I used to be into eBay to sell stuff, but now my friends keep telling me that Craigslist is the way to go. Since it lets me side-step the whole shipping issue, and definitely seems to lower the chance that I’ll be ripped off if I’m meeting someone locally to do the deal. Do you ever sell stuff on Craigslist, Dave, and if so, can you offer some tips?
You’re in luck. I not only continue to use eBay to both buy and sell stuff, I also use Craigslist extensively and, in fact, just this week sold my old Apple iPhone 3G through Craigslist, a transaction that was terrific: I had two inquiries within about four hours of listing the phone and closed the deal – in person, cash – within six. A definite win, and it reduced the price of my hardware upgrade to under $100, which is a far better deal than what AT&T was asking, but that’s kind of out of the scope of this post.
Before you start with Craigslist, know that it’s organized by region and that they recommend – and I concur – that you stick with your own geographic region when you post any products for sale. You might add a close major metropolitan area (as I might add Denver though I’m in Boulder, a suburb about 30 miles away) (well, not a “suburb”, per se) but Craigslist receives a LOT of spam so they have lots of sophisticated filters that will detect violations of their terms of service, which include posting the same ad in a lot of different regional Craigslist sites.
Okay. Go to craigslist.com and pick your local region or, perhaps, the desired region within which you want to sell your product. On the top left you’ll see this:
As you can see, you’ll want to click on “post to classifieds”, which then shows you this:
Assuming this is what you want, click on “for sale”, as I have done. Now it’s time to pick a specific category:
There are a lot of categories, so take the time to dig around and find the one that’s a perfect match. For my iPhone I chose “computer & tech”.
Finally, we can see the classified ad form itself:
I filled out the form fields and suddenly, the craigslist classified advertisement is starting to look real:
Some Craigslist sellers omit the price from the subject but since the search allows you to constrain your results by minimum or maximum price, I recommend against that.
I do, however, strongly recommend that you add photographs any time you can, even if they’re mediocre photographs. For mine, I took pictures with my new iPhone of my old iPhone and it was clearly sufficient to do the job.
To add images, click on “Add / Edit Images” on the bottom. Now you’ll see four spots where you can add graphics:
Click on “Choose File” and select each image, then when you’re done, the image filenames will be shown:
Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “Continue” to upload the images and jump straight to a preview of the advertisement you’re about to run:
Move down just a bit and you’ll see the images
Coolness. Now we’re getting somewhere!
Did that? Good. Prove to Craigslist that you’re not a spam engine next:
In this case I enter “gloated section” (which ain’t easy to see here!) and can proceed. In fact, there’s not much to do at this point:
You’ll want to switch now to your email program and look for a message from Craigslist.com. In my mailbox, I see:
You’ll want to, nay, need to click on the “post.craigslist.org” link, which will prove to the Craigslist server that you’ve entered a valid email address. It doesn’t take more than a second or two to see:
As it explains, you need to click on “publish” here to have the classified advert go live. If you want to fiddle and tweak it more, click on “edit”, but if not, “publish” is the way to go.
You’re up, and you’re live. Congratulations, you’ve become a Craigslist seller. I hope you see quick success.
Oh, and a tip: locals can write bad checks too. In fact, my advice is to always meet with potential buyers in busy public places, not your house. If you do meet at your house, at least meet outside. Safety first.