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How to sell anything on Craigslist

Updated on July 23, 2015

Do you see that ugly fish to the right? That's a pacu, the vegetarian relative of the piranha. He fights, he bites, and he can grow to be bigger than your head. There is a problem with pacu abandonment; they can be such a menace that, in response to former owners dumping their unwanted pacu in local bodies of freshwater, Texas officials put a $100 bounty on any found in a Lubbock lake.

And I got rid of ours on craigslist in a few days, with seven responses or so to spare.

I have sold everything from a microwave to a neon budweiser sign to my old bed to web design services (I'm not even that great at it). How do I do it? I listed a few tips below:

  • Include a picture: You know yourself that you don't even want to look at a posting that doesn't have a picture. If you're too lazy to take one and upload it on your computer yourself, take it on a camera phone and e-mail it to yourself, or find a similar version on the Internet (giving credit where due) and mention that the photo bears a strong resemblance, listing any differences.
  • Do some research: Look at other listings on your area's craigslist classifieds and see how much they list the item/service for and/or how they describe it. Make yours sound better or just drop the price.
  • Create a quality listing: Who wants to buy something from someone who can't spell the name of the item? Reread your listing or have someone proofread it if possible. You're marketing, after all... be professional, use complete sentences, show that the item is worth caring about.
  • Find good qualities: You might think it's a piece of crap, but you can still try and find what people might like in it. Old can be vintage, an ugly color can be unique and eye-catching. Don't lie, but don't make it sound like you took it out of a dump (which you might have).
  • Be real: I would be pissed if I drove to the specified location to pick up the item and it wasn't what I expected, even if one detail was off. You don't really lose anything by mentioning flaws, unless they are not a big deal. Also, giving as much information as possible will mean more credibility and potential satisfaction. Like I said before, do research and understand what you're selling and what it means to people.
  • Give a specific location: Just having a city won't give you much credibility. Listing your location will also give a more local feel to your post.
  • Stay updated: Don't just let a posting sit for a while. Maybe someone else posted something similar after you, and it's a better price. You should be ok with editing a listing to make it more appealing if necessary.
  • Don't wait: If you get an e-mail, don't let it sit there! Act on it quickly, like there's no time to lose (even though there might be).
  • Be flexible: Meet in the middle. Find a good, safe place to meet. Try to work with the buyer's requests to meet. If they don't think the price is right, consider their statements. You don't have to sell it right away, right? Be flexible or it may never leave your garage.
  • Have a back-up: If you've posted a number of things on craigslist before, you know that people who respond to a post don't always follow through. If more than one person responds to one of mine, I proceed with the first respondent as I should, then tell the second person that someone has expressed interest in the item but I can still contact them later if it doesn't happen. My first respondents have backed out on my last few postings, and backups ended up taking them.
  • Free? Yes, I list some of my things as free sometimes. My web design posting went up as free, but I still got offered money by my respondents. If anything, it shows that you don't expect to receive too much, but they will want to pay you to make sure you still do good work, for instance. And that's how I got rid of the pacu, too; someone actually did offer to pay for it, though I said no... how could I let someone pay for that? They were doing me a favor.

Important Note

PLEASE don't forget to be safe! There have been a number of crimes involving people who agree to meet with others who say they want to buy their item on Craigslist, and then are robbed, etc. when they encounter.

Remember to meet in a public place, not at or near your house. Have another person with you if possible.

Also, don't fall prey to online scams. Don't share any bank information or other financial data with people who contact you about your item on Craigslist.

Happy selling!

How to sell your stuff on Craigslist


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