Best Strategies for Successfully Selling on Craigslist

April 5, 2017

How to make money from Craigslist sales

As someone who has moved 12 (going on 13) times in the past 10 years, I have nearly perfected the art of the Craigslist sale.

After moving so many times, there are few things more disappointing than lugging that huge dresser or side table or dish set or kitchen appliance from one residence to another when it won’t fit well in the new space / you don’t love it / you know you won’t use it regularly!

It’s a much better feeling to plan ahead and make some money off of those items. I was able to fully fund our last move (and then some) via Craigslist sales. Yep, I made well over $1.5k in a single month from selling things on Craigslist. It becomes addicting!

While the money from Craigslist sales is an obvious incentive, it is also important to remember that selling quality items that you no longer need is a far more sustainable alternative to leaving them by a dump or on the street with the hope that someone will take and use them in their own home. If you don’t get any purchase inquiries, try listing your stuff on free Craigslist – I can almost guarantee that someone will take that old dresser off your hands.

Read on for my tried and true strategies for how to get the most bang for your buck when posting on Craigslist!

DETERMINE WHAT TO SELL

It’s worth mentioning that not everything that you want to sell can or should be sold on Craigslist. Craigslist is a platform best saved for big ticket items:

  • Furniture (sofas, chairs, tables, bed-frames, shelves, even mattresses – only if they’re clean!)
  • Rugs
  • Small and large kitchen appliances
  • Technology (TVs, etc.)
  • Cars (seriously!)

Save your clothes/jewelry/books and other small items that are inexpensive to ship for sites like Thredup or Ebay.

FIX AND CLEAN

Dust off that old bookshelf, remove stains from the upholstered chair, wipe down appliances, and do whatever you can to make the item look its best before listing it online. You can easily charge 25-50% more for an item if it looks well cared for in photos so clean it up!

INCLUDE QUALITY PHOTOS

This might be the most important asset required to sell your items at a decent price. Here are the steps I take to make sure I have the best photos possible.

  • Create a clean background – whether this is a clear white wall, or a decluttered room, showing that the item lived in a clean and clutter-free space gives shoppers confidence that it had been well taken care of
  • Include as many angles as possible
  • Include photos of tags or maker’s marks (to prove the brand) and/or model number (for electronics) if applicable
  • Include photos of stains or cracks or any other issues with the item – potential buyers will appreciate the transparency and can assess whether they want to make the purchase despite the flaws prior to setting up a meeting to see it (see below example)
How to make serious money on Craigslist
PRICE COMPETITIVELY

Take into consideration the item’s age, condition, “on trend” level, and how fast you need to get rid of the item when you’re trying to determine a price. Also do a quick google search to see if similar items are being sold online and price yours competitively against them.

If you post an item and don’t receive a single email inquiry in the first day or two, you have most likely priced too high.

INCLUDE RELEVANT INFORMATION

When writing your listing, make sure you include the following information whenever available:

  • Brand
  • Link to the original item if available
  • Original price of the item when purchased new (I recommend only doing this if the price was notably higher than what you’re selling it for)
  • Specs (i.e. measurements or other technical information)

In the below example, I mentioned that the standing lamp was originally purchased from One Kings Lane, I included the original price, and a link to the lamp being sold brand new for hundreds more than I was selling mine. I also included close ups of the faulty lamp shade attachment to be clear with buyers that it wasn’t perfect.

How to make over $1000 from Craigslist sales
USE COMMON SENSE AND SELL SAFELY

Beware of scammers – anyone who wants to wire you money or send you a check is best to ignore,  do not go out of your way to accommodate unusual payment methods. Cash is king, but I have also accepted payments via Venmo where I can get a notification at that moment that the money has been transferred to me.

It is always best to have someone else home with you before you invite strangers inside to look at your items. If you have a driveway/garage that you can open to your street and show your items from there then even better!

At the very least make sure a close friend or family member in your neighborhood knows you are about to have a stranger come look at your item. I have done this before when my husband isn’t around. I text a friend right before meeting a stranger and tell the friend that if they don’t hear back from me in 15 minutes to call my cell. If I don’t answer, call the police.

Use the anonymous feature for your email/contact info and only include the cross streets of your address never post your actual address – only send your actual address to serious buyers.

Common sense goes a long way with this process! Best of luck and happy selling!

Make money selling on Craigslist

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