How to Make Money on Craigslist

make money on craigslist
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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.com. 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. 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. The table was in fine condition, just ugly with a variety of mismatched paint. We bought the table for $12 at a garage sale. After sanding and repainting it, we made about $100 on Craigslist. 

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.

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone.

User Generated Content Disclosure: Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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Adam Kamerer
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Adam Kamerer

I’ve only sold two things on Craigslist — a Nintendo DS with a handful of games, and a student violin my wife used in college. Both times, though, I managed to earn a tidy sum of money, and I wish I’d had about a dozen of those violins on hand. Lots of demand for affordable instruments in good condition. Good pictures and a detailed post seem to be really key to getting good offers, too.

Mary
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Mary

Hi Jacob, I really like all the info. that you have shared. But I’d like to know, where do you think would be the best place online that I could sell my paintings? Would it be possible to sell them on CL, or is there another place that I can sell them on?

maredith
Guest
maredith

If I were you I would sell them on Etsy as well

Ken Melrose
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Ken Melrose

Dude, great post! I’m always looking to up my negotiating skills and make money work for me and it sure seems like Craiglist flips are a great way of doing just that! You rock sir, thanks!

Vince
Guest
Vince

Jacob, great post! I have been flipping and bartering things on craigslist for years. I recently started a website blog for telling stories and sharing good deals from craigslist and online. It is becauseofcraig.com. I just launched it not too long ago, but it would be a great platform to share our stories with each other.

Dont cry just SELL
Guest
Dont cry just SELL

Love it!! I started last winter on cl and sold 2 kitchens, a whole matching living room set, countless tables, chairs, high chairs, tickets, lamps, everything you can think of, without even trying. I even just had 4 of my cats pregnant at same time and gave away 16 kittens on cl. I believe that with a alot of passion, common sense, and hard work, I can make a million dollars on just this site. Thats sounds ridiculous, but the more you sell, the more product online everyday. Get to the point where you make 500 a week, you can… Read more »

Sophie
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Sophie

How about getting your cats spayed/neutered? And did you know that not everyone you find on CL is a good home for the kittens? You did not automatically find them a “good loving home” by just giving them away. There are some people who will turn it around and sell these animals to labs. And then to make things even worse, how many of those kittens you gave away will be spayed/neutered by the people you gave them to? It’s hard to believe you let your cats get pregnant like that, irresponsibly, unless they were already pregnant when you first… Read more »

Mocheddar
Guest
Mocheddar

I love CL and Ebay. I flip roughly 600 items a year on CL and Ebay. Key is good ads, promptness on your emails and a good system of organizing your inventory and cashflow. Peak months I bring in 10k per month cash flow. I started with $100 bill I found on the ground 3 years ago after I lost my job. Have never turned back since and have been flipping last 3 years and creating a company currently.

Flip what you know and have a passion for and the money will follow.

Richard Roy
Guest
Richard Roy

Hi Mocheddar,
Your write up intrigued me… do you mind me asking what you sell?

Regards,
Rich

James
Guest
James

Is it good to put your actual phone number on craigslist?

Adam Kamerer
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Adam Kamerer

You could route it through a Google Voice number if you’d prefer to not give out your actual number. Either that, or invest in a cheap prepaid phone — since you’ll only be using it to field Craigslist calls, you won’t burn through minutes too quickly.

JustBcuz
Guest
JustBcuz

Hey, I’m one of the young readers, younger than most, around middle school age, and there aren’t any jobs available for kids my age. So I thought I could sell my old bookbags and books and toys and stuff. Are those things that people would actually buy?

maredith
Guest
maredith

Please make sure that you have your parents help you though. Give their number and or email address. Have your parents be with you for transactions etc. It can be very dangerous.

chanco guardi
Guest
chanco guardi

I must admit its a very nice article and tips you are giving.
He is totally correct there is aloooot of money to be made on craigslist i managed to make around 11 to 14k in about 3 months doing this so everything is possible !!! Thanks for writing this cool article. Hope to soon read more articles about selling online.
Thanks papi

renee
Guest
renee

What do you buy and sell if I can ask?

Brandon
Guest
Brandon

Hey there! I’m one of your younger viewers, and was wondering if you could make an entire post on “selling cars” on Craigslist. Share some of the experiences you’ve had, what you sold specifically. Thanks!

Rick
Guest
Rick

I made just $55 in one day selling free baseball cards! Thanks a lot!

GamingYourFinances
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GamingYourFinances

Nice table Jacob!

My wife and I are huge fans of refinishing furniture. It’s amazing what a little paint or stain can do for an old piece.

Nice work. : )

Fares
Guest
Fares

Craigslist pays my rent, bills and all my expenses. So basically I make a living out of craigslist, it’s my full time job. I buy from craigslist and sell on Ebay. EBay’s prices are basically the normal prices you pay for any item or maybe a little cheaper.

Lauren @ Cheapstudents.ca
Guest
Lauren @ Cheapstudents.ca

I used to sell items on eBay when I was in high school, and loved it, but just ran out of product per say. Definitely like the idea of flipping craigslist products, I have always been meaning to garage sale on Saturdays to find product and then resell them..but it’s the waking up at 8 on Saturday that really kills me. Thanks for the post though, I may just reconsider.

KC @ genxfinance
Guest
KC @ genxfinance

Craigslist is a good marketplace. You got to be very careful with your transactions though (and I htink you are already aware of that.) Anyways, good job with the table. Looks amazing.

Shannon @ The Heavy Purse
Guest
Shannon @ The Heavy Purse

Wow – Jacob – that table looks fantastic! I think Craigslist can be a potential goldmine for sellers, especially those who are crafty and/or handy, which sadly, I am neither. 🙂 Craigslist is very popular in LA, but you do have to be careful, because well … it’s LA. Great tips!