It is not uncommon for a SA to ask a client for a deposit to cover the initial listing fees for their items. They’ll get this money back when you send them their first payment. While some clients will balk at this, it is a helpful security measure for the SA, particularly when dealing with a new client. The purpose of this deposit is to cover eBay and PayPal fees for the initial batch of listings before the items sell and you’ve received payment. It’s particularly useful when dealing with items that you either suspect will not sell well (or at all) or for clients that have done a bait and switch (promised you treasures and then sent over entirely different, and worthless, items).

A client once contracted me to sell a collection of vintage dolls. Once we’d solidified the deal, she mailed me a box, but instead of being filled with the dolls, it was full of old sweaters I knew would never sell with a note that she’d changed her mind and I was to sell these instead. I couldn’t get a reply despite repeated phone calls, emails and finally a printed letter. Foolishly (this was back when I was a teenager and just starting out), I tried to sell the sweaters in the hopes that then she’d give me the promised dolls. After trying twice to sell the sweaters, I not only hadn’t sold any of them, but I was now out two week’s worth of eBay fees with no way of being compensated for them. I ended up donating the sweaters to charity after months of no contact and eating the eBay fees.

It was after this incident that I started to require a $25 deposit from new clients. The first week of listings with a new client, I list just enough so that their deposit will cover all fees and then proceed with listing everything else once I know that their items are sellable. Honestly, I’ve had to waive the deposit many times for clients that balked at it. Oddly enough, every client that balked at the Client to SA Deposit requested a SA to Client Deposit instead. It can seem like backwards logic to you since you’re the one who’s going to have to front the cash for their potentially worthless items but, to the client, they’re giving you amazing treasures and they want some financial protection.