Jack FM’s Guide to Craigslist
Are you in the market for a Hannah Montana video game or Skip Hop Garden baby Girl Activity Mat? How about some tap shoes or a puppy? Perhaps you’re more into buying burial plots. Or are you looking for a hot date?
Craigslist might be the single greatest thing mankind has ever produced. The first item I ever purchased on Craigslist was a computer chair for $18, which I ended up selling two years later for $60. Before you think I'm a total jerk, one of the beauties of Craigslist is that you sell and pay what you think something is worth. The person who sold it to me just wanted it out of his garage; the guy I sold it to thought he was getting a deal, and I bought three bottles of vodka! Just kidding! (I bought four)
Being an experienced Craigslist-er, I can't help but notice critical errors that people make when trying to sell their item. So, here's a little guide to help you make the most of your online selling experience and to hopefully make someone else happy, too.
1. DON'T TYPE YOUR POST LIKE YOU HAVE A LEARNING DISABILITY.
If you truly possess poor grammar and spelling skills, ask someone else to write your post -- preferably with a fifth grade reading level or higher. Personally, if there are multiple errors outside of a typo or two, I'll never finish reading your ad, let alone consider your product. If you can't take the time to properly spell or complete a sentence, then I don't even want to know the amount of time you spend caring for your selling item.
2. DON'T WRITE "NO SPAMMERS" EVERYWHERE.
We get it, you don't want to get spammed. No one does. But, writing warning signs or specific directions to weed out spammers in your post only makes you sound like a paranoid lunatic. If you happen to get a spammer email, guess what? You can just delete it.
3. POST PICTURES.
This cannot be emphasized enough. Unless you're selling your man parts, you better be posting at least one picture. On second thought, I guess you should probably post a picture of that, too.
4. BUT MAKE SURE THEY'RE GOOD PICTURES.
Why did you even take the time to upload a picture of just the logo on your item? Or take it in the dark where we can barely make out the shape?
5. NO STOCK PHOTOS.
If you know how to Google something, then you know how to take a picture. Literally no one believes that this is your car.
6. NEVER SAY "PRICE IS FIRM."
You're taking away all the fun, man! EVERYONE knows that if you're asking $300, you'll ACTUALLY take $250. You see, you should price something higher than what you want. Then, someone gives you a counter offer, and you settle in the middle (a.k.a., the price you were going for all along). I know this and I'm not even a car salesman! People need to feel like they're getting a deal when they walk away with your item.
7. DON'T GIVE AWAY FREE PETS.
At least charge some type of re-homing fee and try to visit the home of the person buying from you if possible. You may be thinking, "Why would I charge someone if I'm genuinely just trying to find a good home for this animal?" but there are people out there that scan Craigslist looking for free animals to either abuse, use for dog-fighting, feed to other animals (i.e., kittens for snakes) or use for target practice. Charging a fee doesn't guarantee an animal's safety, but people are definitely less likely to destroy something they've paid for.
8. NO NEED FOR YOUR LIFE STORY.
Get to the point. The main things people want to know are: 1) Why are you selling? 2) How old is the item? 3) Is there anything wrong with it? 4) Make and model? and 5) How much? People want to buy your used treadmill or whatever...not your memoir.
9. DO YOUR RESEARCH.
Because if you don't, the buyer will. Everyone has Google and can easily find out if your 2001 Subaru Legacy with 56,792 miles on it is worth $10,900.
10. ANSWER YOUR EMAIL.
When a potential buyer contacts you, answer them promptly. Again, I'd like to re-emphasize the use of correct grammar and/or spelling in your response. Or, if you're not an "email person" give them your phone number. Although, unless you're 86, you should probably become an email person.