Giving Away the Farm on eBay

When does it make sense to list a set as individual items?

by Danna Crawford
- Sep 14, 2010

Occasionally when listing a set or group of items on eBay, someone may contact us who wants to purchase only one or a few of these items. If his has happened to you, how have you handled it? Do you decline or agree?

This happened to me recently—and with a positive result, I might add. I was selling a Fisher Price Farm, which came with the fence and several animals. A potential buyer contacted me, asking if I would ship only the fence and animals, and not the barn. I agreed, as long as she paid the highest bidding price. We worked out a deal and she continued to bid, and ended up winning the auction. So I shipped off the items without the farm. We were both happy with the transaction and now I have a barn to list again on eBay!

Keeping items together as a set can sometimes make you more money than splitting them up

Here are some tips to follow in situations like this:

  • Instruct the buyer to wait to complete check out until you send an invoice with the new shipping price.
  • Never agree to sell items outside of eBay.
  • Consider ending the listing and then put the items into new, separate listings.

I could have listed the barn and the items separately, but at the time I thought it was more appealing to keep them together as a set. However, in the situation with this particular buyer, I took a chance and in the end it worked out fine.

It pays to do your research

Sure, I could have made more money on this particular item if I had listed each animal separately to begin with. But I learned years ago that greed will often cause you to make less in the end, instead of making a quick sale.

Indeed, keeping items together as a set can sometimes make you more money than splitting them up and listing them separately. This is yet another reason why it's so important to do your research when selling on eBay. Take a look at completed listings of items that are comparable to what you want to sell. Become educated about those listings that were successful. Learn from them and increase your odds for a successful sale!

With an auction, all you need are at least two people that want your item. When items are listed as a set, sometimes someone may want only one or a few of the items, while another person may be bidding on the entire set. If you're lucky, this will incite a "bidding war"—and that's when the fun begins!

Careful research will help you determine which items are set-worthy

Let the bidding war begin

Here's a great example from one of my very successful listings: I grouped together five action figures. They were each mint and new in the package, and dated from the 1980s. My research revealed that a few may sell for good money, while a couple may not, so I listed them as a set.

A few people asked me to break up the set. I told them that since they were listed this way I would sell them this way, but if they would like only one of the figures, they would still have to pay the highest bid amount to receive that one item.

Long story short, the five figures sold to a prince in Saudi Arabia for well more than $400. I paid five bucks for them at a church sale! The prince wanted the five-piece lot, while a few bidders only wanted one or two, so this was a situation where letting the bidding war play out was quite profitable for me in the end!

Other types of items to consider grouping into sets include:

  • Clothing
  • Dishes
  • Action figures
  • Books
  • Jewelry

Again, careful research will help you determine which items are set-worthy and which items are better sold as individuals. Take your time and explore all the options before you give away the farm!

About the Author

Danna Crawford, CEO of PowerSellingMom, Inc., has been a successful eBay seller since 1997. In 2008, she received eBay's Community Hall of Fame award, as well as the Golden Ribbon Community Seller Award from eBay Giving Works. As an eBay Certified Education Specialist, she teaches at the community college and university levels, and frequently speaks on topics such as how to make money blogging, writing eBooks and more. Crawford can be heard every Friday night on her Internet radio show, PowerSellingMomRadio, and in weekly webinars at

Opinions expressed here may not be shared by Auctiva Corp. and/or its principals.

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