Big thank you from

Jenny Munro talks to Geoff Leaney

Geoff LeaneyGEOFF Leaney, 44, runs `Dropbuysell' with his business partner Richard McBeigh. The men, who recently opened a store in Castle Street, provide a way of selling unwanted goods on eBay, an online marketplace for the sale of goods and services. Geoff, who lives near Stoneyford and is married with three children, first came up with the idea for the shop with his wife when they were watching a movie two years ago. After careful research, Richard came on board to work on the IT side of things and they started up their first Dropbuysell from Geoff's jewellery business in Belfast.

THREE days a week I go to the store in Belfast for 7am and this means a 6am start.

When the shop in Lisburn gets busier I'll be going in there early too. I get so much done before opening time. I wrap and pack and organise the items to be posted. All the small parcels are taken to the Post Office and we use a courier service for the larger packages. Once the store opens the phone never stops with people checking up on the different auctions or making enquiries about what we do.

What basically happens is customers bring us things they would like to sell on eBay, to one of our drop off stores. I assess and value the goods on site, then I recommend a suitable selling package.

People bring along all sorts of things to be sold but only items with an estimated value of �25 or more are accepted. Once I've sorted out a fee with the customer I make notes and research the item in order to be able to write a description, which will go along with a professional digital photo of the item.

The photo and description will then be listed on eBay and myself. Richard and the team will handle all prospective customer queries and monitor its progress online.

After an auction ends the payment will be processed and cleared before the item is carefully packaged and stored in our offsite warehouse waiting to be dispatched or collected.

Richard and myself are experienced eBay auctioneers and we know how to maximise an item's potential. We can advise people on suitable marketing strategies for the sale of goods and we make the sale hassle free for our customers.

A lot of paperwork is involved and I like to keep this up-to-date. Once an item sells and the payment has gone through successfully the goods will then be sent off to the buyer and a cheque posted off to the seller. I regularly go online to monitor the items we have up for auction. The general running of the business has to be maintained and this includes sorting our invoices and working on our accounts. Richard is an IT expert so he does a lot of the computer work.

There is a section on eBay where customers can give feedback about our service - this is very important to us and we regularly check the comments. As we are registered with eBay we have to comply with their regulations and we talk to our account manager at least once a month.

As I am a jeweller by trade I also operate a jewellery and watch repair service from the Lisburn store - this means there is always something to do and very rarely do I have a spare minute.

I normally head home after 5.30pm and have dinner with my family. Twice a week I go to Judo training. Even when I'm at home I go online to check how the items are progressing in the auctions and I'll see if there are any more emails to respond to. We would easily get 300 emails a day and these might concern postage queries and questions about a particular item for sale.

I am delighted with the progress of the business so far and hope it will continue to thrive allowing us to expand even more and even start franchises.

Ulster Star