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Working Craigslist

Craigslist is certainly not the prettiest site in town but it is one of the most effective online portals for selling and buying used items. Not only does it short circuit retail, it's saving our planet and reducing landfill. Than there's the joy factor, when you sell an item you don't need and get a little cash or on the flip side, you snag a cool piece at a great price.

  1. Shine - This might be obvious but looking at ads tells me that folks miss this step. Be sure to clean up whatever you're selling. If it's free give it a wipe down but no need to go wild. However to increase your ROI, take the time to make a good impression.

  2. Photograph - This is another area where you can outsmart other Craiglisters. Original photos are best. Place the item in a area that will make it look good. Often a white background is best, although use a granite countertop or nice wood surface for high-end pieces. If it's something big like a car, drive to a beautiful background i.e. park, mountains or lake. Lighting is just as important; don't photograph things in poor light - get it right! Take quite a few pictures including close ups, side and aerial shots as well as the model number and logo/ branding.

  3. Price - The magic formula is to list the item for 30% of it's original cost. That said, some items have higher or lower value. Research online to see competitors pricing. If there is high supply, keep your price sharp. A well-priced item will get interest within 2-24 hours. Some folks like to haggle, most pay the list price, a few are insulting and occasionally someone will offer more for a hot item. If your list price is firm, say so. Use the free category to move things out versus having to pay to get rid of something.

  4. Time - Post Friday evening or Saturday morning when most people will start looking actively. If an item has not sold within a week, refresh the ad to bring it to the top of this list Friday PM or Saturday AM. Keep in mind refreshing is a one-time deal.

  5. Market - Keep it short, use bullets and white space. Keep your header to the point, no caps, asterisks or explanation marks. Make sure to include details age, original price, key benefits, the reason for selling and condition. Important - be honest as not to waste everyone's time.

  6. Post - Sign up, add text and images than decide how a buyer will contact you - email, text or phone. Email is a more controlled and safer, while texts are more instant but can become confusing if one is managing multiple listings. Be sure to say first come first served to create urgency and minimize no shows.

  7. Attention - RESPOND quickly, craigslist buyers usually have a short attention span. If you have a lot of interest, you can choose your buyer ie someone deserving or is sure to take your item. Keep all inquiries until the item is sold in case you have a no show.

  8. Safety - Cash only and met in a public location with a friend to practice the safest transaction. Consider a location that has a security camera. If selling from home have someone else at home (preferably a male), keep the item close to the door and answer the door speaking to someone on phone. In some cases, you can leave the item outside the door and instruct the buyer to leave an envelope with the cash, if it's an low cost item you are not worried about.

  9. Last - delete the item from Craigslist once it's sold!

Bonus Tips - if you post frequently, download the Craigslist app to speed up the process of taking pictures and posting them. Have an extension to plug ready to show electronics are working.

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