How to sell on Craigslist and make the MOST money

This weekend I tried to sit down and to the math on how much money Jason and I have made selling stuff off Craigslist. But I lost count. 

In the past three years we have made THOUSANDS of dollars via Craigslist getting rid of stuff we didn't want, need or use. It is the best place to sell things like furniture, large baby items like high chairs and swings and farm equipment like old lawnmowers and weed eaters. (And that spare tractor you have lying around...)

Last week I talked about how to maximize your eBay profits, today I wanted to talk about how you can sell on Craigslist and make the most money. 

1. Set up an account with Craigslist with an email JUST for Craigslist.

It is free to list your items to Craigslist plus Craigslist doesn't take a cut. But, it is FULL of scammers. 

Craigslist will mask your email address so when people email you it looks like they are sending an email address to something like (this is just an example). So when a potential buyer emails you they don't have your email address until you reply to that email. 

If you get an email with "is your item still available" that is usually a scammer just trying to get your email address and potentially hack you. 

Go ahead and protect yourself by setting up an email just for craigslist or just for a particular item. 

2. Take LOTS of GREAT photos. 

Craigslist will allow you up to 24 photos per item. So don't skimp. 

Items with no photos are far less likely to get clicked on. So it doesn't matter how great that antique hope chest your selling is if no one clicks on it because it had no photo.

Your photos are just as important to your ad as the description you will type up (see #3) so make them count. 

I cannot tell you the number of times I have seen a photo that was clearly taken in the back of someone's garage on their cellphone. No. That's not gonna work. 

Drag your item out to the drive way, dust it off and take a decent photo. 

Show the size, color, make, label and any scratches, dents and scrapes. 

3. Make your description sing. 

In your posting title don't just write "brown couch." Write something that people are looking for "brown coach, 6-feet-long, smoke-free home." 

Inclue as many descriptive words as possible. Then in the actual description area of the item include all of the information you have, color, size, material and dimensions. 

Always include dimensions if selling furniture. People are just going to email you and ask so be sure to include it up front. 

Also always be honest. If the couch you're trying to sell has a broken leg and a hole in a cushion put that in your post. It's not like you're going to be able to hide these things when the item is purchased. And all you're doing is wasting your time and the buyers time. 

4. Price to sell. 

Your item is used so it's not going to sell for what you paid for it. When determining a price I look up what similar items are selling for, I think of the absolute least I will take for it and I add 10-15%. 

I never put "or best offer" in my listings because I don't want someone coming to me with a low ball offer.

The fact that I have taken the time to list it already shows I intend to get rid of it, if they want to negotiate I am willing, but I am not going to advertise that I am taking less money for it. 

5. Include other items you listed. 

When I list things on Craigslist I go ahead and list multiple items at one time and I go ahead and click on the "include more ads by user" button. That way people can see all the stuff I am selling at one time. 

This is a great feature: USE IT!

6. Relist every 2-3 days. 

Things get pushed to the bottom of Craigslist pretty fast so I resist often. Delete your first listing and go ahead and relist it. Add new photos and punch up the copy if you have to.

If it has sat on Craigslist for more than a week I usually lower the price. 


7. Respond to emails right away.  

When you get an email reply promptly you are not the only person selling something and if someone doesn't hear from you they will move on. 

Also, if I have several people interested and someone offers me a lower price I usually counter offer and let them know I have another buyer interested at a higher price. It works. BUT BE HONEST!!

8. Don't hold items and only accept cash.

 Don't hold your bunk beds til Thursday. If you have a buyer interested go ahead and sell it to the person who comes with cash in hand first. 

And only cash. No checks and NO WIRE TRANSFERS. These are scams. Cash only. 

9. Be safe. 

I always meet in a public place when selling smaller items like baby items or small pieces of furniture. 

For larger items I make sure the buyer knows I will have someone at home with me. And I always let someone else know what is going on. You can't be too safe. 

Some police stations are also allowing for Craigslist transactions in their parking lots. 

10. Practice Craigslist karma.

 If your item has sold delete the listing. Craigslist ads are good for 30 days. Don't leave it hanging around after the sale is final. 

What tips would you add to this list? Do you shop on Craigslist?