How to Make Money Selling Items On Craigslist

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Trying to sell something on Craigslist? Here's how you can maximize your selling power!

Things You'll Need

  • Internet Access
  • Digital Camera
  • Craigslist Account
  • Go through each room in your house, looking for items that you've outgrown or haven't used in the last year. Sort through your closets, garage and storage. Make piles for selling, donation and trash. It's the items for sale that we'll focus on. Often you can make a lot more per item by selling them individually on Craigslist, than by lumping them all together in a garage sale.

  • Choose the correct local city and category, and don't double-post in more than one (duplicate ads get flagged and deleted). If you're not sure which category your item belongs in, browse the categories first for items similar to what you're selling. A cycling jersey, for instance, would probably sell better in the Sporting Goods category than Clothing.

  • Be descriptive. Try to anticipate the kinds of questions that buyers will want answered. The more information you offer, the better your chance of attracting buyers. How old is the item? Has it ever been used? Does it require any repairs or parts? What is it made of? What brand and model # is it? Is it still under warranty? What size is it? What are the dimensions?

    Keep in mind that every word in your description becomes a key word, which will cause your ad to pop up in searches where that word is mentioned. The more detailed your description, the more searches your ad is likely to show up in.

  • Price your item strategically. Compare other items offered right now on Craigslist, to make sure your price is competitive. Be prepared for people to barter with you for a lower price. Consider pricing it a bit above what you're willing to sell it for. If it's brand new and never used (still in packaging or tags still attached), a 20% to 50% discount may tempt a buyer to buy yours rather than go to the store for the same brand new item with a return policy.

  • Always include photos. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a good photo can make or break a sale. Craigslist offers space for four low-resolution photos, which gives you enough space for pics of the front, back, close up and far away. If you want to post more (or higher quality) photos, you can upload your photos to a host like Photobucket, and paste the HTML image codes so they will show up in the ad. Many buyers will skip any ad that doesn't include a photo. To them, it's just not worth the effort.

  • Allow people to reach you by both e-mail and phone. If you offer only one option, you'll miss buyers who have a preference for the other. Some buyers would rather send an e-mail than talk to a stranger on the phone. Others prefer just picking up the phone to typing it all out. Don't alienate one group or the other. Give them both options (for added safety, cell phones are often harder to track than land lines).

  • Make it clear to your buyer that you will accept cash only. Checks are just too risky.

  • Try to meet your buyer at a central location, like a local coffee shop. Do not deal with buyers from outside the country, or those who want you to ship the item. Do not give out your last name, home address, or other personal information by e-mail or phone.

  • If a buyer must come to your home (for a large item like furniture), make sure another adult is at home with you, for safety. Ask the buyer to call you for directions just before they're ready to leave. You don't want to give your address to several potential buyers who never show up, but now know where you live and what valuables you may have.

    When your buyer arrives, have the item waiting out by the front door or garage. Go to meet them while the other person waits visibly at the window, phone in hand. This lets your buyer know you're prepared for any funny business. Do not allow a stranger to enter or walk through your house. You never know if they might be casing it for a future robbery.

Tips & Warnings

  • Friday mornings are the best time to place an ad, since ads appear in order of most recent. Most people start shopping on Friday night or Saturday morning for things that they can pick up over the weekend. Once you place an ad, you won't be able to place it again for a full 7 days, unless you delete it and wait several hours to make sure it doesn't appear as a duplicate.
  • Can you spot the warning signs in the following e-mail? "Hello, I would love to make an instant purchase, so please do withdraw the advert from Craigslist, I don't mind adding an extra $50 for you to do that so that I can be rest assured that the item is in hand. I would also like you to know that I will be paying via certified bank check due to the distance and it will be over night payment. I will be going for a conference and as such would not be able to come ove to your place. You don't need to bother yourself with the shipment. Ok? My Mover will handle that .I need the following information to cut you a check; your name, Address and Phone number. Regards, Daryl"
  • You should have caught the following red flags: 1) Payment by any other means than cash, 2) Wanting to use a third party rather than meeting you in person, 3) Not local, lives far away, 4) Tries to bait you by offering extra money, 5) Asks for personal information.
  • Review Craigslist's "Personal Safety Tips" and "Avoid Scams & Fraud" statements for more information on how to protect yourself.

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