Needing some cash, fast?
Many people turn to Craigslist to sell their odds and ends for a quick buck, but there are some best practices to selling on Craigslist to stay safe and get the most cash for your gizmos.
This is the art of selling on Craigslist. Pile up your trinkets and let's begin!
Table of Contents
What To Sell, That Is The Question
A good rule of thumb is to pick out things to sell according to this criteria:
- The item is something that you no longer need, or you have not used for a year or more.
- The item is valuable enough to make it worth your time to sell.
These might include:
These are just a few possibilities. Start by walking around your house and identifying potential items you could sell. Put these items into one big pile, and now you're ready to start the sales process!
How To Effectively Price An Item
The first thing you must determine is the market price of the item. The key here is to be realistic, and make sure you're not trying to sell something for over what it's even worth. Set a fair market price.
You can do this a couple of different ways.
First, you can do a Google search to see what the item is selling for new (if it's still an item you can get new). Search and get results from several different sites. It shouldn't take too long.
Second, you can find a price on Craigslist by searching for others selling the same item you're trying to sell. How have others priced the item?
Don't just use one listing to price your item, look over several listings to ensure the item you're selling and what your competition is selling is an apples for apples comparison.
Once you have determined the price you're willing to sell the item for, I recommend increasing your price by 10 to 20%. The reason for this is that many people on Craigslist want a deal, and they will try to negotiate you down. Increasing the price beforehand prevents a certain amount of loss.
For example, let's say you have an item that is generally going for $200. List it at $240, and see what responses you get. You might be fortunate enough to make a profit, but if they negotiate you down, sell it for $200 minimum.
Pictures, Pictures, Pictures!
As you're adding your product to Craigslist, make sure that you take high quality photos to post on the site.
We live in an image-based society, and many people want to see the item in detail before they will buy it from you. This is perhaps one of the most powerful ways to get the sale.
Here are some tips when taking your photos:
- Make sure the item is clean and presentable: If the item is dirty, clean it up before you take pictures. Nobody wants to buy your dirty mud covered mountain bike.
- Include photos of everything that is included: Make sure to take photos not only of the item, but of included accessories, manuals, etc.
- Have a non-distracting background: Take your picture with a background that isn't distracting the buyer's attention away from your item. Remove the baby in diapers, and the pile of dirty laundry in the background. Take the photo in front of a white wall, or on a table.
- Have good lighting: Make sure there is plenty of good natural light illuminating your item. There's nothing more frustrating for a buyer than having a photo that is dark and hard to make out.
- Take several shots from different angles: Take pictures of the front and back of the item, of any damage, and of any special features of the item.
To me having good photos is key to selling your item. Without them, you're just hoping someone will take a chance.
Write A Good Title & Description
Besides having a realistic price and good photos, the other key ingredient for a good Craigslist ad is to make sure you have a good title and clear description of the item listed.
First, make sure to first catch the buyer's eye with a clear and engaging headline. It's the first thing people see when they search for an item, and it also has keywords listed that people will search for.
- Use good keywords: Make sure you at least use the name of the item, the brand name/manufacturer and the condition. If you're selling an iPhone 6 for example, make sure to have tall of that in the title. Something like “Mint Condition Apple iPhone 6, Sprint Network. Best Offer.”
Feel free to spice it up your title a bit as well, but just make sure the basics are there.
After you've grabbed someone's attention with a good descriptive title, it's now time to make sure you give them everything they need in order to move forward with a purchase.
- What item are you selling: Explain in detail what the item is that your'e selling.
- Describe the item's condition honestly: Go over the condition of the item briefly. Make note of any imperfections. Honesty is the best policy, you don't want to make someone upset by omitting any damage.
- Technical details: Go over any tech specs for items like electronics. Grab them from the manufacturer's website or Amazon, but make sure you have the details for the right item.
- Give pricing and note if you'll take offers: Remind the potential buyers of the price, whether it is firm, or if you're willing to entertain offers.
- Contact details: Make sure to let potential buyers know your preferred method of contact – email, phone or carrier pigeon. Include the contact information if you're willing to,otherwise take advantage of the anonymous email service provided by Craigslist.
Patience Is Key
When you post your item on Craigslist, expect to wait for responses. The last thing you want to do is take the first offer you get. Compare offers, and email the winning bid. The more pressure you're under to sell, the less you'll make on the sale. Take your time! Why be in a rush?
Stay Safe, Keep It Public
I highly recommend meeting in a public place, and taking someone you know with you to the sale. The last thing you want is to have your valuables stolen. The more eyes on the transaction, the better. Be very mindful about where you do the sale, and the party that you are selling to.
More and more police departments are now offering “safe selling zones” where Craigslist sellers and buyers can meet – either in a police department parking lot, lobby or other safe area. Check your local area for a police department offering such a zone.
Also, when it comes time to accept payment, you're likely best off dealing in cash only. Other forms of payment can often be too risky. Stick to cash.
Sell On Craigslist, Make Some Cash
Selling on Craigslist can be a great way to make some serious cash. Some have gone to the extent of buying antiques at garage sales and selling them for profit on a regular basis. I have known a few people to do this and make a great deal of money. It makes a terrific side job while you're working your 9 to 5.
Have you sold anything on Craigslist? What are some tips and tricks you can share with us? We'll meet you in the comments!