Individual vs. Professional Amazon Seller Accounts

The first difference you’ll notice between an Individual Amazon seller account and a Professional account is the price:

The Professional account costs $39.99 per month while the Individual account is free. The Individual account comes with a $0.99 per item sold fee though, and the differences don’t end there.

Before we dive into these differences, I’d like to point out that we have updated this guide as of February 2020 to reflect some new guidelines for setting up an Individual account (if that is what you choose to do).

If you are one of the many people who have tried to set up an Individual account but kept being asked to pay for a Professional account – we have new updates for you straight from Amazon. Let’s dive in…

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The Amazon Individual Seller Account

Here’s how Amazon describes the Individual seller account option:

“The Individual selling plan is for sellers who don’t need access to inventory tools and reports for volume selling. Under the Individual selling plan, you don’t pay a monthly subscription fee. You pay a per-item fee in addition to applicable fees.”

The per-item fee associated with an Individual account is $0.99.

This means that every time you sell an item, Amazon charges you a $0.99 fee. This per item fee is on top of the other fees that you pay as an Amazon seller – like the referral fees and the closing fees on media (books, music, video games, etc…).

As of February 2020, an Individual account is still an option despite reports from people having difficulty signing up for one. You can read a detailed account of signing up for an Individual account here, or just get the highlights below.

The Amazon Professional Seller Account

Here’s how Amazon describes the Professional seller account option:

“In the Professional selling plan, you pay a nonrefundable monthly subscription fee regardless of whether you list or sell anything. You don’t pay a per-item fee when an item sells. All other fees are charged as applicable. The Professional selling plan gives you access to inventory tools to upload batch files and manage your orders through feeds and reports. These tools are beneficial to most medium- to large-size businesses.”

A Professional Seller account comes with a $39.99 monthly fee. There are no longer any $0.99 per item fees, but the remaining fees (referral fees, closing fees, etc…) remain the same between the two account options.

The Professional account also unlocks some important benefits, including the ability to upload items in bulk from a spreadsheet and the ability to earn the buy box.

Let’s take a closer look at the differences between an Individual and Professional Amazon seller account now.

Key Differences between the Individual and Professional Amazon Seller Accounts

Below is a chart that shows the key differences between the 2 account types:

amazon seller accounts

The above chart is directly from Amazon and does a nice job of comparing the two account types. That said, there’s a lot here, and it’s important to drill down to the details that are most important.

$0.99 per item (Individual) vs $39.99 per month (Pro)

The Individual account is free to sign up for but includes a $0.99 per item fee. The Professional account has a $39.99 monthly fee but no per item fee.

So we can already say that the Professional account is the better choice for anyone selling more than 40 items a month, as you will be saving money on fees.

Buy Box Eligibility

Only Amazon professional sellers are eligible to have their items featured in the “buy box.” The buy box is the featured seller on a listing within Amazon.

For example, on this listing “Goldie Games” is the seller in the buy box:

This means that if the seller clicks the “add to cart” or “buy now” buttons, they will be purchasing from Goldie Games, as they are the seller in the buy box.

If you are selling this item and are not in the buy box, you will show up as one of the sellers featured below the buy box, or in the list where it says “Used & new (5)”.

Most buyers buy directly from the buy box without checking other sellers, and many don’t even realize that checking other sellers is an option. The formula for who gets the buy box is something that Amazon keeps secret, but it includes a variety of factors like:

  • Price
  • Seller feedback
  • Buyer’s location (Amazon will prioritize inventory in warehouses close to the buyer)

The seller in the buy box can change from buyer to buyer too.

One thing that remains constant though is the fact that you will never earn the buy box on an Individual selling plan.

Sales Tax Collection

Only Professional seller accounts have the ability to have sales tax collected on items they sell. Sales tax for FBA sellers is a bit of a tricky issue – I recommend reading this post to learn more – but if you want to collect sales tax you need the professional seller account.

Category Approval

Amazon requires an additional level of approval to sell in certain categories on the platform, and only Professional accounts are eligible to request that approval. Below are examples of categories that require you to have a Professional seller account to seek approval:

  • Automotive & Powersports
  • Jewelry
  • Watches
  • Sports Collectibles
  • Video, DVD, & Blu-ray
  • Collectible Coins
  • Entertainment Collectibles
  • Fine Art

You can read more about restricted categories and how to get approved to sell in them here.

Bulk Listing

With an Individual account, every product you list must be done individually. A Professional account unlocks the ability to bulk upload products via spreadsheets, which can be a huge time saver once you have a significant amount of products in your inventory.

This probably won’t be an issue if you are a brand new seller, but it could be very important if you are just new to Amazon and have inventory to list that you’ve been selling in other places.

Promotions (Sponsored Products, Coupons, Etc…)

If you’ve done any shopping on Amazon, you’ve probably noticed Sponsored Products. Here is an example where the game What Do You Meme? is advertised at the top of the search results for Monopoly.

The top section of most search results on Amazon feature Sponsored Products.

Here is an entire row of Sponsored Products further down the page:

Sponsored Products can show up other places too, like on actual product pages. Sponsoring your products can be a great way to get more eyes on your products. When you are advertising a product that has other sellers, the ad only runs when you are in the buy box. So this can be a great way to get sales and reviews when you are new.

But promotions like this are only available to Professional accounts.

Most new sellers don’t start advertising right away anyway, but this is something to keep in mind. When you are ready to start sponsoring products, you will need to upgrade your account if you haven’t done so yet.

Data Feeds and Third-Party Tools

The final major difference that I will point out is the ability to use product data feeds and granting access to other users.

These features are only available on the Professional selling plan. If you want to use 3rd party apps and tools, then you will need a Professional seller account.

In my case, many of the tools that I use to help run my business require me to be signed up through a Professional seller account.

Which Amazon seller account type is best for you?

The Individual Amazon seller account is best for someone who:

  • Wants to get their feet wet selling on Amazon and keep costs as low as possible at the beginning
  • Is selling less than 40 items per month
  • Doesn’t have the need for the additional features of the professional seller account

The Professional seller account is best when you:

  • Sell over 40 items per month
  • Want to collect sales tax on their items
  • Use 3rd party apps and tools
  • Want to be displayed in the buy box
  • Need to sell in certain restricted categories
  • Plan to run promotions

With all this in mind, any long-term success on Amazon will require a Professional account. That doesn’t mean you have to start with one though.

How to Sign Up For Your Account…

If you are signing up for a Professional account, you just need to head over to services.amazon.com and click the big Start selling button:

DO NOT CLICK THE BUTTON IF YOU WANT AN INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNT!

If you want an Individual account, you must click the link that says “Just have a few items to sell? Sign up to become an individual seller”:

Why Is Amazon Asking Me To Pay After Signing Up As An Individual Seller?

We’ve received many reports from people who try to sign up for an Individual account but then are still asked to pay the $39.99 fee for a professional account when they complete the account sign up process.

We finally have an answer as to why this is happening.

As soon as you click the Start selling button, you start the process of setting up a Professional account.

The first step is entering your name and email and clicking “next”:

As soon as you click next, your email address is connected to a Professional account, even if you do not complete the registration. If you back out and try setting up an Individual account at this point, you will just be directed to set up a Professional account again without any indication that this is happening.

We just dealt with this issue with one of the students in our Launch Accelerator. Here is the email that she got back when asking about this problem:

First thing to note – the part in the email where they say to choose the Individual plan AFTER clicking on “Start Selling” appears to be wrong. From what we can tell, this is how you get in the problem in the first place. There isn’t actually an option to choose what account you are registering for if you click that button. You get a Professional account.

So once you register an email during the process of setting up a Professional account, the only way to get that email connected to an Individual account is to pay $39.99 to start your Professional account and then downgrading your account and requesting a refund.

Alternatively, you can use a new email that isn’t connected to an Amazon account yet.

Can I upgrade or downgrade my Amazon Seller account?

You can switch your Amazon Seller account type at any time.

This is the route I took when I first started selling on Amazon. When I was doing it part-time as a hobby, I used an individual seller account. Then, once I was selling over 40 items per month, I upgraded to the professional seller account.

Here’s how to upgrade your Amazon seller account:

  1. Log in to your Amazon Seller Account
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Account Info under Settings
  3. In the Your Services section click Manage
  4. Click Upgrade next to the account type

Here’s how to downgrade your Amazon seller account:

  1. Log in to your Amazon Seller Account
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Account Info under Settings
  3. In the Your Services section click Manage
  4. Click Downgrade next to the account type

Conclusion:

If you are in doubt as to which option is right for you and you are selling less than 40 items per month, I’d start off with the Individual seller account just so that you can stop thinking about it and get your account set up right now.

Once you are selling 40 items per month or want the additional features, you can upgrade to the Professional seller account using the instructions given above.

If you want to learn more about getting started on Amazon, including how to get your first products and how to actually set up your account, read this guide and download a free copy of my new ebook:

New to selling on Amazon?

Grab a copy of my e-book Get Your First Sale On Amazon and follow a step-by-step process for getting your first sale. Everything you need to know is included and condensed into this 40-page e-book – currently FREE!

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12 thoughts on “Individual vs. Professional Amazon Seller Accounts”

  1. Thanks for your explanation
    I am living in Canada. I want to try selling on Amazon by using my name like Legal Name.
    1- can I begin directly with Professionnal account without business registration in my country?
    2- if I begin To have good revenues and decide To create a registrared business, can I update my informations about legal name?

    Thanks

    1. Thanks for your comment. On your question:

      1. Yes Amazon will still let you sign up as a professional account.

      2. Yes you can update the account information on file later.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  2. Jean Jacques Amella

    I want to sell from Indonesian as an individual. I do not have a tax file number as I am not working , can I register, also I will be sending the item sold from Indonesia, can I do it?

    1. Hi Jean,

      Thanks for your comment. I don’t have personal experience with this, but my understanding is that you will need to setup a tax ID number to register for an Amazon.com account. As long as you do that, then you would be able to sell on Amazon.com from your country.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  3. I am going to sell Leather Jackets on amazon and going to open a store within couple of days. Since the demand is predicted to be low due to upcoming summer season, I am thinking to start with Individual account, and later, in the last quarter of this year i.e. in winter season, I would switched to professional account.

    I really appreciate if you provide me your valuable feedback on this strategy.

  4. could i swicth from individual account to a professional acc any time? if i going to sell a few items, could be available the option to send this items on amaon centers and got the service to storage and after a purchase delivery by you?

  5. Can we retain reports and history if we switch back and forth from a Pro account?

    We recently liquidated our 2nd Amazon (book) store due to the new fee structure and hope to repurpose the account in the near future.

    Thanks!

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