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How do I start my eBay business?
Eight steps to make your eBay business legal and professional.
You may already have a name for your business and know what you're going to sell, but
before you run out and print business cards like those other unguided souls, spend some
time on the basics to make your enterprise is legal.
Here are some TO DOs for starting your eBay business:
- File a fictitious business name. While there are Web sites to help you file a fictitious
business name, it's so easy and more satisfying to do it yourself. After you pick a
name, you research that name to ensure that no on else is using it. There's no charge
to do the search yourself in Clerk-Recorder's office. So head to your local Civic Center.
There you'll complete a page or so of paperwork for a nominal fee (around $2.50 to
$10). The Clerk-Recorder's office will inform you of newspaper options where you are
required to publish the fictitious business name for four weeks (the newspapers will
charge around $25). If you'd like to see how it's done in Orange County California
- Get a business license. A business license is available from your city. This costs
around $100, plus the quarterly sales tax you report from you state if applicable
(usually annually, but sometimes quarterly). Fines can be steep if you don't stay
current, so make sure to pay the bills and stay on top of the paperwork. The Small
Business Administration can help you get started in your state. To obtain a business
license you must first present evidence that you've filed your fictitious business name.
- Obtain a seller's permit (a.k.a. reseller’s license, Seller's Tax Permit). Get a sellers
permit through your state's Department of Revenue. In California this would be the
California State Board of Equalization. This valuable piece of paper in California costs
$50 and enables you to get wholesale pricing and to purchase products for your store
without taxes. If you don't have one, vendors will charge you sales tax. It also
provides a resource of classes to help you with your taxes.
- Consider an auction license. If you sell other people's items on consignment in the
auction format, you may need an auction license. Entrepreneur.com has details.
- Establish payment processing: If you're going to be raking in the cash, you'll need a
place to stash it. At minimum you must open a bank account (checking or savings). We
recommend opening checking account along with a PayPal account. Opening a
merchant account to accept credit cards will go a long way towards establishing
- Open a business banking account. Go to the local bank and bring your seller's permit,
a drivers license, a social security number, and some cold hard cash! Or open a
checking account now. WAMU is now part of Chase.
- Open a PayPal account. Knowing that 95% of all eBay businesses use PayPal should
be incentive enough to open an account. PayPal is currently the only payment
processing solution outside of money orders and credit cards that's integrated with
eBay, so it's must have for your eBay business! Even if you already have a PayPal
account, you really should have two accounts (one as a buyer's account and the other
a seller's account).
- Open a merchant account to accept credit cards (optional). When you accept credit
cards you should expect sales to increase by as much as 50-400%! And having credit
cards available to your clients is a great alternative to PayPal. The one we recommend
is backed by Warren Buffet's favorite Wells Fargo Bank.
- Open an eBay stores account (optional). While not necessary to sell on eBay, when
you open an eBay store, you make it easier for your past customers to find you and
Register an eBay store in three easy steps. It's around $15 a month and worth every
Continued... Next steps for your eBay business
How to make your
eBay business legal.
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