Friday, November 12, 2010

the list of our dear friend Craig...

People are always throwing away furniture. It's in your home, you want to replace it with something, so you put it in the alley or bring it to the dump. Problem solved.

However, this is a perfect opportunity to make some money.

These couches, for example. Cash in the trash.
So you sell them. On CRAIGSLIST! 

Once, I had a hideous green couch that I got from some relatives. Distant relatives. Wife's parent's cousin's relatives. Bottom line: couch was free and ugly.

I put it up on craigslist, just to see what offers I could get and sold it for $120!

Accounting recap: 
Initial investment = $0.00
Final sale value = $120.00

Net Profit = $120.00.

If only that worked every time. But let me run through a list of other things that have worked:

Bedroom set: bed, side tables, dressers:
Bought: Free  Sold: $100
Coffee Table:
Bought: Free  Sold: $25
Ugly Couch #2:
Bought: Free  Sold: $50
Ugly Couch #3: (thank goodness for slipcovers)
Bought: Free   Sold: $35
Cool Chair in Disrepair:
Bought: Free  Sold: $25
TV's found in our Apartment Storage Unit:
Bought: Free  Sold: $15 & $25
Obviously we've got something good going here. If only I could accumulate a free inventory of furniture I could be quite a businessman. What a business model.

But how does one sell on Craigslist? Isn't it a hassle? Aren't people untrustworthy? What if I don't want strangers in my home?

Step One: 
Take pictures of it looking its best. You don't want pictures of it upside down or in storage or at night. Dress it up nice and take a good picture.

 Step Two:
Get it out of your living space! If you want this thing gone, move it to the basement, the back entryway, a storage unit. Save your sanity while you try to sell it. This has the added benefit allowing you to deal with potential buyers in a place other than inside your home, such as a garage or storage area.

Step Three:
Describe it accurately, only put your phone number on the listing if you want to. Be selective about your offers. Be totally competitive. If people are coming to see your item, ask them to call you before they leave, or call them 15 minutes before they are supposed to arrive before you start getting ready for them. This way you won't be disappointed an hour later when they call and cancel. Bring the item of furniture out of your home for additional safety if you desire. Specify cash up front and have change ready. Be firm! Let them know other people are interested. Ask $25 more than you really expect and then take less if you want.

And of course:

this book couldn't hurt.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Making Money with Craigslist

Good luck!


  1. They're all good tips guys..
    Especially the photos.. I check CL everyday and I won't even look at an ad that doesn't have photos, and I'm sure I'm not alone.
    Jo xx

  2. So true, Jo. The photos are crucial. So is proper spelling and an ad that appears trustworthy.

    So many scam artists out there.

    Oh, and never reply when people email with form letters asking about your "item" and wanting lots of personal information.

    Personal pet peeve of mine.