The tips page will always be a work in progress. These tips and suggestions come from my own experience and the experiences of other long-time internet buyers and seller. Many of these tips are invaluable. If you have any suggestions for the Tips page please let us know.
Lots of these tips have to do with taking pictures. It can definitely be a pain but it's a simple task that takes seconds to do and can help you immensely. Pictures are easy to take with almost any smartphone. They're easy to store, duplicate, email and erase. Pictures have a date and time stamp that is not easily manipulated and can provide evidence that can prevent disputes from arising.
For All Users
- This is our marketplace and it will be carefully policed by a few. We are shooting for 100% fairness and will never tolerate fraud of any degree. This makes every user of figBid an important part of our network. If you see something, say something. CONTACT US .
- Don't air grievances publicly. Social media only worsens any situation you think it may help. Contact Us first. I'll do my best to resolve every issue in a timely manner.
- This website was not thrown together overnight. It was painstakingly organized, tested and produced over the course of a solid year. It is the source of many sleepless nights. It was self-funded on a shoe string budget. It is not pretty and lacks some bells and whistles. But it works very well, it's safe and secure. figBid will always be a work in progress but will always improve. If you see something that is incorrect, errant or should be changed, please let us know. Thanks.
- Digital photos have a date and time stamp. Take plenty of pictures!
- Use the mobile site. Functionality is the same across the board.
- Be sure to link your PayPal account to your figBid account after registering. Visit the 'My Account Home' page. Scroll down to 'Listing Preferences' on the left. Select 'Payment' and complete the entries on the next page.
- Making and accepting payments through PayPal's 'Friends and Family' option is not allowed. See FAQ for Sellers and FAQ for Paying regarding PayPal's 'Friends and Family' option.
- Feedback is an important and valuable part of the figBid process. Please remember to leave feedback for your buyer or seller within 30 days.
- FigBid does not forward messages. Contact your seller through the listing and not the 'Contact Us' link. See FAQ about messaging.
- Before bidding or buying, ask the seller if the variety you're purchasing requires pollination.
- Make sure your shipping address is correct on figBid and PayPal. Many sellers use PayPal's Shipping Center and ship to PayPal verified shipping addresses only. Shipping to an incorrect address lengthens shipping times considerably and you won't be covered by PayPal's Purchase Protection Program.
- Return policies are not mandatory for sellers and some sellers don't add their return policy to the item description. If no Return Policy is listed please ask your seller for details about their return policy before you buy.
- Not all sellers add shipping insurance to your purchase. If you require shipping insurance with a purchase please contact your seller before they ship.
- When a purchase arrives to you in a damaged condition reach out to the seller right away to let them know and ask what you should do. If the seller gives you advice, follow the advice and keep the seller updated.
- Click the 'Buy it Now', 'Submit Bid' or 'Quick Bid' buttons only once or you may make multiple purchases.
- Invoices should be paid right away. Sometimes life gets in the way and payments can't occur immediately but generally should not take longer than 2 days.
- Take pictures of unopened packages.
- Make a video of packages being opened.
- Take photos and/or video of item in opened packaging.
- Take photos and/or video of item immediately out of its packaging.
- Be aware of shipping charges, shipping times, and return policies BEFORE bidding or buying. Ask questions.
- Ask sellers to combine shipping charges and add shipping insurance.
- Due diligence pays off. Review feedback and search the internet. Try to familiarize yourself as much as possible.
- Mold does not mean the death of a cutting. Mold happens for many reasons outside of sellers control. Mold is easily cleaned off a cutting. Proper care will prevent your cutting from re-molding. Mold is not an automatic refund or reason for negative feedback. Every now and again figgers may have to clean moldy cuttings. It's part and parcel to the hobby.
- If you are a buyer shopping for grafting material and a listing does not state anything about grafting, please ask the seller if the cuttings are suitable for grafting before you purchase. Sellers are not obligated to refund if the material does not suit grafting needs.
- Canadian buyers should contact the seller to verify shipping rates before making a purchase.
- When writing your Item Description honesty is the best policy. There are thousands of users on figBid 24/7 comprised of professional horticulturists, farmers, geneticists, hobbyists, nurserymen, orchardists, gardeners, amateurs, browsers and more. Dishonesty is easily discovered. Nothing on figBid draws attention faster or ruins a reputation quicker than a dishonest Item Description.
- Always ship fresh cuttings material and healthy plants. This is the golden rule and there is no alternative. In my experience, shipping the freshest and healthiest material results in the least amount of issues. If there is a doubt, don't sell it.
- Use titles with proper naming conventions, varietal names, etc. Check your spelling. If certain varieties have more than one name, misspellings that are commonly accepted, or abbreviations, use all of them, if possible. Extend your title into the sub-title area or Item Description if necessary. If a variety is unknown please list it as an unknown. Unknown varieties are very popular and browsers will purchase an unknown variety marked as an unknown faster than a variety they've never heard of.
- The pictures added to your listings must be your own. Never, never, never use pictures that are not your own. If you have permission to use pictures that are not your own, please remember to add a direct credit to a person your item description. Good: "Pics of fruit are used with permission by JohnDoe of ourfigs.com", or "Pic of mother tree is not my own and used with permission by Nate from Facebook Group What the Fig". Not Good: "Pics of fruit are taken from Google.com", or "Leaf pics came from figaholics.com". There are no exceptions to this rule.
- Price your material accordingly. Do a completed search of figBid for your variety and gauge the going rate. Don't overprice. Overpricing is the fastest route to a stale or unsuccessful listing. Please visit Searching in the Help section of figBid for instructions on how to do a completed item search.
- Auction listings starting at $0.01 almost always have a higher final value than an auction listing for the same item started at a higher price. Add as much information as possible to your 1 cent listing and trust the process. It works.
- Buyers are attracted to free shipping and thorough item description. Be sure to include as much information as possible about the item and include your return policy.
- Adding a short bio about yourself in the item description increases fixed-price sales dramatically and drives auction final values higher than listings without a 'Bio' added by the seller. This is a fact! Be truthful and make it your own. Describe who you are, how long you've been involved in horticulture, what you collect, your business (if applicable), the organizations you currently belong to, etc. Copy/Paste the 'Bio' from listing to listing or save a form listing to copy from in Drafts. Keep your 'Bio' up to date. Here is a link to what mine looks like now. You could also use the example below as a guide:
- I am John, aka JohnD, a regular contributor to the OurFigs.com forum. I am 25 years old and started collecting fig trees when I retired 2 years ago. My love for figs started as a young boy and I remember hot summer days eating delicious, ripe figs straight from my grandfather's tree in Mallorca, Spain. With the help of my family, our backyard orchard has grown to 500 potted fig trees. It's a challenge growing fig trees here in Angle Township, Minnesota, USDA Zone 3a, but the family and I find it very rewarding. Every year I coordinate the Angle Township Fig Festival, one of the largest horticultural gatherings in MN. I belong to several local prominent horticultural groups including The Angle Township Fig Group and MN Fig Assoc. I'm a lifetime member of CRFG and NAFEX.
- Rooting and growing instructions can be added to an auction page easily. Then copied and pasted into future auctions within seconds.
- There are Canadian users on figBid. If you do not ship Canada, please make a note in your listing and/or block the location from Manage Buyers in the Listings Preferences section. A simple "No International Shipping" in the Item Description will do just fine.
- Good Till Canceled listings are good for 30 days and may be canceled at the discretion of figBid. If your item is listed and there is no or little activity for 30 days, please consider altering or ending the listing.
- The highest amount of user traffic is Sunday 8 PM EST. The second-highest amount of traffic is Monday at the same time. Consider this data when planning a starting and/or ending time for your listing.
Some sellers believe adding a return policy to their listing is a bad thing. It's definitely just the opposite. Adding a return policy in your listing doesn't automatically marry you to a customer. There are limitations and you should state so in your listing.
Reselling is allowed but sellers should follow a bit of standard convention and courtesy.
- Pictures must be your own unless permission to use is granted by the owner. When using others' pictures please state your permission in the item description. Review figBid's Terms & Conditions regarding prohibited and restricted Intellectual Property. Also, review the Golden Rules above.
- Explain where the material comes from and why you're selling. Not absolutely necessary but will save you a lot of time answering emails.
- When the source is disclosed, personally-identifying information will not be displayed in photographic or written form on your listing. Please use common sense here.
- When the material has substantially changed from its original form you are no longer reselling. You are now selling a new item. Ex: You purchase a cutting, cut it in half and sell the piece you did not use; You successfully root a cutting and sell a small, rooted tree; You buy a pack of 10 nursery pots, use 5 and sell the rest.
- Pictures sell. Add lots of your own clear pictures to the listing. Whether you're selling trees or cuttings, adding pictures of leaves, fruit on the tree, single pieces of fruit, cut open, with a US quarter in the frame of the picture for reference, and the mother tree is a great idea. Consider the following:
- For trees - Take a picture of the whole tree from the side. Then take a picture straight down from the top.
- For cuttings - Unless you're separating the cuttings on the day of shipping, take pictures of the actual cuttings the buyer will receive. Add a Sharpie marker or ruler in the picture for size reference.
- Start building your own library of pictures. Having your own pictures on hand in an organized fashion is best for any seller.
- Adjust your camera to take square pictures. Square pictures display and fit much nicer.
Label, Package, Insure & Ship
- Before you do anything else, label your cuttings and plants. Before you do anything else, label your cuttings and plants. Before you do anything else, label your cuttings and plants. Before you do anything else, label your cuttings and plants. Did I mention to label your cuttings and plants before you do anything else?
- Take pictures of an item before it is packed, while in its packaging, and after it's packed. Make sure photos are taken from different angles and correctly represents condition before, during and after packing.
- Sellers are not required to but are strongly encouraged to insure their packages. Quality sellers usually insure packages automatically.
- Take advantage of free shipping supplies offered by USPS, UPS (Must be logged in to UPS.com to order), FedEx (Must be logged in to FedEx.com to order).
- Make use of online postage sellers. Use PayPal's Multi-Order Shipping, pirateship, fitshipper, or any other online postage seller you're comfortable with. Online postage sellers support all USPS shipping methods and they're very simple to use. You're able to pay for postage directly from your home computer. You have full editing control over addresses and labels, print multiple labels at one time, and print labels automatically populated with buyers' information and tracking information.
- Ship to PayPal verified addresses only. Shipping to any other address will void your Seller Protection.
- If you'll be packing and shipping with expanding foam make sure the buyer is aware. It's a great idea to let potential buyers know before they bid or buy. It's also a great idea to email a set of instructions for opening and unpacking as it may be difficult for some users.
- The 'Hompage Featured' listing upgrade is inexpensive to use. Use it wisely and please don't abuse it.
- Don't add statements such as, "Make payments through PayPal Friends and Family" or "Ship at your own risk". They can hurt you if a claim is made later on. Additionally, good sellers will always insure their packages and never ship an item at the buyers risk.
- Referring to sources is okay as long as privacy concerns are maintained. That is, don't use first and last names, addresses, etc.
- Pictures are added to your listing to enhance or support your Item Description and never for educational purposes.
- It would be nice if we lived in a perfect world. Don't share your inventory list with any other user, ever!
- Don't take a conversation related to selling off figBid's messaging system. figBid's messaging system does not handle photos so sharing pictures via email is fine. But everything else must stay on figBid's messaging system. Taking a conversation off figBid's messaging system will hurt you in the future every time.
- Don't be too quick to leave a poor feedback comment and/or rating for buyers, even if a buyer has left you one. Take a day or two to think about the sale and what could have been done differently. Sellers are encouraged to Contact Us for guidance.
Feedback & Follow-Up
- After a buyer has paid they've completed their half of the purchase and a good seller will immediately leave positive feedback without waiting for the buyer to leave a feedback rating. Buyers appreciate this gesture more than anything else.
- Poor feedback ratings left for buyers can sometimes seem retaliatory. In my experience, any issue can be worked out to a successful conclusion without resorting to poor feedback. If you think you've done everything you can to make a buyer happy and there is still an issue, please Contact Us before leaving a poor feedback rating for a buyer.
- Check the tracking number for the shipment. When the package is delivered send a follow-up message to the buyer asking if everything arrived in good condition. Remind the buyer that you've already left positive feedback for them and to leave positive feedback for you after opening and inspecting the package.
- Rooting can be a tough proposition for some. Adding a rooting instruction sheet to their package is a nice touch.
- A personal plant care guide is a very thoughtful addition to any purchase as well. It doesn't have to be perfect. Make it your own.
- Let buyers know if the variety you're selling requires pollination or not. If you don't know, say so. Buyers will appreciate your candor.
- The number of cuttings you're selling should be clearly stated in the listing Title and Description. If you're selling 1 cutting, "Buyer will receive 1 cutting".
- Check the bid history for your successful listings. Send unsuccessful bidders a message with a second chance offer. Please visit Selling & Creating Listings in the Help section of figBid for instructions.
- Be sure to update your preferences and block buyers or locations you don't ship to. Please visit User Management in the Help section of figBid for instructions.