Official Blog of the Tophatter Auction House
I’m new to Tophatter and see so many different starting bids on items. I just can’t figure out how I should decide on a starting bid for my items. Can you please help me figure it out? Selling my stuff is how I support myself and my teddy-bear pomeranian, FiFi.
Pondering in Portland
Firstly, welcome to Tophatter!
So, you’re unsure about how to price your items? There are a number of different approaches to this, so this is merely just a few of my suggestions. Here are a some things to think about…
When figuring out the starting bid, keep in mind…
- There aren’t any reserve bids on Tophatter. The way I see it, your opening bid should be set at a price with which you are comfortable, in the case that the item is won at the price. Once your item has gone on the block and the gavel has dropped, you have a binding contract with the Buyer. At that point, you don’t have the option to tell the Buyer “sorry, it didn’t sell for a high enough price”…that isn’t going to fly. Therefore, we encourage you to keep that in mind when deciding on a starting bid.
- With that said, how do you figure out the amount with which you are comfortable selling the item? Firstly, it’s always smart to think of the cost of materials. That works for items that you’ve made yourself…but what about other items? Some sellers use a range that is right around 50-75% of the retail price for the item. The important thing is that you are comfortable with that.
- Is there a minimum bid requirement for the auction you’re selling in? Be sure to check the listing parameters for each auction. The parameters will state any minimum bid requirements and offer you an idea of at which price to start your bidding. Some auctions have higher minimums than others, and it wouldn’t be much fun to get everything worked out and ready to go, only to find out that your opening bid is best at $13, and the auction has a minimum of $20.
- What about fees? Do you want to account for your Seller Fees in the base price of your item? That is, if your item would start at $5, but you have a $1.70 flat selling fee, then you may want to raise your opening bid to $7 to reflect a 10% fee. It’s really up to you, as the seller, to decide at which rate you’re most comfortable. You can check the Help Center to find the current and upcoming Fee Schedules. August fees can be found here, and September can be found here.
- One other thing to consider…shipping materials! If you are going to charge only for the cost of putting the item in the mail, then you may want to take a look at your shipping materials and decide if you want to add a small amount to each listing to cover that expense too. You can get some great deals on shipping materials in some of the Shipping Supplies auctions on Tophatter too! Just remember that shipping costs are part of your total overhead and may be worth including in the starting bid for your item.
I believe these are the most important factors to consider when setting your starting bid. I know some people believe in starting their items at the lowest price possible, but it can be painful to do that and then watch your item sell for less than you’d hoped.
We encourage you to be smart about your listings and decide on important information, like your starting bids, based on what you’re comfortable with and what you believe will appeal to your ideal customer. It’s all about reaching that happy medium which makes the auctioning experience all that more exciting.
With that, happy bidding!