Tips for Succe$$ful selling on Craigslist

15 Nov

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As an avid Craigslist user for almost 6 years, I wanted to share my “Steps to Successful Selling.”

  1. De-clutter to identify items to sell/donate.  If thinking about the entire house + garage + attic/basement is too overwhelming, just focus on one room at a time and have a spot to put the “for sale” vs. “donate” items.  Be honest and serious on this all important first step!  For instance, my wife and I are not planning to have more children, so the maternity clothing was donated (an easy few boxes/bags of stuff out of the house!).  We saved everything from our first daughter (I swear I bought like 50+ plastic totes to hold clothes, baby gear, infant toys, etc), so now as our second daughter outgrows things, it’s sold or donated.  Things we don’t need/use anymore were sold on Craigslist – i.e. pack n play, infant car seat, etc.  This is where my mantra “De-clutter for CA$H” came from.
  2. Research market price for exact/similar items and “new retail” price.  Check Craigslist in your city to see if others are selling the same or similar item.  Note the condition and sale price.
  3. Be honest on condition of item and price accordingly.  What would you pay for it if you’re willing to buy it used?  My wife and I would usually hope for 1/2 of retail price, but it also depends on how in demand the item is.  The most we paid for anything is around 75% of retail if it’s in excellent or like new condition.
  4. Consider if the item is “hot/popular,” a “necessity” or total “discretionary/splurge” type item.  Hot/popular items in great condition can possibly sell for closer to retail price.  A necessity, if priced fairly, should sell quickly.  While the discretionary/splurge item may take sometime, especially in current economic/unemployment times.
  5. Have in your mind a realistic minimum price you’re willing to sell the items for.  Don’t be surprised by low ball offers you receive from some shoppers.  Either stick to your original price or discount a little for a sure and quick sale.  If you are firm on your price, say so in your ad.  When I was selling a Tiny Love play mat, I posted it for $15, but knew I’d sell it for as low as $12, especially if the person was going to buy multiple items. 
  6. In your ad/post, always include the link to the retail item for the actual product if it’s still sold at stores.  This provides all the details/description and also verifies how much the item is new, vs. your resale price.
  7. Always use your own photos.  It’s okay to include the “catalog” picture of the item, but you want to also take your own photos and include them in your Craigslist ad so buyers can see your item and know if there are any tears/stains/damage/etc. 
  8.  Set a date on which if it doesn’t sell, you will donate it (at least you get a charitable deduction).  Some charities go through neighborhoods several times a year and leave a postcard in your mailbox to inform you of the next date and you can leave your items at the curb and they pick it up.  Some charities will come pick up items if you call to schedule.  Others have convenient drop off stations.  For example. check out Goodwill or Amvets.  Now that winter is approaching, we have a few items at home that didn’t sell that will be dropped off at Goodwill or my daughter’s school’s rummage sale!
  9. Repost to Craigslist weekly to make sure your listing is “fresh” – best day is usually Thursday or Friday so you get the weekend shoppers!
  10. If selling multiple items in the same category (i.e. baby gear, clothing, DVDs) offer a small discount for purchase of multiple items.  Also, as you can only include a maximum of 4 photos in a Craigslist ad/post, if you are selling multiple items, set up a free Flickr or Picasa web album with photos of all your items for sale, with a short description & price in the photo caption and include the link to the photo album in your ad.  This worked really well for us when we were selling a lot of the baby clothing and gear!
  11.  State “Cash and Carry” in your ad!  I actually had one person want to write me a check for a purchase!  Hello…I don’t know you from Adam!  Another person wanted me to deliver the item.
  12. Once you’re schedule to make a sale, exchange cell phones numbers to be able to contact each other should schedules change, the buyer is stuck in traffic/running late and to verify the buyer is still coming so you’re not waiting around for nothing
  13. Be prepared to make change.  Depending on the price of your items, have five singles, a five and a ten dollar bill so you are able to provide change.
  14. Once a sale actually occurs, delete the ad/post on Craigslist so others are not contacting you on an item no longer available.  If I’m still contacted by possible buyers, I always email them back that the item has been sold – just common courtesy.
  15. Check my earlier blog post on Safety Tips when buying or selling via Craigslist!  Also, stay tuned for future blog posts with some of my actual Craigslist ads as examples and more stories of “De-cluttering for CA$H!” as I am also helping a friend to start selling her no longer needed items on Craigslist!

If you have some other tips or suggestions, please leave a comment.  Thanks!


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