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  1. #1
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    Default Why do so many "private" eBay sellers only offer "local pickup"?...

    Good-Evening Chaps,

    In the process of working towards my very first eBay "sale" (hopefully sometime this century...), Iíve noticed that a great many "private" sellers (ie. auctioning one-off, 2nd-hand items) are quite often offering "local pickup" as the only possible "postage" option...

    At first, I thought this might be because of the excessive weight of certain items - like small Arc Welders - until I realised that even these are a fair bit lighter than Australia Postís 20kg maximum limit. Whatís more, I've also noticed that a lot of 2nd-hand items that are quite light anyway - like Drills and Angle Grinders - are also often being auctioned with "local pickup" as the only available "postage" option.

    Would this usually be due to a Sellerís concerns about liability for any damage to their Item in transit if it were "parcel-posted", that could only be guarded against by packing the item in a strong box with perfect-fitting pieces of foam around it? (Two commodoties that don't exactly grow on trees out in the average shed or garage...)

    In contrast, a lot of the eBay-"Store"-type traders seem ready to ship their similar-weighted brand-new items to any part of the country. Perhaps this might be because their items are already jammed into moulded-styrofoam pieces inside the cardboard boxes that they are being packed into at the factory in China?...

    So would a general concern with possible transit-handling-damage be the reason for this "local pickup"-prevalence amongst the "private"-sellers?
    Or am I missing something else even more fundamental?

    Tíwould be good to know what a few of you think, because Iím trying to sharpen up on some of the more subtle aspects of eBay-selling, so that I donít "catch" myself out somehow when I actually start listing a few items...

    Many Thanks,
    Batpig.

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  3. #2
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    IMHO.....(love saying that)..........Its probably laziness on their part, or maybe a desire to meet new and interesting people (with money).
    I've only ever sold one item on ebay.....and I did fret about the packaging etc.......but the buyer was really happy.

    Maybe I'd settle on laziness.

  4. #3
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    I'm selling some telescopes (not on eBay but another forum) and I've listed them as 'pick up' for the reasons you mentioned.
    I don't have the original packaging and I'm not in a position to get suitable packaging from anywhere local (no car). Considering we're talking some expensive optics, it's not worth the risk of breakage.

    I don't know is it's just post Christmas belt tightening or the shipping restriction but so far, no offers

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowyskiesau View Post
    I'm selling some telescopes (not on eBay but another forum) and I've listed them as 'pick up' for the reasons you mentioned.
    I don't have the original packaging and I'm not in a position to get suitable packaging from anywhere local (no car). Considering we're talking some expensive optics, it's not worth the risk of breakage.
    you should meet my dad.
    as a kid he learnt to pack eggs for transport by parcel post -- it's a wonder what knocks crumpled paper and/or bubble wrap will prevent.
    Try it -- pack an egg in crumpled paper inside a small cardboard box and then drop it 20 feet or so. The kids did something similar at school.
    regards from Canada

    ian

  6. #5
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    Local pick-up is usually a cash transaction too so there's no messing about (or fees) with Paypal or bank details. I've met some great people offering local pick-up, particulary selling tools.

  7. #6
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    Some have no idea how to work out postage costs for the item, I find if you send them a message most are happy to arrange postage at your expense after the auction ends, Aus Post have an online calculator for parcel costs. Not offering postage normally means a smaller amount of bidders which works against the seller for final price.

  8. #7
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    When I sell on Ebay I try and offer postage where possible simply as it increases your potential market for buyers. After all you have paid the fees to Ebay so you may as well try and attract as many bidders as possible.

    For packaging I do not charge extra and only charge the Australia Post fees for postage as I get sick of people selling for $1 with $150 postage (Against Ebay policy but there are still enough that get away with it). I use recycled packaging and generally make this clear in the listing so the buyer knows, with this little note in your listing you can just include something about saving the environment and saving the buyer money as they will not be charged for packaging!

    The reasons that I think pick up only options may be preferred by some sellers could include:


    1. Not everybody has access to a post office. Most are only open 9-5pm Mon-Fri and many workers (and Ebay sellers) cannot make it to a post office to send off an item. Not many items can fit into a street post box and as such drop off to the post office during business hours is the only option. Also the wait at a post office during lunchtime can often be 30-45 min!
    2. Whilst Australia Post has a postage calculator a lot of time can be sent working out postage costs for buyers who might just be tire kicking. Often even when all the necessary information is provided in the listing (eg package dimensions and weights, and often links to Australia Post) some buyers still do not check out the information for themselves.
    3. Packaging some items can be difficult. Even tracking down suitable packing materials can be difficult and time consuming. Whilst you can charge a reasonable cost for packing (Ebay rules) it can be difficult to guess what you may need to charge.
    4. Trying to juggle large numbers of auctions, sorting out postage and making sure the right people get the right stuff, whilst seems simple enough, can be difficult.
    5. Sellers can be careful when packing and even offer the option of insurance but if the package goes missing or is broken they will often end up with a negative feedback from the buyer for something that is out of their control.

    Batpig, as a new seller if you really want to protect yourself (especially on higher priced items) you can include the cost of insurance into your postage estimates, or better still factor it into your selling price, so if you were going to start your listing at $100 start it as $105 and use the additional profit to purchase insurance on behalf of the buyer. Your end of auction fees may be slightly higher but not enough to worry about. If you offer insurance as an option it will not often be accepted by the buyer but they will still complain if something goes wrong.

    As for other seller tips:
    Clear honest descriptions;
    Good quality photos (even photos of any faults can show you are an honest seller);
    Provide reasonable postage costs;
    Good clear communication - confirm when payment has been received, confirm when item was posted (including tracking number if possible);
    Leave feedback when buyer has completed their responsibilities (paid or picked up) - A seller waiting for buyer feedback first before leaving their own feedback is poor form in my opinion.

    Final my best tip - if it is a woodworking item ....... give us first dibs on the forums first!

    Cheers

    Stinky.
    Now proudly sponsored by Binford Tools. Be sure to check out the Binford 6100 - available now at any good tool retailer.

  9. #8
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    I sold a whole bunch of items a year ago - a bunch of DVDs triton work centre, circular saw, etc and it was a significant pain in the rear having to package everything up. For all items except WC2K I offered postage but for the circular saw ( a nearly new triton) I made insurance for the replacement amount compulsory in the postage and handling amount. I also added overhead for a #### load of bubble wrap ) all worked out fine and all positive feedback but it was a real pain having to go to the post office multiple times and factor in correct postage etc. I think I almost broke even on the postage and handling component. )

  10. #9
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    I prefer to buy using local pick up only. I sort my searches so I only get items close by, and only bid if pick up is ok. I prefer to handle the item, see it works, etc before forking out my dough. I do occasionally purchase with postage, but only from people with very good feedback ratings, and excellent descriptions/photographs. I have only been burned once, but once is enough for me.

    Selling is a different kettle of fish. To increase the price, you really would need to offer postage on postable items, I would think, and allow for P&P and run around (not too much).
    Good luck
    TM

  11. #10
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    Dear Gents,

    Thank-you to one and all for the superb response - especially yours Sir Stinky, as I can well see that a reasonable chunk of time would have gone into the thinking behind it, as well as the typing-out of it...

    There's a good spattering of common-sense amongst what you have all said; it just doesn't quite come so easily to hand when you haven't been through the process yet yourself. I'll make sure to read through it all a couple of times to make sure that it all soaks in (rather than runs off...)

    Many Thanks Again,
    Batpig.

  12. #11
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    I sell on Ebay and will deliver anywhere and have done so to all over Aust, and on several occaisions to North America and Europe.
    What I have found not a lot of ebayers are very conversant with what it takes or under standand about providing a service.
    There several ways of moving heavy items around this country that do not involve the PO, its all a matter of providing a service and doing your homework so you can.

    It would appear many want the sale but prefer the buyer to perform the service, an interesting way to go about it.

  13. #12
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    Yes - with due deference to the sensible points made above - Pickup-only ads on ebay for items smaller than say a washing machine drive me mad!!!

    I've been known to scream (and type) "If you want a local customer ... Put it in the paper!! Use the Quokka, Trading Post, Gumtree, etc. and Get Off My Screen"

    ... deep breath ...


    Being in Perth, a lot of the good stuff is Elsewhere. Sometimes it is easier to get something from Alabama than it is from Armidale.

    I tend to bid first and sort it out later. Several times I have won a bid at say $5 and offered to pay $20+postage for their time.

    I think some people just haven't really looked at how it has come up and are more than happy to post.

    Others have no idea that you can send a #7 Stanley plane across the country for about $20.

    Others however are grumpy uncooperative b#st#rds who are wasting national bandwidth putting their items on Ebay!



    Oops ... I forgot to say "IMHO"



    On the other hand ... of the parcels that I have received ... 90+% of them are so well packaged that it is touching.

    I really appreciate it when an excellent item lands on your doorstep and someone has gone to the trouble to package it at least as well as you would have.

    Cheers,
    Paul
    Last edited by pmcgee; 14th Jan 2013 at 06:22 PM. Reason: - thought the software would edit my 'strong language'

  14. #13
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    Local pickup is acceptable if you live in the big smoke and so does the seller. If either one of you are outside of that area, local pickup becomes less and less attractive particularly as the value of the goods heads downwards.

    Heavy items, over 20Kg, are a problem as that is the upper limit for Australia Post. Don't forget they have a volume component as well so something that is 1m square (actually that is too big as there is also a girth restriction ) but weighs only 1Kg will not go for the same amount as something the size of a shoebox. Courier companies have contract arrangements with regular customers, but for a single contract they can be very expensive indeed.

    People in remote locations rely heavily on a post option. Without postage you cut out a significant market. As pmcgee said, Perth is remote if one party is on the other side of the country.

    I do despair a little at the attitude of it is too much trouble. Do you really want to sell the goods or not? I'm afraid you may catch a cold sometimes. Welcome to the world of business. It's not all peaches and cream. One way around the postage issue is to do a little research and make a blanket charge to cover your cost wherever you have to send an item within Oz.

    I keep various packaging materials (polystyrene, bubble wrap etc) for selling, but at this stage I still haven't got around to selling anything on ebay . I have a friend who sells large quantities of gear on ebay and he does point out that "You win some; You lose some."

    I think the sellers that develop a rapport with their customers stand out even on ebay as being honest and fair. In the early days ebay encouraged this at length. I am not quite so sure they still do this.

    Regards
    Paul
    Bushmiller;

    "Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely!"

  15. #14
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    Scribbly Gum is offline When the student is ready, the Teacher will appear
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    All of the responses to your question have merit and, as I read them I learned a few things myself as well. Thanks guys for sharing.
    If you have only one item to sell on ebay, it is comparatively easy to get it packaged and measured and weighed before you make the listing so that the postage calculator will give an accurate costing for the postage.
    When multiple items are listed for sale - say chisels or planes or saws etc - many bidders like to bid on and win multiple items, so that they can save on postage costs by combining postage. Now if this is going to happen, it is impractical to package each item individually and go to the trouble of listing the postage for each accurately, as they have to be unboxed and re-packed when multiple items are bought by the one buyer.
    So, often the postage is an estimate based on what the seller thinks the item will size to, or weigh when packaged.
    This can lead to over or underestimation and the postage costs will be wrong.
    This is just too hard for some and it is easier for them to say - local pickup only.
    I have noticed that many sellers list local pickup only, but indicate that they will be happy to post - just contact them for a quote.

    I'm sure that ebay's intentions were good in including the postage calculator to eliminate overcharging, but it is a pain when it gets it wrong.

    Anyhoo - just my 2c worth.
    Cheers
    SG
    .... some old things are lovely
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  16. #15
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    I bought a piece of equipment listed pick up from Bendigo once and told the seller it might take me a while to arrange pick up as I only have a motorbike, I said if it was a problem he could possible drop it by a relative who live in his area. He said he would deliver it to me free, a 2hr+ drive and it was only a $40 item.

    Sometimes you get service above and beyond!



    I also get upset if people list as being in Melbourne, (Which does not equate to Victoria, and are is some rural area) then complain if you can't collect next day!
    List the item where you expect it to be picked up from. The buyer has a right to refuse the item and leave bad feedback if it isn't where you state it to be Melbourne is post code 3000 i.e. CBD. I usually send an email to confirm location but did get caught once with the most rude people possible.

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