One of the most popular questions I get asked is, “Does it cost money to sell on Etsy?” Obviously the Etsy marketplace has to make money off of sellers somehow, right?
So how much does it cost for a new seller to open an Etsy shop?
When I think about Etsy costs, there are two different categories to distinguish between.
The first is upfront cost. What do I have to pay out-of-pocket no matter what happens? Even if I never make a single sale, what expenses and payments will I have to make to Etsy each month?
The second are the costs of doing business. These are often typical business expenses that you incur regardless of the platform on which you sell. Typically, these are listed as various transaction fees.
To keep it simple here, let's focus on solely on the upfront costs to sell on Etsy.
Etsy Upfront Costs
If I am a brand new seller and I want to start a business for no money, Etsy is a perfect marketplace to get started.
You would be hard pressed to find a true zero-cost startup business idea, considering you will always need some type of investment. Maybe it is technology (like a laptop and internet for freelance writers.) It could be inventory costs (for boutique owners.) Or maybe it's just small marketing costs to advertise the fact you have launched a new venture.
However, Etsy makes it simple, approachable and best of all – cheap – for new shop owners to sell on Etsy.
There is only one true upfront cost to sell on Etsy.
It costs $0.20 per shop listing, which the seller must pay immediately upon hitting Publish.
Yes, that means for cheaper than the cost of buying a toy at the Dollar Store, you can list five items in your Etsy shop and start making money today!
And if that isn't low cost enough for you to start selling on Etsy, here is some even better news.
Existing Etsy sellers like me often have a referral code to share 40 FREE Etsy listings with new shop owners. If you click through my link to open a new Etsy shop, both of us get 40 free listings on Etsy and don't have to pay the $0.20 for each one!
So now, you don't even have the excuse of not having the first $8.00 to launch your own Etsy shop… RIGHT NOW!
When you first open a shop, Etsy will encourage you to get your first 10 listings up and running. Existing sellers will recommend aiming for more like 25 or 50 listings.
The more items in your shop, the more opportunity you have to be found in the search. It will also give potential customers comfort in seeing a full storefront. Think about the last time you visited an Etsy seller with just one or two products listed. Did you trust them as committed to their shop?
The great news is that you can work on your listings in a “draft” mode, so you are not spending money as you prepare your listings. Etsy will only charge you once you hit “publish,” which makes the listing go live to buyers.
If you can find a working link to those 40 free listings, it gets your Etsy shop in the perfect zone to start getting sales quick. Zero cost!
Important Etsy Listing Cost Must-Know
When you publish a new listing on Etsy, the item is live to buyers until one of two things happen.
1) A customer has purchased the item.
2) There have been no sales on the item for 4 months.
In both cases, the listing has to be renewed before it can be purchased again. At renewal, the seller does have to pay $0.20 again to relist their product.
The seller has the option to renew listings automatically or manually at their own discretion. So yes, you can prevent that cost from happening by not listing the item again.
If the customer purchased the item, it may be popular and you'd likely want to reinvest some of the money you made to resist the item for only $0.20 again.
However, if there was no sale on the item for 4 months, you have the opportunity to rethink the listing and decide whether you think it will sell in the future. If you realize it's outdated, you can decide not to renew the listing at all. Then, you will not reincur listing cost.
Are there Hidden Costs to sell on Etsy?
When a new Etsy seller is wondering about startup costs, the listing fee is the only one to have to pay out of pocket, no matter whether you sell any items or not.
There are Etsy fees, which are small percentages that Etsy automatically takes after an item is sold.
There is also a transaction fee charged automatically to each sale. That fee is standard and is no different than when using Stripe or other online payment processors.
Etsy also has optional marketing and ad programs sellers may choose to take advantage of. As a new seller, I'd recommend boosting your number of listings and driving traffic to your shop through social media before paying any additional Etsy cost.
While these items technically are costs when it comes time to calculate your profit, they are not upfront costs that you need to have prepared before opening your own Etsy shop.
To understand more about the fees Etsy charges after you make a sale, check out my post on Etsy Seller Fees: How Etsy Makes Money.
Mom Has The Last Word
If you have ever thought about starting a business, Etsy is one of my top recommendations for getting started. In fact, I recommend it so often that I wrote this Ultimate Guide to Getting Started on Etsy. It will answer all of your questions and then some!
So, does it cost money to sell on Etsy? Yes. Less than a quarter.
But that's only if you don't use a link shared from a seller, gifting you 40 free listings. 🙂
With a built-in marketplace and globally recognized website, Etsy is simple and low-cost. Sellers don't have to invest in their own website or web hosting. All it takes is one sale and you will automatically recoup your small listing cost.
So is there anything else stopping you from selling on Etsy? No more excuses! I have even created this Etsy Shop In A Day course that walks through a REAL live Etsy shop opening step-by-step. Worried you won't understand the technology side behind-the-scenes? Watch the course and leave with the confidence that I will have you up and running in 24 hours!
Let me know how I can help in the comments below!