.thebidfloor.com/ebay_franchise_information.htm

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