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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jesse
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jesse

Jacob because of people like you Ive made it pretty far in the game. Started with surfboards to pay rent during college then moved up to motorcycles and cars. It has now led me to a career and a significant income. Thanks to people like yourself, good luck with your future!

Roger Taylor
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Roger Taylor

Hey Jacob! Just came across your website and I gotta tell you it is awesome. Just to let you know, I have been Buying and Selling Appliances for over 18 years now and love it. I am now semi retired so I have created a website to teach people about Flipping Appliances on a Shoestring Budget and craigslist is the best place to do it. Great news is, you don’t need any money to get started. Would love to ad your site link on mine and vice-versa. Maybe even a guest post. Email me if interested. In the meantime check… Read more »

Pete
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Pete

I’ve been selling furniture on CL for years. My tip for sellers offering hard to transport items, like furniture, is offer free ” local” delivery. The leverage i create is i tell the buyer that if they pay full price, i will include delivery. Often times i will get full price plus a $ 50.00 delivery fee. Buyers are either lazy or don’t own the right vehicle to pick up. I own a truck so it’s easy for me to offer delivery. I sell brand new furniture so condition & surprises are never an issue for the buyer. I have… Read more »

Valerie
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Valerie

Thanks for the article. I started selling on Craigslist last year in the middle of a home remodel. I sold almost everything I ripped out of my house on Craigslist…shelves, doors, appliances. To me it was amazing having people come and pay me to haul away my trash. Since then, I have sold an odd collection of things…I’m constantly trolling through my house to find more things to list. I’m probably the person you guys like to buy from, because I don’t really care how much money I get for most of what I list, I just want it out… Read more »

Onecheapdad
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Onecheapdad

Yes CL is inefficient and fickle. A year ago I sold every headboard I could get my hands on. This year I can barely give them away. Brass headboards wont even bring $10. Im sure I could get more at scrap yard. Of course, that just may be in my town. Your local market may be opposite at this time.

Karen
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Karen

Hi Jacob,
I am in the beginning stages of starting a part time furniture updating business for fun with the hopes of making a little extra money. Your blog has been very helpful. I was hoping you could give me some advice on how to handle customer payment. I was considering a cash only option, but am realizing this will exclude a lot of potential customers. I don’t want to have to deal with NSF issues with checks. How have you set up your business? Thank you for your help!

Dan
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Dan

I have a question. The one thing I am not keen on about selling on Craigslist is having people come to my house often. IN particular when the items are large (furniture). This IS Craigslist with nuts out there or people casing out your place. If it’s small items I meet at Starbucks. Just wondering what people’s perspective is on this. Great article and thoughts by people on it.

nick
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nick

One technique that works great for me is bartering….lots of times I can barter up to a much more expensive items then what I started with…..I recently traded a Wii u that I spent 150 on for a 55 inch plasma AND a 32 inch LCD TV…..sold those for 350 together and more than doubled my money…I always ask if sellers are willing to trade. Also always always always low ball the shit out of people lots of times an item that is originally 75 dollars you can get for 50 or less…..always recontact people that have declined your offer… Read more »

Rob Schmidt
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Rob Schmidt

Good tips Jacob, but you are leaving out the real secret. It up to you and your work ethic. I’ve been a flipper for five years and it’s anything but an easy living. I spend between 10-15 hours a day online sending and answering emails, researching CL, packaging, listing, and shipping items on ebay/amazon, and meeting sellers for new inventory. Granted, it is nice working from home, but there are no paid vacations or benefits. I work at it constantly because I never want to miss out on that item so I can make a thousand. This profession is anything… Read more »

Eric
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Eric

I agree 100%, Rob. It would be nice to program a robot to find our deals for us but it’s just not happening anytime soon. I do the post-purchase work at my own leisure since the $$$ is made when I buy, not when I sell, and I’m not into flipping the newest. latest and greatest, so time to market isn’t a concern. The hardest work is scouring new deals and it gets very monotonous over time. I find a few weeks off from searching here and there helps, but I hate missing those juicy deals!

Brian Shaw
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Brian Shaw

Great Blog
Love the comments!

Lyle
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Lyle

My question is how to set a fair price for items. I don’t want to get ripped off but I don’t want to rip off anyone else either. Can you give me any guidance in this area?

Eric
Guest
Eric

Hi Lyle, To answer your question, use ebay completed listings (only for items that sold) as your price guide. Set your prices based on the market and disclose to the buyer any known issues that the product has and price it in accordingly. As far as you getting ripped off, you need to know what the item is worth before you buy it, given it’s condition. If you are unsure of this before you make the purchase then you haven’t done the adequate preparation to make the deal. Make sure you know how to fully inspect and test whatever you… Read more »

Eric
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Eric

Let me add: Base your purchase decision on the lowest price sale you find on ebay on a similar condition item. If you see that the item has recently sold between $700-$1000 and you go out and pay $800 for it hoping to flip it for $1000 on ebay you will more than likely take a hit when you don’t get the higher end of the range that you were hoping for. Factor in that you will be paying 10%-12% in fees to ebay/paypal. In this scenario, I would hope to sell it for $1000, make no mistake, but I… Read more »

Bryan
Guest
Bryan

You’re absolutely right. I’m actually thinking about quiting my job and making this CL thing a full time job. I can buy old furniture for really cheap and make it look brand spanking new and make a good profit. Think about it say I buy a used table for $8 then I sand it down and repaint it. There’s another 4_6 bucks for material. That’s 12-14 bucks invested. Then say it takes two hours to do it. Sell it for 50-60 bucks. That’s 18 to 28 bucks a hour. There’s also things on CL that are absolutely free that you… Read more »

brian
Guest
brian

I love craigslist and because of u i am going to start a buisness on craigslist and try as hard as i can

Eric
Guest
Eric

A few other things in regard to ebay/paypal: Be conscious of where you stand in regard to the 20k in gross proceeds throughout the year. You don’t want to finish the year at 21k or so in net sales because then you will have to probably pay some tax to Uncle Sam. This isn’t an issue for me since I go well over 20k anyhow, but for the more casual flipper, try to stay under that mark if you can when you are close at the end of the year. Considering shutting down your ebay operation if you are just… Read more »

Eric
Guest
Eric

I’ve been buying and selling electronics on CL for about 3 years and recently left my job to do it full time. It definitely works but you have to be very familiar with the items that you are buying and selling in order to avoid costly mistakes. At least 90% of the items I buy are small enough in size to conveniently ship so that I can sell them on ebay. Even after the ebay and paypal commissions, I find I still net more then selling it back on CL, and I sell a lot faster there, too. A national… Read more »