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Should I start selling with an Amazon Individual or Professional Account?

Thinking about selling on Amazon? By now, you’ve probably watched videos, listened to podcasts, and read books that promise you can ditch your job and be independently wealthy if you hand over a few thousand dollars for an Amazon selling course today. But you don’t need to pay thousands of dollars to learn how to sell on Amazon. In fact, you can get started today by reading our article on how sellers get their inventory.

Amazon’s own Seller University should give you a solid foundation, and it’s completely free for sellers. An additional benefit is that you’ll get help from the primary source, not some seller who’s giving you bad advice.

The very first decision you’ll have to make once you decide to jump into Amazon is whether to start with an individual account or a professional account. In this article, we’ll go over the differences between the two accounts and which one you should use and why. You can read more about FBM, FBA, and SFP here.

Amazon Individual Selling Account

This account is free for all Amazon sellers. But make no mistake: free doesn’t mean you should not take your account health seriously. Amazon only allows one seller account per individual for life, so avoid making mistakes and thinking you can just start over with another account. Once Amazon suspends your seller account permanently, any other future seller accounts that are linked will also be suspended. And that means you may lose any money or inventory attached to those accounts if you’re suspended for certain reasons. So do your research and be prepared.

Who is this account good for?

If you want an account so that you can learn how Amazon works, starting with an Individual account is a good idea. There are some reasons why you should start with the Individual account and why you should upgrade. We’ll go over them here.

Advantages

  • No monthly fees so you won’t stress out or feel pressured to make sales
  • You’re allowed to go slowly and learn Amazon at your own pace by listing and selling a few items
  • You still have access to FBA if you want to learn FBA before upgrading to the Professional account
  • Great way to get started without making a commitment to one marketplace

Disadvantages

  • Each sale has a per-item fee of 99¢ in addition to all other Amazon fees, so if you consistently sell more than 40 items per month, you should upgrade to the Professional plan or you’ll lose money
  • Without Amazon Marketplace Web Service (MWS), you won’t be able to use any apps like SellerZen
  • Some category restrictions
  • No high placement on product detail pages
  • No uploading sheets for inventory management

While it seems like there are more disadvantages to the Individual account, you don’t really need some of the features that the Professional account holds unless you have a lot of inventory or sales. If you’re just starting out, then chances are you’re doing some kind of arbitrage or selling books or other media. If that’s the case, selling your item on Amazon is a fairly straightforward and simple process since the product you want to sell most likely has an existing listing.

Amazon Professional Selling Account

Once you’re consistently selling more than 40 items per month, you should really switch over to the $39.99 per month Professional plan. Why? Because the Individual plan has a 99¢ per-item fee on top of other fees, you’ll be spending more money per month on the per-item fee than you’d be spending on the Professional plan.

But that’s not the only benefit the Professional plan holds. Here are some more:

Advantages

  • Access to Amazon MWS, which allows you to connect apps like repricers and accounting platforms like SellerZen
  • Ability to sell in more categories once you apply for approval
  • Upload inventory forms if you have a lot of inventory to handle
  • Access to Amazon’s valuable reporting tools
  • Ability to win Buy Box or be placed high on the product detail page

Disadvantages

  • Costs $39.99 per month
  • If you’re upgrading from an Individual plan, your account may be suspended until your account is verified

Really, there aren’t any big disadvantages to the Professional selling plan if you’re serious about selling on Amazon. The cost is more than worth it to have access to Amazon’s over 300 million customers and close to half of the market share for online sales in the US.

Ultimately, the decision about whether or not to get the Professional plan comes down to how serious you are about selling on Amazon. Don’t let those YouTube videos and Podcasts fool you: success on Amazon takes a lot of work, but if you’re persistent and have a good work ethic, you can achieve the success that those videos promise.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start making money!