By Steve Zurier. Just about everyone has heard of eBay, but the average builder wouldn't readily think of eBay to buy tools and accessories--until now. Recognizing that its business is changing, the online auctioneer launched the eBay Business brand in January for B2B buyers and sellers. The new unit raked in first quarter sales in excess of $92 million, 12 percent of which is through the construction category.

"We've evolved to the point where we've almost done a complete switch to practical items from collectibles," says Jordan Glazier, general manager of eBay Business. "What we're seeing is our users coming to eBay to buy things for their business. In the construction segment, we're seeing anything from contractors who've finished with gear and want to sell all the way through brokers, dealers, and manufacturers selling excess inventory."

Glazier says some of the hot items in the construction segment include surveying equipment, skid steers, compressors and generators, and standard building supplies such as nails and screws.

Buyers can purchase items via auction or Buy It Now, which is buying a product instantly for a fixed price. Glazier says eBay buyers tend to pay $5,000 to $8,000 for a skid steer as opposed to the $10,000 to $20,000 it would cost to buy one new.

"Builders and contractors are coming on the site and buying equipment to do a specific job," Glazier says. "Also, with the savings they get through eBay, we're seeing more and more builders buying to own ... and maybe it's equipment they didn't think they could own."