Craigslist: The Ultimate Guide To Making Money

How to make money on Craigslist

The concept of Craigslist is one that many people have considered, and there are some pretty definitive beliefs about this particular website. For one, many are terrified to use it. The “Craigslist Killer” and news of others being hurt, raped, murdered and robbed thanks to placing ads and having criminals show up for easy access is too much for many (that would be me). For others, the idea of making money on Craigslist is as easy as it comes. It’s a great way to make some extra cash, start your own business and even just clean out your house. However, it’s not always easy to use this site. It’s not always easy to make any money on Craigslist and here’s why.

I happen to have spoken recently to a mother from my daughter’s school. She, like me, has twins and they have outgrown all their baby items. I asked her if she planned on donating them or giving them away or selling them – because I know what it’s like to have two of every single thing in the house and how exciting it is to finally give that stuff away! She said she ended up donating them – to the same place we donated ours, at that – because she tried unsuccessfully to sell them on Craigslist time and time again.

She thought she priced everything fairly, she had someone interested in a couple of items ask her to keep them for her until that afternoon so she could come by after work and get them. The woman never showed up, strung her along with “flat tires” and “getting lost” and “family emergencies” for a few days and she lost interest from others that had previously shown it thanks to this woman. It did not go well for her, so she decided to donate.

Yet my husband has a client that makes his entire living on Craigslist, and he does quite well. He frequents yard sales purchasing items that are cheap, fixes them up and then sells them for a significant profit. He likes to focus on items such as electronics when he does this so that he can make as much money as possible. He also focuses on children’s toys and antiques, as well as furniture. You see, many people are too lazy or too busy to worry about fixing items and investing a little time in cleaning them and dealing with them in that manner. So, they sell them at yard sales for nothing and someone else makes a lot of money off those items.

The art of using Craigslist to make some real money is tricky. It takes work; practice and effort are certainly required. The good news, however, is that once you take the time to learn how to make serious money selling items on Craigslist, you can do it without an issue. Our guide on how to make money on Craigslist is very definitive, in-depth and quite helpful. Take a few moments to learn the basics and then apply them as needed.

Research Prices

Never assume that you can sell an item for what you want. Do the research. For example, I just took a few moments to look on Craigslist for an infant swing set. Our twins each had a Graco swing that had a detachable bouncing seat the vibrates when detached. The swing plays classical music, has a mobile and plugs into the wall as well as runs on batteries. Each swing was originally priced at $175 when our twins were born.

I took a look at Craigslist in my area and saw that in the few hundred miles surrounding us, most people are selling this particular swing for anywhere from $50-$75. I would have assumed I could have sold it for $125 and taken $100. However, the price seems to be much lower when reselling it online and if I were actually looking to list my swings, they never would have sold. Do the research. Check for items similar to yours to see what people are asking. It’s the only way to stay competitive. You can list too high and receive no interest (That much? I’m scrolling past that and finding one that’s cheaper) or you can list lower and actually sell it. Which method seems like the most successful in terms of making any money?

Don’t lower your price, either. If no one responds in a day, keep it where it is for another day or so. If there is still not interest in an item, go ahead and drop the price. Additionally, tell all buyers that are negotiating with you that you will consider their offer and let them know. Don’t just accept it and move on. Let them stir; there is a good chance they will still make the purchase even if you don’t take their initial offer.

Be Prepared

If you are serious about making money on Craigslist, you have to use your spare time to prepare. For example, if you’re not selling anything today and there is no interest in anything you have listed, take that time not to beat yourself up or stress over money making. Take that time to increase your inventory and make some money elsewhere. The art of running a business is a challenging one. Understanding that some days are slow and others are not is often difficult for some people to understand, but that’s how the world works. What you have to do is be prepared.

Know that some days will be crazy busy and profitable, and others will not. Take the time to prepare items to list, to prepare items to go and to clean up, repair and handle items that require your attention.

Focus on the Photos

Pictures sell an item. You have to remember this. You’re not required to be a professional photographer by any means, but be sure that the photos you are showing to your potential buyers are good ones. I know that if it came down to me buying an item and I had two to choose from, I’d choose the one that ‘looked’ the best even if they are identical. What does this mean? Let me just explain that one to you.

A clean background

Make sure no item you list is not showing off a dirty background. Find a nice, clean place to situation your items before you photograph them, even if it’s on a white sheet up against a couch. No one wants to see your kids in their diapers in the background, clothes everywhere or your dirty house. The same goes for dirty carpeting and floors, dishes, kitchens, etc. I know that I don’t use Craigslist so you might not want my opinion. However, after going through several listings to gather my thoughts and feelings while researching this post, I did notice right away that some photos turned me off immediately as the background was filthy. I don’t want anything from anyone that clearly doesn’t take care of their home; it makes me think they didn’t take care of their items.

Good lighting

Nothing is worse than looking a photo with terrible lighting. You cannot see anything, it’s hard to determine details and it’s just a mess. Get good lighting or get out.

Clear photos

How many times does someone post a photo to Instagram, Twitter or Facebook that’s fuzzy and difficult to see, and it makes you absolutely crazy? It happens all the time around here. That’s why we make it a point to scroll past those photos. If people cannot see it, they probably don’t want it.

Ample photos

Sure, it’s easy to grab a quick shot of an item and hope that it works, but it’s not how to go about doing business on Craigslist. In fact, you have to work hard to ensure that you’re using Craigslist to the best of your ability, and this means taking ample photos. Photograph your item from every single angle so that you miss nothing. Your buyers want to see everything. Additionally, this gives you a leg up on the competition.

Leave out personal information

You might be selling your items on the internet and providing your address to strangers, but that does not mean that you have to put your personal information on the internet for every single person ever to see. Make sure that photos do not include your house number, anything that has your name on it, anything that has your address on it or anything that has your kids on it. You do not want the creepy people of the world knowing any and everything about you; it’s where life starts going quite wrong.

Clean Items

I cannot stress to you how important it is to clean the items you plan on selling. It’s such an easy task, yet so many people focus on things that have nothing to do with that. They’re too focused on price and selling things quickly that they completely forget that they have to make sure items are clean and looking good. What if I told you that it would be so easy for you to use a few minutes of your time to clean items that appear dirty and less than perfect, and that it would net you more money and a faster sale?

Think about it this way; if you have two items to choose from and both are the same except one is very dirty and one is very clean, which one are you buying? Even if the clean one is a little more expensive, most people are going to go that direction since it looks better. We all know that we are not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but we all do it, regardless. Now is not the time to worry about ‘getting it done’ so much as it is worrying about things like actually cleaning it up and investing some time into it. I know it’s just Craigslist and it’s not Saks, but even people who are looking for cheap items on a budget would prefer their items clean and decent looking.

Search the Free Pages

To make money on Craigslist, do some shopping. If you can find items that are free, perhaps because people think they are broken and have no idea how to fix them, you can pick those up, fix them and make some money selling them. It’s always 100% profit when you are able to do something of this nature. Check out the free ads and see what you can find; you never know. As I said earlier, sometimes people have no idea what they are sitting on simply because they know so little about it. Let your knowledge and expertise make you some serious cash.

Offer Trade-Ins

Here is where you are going to make some serious cash in your Craigslist business. It’s not something that many people do, but it can net you some serious money. You want free trade-ins if you plan on opening a profitable business. Let’s say that you sell your old washing machine and dryer when you get a new one. It’s only a few years old, it’s in excellent condition and you just wanted a bigger machine, a fancier machine, or your new house came with some cooler machines than yours. Good for you.

What you need to do is offer a free trade-in. Since many of the people on Craigslist shopping for a discounted washing machine and dryer set are very likely doing so because they have an old one that might not be running correctly anymore. Offer a free trade-in; you bring them the new set and haul off their old set free of charge – or for a small fee. As someone who does not – and will never – own a truck (Not our style), that would be a helpful addition to me, and I’d pay a bit more. I do it every time we order a new appliance or piece of furniture.

Except, you don’t throw them away or dispose of them. Take the old machines home, clean them up and make them work. If you don’t know anything about fixing appliances, find someone who does. Look it up on YouTube. Get good at it, and then resell that item to someone else. Trade in their old machines for them and do the same thing. You just made hundreds of dollars selling people’s old stuff that they no longer wanted anymore. It’s a genius idea that’s going to net you a fortune if you’re particularly good at it.

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