Hiring Employees for Your eBay Business Has your growing eBay business taken over your life? Our expert explains the many options you have when it's time to hire help.

By Marsha Collier

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

One of the tough realizations you'll face as your eBay business grows is that if you're lucky, it's going to grow way past your ability to "do it all" yourself and there's going to come a time when you need some help.

Taking on employees is a big responsibility. Once you hire someone, they count on you for the income you provide. Also, you'll have to withhold taxes and make the requisite deposits to the government at pre-prescribed times. And remember that salary is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to employing help. The true cost of an employee can run double their salary amount if you factor in other payroll costs, such as employee-related taxes and worker's compensation insurance. There's also the potential for company-paid benefits: health insurance, paid sick days, holidays, vacation days, 401ks and so on. Yikes! Having an employee on board takes quite a bit of time--but there are shortcuts that you can take.

My personal favorite shortcut is hiring an intern. Yes, remember back to the days of college when you could get credits for interning at a business? Many college students still do that in order to get some amazing experience in varied fields. Being an intern often leads to a career, and the knowledge they'll gain from working with you will serve them for years to come. Be aware, however, that if the intern doesn't receive class credit for the work they do for you, you may have to pay them minimum wage. And once you do that, they're classified as an employee. (On the plus side, they're a very low-paid employee.)

Another option you have if you've reached a point where you need help listing your eBay items is to try to find some help in the eBay Trading Assistant area. To find trading assistants in your area, click on the "Find a Trading Assistant" link on the left side of the page. Once you're on the locator page, type in your city and state, and/or your ZIP code, and you'll be presented with a list of eBay sellers who are willing to sell items for other people. You can even narrow your search to a category so that you can find someone who's a specialist in a particular type of item. I suggest you look for the smaller sellers on the list--someone with good feedback--who might be willing to work with you for a negotiated flat rate for listing your items. All trading assistants list their contact information, so you can easily talk to them over the phone and discuss how much they'll charge you, usually based on the number of items you want them to list for you.

Another solution may be to hire the services of an outside company or independent contractor. An independent contractor takes care of their own taxes and insurance, thereby freeing you of that responsibility. I've used this solution many times in the following areas:

  • Bookkeeping. You can always find a contract bookkeeper to take care of tracking your income, expenses and sales taxes (if that's applicable in your state). They can post your books on their computer and fax--or e-mail--the required reports back to you. A good virtual-bookkeeper can pretty much take charge of all your financial dealings on their own schedule--while still meeting the state and federal deadlines.
  • Design services for your store banner, website or eBay store. There are companies who'll contract with you for this type of creative work--and will do a bang-up job for a reasonable price.

You can find these types of contractors in your own community, but if you're like me and want to find someone who's used to the unique type of online work we do, here are a few ways to track these people down:

  • In the case of graphics work, search eBay for the item you need. For example, "animated banner" (for your eBay keywords campaign) or store banner (for your eBay store). You'll get a list of people who show their talent online, and when you find someone who suits your needs, just use "Buy It Now" and get some fast service!
  • You can also browse the new eBay category "Specialty Services." There's an amazing group of energetic people offering their time and talents in that category.
  • Also, visit the website www.elance.com. They're loaded with virtual assistants and bookkeeping services who are bidding for your jobs online!

An important point must be made here regarding independent contractors. The IRS is gung-ho about auditing businesses that are hiring independent contractors instead of employees so as not to have top deal with withholding taxes! Here are a few rules you should keep in mind if you're thinking about hiring contractors:

  • A contractor works away from your place of business.
  • A contractor can make their own work hours.
  • A contractor purchases their own equipment for use in a job.
  • A contractor has the ability to have profit or loss from a job.
  • A contractor and employer have a contract for services.
  • A contractor can hire others to help them with your work.
  • A contractor performs similar work for other businesses.

There are many more rules, even a checklist from the IRS.

In a small- to midsized business, there are many places to turn for help. Don't forget to call on relative. Immediate family members, retirees--anyone--can use some extra cash! My daughter has worked in my office as an employee over the years and has managed to earn some spending money by helping me with my eBay business.

Wavy Line
Marsha Collier

Author, Radio Personality and Educator

Marsha Collier is a Los Angeles-based author, radio personality and educator specializing in technology and selling online. She is the author of eBay for DummiesSocial Media Commerce for Dummies and other books about selling online.

Editor's Pick

A Father Decided to Change When He Was in Prison on His Son's Birthday. Now His Nonprofit Helps Formerly Incarcerated Applicants Land 6-Figure Jobs.
A Teen Turned His Roblox Side Hustle Into a Multimillion-Dollar Company — Now He's Working With Karlie Kloss and Elton John
3 Mundane Tasks You Should Automate to Save Your Brain for the Big Stuff
The Next Time Someone Intimidates You, Here's What You Should Do
5 Ways to Manage Your Mental Health and Regulate Your Nervous System for Sustainable Success

3 Automated Lead Generation Strategies To Implement In Your Sales Process

Outbound sales is crucial for all growing companies. Here are three proven strategies to ensure our calendars are always full.

Growing a Business

In a Downturn, It's Not Enough to Have Good Financials — Brand Visibility Is the New Currency.

Visibility has proven to be tied to making more money and being more successful. I've been asked by many founders how they can generate visibility successfully and quickly, so here are my tips.

Business News

'I Am Just Floored': Woman Discovers She Won $1 Million Lottery Prize While Checking Her Email at Work

Initially, she thought the email was a scam, but went to lottery headquarters and walked away with a six-figure check after taxes.

Business News

Instagram Is Reportedly Working on an AI Chatbot With Dozens of Personality Options

A leaked tweet revealed a screenshot of the alleged feature, stating the chatbot will be able to "answer questions and give advice."

Business News

You May Have Fewer Options to Wade in the Water This Summer as Thousands of Lifeguard Chairs Are Left Unoccupied

A national lifeguard shortage has been on the rise since the COVID-19 pandemic.