Lowball offers

One of the advantages to selling on eBay with a fixed price format is you never get surprised by an invisible auction. What I mean by that is you never have an auction that receives no bid or, worse, sells for the opening bid. All that money you “saved” by using a lower starting bid has been replaced by the loss you incurred by selling that $10 bill for 99 cents.

Nothing’s ever that simple, of course. It’s always a good idea to accept best offers if you list at a fixed price, especially if you’re selling several of the same thing. If someone wants to buy more than one, you want to be able to offer a price break. This used to be done by discounting shipping, but in this day and age of free shipping on eBay (which you have to do if you want good DSRs), you have to find other, more creative methods. So you tick the box that says you will accept best offers.

There are options to automatically refuse offers below a certain amount. You can even have it auto-accept offers over a certain amount, although this is a slippery slope that I refuse to go down. It doesn’t take long to accept an offer. But even the auto-decline option is one that I stay away from.

I have more than 100 listings going at any time on eBay, and as my consignment business continues to grow, that number will grow as well. I cannot take the time to individually tweak the listing prices of my items, and if I have something overpriced, I want to be able to start accepting lower offers than I’d otherwise choose to. But how low is too low?

I am selling some NASCAR shoelaces on eBay. They’re listed for $4.99. I probably should not even bother, because even my time is worth more than that, but the owner is a nice guy, and I am listing other, more lucrative stuff for him too, so it’s worth it in the grand scheme of things. But oh those lowball offers.

Someone offered me $2 this morning for one of them. I had to decline, and I left a note saying how much it costs to ship, plus the fees eBay and PayPal charges. All told, I would have been paying the user to take the shoelaces from me. (Why can’t I have it set up to auto-decline at $2? Well, if someone bought all of them for $2 each, that would be fine.)

So about an hour later, I receive another offer: $2.50. Looking at it from an isolated point of view, it definitely is not worth my time, but like I said, this owner has other stuff I am selling that makes it all worthwhile. I guess it’s like that “free phone” I got from Verizon.

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