Make Money Series – How to Sell on Craigslist

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Make Money SeriesI will admit that I am a huge fan of Craigslist.  I have sold many things on the site and have even sold quite a few vehicles. There things to understand about Craigslist, especially when you are tying to sell a car quick and safely.  I believe the attraction to Craigslist is the site is really easy to use and it is free to list and sell your items.  You can also buy and have your item quickly because most sales are local.  Since I have been selling on the site from the beginning, I figured I would share my thoughts on how to sell on Craigslist successfully.  There are some tips that can help you a long way to making a sale and continuing to make sales.  Who doesn’t love making a little extra cash?

The Process of Selling on Craigslist

I have spoken to many people about selling on Craigslist.  Quite a few of them think you can just throw up an item and then bring in the cash. While that may be the case here and there, there is an art to selling anything.  Craigslist is no different.  There tends to be a lot of competition, so you need to make sure you differentiate yourself and the item you are selling.  Here is how you can sell an item successfully on Craigslist.

Do Your Market Research

You should always check the competition.  You should also check to see if your item is popular.  This “market research” shouldn’t take a long time, but it can tell you if an item is going to sell and for how much. These are two very important factors in selling anything.  If you have an item that is very unpopular, you are going to end up holding it for some time.  You will also have to relist it constantly, so it stays up in the current results.

Market research on Craigslist really only consists of you searching for the same item you plan on listing. If there are quite a few listings for the product, then it is a common one.  People tend to look for more common products on Craigslist.  If you see one or two other listings, then you might not have a popular product.  You should also take into account the price others are trying to get.  Read over their descriptions and find out how their product relates to yours.  This is crucial information.

Describe the Hell Out of Your Item

Descriptions are what sell products on Craigslist.  Well, that and price.  People want to know about your product.  What is it?  What are the problems with it?  Is is new or used?  Are there any missing items?  There are a lot of questions that can easily be answered with a quality description.  You should always include as much information as you can.  The more you include, the less questions you receive.  A quality description can sell the item.

You should include the age of the item, brand, make, model, issues, malfunctions, add ons, and anything else you think is pertinent information.  If you would like to have the information when you are buying it, then it is likely other people will want the same information.  Don’t be shy with your descriptions.  People that go light on the description will see their listings stay active on Craigslist much longer.

Show the Photos

Photos are really important and an awesome add on to the selling process. Craigslist allows you to have multiple images for each listing.  No matter the product, you should include at least one photo. If you can take different angles of the item, then make sure to include those.  I like to also take photos of the tags (if applicable), any blemishes, and a few angle shots.  I want all of my basis covered before people want to actually see the item.  Great photos can really help sell a product.  Good photos result in good sales, but terrible photos are going to get you nowhere.

Show Competitive Pricing

While I say the description is what sells items on Craigslist, it probably is the price. People are price conscious these days, so Craigslist is a natural beneficiary.  You can almost always get a great deal and that is to be expected. Other people are selling their items for a number of reasons, buy they know they probably won’t get their asking price.  Deals on Craigslist are all about bartering.  You give the asking price and a buyer will give you their counter. You can go back and forth a few times, but that is typically the game.

The key to staying competitive is to watch the other listing.  What are they selling their items for? Are they lower than you?  Why?  If you want to sell your item quickly and efficiently, then price is going to be a major factor.  Don’t be afraid to start high and then go lower.  If you start out high, then you have a lot of room to negotiate.  The art of negotiation works best when you give the buyers the idea they have control over the price.  Think about it!

Respond Quickly

We are a nation of “I want it now!”  We want things quick and without hassle.  When you list an item on Craigslist, you will want to respond to any inquiries quickly.  You should never wait a long period of time after a person contacts you. That is extremely rude for one, but it also makes the potential buyer wonder.  You should never allow people’s mind wander when it comes to selling them an item.  Take the time to respond to your potential customers.  They are contacting you for a reason, so be kind and respond back.

Meet in Public Places

This is all about safety.  I have only once allowed someone to come to my home and look at an item. That was only because it was broken and I couldn’t move it.  Other than that, I have always requested people meet me at a public place.  There is no need to have people come to your home.  If you meet them in a public place, there is less chance something bad might happen. It is a simple step that I recommend to everyone.  You can’t trust everyone you meet online, right?


What other steps would you include in this how to sell on Craigslist article?  What are your favorite ways to earn cash with Craigslist?

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  1. When both my boyfriend and I were looking for cars on Craigslist, we came across more people unwilling to respond than those that called or emailed us back. We had a better experience looking at apartments! It’s very frustrating to not hear anything back when you’re interested in an item. I think sometimes people forget to take their ads down or to edit them once items are sold. I’ve never sold anything off of Craigslist, but I am a bit iffy on the safety factor. I think it can be a great resource, though.
    E.M. recently posted…Apartment Tour!My Profile

  2. These are all great tips Grayson! We sell quite a bit on CL since we’re always looking to unload our crap on someone else, lol. We usually sell stuff several times a year so we can get a nice amount out of it. The one that I think is key, is the picture and description. It just makes sense that people are going to want and see what it is you’re selling. If you’re not, then get ready to wait.
    John recently posted…20 Cheap Summer ActivitiesMy Profile

  3. We have used Craigslist often for both buying and selling. Nothing beats it really. It’s also great for getting rid of stuff that no one would pay for. When we first moved into our house, there was an old above ground pool here. The pool hadn’t been used in a few years and didn’t work. we didn’t want it here, so we put an ad on Craigslist that someone could take the scrap for free as long as they dis-assembled it. That ugly old pool was gone in one afternoon and we didn’t have to lift a finger!

  4. Great article! For my wife and I, we sell a lot on eBay, but if we are selling something that seems overly heavy to ship, we go to CraigsList. It’s been really great for selling all of my musical and sound equipment. I also love buying from CL. We are looking for a vehicle right now and there are some great private-party deals on there. Great post!
    Kalen @ MoneyMiniBlog recently posted…3 Ways to Start Investing for Retirement With $100 or LessMy Profile

  5. The only thing I’ve tried to sell on Craigslist so far was a car. It was parked right in front of my house when it was smashed into by someone texting while driving. No one was hurt but the car was totaled. I got a check from the insurance company and didn’t need to worry about selling it after all.
    Mike Collins recently posted…Setting Mom Up in Long Term CareMy Profile

  6. Craig’s list doesn’t work as well in a rural area, but I have looked for a few items on there over the years, and without a good picture, I don’t even look at the listing. I think the photo and a good description are huge when selling anything online.
    Kim recently posted…What To Do If You Hate Your JobMy Profile

  7. Craigslist is an awesome way to sell stuff and make quick $$$. These are great tips! I have also found that it is a good idea to put your phone # in the ad. Sometimes the email does not always go through properly if you obfuscate the email address.


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