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Ryan Finlay is no mere mortal. He is a wise and wealthy Craigslist wizard that has spent the past five years honing his craft on one of the world’s largest buying and selling platforms.
Ryan originally set out to be a contractor, but after getting his license he realized the passion just wasn’t there. Unfortunately, he was $25,000 in debt and had a family of seven to support… so he had to figure out a way to make some dough quickly.
After talking with a few of his friends, he decided he was going to go all in on Craigslist and see if he couldn’t make a living by buying and selling goods on the platform.
Today, Ryan makes well over 6-figures by selling appliances like washers, dryers, ovens, and refrigerators on Craigslist. He’s doing pretty well considering the fact that he recently moved his entire family to Hawaii.
You can read more about his story and how he teaches people to make a living outside the box on his blog ReCraigslist. But today, we are using Ryan and his mad Craiglist skills to show you how to sell on Craigslist, making both money and room for your upcoming move!
What is Craigslist?
While it’s certainly not everyone’s goal to quit their job and become a full-time Craigslist hustler, there is still a lot to learn from Ryan’s story.
But before we get started, let’s answer a question you may or may not be wondering… what is Craigslist?
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past couple decades, there’s a good chance you’ve stumbled upon the website at some point or another.
But, for those who don’t know — Craigslist is an online classified advertising service that provides localized buying and selling markets. The word “localized” is what separates it from platforms like eBay… and it’s what makes Craigslist such a useful tool.
If you want to get rid of your microwave, you don’t have to FedEx it across the country, you can just sell it to someone on Craigslist that lives in your city.
With that said, this localization can be somewhat sketchy for buyers and sellers, so it’s important to be safe on the platform — you can read more about this towards the end of the article.
The Perfect Moving Tool
This localization is what makes Craigslist the perfect tool for individuals who are about to move. Take a look around your house, your garage, and your basement — what do you see?
Lots and lots of stuff… most of which you probably haven’t used in years.
Moving is a great experience because it forces people to lighten their load a bit and let go of all the hundreds of items they have hoarded over the years. Not to mention, letting go of these items can be pretty lucrative… putting some extra change in your pocket you can spend once you move to your new place.
If you’re considering moving, you might want to check out this blog on how tips for comparing moving company quotes.
In this article, we are going to tell you how to sell on Craigslist. Don’t get us wrong, Bellhop loves moving your precious belongings for you, but we are always looking for ways to help our customers save money — and, there is a lot of money to be made and saved on Craigslist!
How to make a Craigslist Account
Alright, so you are ready to start selling on Craigslist, but you aren’t sure how to make a Craigslist account. Fortunately, it’s a super-easy set-up. You can have an account up and running in less than 5 minutes.
Steps to opening up a Craigslist Account:
- Visit this link and type in your email.
- Immediately after submitting your email, Craiglist will send you a confirmation email and a link. Click the link to verify your account.
- You will then be asked to create a password and accept the terms and conditions.
After completing these three easy steps, you will be ready to post your first item on Craigslist. Next up, we’ll teach you how to post on Craigslist along with what items are most sought after on the platform.
How to post on Craigslist
Our only qualm about Craigslist is its sub-par level of user-friendliness — posting on Craigslist can be a bit tricky, so be sure you are paying close attention to following steps.
Steps to posting on Craigslist:
- Visit the Craigslist home page and choose which city you want to post in (ideally you want to post in your city or a city near you).
- Click “Post to Classifieds” in the top left corner of the page. You will be asked which category you want to post in–choose the appropriate category.
- You will now be asked to enter all the details for your post — price, description and the email you would like people to reply to. Once you have completed filling out this information, hit “Continue”.
- Upload photos from your mobile phone or computer. Once you are happy with the images that have you’ve uploaded, hit “Done with images”. And, then hit “Publish”.
- You will then receive an email with a confirmation link from Craigslist… click the confirmation link or copy and paste it in your browser. You should expect your Craigslist ad to go live about 15 minutes after confirmation.
5 Tips to Better Sell on Craigslist
Now for the fun part — customizing and hacking your Craigslist posts so that your products are more likely to sell. Here are 5 tips to help you better sell on Craigslist:
- Take clear crisp photos. Shoppers are extremely visual, and if they are spending money on something they can’t touch and feel, they expect to be able to get a good look at the product, at the very least. Where a lot of Craigslist sellers go wrong is that they don’t provide high-quality images for their customers. Make sure the pictures you take of the items you sell look professional. That means no blurriness, no dirty laundry in the background and no nasty looking surfaces underneath the item you are taking a picture of. Turn the lights on to get nice lighting, clean up the item before posting it, and take a picture of the product on a pretty hardwood surface.
- Write simple descriptions. Your product description should be easy enough for a 7th grader to understand. Don’t be fancy, just get what you are trying to say across to the customer in as few of words as possible. Also, this goes without saying, but make sure you don’t have a bunch of typos in your ad!
- Write captivating titles. With that said, if you are going to get descriptive, the title is where it should be. Instead of writing, “Samsung T.V.”… you should be writing, “Awesome 42 inch Samsung LED TV”. As a customer, which are you more likely to click on?
- Consider batching similar items. Let’s hypothetically say you are selling a dozen or so tools. Instead of listing each tool individually, batch them together in one ad for a bulk price. Someone who is looking for a hammer probably wouldn’t mind buying a screwdriver and a pair of pliers. It will allow you to sell your items more efficiently while making your customers feel like they are getting a great deal.
- Set a deadline on your products. You need to be creating a sense of urgency in the buyers who are thinking about purchasing your product. That means don’t post an advertisement for an entire month — post it for 3-6 days. Make the people looking at it feel like they have to make a decision quickly before time runs out.
How to sell on Craigslist Safely
For the most part, Craiglist is an extremely safe site and community… but this doesn’t mean there isn’t room to be careful. Before letting you run off and make hundreds harnessing the power of this new knowledge, we want to give you just a few safety tips. Here is how to sell on Craigslist safely:
- Always meet in a public. Meet at a Starbucks, inside a Target or in the parking lot of a public bank. Just make sure you are meeting at a place where there are a lot of people.
- Your house is off limits. Never under any circumstance invite someone to your home or share your address with them.
- Use your spidey-senses. If something feels a little off about a buyer, just leave. There is no reason to put yourself in an uncomfortable situation. At the end of the day, it’s only money.
- Pack a cellphone or a friend. At the very least, you should bring along a cellphone with a good charge. And if you have a muscular friend bring him or her too.
- Be cautious with high priced items. People are more willing to commit a crime over a $500 iPhone than say a pair of socks (granted we don’t know why anyone would buy socks on Craigslist). Anyways, be extra careful if you are selling high-priced items.
A Few Final Thoughts on How to Sell on Craigslist
You now have everything you need to become a Craigslist tycoon. Before you know it, you will have some extra space and some extra change in your pocket for your upcoming move. And, who knows, you may find that you want to make Craigslist a full-time gig… which would mean you would have to move again… to Hawaii.