How to Post on Craigslist

(Updated 2/10/11)
In the last 5 years I’ve probably sold $10,000 off of Craigslist. The following are some of the procedures and tips that I use.
This is how I deal with pricing. Keep in mind I am not taking into account what is the best policy for your personal ethics or for that of protecting the craigslist “community”. I will leave someone else to write about that. The purpose of this post is to discuss how you can get the most money for you junk.

  1. Price your items high. Don’t be a desperate seller. Post it higher than you think. If you post it and get 10 offers in the first day, your price was too low. Do not reply to anybody and RAISE THE PRICE! If someone notices the same item for a higher price tell them “Sorry, I had the price wrong originally” BECAUSE YOU DID!!!
  2. Do not negotiate on price. Negotiating with an individual is time and energy consuming and limits your ability to sense where the market is at. Write that the “Price is Firm” in the ad. Also, anytime I arrange a meeting with someone I always let them know this to let them know I am serious.
  3. Minimize the time spent in communication. 90% of questions on craigslist are for the same issues: People wondering if the item is still available and how to reach you, If you’ll take a lower price etc.  Pre-empt this by posting aparagraph for each item that lists your “terms” and how YOU operate. I don’t like posting my phone number on craigslist but I like calling prospective buyers because it saves time and eliminates email clutter so I always request that they send my phone number. This also helps filter out non-serious buyers.   I always post the following at the top of EVERY ad (feel free to cut and past or customize your own):

IF YOU ARE READING THIS, THIS PRODUCT IS STILL AVAILABLE. I WILL DELETE THE POSTING THE MINUTE IT IS SOLD SO PLEASE DO NOT ASK.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THIS PLEASE EMAIL ME YOUR PHONE NUMBER

PRICE IS FINAL. DO NOT NEGOTIATE. CASH ONLY.

4. Be prepared to re-post weekly (when your original expires). I post a reminder on my calendar and batch as many as I have into one weekly block of time. It takes about 5 minutes to log in and get started but once I’m rolling it takes about a minute per posting, including picture. I keep my pictures organized into folders (image right) on my desktop which speeds up the entire process.  At this time you can drop the price by 5-10% depending on what you perceive the demand to be or how desperate you are to make more space for your new junk.

SUMMARY:

By starting with a high price point and, not negotiating, and dropping the price incrementally you are effectively finding the exact “sweet spot” of that the market is willing to pay for you product or finding how much it is “worth.” Craigslist gives this unique ability to the seller by not having fees for listings.  Essentially you are creating a free, local eBay.

Tips

  • Create an account. This makes posting and re-posting easier and quicker.
  • Use as many descriptive and brand name words in your title as you can. This helps people find your item that are searching. Cut and paste descriptions from manufactures and post links so people can compare prices … if you want them to 😉  Preempt having to answer a million questions via individual emails.
  • Always include pictures. I use up all 4 allowed. Zoom out, zoom in, take pictures of labels. Accuracy is more important than quality. These increase conversion as some people only click on listings that have “picture” labels and they increase trust in the seller and product. I create folder on desktop so I can re-post the listings every week in less than a minute.
  • Don’t negotiate on price. Price it high. Drop the price 5-10% a week. I already said this but this is the number one thing that has saved me time and made me money on craigslist.
  • Never provide contact info on posting. Have them provide their phone number when they email the anonymous craigslist email address.
  • Operate on first come first serve and be transparent about that to your inquirers.
  • Watch out for scams. Immediately delete anyone with crazy english or from another country that write paragraph responses. Avoid checks. If you don’t feel comfortable inviting people to your home find a third party location close by.
  • Tell POTENTIAL (emphasis added) buyers to call 15 minutes before they leave or show up OR assume they are not coming. Craigslist users are notoriously flakey. Do not schedule your life around them.

HOW TO BUY SOMETHING OFF OF CRAIGSLIST

  • Do the opposite of everything above. (via Bryce)
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3 thoughts

  1. There are bait and switch laws in my state wherein one cannot advertise a product at a price then raise it. I just dealt with this. I made an agreement to purchase a desk for 300. The seller asked me when i wanted to get it, said whenever was fine, set time for 4pm four days later, said it was perfect time. I left work early, borrowed a truck, headed out on the 2 hr drive to pick it up, seller ignored emails confirming. When i texted her she said “oh i sent an email saying i had to work late, it must not have gone through.” She ignotrd subsequent texts asking if anytime later that night worked then sent a weird text with pics of the dresser saying “oh i noticed these hadnt loaded on craigslisf…i dont want u to drive all the way here for nothing.”I get home after driving half hr and see that while she said she was working she had been editing the ad on craigslist to say price is 450. I told her she could keep the desk. She was clearly in violation of our state sales laws. Craigslist is not a wild west of sales. People should still be conducting.business ethically and in accordance with sales laws.

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