How to Make Money on Craigslist

December 6, 2017
make money on craigslist

Are you wondering how to make money on Craigslist? I’ve been using Craiglist to buy and sell a variety of goods over the last 10 years. During that time, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks that I want to share with you today.

Craigslist is just one option when looking to buy or sell online. Ebay is a popular choice, as is Amazon. The thing that sets Craigslist apart is the fact that they charge you nothing! No fees to buy or sell. Craigslist is also easy and convenient to use, allowing you to search for items by location.

Craigslist is also easy and convenient to use, allowing you to search for items by location. After specifying your preferred city, Craigslist automatically shows all goods and services specific to that location. This makes it easy to buy and sell when you are ready.

Know Your Product

If you are shopping for ANYTHING online, then put in the time to research prices, quality, and customer reviews. This sounds easy, but it’s an important part of any successful Craigslist deal.

Craigslist is a wildly inefficient market, and many Craigslist users don’t have a clue about the fair market value of items listed. I’ve sold used items for more than the going retail price. I’ve purchased valuable items for next to nothing. It’s a crazy market.

Subjective pricing is the essence of Craigslist, so you need to know the value of your items before getting started. Understanding used market prices is what will allow you to buy low, and sell high.

Learn How to Negotiate

I’ll let you in on a little secret here – always negotiate when making a purchase on Craigslist, and always stay firm when making a sale.

When you go to make a purchase, never give the seller full asking price. Offer a lower price and negotiate using these tips:

  • Cash talks – Always be able to offer cash when negotiating a purchase. Many sellers want to get rid of their item and will accept a lower cash offer.
  • Be Patient – If you email a seller about an item that is overpriced, and they refuse to negotiate, just give it a few days before trying again. This gives you more negotiating power and allows you to mention the items inability to sell at the initial price point. The exception to this rule is if the item is already at a rock bottom price.
  • Be friendly – A lot of sellers will accept a lowball offer if you are friendly during the initial contact.

When making a sale, always stick to your listed price for a few days before entertaining lower offers. Unless you are desperate for the money, patience will usually lead to more profit.

If you learn to set aside your feelings while negotiating, you will greatly improve your profit margin. The worst thing that can possibly happen is rejection. If the other party won’t accept your deal, who cares? There are thousands of other Craigslist users waiting in the shadows.

Restore and Sell

Restorations are one of the easiest ways to make money on Craigslist. Here is how:

  1. Look for furniture, appliances, or anything else that needs to be restored. I’d recommend checking out garage sales, flea markets, and Craigslist to find deals.
  2. Dirty items are the easiest to restore, but if you know how to make minor repairs you will have more opportunities.
  3. Use your skills to fix the item, then list it on Craigslist for more than you paid.

We recently reconditioned a solid wood table. It was ugly and mismatched with blue paint and scuffed legs. We bought the table for $12 at a garage sale. After sanding and repainting it, we made about $100 this week on Craigslist. Here is the finished product:

Flipping on Craigslist

I’ve made thousands of dollars by purchasing goods at a discount, then turning around and reselling them for a higher price. This works for almost any category of item, but you have to know the value of whatever you want to flip. If you’re an expert in train sets, then flip train sets. If it’s cars, then flip cars. But if you know a lot about cars, don’t start buying train sets.

My areas of expertise include electronics and motor vehicles. I’ve bought and sold dozens of video game consoles, computers, and computer peripherals. I paid for part of my undergraduate degree by flipping cars and motorcycles.

It pays to shop around. I’ve bought sale items on Amazon and immediately listed them on Craigslist for a 100% profit. Always keep your eyes peeled for deals.

If you have room to store inventory, look for off-season purchases. Air conditioners, heaters, motorcycles, hunting goods and sporting goods are examples of seasonal items. These items are in high demand part of the year and often sold at a discount during the off-season.

Selling Techniques

Make sure to implement a few simple tips when you go to sell your item on Craigslist.

  • Title – Make it attention grabbing and descriptive. “Like New” or “Antique” are big hits. Get creative here but don’t make it too long. Make sure to avoid pissing folks off with ALL CAPITAL letters or nine exclamation points!!!!
  • Description – When you list an item on Craigslist, make sure to write a positive and promotional description which addresses all of the questions that you would have if you were looking to buy. Don’t be misleading, but don’t list every tiny flaw in the initial description.
  • Pictures – Proper photographs are necessary to secure a sale. Make sure to take clear and inviting photos in a well-lit room, using several angles.

It’s free to sign up and list your items on Craigslist, and you can get started by selling the junk that you no longer use. After you get a little experience, move into flipping or another money making avenue.

If you are looking for additional ways to make money online, consider reading my guide on making money taking surveys and starting a profitable blog.

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101 Comments on "How to Make Money on Craigslist"

avatar
Eugene
Eugene

Great post! I have a question about taxes. If you sell items on CL for cash, you don’t pay any taxes?

Peter B
Peter B

I have sold items in the past on CL. I learned that allowing people to contact you only by phone is better so as you now have them on caller ID. If they don’t show up you simply give them a call and ask what happened, you waited for them, maybe they got tied up with something else and lost track.

Joe
Joe
Some great information here. I’ve sold quite a few things on Craigslist and Ebay over the past few years. I had some car parts from previous cars I’ve owned just sitting around and sold them mainly on Ebay. I sold a few cars and motorcycles that I owned on Craigslist and Ebay. To be honest though most of the vehicles I’ve lost money on probably because I overpaid to begin with or invested to much in fixing them up. I really would like to flip cars on Craigslist though and make at least $500.-$1,000 per car would be nice, no… Read more »
Mary Bolin
Mary Bolin

Awesome info Jacob! I have been using Craigslist for years to sell stuff and am finally making the jump to full time. My husband and I also offer our services as well I clean rental properties and he is in the rock masonry business we get pretty regular calls on side jobs it’s great ! ?

Caleb
Caleb
This is awesome, I have read a whole whole lot of blogs in my day but I don’t really remember ever responding to this one. But this is so awesome and comes at the greatest time in my life. I just recently went through a divorce from someone who was bi-polar, schizo, and just plain mentally unstable and wrecked me financially. I have recently moved and am 30 years old living in my parents house. (not cool at all) I am now stuck paying child support (on a kid who we now all think isn’t even biologically mine). Anyway I… Read more »
Iram Angulo
Iram Angulo

way to go bro! keep up the good work, good things come to those who raise up!

Meryl S.
Meryl S.

Hello,
I have many various items to sell. I am downsizing and my mother passed . I have furniture (big and small) paintings, household items, dinnerware…in perfect condition.
I travel a lot for work. Is there a seller to sell for me?
Thank you,
Meryl

Aaron Werner
Aaron Werner

Great post and topic. I just launched a website that will scan the products on craigslist and compare the prices of the items with amazon and ebay and display the potential profit. I was wondering if you might consider doing a product review on it. The website is http://www.arbitrage.pro

D
D

I like the idea of flipping on Craiglist and eBay and love the articles Jacob, but I’m curious how you’d find sale items on Amazon then immediately flip them on Craigslist. It would take time for Amazon to ship the item and by then there’s the obvious flake factor.

Peter B
Peter B

Simple, Do not advertise the item until you have received it and examined it. Then place your ad in CL. Don’t be so anxious. Take your time it will assure that you have not made mistakes through the flip.

Sally
Sally
I have been a flipper (the good kind, lol) almost all my life. I started when I was 13 and can’t stop even today. Those who are complaining about not being able to find stuff to Flip I just want to tell them that they are not serious if that is the case. You can always look for stuff worth flipping on CL or you could go to your nearest goodwill with a scanner app and if you are not very unlucky you will find something worth flipping. Get out there and make money. Being lazy does not help. Excuses… Read more »
Greg
Greg

Hi Sally, could you explain where I can find the “scanner app” you mentioned?

Thank you!
Greg in Nashville, TN

Ed
Ed
Don’t forget money to be made on free items given away on CL. I have an ad on CL to haul away metal scrap for free and have gotten used washers, dryers,mowers,tools,storage shelves etc that were in good working condition and sold for profit. What is not re-sellable I take to the scrap yard and make good money on as well. Not as much as I used to because scrap prices are down right now, but it’s still all good because it’s free money. the people were happy just to have someone haul it away for free and it keeps… Read more »
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