Make Money by Selling on Craigslist


Make Money by Selling on Craigslist

Many individuals know Craigslist as basically a localized version of eBay; a website where one can view products for sale in their area, and meet up with the person to complete the transaction. This is considered much more secure and beneficial to the buyer than making a purchase on Amazon, eBay, etc.

Some people, however, even make a living off of selling items on eBay. This is very tough to do, given that it takes a lot of time, effort, and careful bookkeeping to ensure that one can maximize their profits if they plan on doing this. But since there are people who are able to do this successfully, it is very possible. Learn how to make money by selling on Craigslist!

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#1 Spring Cleaning

If you want to make money on Craigslist, the first thing that you have to do is find items in your house to sell. Go through the old boxes in the basement, the attic, or even the old electronic appliances that you never or rarely use anymore. This will give you a solid foundation of items to sell, and it will make your house look cleaner and more spacious!

#2 Know Your Market

This step takes a substantial amount of time, since it involves copious amounts of research, both on other websites and on Craigslist itself. Look at the items for sale in your area, and the attention they are receiving.

If an item has been posted for several weeks, chances are that very few people have serious interest in buying it, whether due to a ludicrous price, poor condition, or simple lack of need. Additionally, look for the ABSENCE of certain products that you either have or believe that you should get.

If you have, say, a good mountain bike for sale and you don’t see any good mountain bikes listed, go ahead and list yours! You will also get several additional benefits, such as being able to set a higher price (since you have no competition to drive the price down), enabling you to make the most out of your money.

#3 Know Your Price

This step is somewhat intertwined with the previous one, but it also involves separate but equally strenuous research. Obviously, the best way to maximize your profit on the items you are posting for sale is to see what similar items are going for, and plan accordingly.

If you are in a hurry to sell your product, look at the listed prices on several different sites, and mark your product for a slightly lower price to undercut your competitors.

#4 Trading is Always an Option

One of the biggest factors that sets Craigslist apart from other online buy-trade sites is that the localized market enables you to make trades as well. If you don’t think you can get enough money for a product, or you see a product that is similarly priced and would be useful to you, you can simply offer the other seller a trade.

If you want to be more complex, you can also make a trade for an item that you feel is worth more than the item that you are offering, and sell the newly-acquired item for a bigger profit.

#5 Never Undervalue the Fixer-Upper

This step is only useful if you have the time, skills, and desire to make the extra money. A substantial chunk of items listed for sale on Craigslist are damaged products that the seller simply wants to get off of their hands.

If you are planning on buying such an item as a project, pay very close attention to the details. What exactly is broken? Is it fixable? How much would it cost to restore it to full shape? If the details aren’t specific enough, contact the seller and ask him or her any question you can think of.

Have them send you pictures of the product, so you can see for yourself what shape it’s in. In many cases, the seller simply does not have the time or the patience to restore the product, so if you do, then you can make very good money doing so.

#6 Be a Shrewd Businessman

In other words, know how to negotiate and haggle with the price of a listed product. If you have no desire to make a trade, then start with a low-ball offer. The trick is, make the price flexible enough to gauge a counter-offer, but not low enough that the seller is insulted by the offer.

How badly do you want the product? If you absolutely need it and can not find another similar item for sale, then start with an offer closer to the listing price.

Either way, most listings come with negotiation flexibility, so you should almost never pay the listing price. This is one of the best ways that you can make money selling on Craigslist.

#7 Set Goals and Budget Carefully

You need to set a reasonable goal for money made per month, and calculate how much time per month you’ll be able to spend running your Craigslist business. Never set unrealistic expectations, but make sure your goals are lofty enough to be attainable with hard work and a textbook negotiation process.

It may take a month or two to set standard monthly goals, but use that time to iron out the kinks of your selling process, and once you feel you have it down pat, set more precise monthly goals.

Can You Make Money Selling on Craigslist?

Overall, it is very possible to make money selling items on Craigslist. How much money you make, however, is fully contingent in how much time an effort you are willing to put into the process.

If you are only looking to make a few hundred bucks a month, that’s very doable; just find an old item or two that you think would sell, and give it a good listing on Craigslist.

But if you want to make a monthly four-figure (or more) income from Craigslist, it will take a major commitment, and above all, a large chunk of time. Take advice from the above tips, and you’ll have great knowledge on how to make money by selling on Craigslist.

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8 comments on “Make Money by Selling on Craigslist

  1. Hi Chris, what a great article, full of very useful pointers! We have Craiglist in the UK, it’s a classified ads site but it caters for much more than selling and buying. It’s definitely not one of the bigger ones over here and generally only seems popular in the cities but I can see that it’s really big in the US. It’s great selling something and not having to pay fees so I can see how it is a big hit! Do you show photos on the site or is it just a text ad? Sammi

    1. Hi Sammi, yes you are usually prompted to upload images after you have entered your post’s title for the item 🙂
      There are also a few more advanced methods of adding photos to your advert that are covered by a handful of tutorials on YouTube!

  2. Hi Chris,

    interesting topic, I’ve overlooked Craigslist completely!
    I guess it’s main target would be local clients? I’m personally not from the US, so I’m wondering if you have any idea of the influence of craigslist outside of the US?

    I never really liked the look of the platform, it looks a bit like the yellow pages, not so much as Ebay or Amazon who’s websites give you more incentive to buying.

    But this could be due to the fact it’s not so familiar to me 🙂


    1. Hi Maarten,

      There are now a lot of alternatives to Craigslist depending on what country you are based in. For example, I’m in the UK and we have GumTree ( a very similar site! ).

  3. Hello Chris,

    This info was completely new for me, I never heard about Craigslist. But I live in Europe so that can be the explanation for this.
    Nevertheless it sounds like a great concept with a lot of different possibilities, but I think you can also get trapped when you make a mistake in one of all those steps.

    I have just checked Craigslist in google and it seems we have our own Craigslist site in Belgium…
    You can really find anything in that list…

    In my opinion, you have written some “things you have to know” on you page and that’s probably absolutely necessary and important for somebody who wants to start with this list…
    So for me it is a very good article…


  4. I’ve tried selling on craigslist and I definitely agree that it is possible to make some money. However I feel like I haven’t been doing it right. Because I definitely didn’t follow all of the steps that you’ve got outlined here. Although getting to know you’re market seems like it would take some time! I definitely prefer your #1 recommendation!

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