Author Topic: Buy/Sell on Craigslist for income?  (Read 7013 times)

GreenPen

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Buy/Sell on Craigslist for income?
« on: July 22, 2014, 02:30:53 PM »
A few months ago, there was a stretch where I needed a second bike. I bought one off Craigslist, and later sold it for $50 over the original price.

I am thinking about flipping items on CL to earn some extra money. I am not sure if the margin is there for bikes (I spent a lot of hours looking for a deal), but I have a van so I was thinking of buying and selling furniture. Does anyone have experience doing this? Or any advice to offer on other items to look into?

There is an entire website devoted to this idea, but it is associated with a product that they are trying to sell. So I thought I would ask to see if ordinary readers have done this.

Samsam

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Re: Buy/Sell on Craigslist for income?
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2014, 02:36:57 PM »
This is like my FI dream "job".  When I'm FI, as a hobby go around collecting all the free shit from craigslist and then just kinda open some sort of shed/warehouse to fix / create things and try to sell them.

As of right now I do not have the time or a place to store things I would like to re purpose.  I'm interested to see how much money you will make, for me it would be more about funding a hobby. 

och4

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Re: Buy/Sell on Craigslist for income?
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2014, 02:44:29 PM »
It's definitely possible, because I use to work for an individual that did this, reselling on craigslist. I believe, the owner made about five digits in total or a bit more. He had two branches that serviced multiple areas. If this kind of business interest you, go for it as it requires very little capital to start. Make sure you enjoy it though.

Edit: Also, never had any issues with people/strange situations, except for an individual that tried to give us dirt so we may find a better home. However, I still have my doubts if this actually happen. ha!
« Last Edit: July 22, 2014, 02:46:35 PM by och4 »

mrsggrowsveg

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Re: Buy/Sell on Craigslist for income?
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2014, 02:45:54 PM »
There is an awesome blog about a guy who does this (also the blog that sent me to this site).  It is www.recraigslist.com

eil

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Re: Buy/Sell on Craigslist for income?
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2014, 03:03:14 PM »
It's worth keeping in mind that at this point, you're far from the first person to come up with the idea of Craigsflipping. Most urban areas are pretty well saturated by people doing this exact thing. My area certainly is. I can't count the number of times I've noticed a slamming deal on something that I could have used (bikes, materials, tools) and contacted the owner only to be told that someone bought it within 30 minutes of the ad going up. And then seeing the same thing listed the next day at two to three times the previous price by someone else.

Not saying you can't make money at it, but as time goes on and the market stabilizes, you're going to have to work very hard at it in order to do well. And it goes without saying that you absolutely have to be pretty knowledgeable (or a very quick learner) in the stuff you're buying and selling.

GreenPen

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Re: Buy/Sell on Craigslist for income?
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2014, 03:43:18 PM »
Thanks for all of these initial replies. I buy and sell on Craigslist a lot anyway, and it is something that I enjoy doing. I am in the process of furnishing a new apartment from the CL "Free" section, and I get a rush every time I pick up something decent.

It's worth keeping in mind that at this point, you're far from the first person to come up with the idea of Craigsflipping. Most urban areas are pretty well saturated by people doing this exact thing. My area certainly is. I can't count the number of times I've noticed a slamming deal on something that I could have used (bikes, materials, tools) and contacted the owner only to be told that someone bought it within 30 minutes of the ad going up. And then seeing the same thing listed the next day at two to three times the previous price by someone else.

I appreciate this dose of realism. A couple weeks ago, I finally withdrew a decent amount of cash ($600) so I could move quickly on a bike to flip (or possibly fix and then flip) -- and I have come up empty. There are just too many people doing the same thing, many of whom are more knowledgeable than me. I think the market presents more opportunities for cheaper bikes (under $150), especially if you can do basic maintenance. But there seems to be less money to be made here per bike.

I don't know anything about furniture, but I am thinking about getting my feet wet. My thought is that even if the market is pretty efficient, I could charge a delivery fee. But it's difficult to tell whether this might be worth it.

Mega

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Re: Buy/Sell on Craigslist for income?
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2014, 03:47:52 PM »
Better idea:

Looting peoples garbage on big garbage day / metal recycling.

In June I got a like new bike kids bike, $90 sandbox, a number of toys, power wheels, hose reel, and some other crap. Happens every 4 weeks. That was a good week. I stopped because I didn't want to keep going and wanted to sleep. (Passed on a bunch of stuff because I already had it / didn't want to bring it into the car / clean it)

There are people that go around collecting all the metal as well (driving trucks). It is amazing what people throw out.


... And it is extremely fun. Kinda like hide and seek / easter egg hunt. You definitely need two sets of eyes. It may be worthwhile to use night vision googles as well.

......
Think of it as fishing. Keep trying and eventually you will get something.

jasonw223

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Re: Buy/Sell on Craigslist for income?
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2014, 04:04:55 PM »
I buy computers / components / peripherals on craigslist and resell them.  I also build quite a few custom computers for people on there as well.  You need a big enough city that offers some selection, but a small enough city so that you aren't wasting your time going back and forth too much.  And basically - if you know what things are and how much things are worth, you buy them when there are good deals, then turn around and sell them for more.  I often will buy a new fancy case, add a video card, or do other things like that to make an item more attractive. 

I'd say that choosing a commodity that requires some work / knowledge / expertise will be better than something like bikes or TVs.

I've also bought and sold a few random items like car wheels / sports equipment / etc.

It can work well and there is definitely money to be made - but doing it regularly can be a bit of a chore.  You also probably increase your risk of being robbed, having your house broken into, etc.  Let me know if you have any other specific questions...

boarder42

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Re: Buy/Sell on Craigslist for income?
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2014, 04:23:30 PM »
i buy stuff on slickdeals and resell on CL also discount wakeboard stuff new online and resell

DoubleDown

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Re: Buy/Sell on Craigslist for income?
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2014, 04:36:27 PM »
Before there was craigslist (like, 20 years ago), my dad used to pick up old wood furniture pieces (dressers, armoires, etc.) at garage sales or that were being tossed out, strip and sand them, and re-stain them to sell. He typically made about $200-300 profit per piece in 20-year-ago-dollars, and I'd estimate it took him about 4-5 hours per piece on average. I haven't done it myself, but I'd think that if you're in a good sized urban area you could make a decent amount of money doing this. Especially where there are high income people that are willing to spend big $ on furniture at places like Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, etc.

Heck, if you could turn around just 10 pieces of furniture a month at $300 each, that would be $3000/month for about 40-50 hours of work all month (or a 2-3 hour workday)!

It would cost hardly anything to give it a try. You don't even need any expensive tools, although a palm sander would save lots of time and certainly be worth the small investment. Sandpaper, stain, some rags and paint brushes, and you're ready to go! The trick of course is to try to pick up quality pieces as much as possible -- nice hardwoods, nothing warped, rotted, or overly falling apart that can't be fixed with a couple of screws or some new hardware. If you can recognize and score an occasional antique or rare piece there's probably significant money to be made.

I think if I was going to do this, I wouldn't necessarily turn around and flip it on craigslist. Instead, I'd probably try to operate more as a "professional" and high-end looking business with a website, some modest advertising, etc., and a vibe of selling custom, fancy stuff. That way you could draw high income people who wouldn't consider buying something second-hand on craigslist.

There, I just wrote your business plan ;-)

neo von retorch

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Re: Buy/Sell on Craigslist for income?
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2014, 09:35:07 PM »
When I was building my home gym, a friend found a post that had "the stuff I was looking for" (aka squat rack, bench press, etc) and she pointed it out to me. It didn't have individual prices but said $1500 for all. I took a look and I thought "worst, worst, worst case scenario, I can't sell anything but I eventually make it back in gym fees." So I bought it all for $1400. I started seeing a girl who works at an auction house, and she said "we don't touch gym equipment... it just doesn't sell." Six weeks later and I've sold over $2400 in stuff. I ended up selling some of the stuff I wanted and buying the exact pieces I wanted for around the same price. Overall I'm up over $400, have everything I want, and have a handful of things to sell yet. As it turns out, these things can sell if you find the right buyers at the right price.

TL;DR - Look for things that are underpriced because they are sold in lots and you might be able to turn a good profit. The trick is knowing the real "value" - value is what people will pay for something, not what it was at retail.

Michael792

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Re: Buy/Sell on Craigslist for income?
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2014, 05:09:57 AM »
This is actually my plan for starting my first business when I get out of the Army. If you'd like to read more about it, go to this blog:

http://recraigslist.com/

I really like this guy, as I'd been thinking basically along the same lines as you before I went active duty, and I found this guy while searching for info. If I'd been thinking rationally back in January, I'd still be in the Reserves and making a LOT of money of CL. At least, a lot more than these guys pay me.

liquidbanana

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Re: Buy/Sell on Craigslist for income?
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2014, 05:57:53 AM »
I know several people who buy stuff at auctions and resell on eBay and Craig's list. One has a sahw and kids and another had a full time employee (until the employee passed away...), so there is money to be made if you are good at it.

Craig list flippers, on the other hand, are the bane of my existence. How I miss being able to actually score good deals on craigslist without breaking hovering over the site 24/7.

I like the furniture flipping idea...totally stealing it. :-)
« Last Edit: July 23, 2014, 05:59:45 AM by liquidbanana »

MillenialMustache

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Re: Buy/Sell on Craigslist for income?
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2014, 06:53:12 AM »
I know several people who buy stuff at auctions and resell on eBay and Craig's list. One has a sahw and kids and another had a full time employee (until the employee passed away...), so there is money to be made if you are good at it.

Craig list flippers, on the other hand, are the bane of my existence. How I miss being able to actually score good deals on craigslist without breaking hovering over the site 24/7.

I like the furniture flipping idea...totally stealing it. :-)

I don't think it is just Craigslist flippers - when I bought my washer/dryer set for $50 (talked them down from $75) we spotted it less than 30 minutes after it was listed. When my sister got a great deal on a car, she also spotted it less than 30 minutes after it was listed. There are just a lot of people monitoring Craigslist these days.

boarder42

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Re: Buy/Sell on Craigslist for income?
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2014, 07:29:40 AM »
yep to get deals on CL you have to watch it like a hawk

arebelspy

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Re: Buy/Sell on Craigslist for income?
« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2014, 10:32:37 AM »
I've made a decent amount of money on Craigslist reselling things I wanted and used anyways (or picking up a few extra while shopping for my own and reselling).  It's work though, and dealing with unreliable people can be annoying.  It's something that's enjoyable to me every once in awhile, but I wouldn't want to make a living doing it.

yep to get deals on CL you have to watch it like a hawk

Or use email triggers or rss feeds for certain searches, so you're alerted as soon as they're posted.
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