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How to sell anything on Craigslist

Updated on July 23, 2015
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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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    • profile image

      carlos william 3 years ago

      i have a 12cent batman n flash #81 from 1968/9 where they battle" bork. "most interestingly,it has a double cover from the factory. good condition. whats it worth?

    • davidmurree profile image

      David Murree 4 years ago from USA

      selling items on craigslist is very easy if you post properly

    • glassvisage profile image
      Author

      glassvisage 5 years ago from Northern California

      Wow, GClark, that's a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

    • GClark profile image

      GClark 5 years ago from United States

      Thanks for sharing; I am in full agreement about using Craig's List. When I recently moved I used it to sell furniture and miscellaneous items and always included photos and lots of detail in order to help pre-qualify potential buyers. Almost every item sold right away. In addition, used Craig's List when a huge tree on my lot had fallen and found it would cost me around $1,500 to get it removed. Instead, took a photo, advertised it as Free Firewood to first person able to cut it up and remove it in one day. You can't believe how many takers I had on that ad.

    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

      My son does quite well selling on Craigs List but it has been a mystery to me. Thanks for the great hub. This one gets bookmarked!

    • glassvisage profile image
      Author

      glassvisage 6 years ago from Northern California

      Schoolgirl, thanks for visiting. You bring up a good point - I wouldn't invite a stranger into my home to pick something up. I live in apartment complexes, so I usually have them meet me outside of the complex, often on the street, so they don't know exactly where I live. Also, if it's something heavy, usually the buyers assume so and bring people to help them and a truck or something.

      Ugh we were so happy to get rid of that fish! :)

    • schoolgirlforreal profile image

      schoolgirlforreal 7 years ago from USA

      A+ advice rated up and useful!!

      I've sold things on craigslist, my question would be if you give a specific location- would it be your home or a coffee shop near you?? Also if you meet up...what if it's heavy? I realize the danger of them coming to your home, in the news we heard of people killed by terrorist or some such thing. Thanks so much for the cool tips!! Imagine that fish LOL

    • glassvisage profile image
      Author

      glassvisage 7 years ago from Northern California

      Great advice!

    • profile image

      Tony Casparro 7 years ago

      If you're unsure what to price your item at, check out worthmonkey.com. It's a free and easy way to find out what a product's current worth is based on recent sales and asking prices. Enjoy!

    • profile image

      Missy 7 years ago

      I definitely understand having good etiquitte but i definitely told my buyers that prices go down when you take it earlier and I give it to the first person who offers to take it away.

      All my furniture was posted today and will be gone by tomorrow at noon woo hoo!! (I also am selling it all dirt cheap for less than 25% of original value, in a city with very crap alternatives, so that helps!)

      I second the picture advice!! And also saying why you don't want it ... idk why but I love hearing things like "we are moving" or "my wife hates this thing". Reminds me I am buying from people and not a store.

      I also like to know original price, measurements, and any flaws (of course)

    • glassvisage profile image
      Author

      glassvisage 7 years ago from Northern California

      Thank you all for your comments! Kyle, sorry if you are offended. It's interesting; I just read an article about how my generation doesn't know the value of hard work and work ethic :P

    • profile image

      Kyle 7 years ago

      Free web design? What the hell is wrong with you people? Where's our values these days. I make a lot of money doing "real" web design and to think of it as free is a shot in my head for the 12 years it's taken me to build my experience. Why not make everything in this world for free, nobody understands value and hard work anymore.

    • Habby profile image

      Habby 7 years ago from College Station, Texas

      Hey there, glassvisage, I just wanted you to know that I linked your hub to mine. I also wrote about how to sell on craigslist, a topic dear to my heart. I'm new to hubpages, and this was my first hub!

    • Dorsi profile image

      Dorsi Diaz 7 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

      Craigslist is such a great way to sell things. I just love it. But got to be careful... I like that you mentioned that Glassvisage.

      Thumbs up. Great hub!

    • profile image

      Inexpensive Purses 7 years ago

      I have several items I have been considering selling on Craigslist, but wasn't sure if the outcome for my efforts would be worth it. Your article shed some light as to the proper way to go about selling. I think I'll give it a try. Thanks !

    • profile image

      Deborah 7 years ago

      Thanks for the advice!!!

    • glassvisage profile image
      Author

      glassvisage 8 years ago from Northern California

      Thanks everyone! Mike, so true! Spammers really clutter it up. Also, people who reply with interest and even say they'll come at a certain time to pick it up, but never do!

    • MikeNV profile image

      MikeNV 8 years ago from Henderson, NV

      Craigs could be such a great thing if there were not spammers. I post an item and I just get all the automail spam over and over. So much that it is not longer worth it for me. So I now post to a local TV station free classifieds. Local buyers and no spam.

    • JPSO138 profile image

      JPSO138 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines, International

      I have heard about craiglist but not quite sure on what it is all about. You have provided me a great information and detailed idea through this hub. Up for this one!

    • dutch84 profile image

      dutch84 8 years ago

      Great hub!

    • profile image

      matilda 8 years ago

      Can you help me sell my book HOUSE RULES. It will not reduce your calories nor help you get a man (well maybe) But it will surely get rid of some men, people, children, cat, dogs, thieves, liars etc from your house. It is funny but it works. Don’t let them hear you laughing in the bathroom. Check it out www.xlibris.com/HouseRules.html. Share the fun with your friends!!!!

    • WeddingConsultant profile image

      WeddingConsultant 8 years ago from DC Metro Area

      hmm, I've looked for one and couldn't find it. Yours was the closest (well written) hub I could find!

    • glassvisage profile image
      Author

      glassvisage 8 years ago from Northern California

      Great idea, WeddingConsultant. I always make sure that if I contact more than one person about purchasing something, that I let them know if it's been sold already, whether in e-mail or by phone. I wonder if there's already a Craigslist etiquette Hub in existence... :)

    • WeddingConsultant profile image

      WeddingConsultant 8 years ago from DC Metro Area

      Sara, here's a question for you. How do you explain to a seller on craigslist how it works? For example, someone listed an item and emailed us telling us we could have it. Long story short, I'm pretty sure she's new to craigslist and so she sold the item out from underneath us.

      We responded to calls, emails, etc and told her we'd pick it up today, but she sold it to someone. She told us that she emailed a bunch of people her address and just sold it to whoever showed up (but didn't state that in the details of her listing).

      Is there such thing as craigslist etiquette to be followed? Might be a good hub idea...!

    • glassvisage profile image
      Author

      glassvisage 8 years ago from Northern California

      Bruce,

      I actually sold my web design services, and honestly, I said it was free, which attracted a lot of attention, and in the end, I got paid a huge amount for my work, much more than I probably would if I had set a price. I always believe in setting lower expectations and then surpassing them greatly... I would do it however you're comfortable with, though. Please e-mail me if you have more questions!

    • Bruce Elkin profile image

      Bruce Elkin 8 years ago from Victoria, BC Canada

      THanks. I'm just experimenting with Craig's List to sell my coaching services, and to promote and new ebook that's just about ready to go (Staying Up In Down Times). Any advice for service sellers? I did think everything you said does apply to me, just wondering if you have more specific tips for services. Cheers!

    • 02SmithA profile image

      02SmithA 9 years ago from Ohio

      Craigslist has grown to be a great tool to use! Thanks for the info!

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 9 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      I've never sold anything on the Internet, glassvisage, but I can see your advice is excellent. Well done.