How to Sell on Craigslist

As we explained in our What Is Craigslist article, Craigslist is a bit different from traditional e-commerce websites, such as Amazon and eBay. It allows you to post advertisements for things that you want to sell (or buy), but it does not facilitate the transactions themselves (such as processing payments or taking care of shipping and handling). Therefore, you'll have to make up a bit of the legwork.

There are three key steps to selling on Craigslist: posting an advertisement, communicating with prospective buyers, and then meeting up to complete the transaction.

How to sell something on Craigslist

1. Create an advertisement for the product or service.

The only way that other Craigslist users are going to know that you have an item or service that you want to sell is if you tell them about it. Therefore, the first step in selling an item on Craigslist is to post an advertisement, like this one:

You should provide as much detail as you can about the item, such as what condition it's in, an asking price, its manufacturer or model, unique identifying numbers, and so on. It's also important to include one or more pieces of contact information, so that anyone who wants to buy what you're selling can get in touch with you. Finally, you may want to provide some pictures, too, so that people can see what your item looks like.

See our How to Post on Craigslist tutorial for instructions on putting an advertisement up on Craigslist.

2. Get in touch with people who want to buy your item.

As we mentioned in the opening paragraph of this article, Craigslist leaves the details of a transaction between a buyer and a seller up to them to hash out. This is why, in the previous tip, we said that it's extremely important to include contact information for prospective buyers to reach you at. The default is email (and Craigslist will partially anonymize your email address to help keep people from sending you junk mail), but you can also provide a phone number.

You can even add some location data, if you want to meet (this is useful if the item is stored somewhere other than where you live). However, just be careful about revealing more personal information than you're comfortable with!

3. Finalize the transaction by meeting in person.

Once you've worked out the details with the buyer, you should ask them to meet you in person in order to pick up the item and make the payment. You can, of course, ship the item to them once they've paid you (or have them pay you later), but we would suggest completing the deal face-to-face if possible.

The reason for this is that most deals that go bad on Craigslist do so when people don't meet face-to-face, instead solely working out the details over emails, phone calls, or text messages. Our Is Craigslist Safe and Craigslist Scams articles have more information about that.

There! We've just made selling on Craigslist as easy as 1-2-3! Check out some of the other articles we mentioned for more detailed instructions on how to hawk your stuff on Craigslist!