A new startup called Sell It Easy is offering an alternative to larger marketplaces like eBay or Craigslist with a new service that handles the entire selling process for you, from item pricing to posting online to shipping to buyers and more. In San Francisco and, eventually, other markets as the service expands, Sell It Easy will even come pick up the items you want to sell, saving you the hassle of having to package them yourself. Elsewhere, it offers a prepaid shipping label you use to send items you want the company to sell on your behalf.
The service means to address a number of challenges that sellers face today when looking to unload their used items. For starters, they have to research to find the right price. They also may not realize that some items would sell better – that is, quicker or for a higher price point – on some marketplaces compared with others. Sellers also may not know how to calculate shipping costs, and they have to worry with actually packaging and shipping the product to the buyer when it finally sells.
Even then, the sales process may not be over – buyers can return items for a variety of reasons, forcing you to start from scratch.
This, in fact, was the problem that prompted the idea for Sell It Easy in the first place, explains co-founder Ben Rahnema. Currently an engineer at Mavenlink, he will soon be joining co-founder Craig Brott, previously a senior software engineer at Y Combinator-backed Simply Insured, to work on Sell It Easy full-time.
Rahnema explains that he had a Moto X phone that he was trying to sell on eBay that he ended up having to list seven times, as buyers would refuse to pay or sent it back because it didn’t work with their carrier. As a seller, the process was not only frustrating, but also time-consuming. He realized then that the amount of time he spent selling it was actually worth more than the value he would get from the sale of the phone.
This is a problem that many casual sellers can relate to – while we certainly have items lying around our house that could be worth something if posted online, the time it takes to actually sell them isn’t often worth the handful of dollars they’d net.
That’s where Sell It Easy comes in.
“I started my first eBay business when I was around 12 or 13 years old,” says Rahnema, who notes that both he and his co-founder are power sellers on eBay and Craigslist. Their experiences allowed them to understand the obstacles people face today when trying to sell online.
“If you’re spending that much time trying to sell things now – and on eBay and Craigslist you have to deal with scams and flaky buyers – you’re way better off having someone else handle that for you, especially when it can be streamlined and low-cost,” Rahnema says.
To use Sell It Easy, you visit the web app (an iOS app is in the works), describe the item you’re selling, and upload photos. Sell It Easy will then offer you a price quote for that item and, if you accept, will arrange for pick-up. For now, the pick-up option is only available in San Francisco, but anyone else in the U.S. can use the site to print a prepaid shipping label instead. (Sell It Easy also works with international sellers, but they have to pay their own shipping expenses for the time being).
The service is most competitive with eBay’s own concierge service, Sell for Me (aka eBay Valet), which also offers prepaid shipping labels and a hassle-free selling process.
But Sell It Easy additionally offers the pick-up service, which allows sellers to list things that would be otherwise to difficult to ship. Early testers have used this option to sell big things like furniture or oriental rugs, for example. Ebay’s concierge service, however, won’t accept any bulky items.
The pick-up option is live in San Francisco, and the startup plans to expand to New York further down the road.
In addition, Sell It Easy isn’t limiting itself to selling only on eBay. The company supports a range of marketplaces, including eBay, Craigslist, Etsy, and others, including local marketplaces, in order to get sellers a higher price for their items than what may be possible on eBay.
It even supports social selling, like on Facebook.
While Rahnema wouldn’t go into detail as to how this side of the business works, the team is likely taking advantage of the more private yard sale groups found on the social network in order to reach local buyers.
Sell It Easy takes a commission on sales, already factored into the price quote provided to buyers. This is not more than 12 percent, but varies by market and product. (For comparison, eBay Sell For Me users instead keep 60 percent to 80 percent of their item’s sale price, depending on the dollar amount of the sale.) Sell It Easy’s sellers are paid immediately after a sale via PayPal, Venmo, check, or bitcoin.
In the future, Sell It Easy hopes to bring its shipping costs down by partnering with logistics providers, including delivery companies like UPS as well as startups like Postmates for handling pick-ups and shipments.
The San Francisco-based team says they have a chance to interview with Y Combinator after being able to defer a prior interview for their mobile email app Shuffle, which they decided to scrap after Google’s Inbox app launched.
The founders are currently bootstrapping Sell It Easy with help from contractors and freelancers. The service has been live for a month with some 100 eBay and Craigslist power users who beta tested it to sell around 150 items. Today, the startup is available for all as part of its public debut.