Monday, July 2, 2012

Selling Stuff on Craigslist and eBay

This summer I have been selling a lot of things using Craigslist and eBay. When I tell people this, they usually have a lot of questions about how it all works, so in this blog entry, I thought I would go over these 2 websites and my experience using them to sell various items.

Craigslist is a great resource for selling things locally, especially if they are large items that would be difficult or expensive to ship. There is a Craigslist for most major cities so all you have to do is find your city and that's where you will look to buy and sell items. To sell something, it helps if you take a picture of it first. Next you go on the website and find the category it fits into. Once there you will start writing up your ad. You will give a title, price, location, and description. You can put your contact information in the ad, or have Craigslist annonymize your email so the communication will go through their system and you will get an email from potential buyers. Note: you do not need to sign up for an account to post something, but you will need to confirm your email address when you post an item for sale. 

Once someone contacts you to say they are interested, you can have them come pick up the item, or you can arrange to meet somewhere in the middle to make the exchange. Usually a public place near an intersection is good. That's about all there is too it. The posting of ads is free which is great. Before you would have to pay for an ad to put in the newspaper, but on Craigslist, it is free. So how do they make their money? Certain postings do cost money for example if you are a company posting job listings, there is a charge for that, but most other ads are free of charge.

Like anything online you have to be careful. If something seems off or suspicious, don't go through with it. For example, if someone wants you to send them money online for a product, it could be a scam. Also be safe when meeting someone. Make sure it is in a public place and make sure someone knows where you are going.

eBay is a good resource if you have smaller, more expensive items that you can ship anywhere across the country or even the world if you choose. eBay is a huge community that has pretty much anything you search for. It's easier to sell things on eBay because there are more potential buyers compared to Craigslist which is local. The downside to eBay is the fees. They charge you to list an item, then if it sells, you pay a percentage of the sale price. Then if you get paid with PayPal which is most common, PayPal takes a fee as well. After all that, you have to consider the cost of shipping. These charges add up and you have to calculate if something is even worth shipping. Generally, it is best to sell higher valued items on eBay so you can still make a decent profit after all the fees.

So the process on eBay goes like this. First you will need to sign up for an account. Next you will want to research your item to see how much it is selling for on the website. Once you see how much it is worth, choose a competitive selling price. Next you are ready to create an ad. If you are a selling a common item, they usually have a template written up with all the specs and details. You can add more information specific to your products such as the condition. Then you list the item for sale. You will get an email when someone buys it. Once you see that the funds have been sent to you, you ship the item to the buyer. You can do this through services such as USPS or UPS.

Important Note: you will want to sign up for a PayPal account so you can receive payments from people securely. After the deal is done, you will rate the buyer and they will rate you. The ratings system helps you know who is a good seller. They should have a rating of 95-100%. If it's lower than that, it means they have had problems with previous transactions. There are a lot of options on eBay that may seem overwhelming, but take your time and read over it carefully.  In time you will learn how to use it efficiently. 

So if you have some extra things lying around that you don't need anymore, selling them on Craigslist and eBay is a great option. It can take some effort and patience, but you can make good money on things that otherwise would just be taking up space in your house. If you have any questions about buying and selling on these sites, leave a comment below.

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