How to earn money on craigslist


How to earn money on craigslist

Talking points

You may not need to get a part time job

You may not need to get a part time job


    Money can be made on Craig’s list

  • How to buy product
  • How to sell product
  • Personal security: Don’t go alone

I don’t want to sound like I am a Craigslist fanatic.  I don’t have any experience on the selling end of this venue. I do, however, have a friend (Leroy) who makes good money on Craigslist.

Leroy went to Craigslist in desperation.  Five years ago he became dead broke.  He had cosigned on a car for a family member, and as happens so often, that family member defaulted on the loan.  To save his credit, Leroy had to pay off the loan.  (Now, he didn’t have to do it all at once, but still … It was an additional bill, and he could not afford it.)  Leroy was going to have to earn more money or sacrifice his lifestyle.

Leroy started off by adding a couple of part-time jobs to his work week.  Some time later, he ran into someone who earned a living on Craigslist.  After talking to (and spending some time learning from) the guy, he decided to try his hand at it.  It was a bit tough getting started because he really needed to keep the jobs he was working in order to cover his bills.  Anyway, when he could he would hit a yard sale or thrift store, looking for deals he could list for resale at a higher price on Craigslist: microwaves, lawn mowers, tools, power tools, computers, furniture—anything he felt he could sell for a profit.  Eventually, (and actually, rather quickly) Leroy turned his garage into a warehouse and workshop; Leroy is pretty handy at minor fixes and making an item look good.

Fast forward to present, Leroy has paid off the cosigned loan that got him into his financial bind.  After about a year of working Craigslist, he was able to drop his other part-time jobs.  He still sells on Craigslist.  Some weeks Leroy makes as much on Craigslist as he does at his full-time job.

And yes, Leroy is still employed full-time.  He had to make a decision.  Should he quit his “day” job and make Craigslist into a full-time business or keep it as a part-time job?    Leroy opted to keep Craigslist as a part-time job.  Here’s why: His employer offers health insurance and other benefits that Leroy would have to pay much more for on the open market.  So, Leroy now has two sources of income and has started saving money.

If you are interested in Craigslist as a potential source of income, please do the research and utilize the practices that will make it profitable.  (Much of this info can be found online.)

OK—this post is not meant to be a tutorial on how to work a craigslist web page.  What I want to do here is emphasize a few of points that Leroy shared with me; they seem to make good personal and business sense.

1) Things to sell:  I noted earlier that Leroy found lots of things that can, successfully, be sold on Craigslist, but I did not make an exhaustive list of the things he looks for.  Leroy says he’s found that items that are large or were expensive when new tend to bring him good profit.  He also says he likes to sell items he “understands”—things he knows something about.

2) How to buy:  Know what you can do; you may find cheap or free items you can fix or clean.  On the other hand, shop around; many items, in great condition, are sold inexpensively at yard sales.  In either case, you need to know what you can expect to make when you sell an item.  Inspect for problems before you buy.  Will a repair be cost effective?  It never hurts to ask the seller questions:  Why are you selling this/Does it work/Any special instructions?  (And, you may want to take the answers with a bit of skepticism.) Understanding the items you buy increases the likeliness of profitable sales.  Also, take into account the cost of transportation—getting the item to your place and—after it’s sold—to the buyer.

3) How to sell:  You will have to learn how to work the craigslist web site so you can make your listings quickly and accurately.  Be honest in your postings.  There is more involved than making money on any particular sale: You need to protect your reputation, in order to continue making money on future sales.  If you are perceived as dishonest, you will waste your time posting on Craigslist: You won’t have many sales.

4) Pricing:  Know how much money you need to break even.  You really don’t want to “bargain-price” yourself out of a profit.  A common practice is to set your price at a little more than you need. Then, allow people to talk you down a bit.  Both you and the buyer will feel good about the transaction: You will get the money you need: The buyer will feel he had influence.

5) Personal security:  Most of the time Craigslist sales are completed with the buyer and seller meeting to exchange payment and purchase.  For the sake of personal safety, meet in a public place.  Don’t have people coming to where you live.  (It’s sad, but you just don’t know who you are meeting: Protect your family.)  When you go to make the exchange, take a friend with you and have them stand off to the side; if something goes terribly wrong, your friend will be in a position to call the police or other help.  (Thankfully, this is rare.)  Another good practice is to let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back—but, that makes sense anytime you head out.

I hope that with this post about earning money on Craigslist I’ve said something to demystify the idea of earning money with online sales.  Leroy says anyone can do it: There are no big secrets. Do the research, and use a little common sense.

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Douglas Antrim


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