How to Sell on Craigslist

For those of you who peruse Craigslist daily or who have purchased most of your furniture on Craigslist then please read no further.  You are an expert and this article is geared towards the beginner.

First let me start off by giving you my selling background.  As a kid I would go with my grandpa on Saturdays to the local flea market and help him sell his wares.  This taught me a lot about bargaining because no one, I repeat no one is as frugal as my grandpa.  My biggest learning experience was growing up with a dad who was always buying and selling something, usually bigger items like cars, houses, boats, but really anything he could turn a profit on.  My mom was always worried that he would sell the clothes off her back if he could.  But this taught me skills like how to count money, how to deal with cash, how to deal with buyers, how to deal with sellers, how to protect your interests in a sale, the art of negotiating, when to walk away, how to keep a poker face when you really want to squeal with excitement, and most importantly the value of money.  In graduate school I earned a second income by going to garage sales and purchasing collectibles and then selling them on Ebay.  Here I learned about costs, expenses and margins, packaging items for mailing, and more negotiating skills.

As I write this I am realizing that I can probably make a series out of this lesson.  But first Craigslist.  This is the easiest selling domain to get into because it’s online and it’s free.  Just look around your house and pick out some things that you don’t really like and are cluttering up your space.  And remember someone will want what you have to sell.  People always say, who would want this?  I have sold enough stuff and seen enough stuff sold at garage sales to tell you that the thing you think won’t sell, will.  It’s all about price.

Next, go to Craisglist.org (don’t miss the .org).  Click on your state and then select your nearest town.  Then click on post to classifieds.  At some point it is going to want you to set up an account.  Do this and use an email that you check frequently.  Don’t worry it will not appear on the listing and buyers cannot see it even when they email you.  Next click on for sale and then the particular category that you are selling in.

The next screen you will see is the listing screen or the place where you will put your advertisement.  Create a title for your item, but don’t take this lightly.  This is probably your most important decision.  You want a title that is search-able.

Here are some good titles:

White, Television Stand/Entertainment Center ~ Glass Doors, Like New

Winnie the Pooh Child’s Ride-on Car ~ Sounds, Music, Lights, Like New

Here are some bad titles:

TV stand, nice, no scratches!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

~~~~~Kid’s toys~~~~~only $15!!!!!!

After you have your title worked out, write a brief yet thorough description of the product.  Include details like condition, color, make, model and any identifying marks you can find on the item.  Always disclose flaws, if they are minor say so, buyers will appreciate your honesty.  I usually use the following categories for condition: new, excellent (or like new), great, good, needs work or repair.  If it is in bad condition I don’t say that I just list the flaws and let the reader make their own judgment.  If you are negative that gives the buyer a chance to talk you down on price.

Now about price.  Browse through Craigslist and eBay and find similar items to get a price range.  Then consider how much you paid for the item.  If it is used a good rule of thumb is half the original price and then take it down from their based on condition.  List a price that you are willing to come down on a little because everyone likes to negotiate and if they don’t then you scored some extra cash.

The last thing you need to do add are pictures.  Use all four if you can.  Show the item from different angles and be sure to include photos of flaws.

Once you are done, hit continue.  On the next page be sure to scroll all the way down and hit continue again.  I sometimes forget this step and can’t figure out why my item hasn’t posted.  Enter the letters when they prompt you and then you are done.

Now for the sale.  Make sure to never meet anyone alone.  And if you don’t feel comfortable having someone come to your house then meet them at Starbucks and make the deal.  I have even met someone at Starbucks, collected the money, deemed them trustworthy and then had them follow me home.  You can never be too careful.

When negotiating keep a number in mind that you will not go below and then have fun.  But don’t be obnoxious and squabble with someone over small amounts, it may irritate them and you’ll lose the sale.  There are many more negotiating tips but I will save those for another day.

Thanks, Courtney.

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One response to “How to Sell on Craigslist

  1. Any suggestions for someone who has a residency in SD but travels around the country?

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