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Making Money with Craigslist

By Edited Feb 5, 2015 0 0

Either for making some extra cash on the side or for larger financial ambitions, Craigslist is the place to make it happen. In this particular marketplace the opportunities are fluid and constantly renewing and evolving. Flipping items on Craigslist is a venture loaded with lucrative potential.

Choosing a Niche

To become successful on Craigslist and make money it is vital that you know what you are talking about, how to spot potential, and how to reasonable assess worth.

You, essentially, need to become an expert within a niche. It is best to choose your niche based on something you are already knowledgeable about. This provides a solid foundation for which to build upon.

Make Money with Craigslist

If choosing something that is relatively foreign to you, it is suggested you have a great desire to learn about it. This serves to motivate the work and studying that is required for becoming an authority and effective seller of this item.

Know Thy Neighbor

To experience success, it is crucial to have a pulse on your local market. Craigslist is nothing if not localized. If you post a piece of abstract furniture in a market that’s outwardly conservative, for example, that post is probably going to gather cobwebs.

Spend time evaluating your market, study what is posted and what is in demand. Of course there are those opportunities and customers that defy the trends, however, if you are in a smaller city and serious about turning a profit, being calculated and a step ahead puts you on the road to success.

Use the Free Section Relentlessly

The free section allows people a forum to seek good homes for what they would otherwise toss in the trash. This presents prime opportunity for creative, crafty entrepreneurs. You can use the free section to gather multiple needed supplies; for example, I was able to get multiple cans of white paint. Someone a few miles away from me had unwanted cans of paint. They were nearly full. I also was able to find a cabinet set, a wooden chair in good condition, and a West Elm chair in great condition, all posted on the free section.

For refurbishing and flipping the cabinets, all I had to purchase was sandpaper and brushes. Both have and will continue to provide multiple, repeat uses, so the upfront charges were kept very low and the profit earned is basically 100%.

Make Money

After sanding down the cabinets, I painted them with two coats of white paint. The following day I posted them online and was able to sell the two small, lightly refurbished cabinets for $20 each, for a total of $40. The entire project, from start to finish, took me a little less than two hours of work.

Sharp, Clean Posts

Speculative customers are critically deciphering and evaluating off of appearances. Presentation in the post weighs heavy on opinion both consciously and subconsciously. CEO Tony Haile of Chartbeat, a website real-time analytics company, said, “55% of visitors spend fewer than 15 seconds on a website.”

Post titles are best when they are direct and clear. Avoid gimmicky language and enticements. For the body of the post’s text, avoid spelling and grammatical errors. It should be well written. This is not to say it needs to be a novel; it’s usually the contrary.

Make Money with Craigslist

Think about what you would want to know about the item if you were in search of one: the condition, past use, anything wrong or particular about it. Don’t forget to include photos.

Pricing Matters

The amount you set as your asking prices determines whether or not your item will receive a serious inquiry or less than a second of thought. This is where your studying of the market and knowing what you are talking about are laid bare.

Allow yourself room to negotiate. Prices are best set slightly above what you hope to receive for it. Craigslist is a bargainer’s opium den. Expect nibbles on your posts by those trying to get a deal. For most, there needs to be a justification behind making a purchase and “it’s a deal” fits such a role.

If you are looking for a quick flip, aim low. Sometimes it is in your best interest to be done with something and have it out of your hands. Deals are sure to find fast takers.

(Or Best) Offers

Negotiation is an important skill to hone for making money with Craigslist. What has worked for me in the past on multiple occasions is to make an offer around 10-20% below asking price on an item and tell them that I can pick it up right now. Getting rid of the thing immediately gives the seller a justification for accepting a mark down. Incentive leads action. Use incentive for your benefit. But don’t go crazy. The name of the game is not for you to become a rip-off artist, it is to move product.

Serious inquiries deserve follow-up. Timely, thorough responses are respected, appreciated, and produces results. Your job is to move product and act as a conduit for the marketplace. Respond quickly to messages and move on to your next project. It’s a good quality within the trade and allows you to reap the rewards.


  • As to better use spare time staying on top of your market and the free section, download the app. Like everything worth achieving, persistence is the determining factor.
  • Craigslist receives a flood of items come time when leases are up, especially in college towns. The everything-must-go sentiment truly makes it a buyers market.
  • Learn the lingo: OBO, or best offer; EUC, excellent used condition; GUC, good used condition; NIB, new in box; TIA, thanks in advance; PPU pending pick up. 
  • When selling, offer to deliver or meet halfway if possible (reduces the chance of no-shows, you can charge extra for delivery).
  • If you’re going to flip a piece of furniture or something with fabric/upholstery, always ask the seller if it is pet and smoke free so that you know how to answer correctly for your buyers. The point is to make profit and sell fast, but it isn’t to get anyone sick in the process.
  • Use craigslist to find local “curb alerts”, garage sales, and estate sales. These are all opportunities for finding items with huge upside flip potential.  A curb alert is a posting for free, discarded items someone has placed on their curb and 



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