Friday, November 15, 2013

Selling on Craigslist

On my last post I ended with a few things that still needed selling.  These included:
  • a bike trailer
  • a bedrail guard
  • a foldable stroller
  • a digital baby scale
  • a folding dolly
Now, I've had some experience buying and selling on Craigslist and I peruse it quite a bit (I keep a running list of items that I'm interested in ... if the price, quality, and location are good).  I see a lot of good and bad ads.  All this to say I've developed some steps that I take when creating my own Craigslist posts.
  1. Put together as many facts about the items as is reasonable.  Who makes it, model #, year made/bought/age, original price, dimensions (not everything needs this, but if you'd want to know others will too - especially true with furniture that people will need to place in their homes), weight (if important), materials it is made from.  You might not need all these details, but it's good to have them on hand.
  2. Do some searching on-line to see if it is still sold new - if so, what's the price like now?  Does it seem popular?  Amazon reviews will give you a good idea what people think about your product.  Key phrases might pop up that you can use when writing your ad.
  3. Next, e-Bay.  If you don't have an account with them consider getting one because this gives you access to some information that the average person doesn't get to see - what things sold for (and what didn't sell).  This is known as Completed Listings.  These completed listings often give you a good idea for a price range.  It will also give you an idea of which ads work better - style, layout, descriptions used.
  4. Now, Craigslist.  See if your product is being posted by others.  What are they asking?  Is it similar to e-Bay prices?  (Note:  You could also look at Kijiji - I use Craigslist so I'm more comfortable remarking on it.)
  5. Take a few photos.  Yes, you need them.  Would you buy something without seeing it?  If there are multiple ads (and there usually are), do you go for the ones with photos first?  Me too.  So, take a few minutes to take some shots of what you want to sell - a few overview shots, some close-ups.  Try different angles.  The most important point I can make here is to get rid of as much personal background/detail as possible.  You don't want people thinking "Gross, that stuffed toy looks like it's been kept in the filthiest garage I've ever seen!" ... you want them to focus their attention on the item you are selling.  I've even used bed sheets to create a plain backdrop.  If all else fails try to find an image from the store you bought it from and copy that into your ad.
Once I have done all these steps I'm ready to create my ad. 

Let's try these steps out with the first item on my list - the bike trailer.

Bike Trailer Ad

I bought this trailer a few years ago thinking I would bike around with Walter in tow like all the other parents seemed to be doing in town.  Except ... it didn't really happen all that much.  Maybe three times?  I just felt really nervous with my precious little guy behind me and all these vehicles rushing past me.  At the time we lived in an area nearer to secondary businesses which meant lots of truck traffic - these made me even more nervous.  Suffice it to say the idea was a bust (although Walter loved it - he asked to go out every day!).  I kept the trailer thinking that when we moved I would use it.  Our new neighbourhood is very hilly, and there are no nearby bike paths.  I'd have to drive with the bike and trailer, park, hook up the trailer, get Walter and myself all geared up and then finally start biking.  Ah, nah.  Instead, I traded my bike - which I never really liked - for a DSi for Walter.

OK, so what did I pay for it new?  I bought it at Walmart for around $109 ... say with tax $120.  It now sells for $104 with a current pre-Christmas sell going on for $50.  Ouch!  Looking at e-Bay I see a price range of 54-200+ ... but the 200 plus ones are way swanker than mine.  The 54-74 range are closer to mine.  On Craigslist the swanky ones are going for 200+ also.  Not much under 100.  Despite the sale at Walmart I'm thinking $55.  This will give some wiggle room for potential buyers to negotiate (everyone likes to shave off a few dollars).  I did do a couple of photographs of the box.  I confess to not taking it out and setting it up.  So, I copied the photo from the Walmart website (something many people do).  If I have time on the weekend I'll set it up and take some more photos to make it more authentic.

So here would be my ad:

TITLE:  Triumph Bike Trailer Holds 2 Children - $55

PICTURE:  I usually take a few photos, including the box, manual, and an overall photo


When our son was younger he wanted to ride in this bike trailer every day!  Although it can hold two children, our son always had his stuffed toys, snacks, and water bottle taking up some of the space.  Still, we could likely have put a few bags of groceries in there too!

Now that our son is older we've outgrown the bike trailer ... time for our son to have his own bike.

Our loss is your gain.

Bike trailer has been kept in pristine condition, in a no-smoking, no-pet household.  We have the original box and owner's manual.

If you are interested call, text, or email Louise (cell ###.###.####)
 ... cash only

That's it.  I made the ad personal - which tends to draw people in.  I'm a person, not a crook.  The item being sold is mine, it wasn't stolen.  I included details that made it seem spacious (it is), and that my child liked it (which was true).  Having the original box and manual makes it sound like I looked after it (which I did).

I'm going to put it up now.  I'll let you know if my strategy works!

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