You’ve used Craigslist right? I have countless times and I can’t think of a person I know that hasn’t used it for something. Even my mom shops on the site for used items. Not long ago she was even browsing cars on the site.
Have you ever used the site to make money though?
Now this isn’t what you think. I don’t mean liquidate all your stuff and call the proceeds earnings. I mean really truly have you ever used the site to make money?
What Is An Occasional Use Item – My Definition
Before we get into the money making part let me first explain what I define as an occasional use item. Basically anything you don’t need regularly is occasional use in my world.
Some items like vacuums and strollers are used all the time. Cameras, TVs, Coffee makers, and many other items in our house are regularly used on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Because these are regular items that are regularly used I do not consider them to be occasional use.
On the other hand our family video camcorder is not something we use regularly. It’s used on vacations, holidays and the occasional special event but it isn’t needed at any regular interval.
Along the same vein some baby products, electronics, outdoor gear, sporting equipment, and many other items are needed in our household periodically but only on occasion.
Last week my wife and I went to Big Bear Lake where there is skiing and snowboarding this time of year. We do not do this but once every few years so it wouldn’t make sense to own our own gear. Being the cheapskate that I am it doesn’t feel good to rent the equipment either… so what do I do? I make money off these occasional use items by buyign them used and then selling them off after our need for them is in the past.
Baby gear? How is that occasional use? My son, who is not yet a year old, has already used and outgrown a baby bouncer, swing, bassinet, and a few other items. These were regularly used for a few months but will not be needed again until baby number two comes. And if you ask my wife she’ll let you know that that isn’t anytime soon either.
It doesn’t’ make sense to own these things but it does make sense to make money out of them. They are occasional use items after all.
How Do I Make Money Off These Items? I Use Craigslist
This idea isn’t novel by any means but it may be a little out of the box for some. This may not be your cup of tea either and I respect that but I see no reason why this can’t work for just about anyone out there.
Here’s the process. I identify a product I know I’ll need in the near to distant future. I then buy that item for a low price used on Craigslist. After I use the item I turn around and sell the exact same item on Craigslist to someone else for more than what I paid for it.
How Does This Work?
It’s simple really. People who sell on Craigslist fall into one of two camps usually. They need to unload items quickly for whatever they can get or they sell waiting for a good price.
Similarly people who buy on Craigslist buy things quickly for whatever price the item is offered at or they wait for and haggle with sellers to get the best price possible.
If you can get yourself in the position where you can wait for a good price on both sides of the transaction and deal with others who are in a bind on both sides of the transaction you can make some money while also making use of the item.
Right now my son is about ready for a high chair. I know he probably won’t need it for more than a year so I plan on finding a good high chair on Craigslist and waiting for the best price I can find. I can even be brand specific if I want; it will simply take longer to find what I’m looking for.
When I find one I want I will make my offer and try to negotiate a price in my favor. It may take a few weeks and a bunch of phone calls and emails but eventually I’ll get something great for a great price.
After my son outgrows the chair I will then repost the same chair on Craigslist for more than what I bought it for and I will wait until I find a buyer; even if it takes a few weeks, emails, and phone calls to make the sale. There is no rush and no need to take a loss on the transaction. In my opinion I should make a profit every time.
You could of course alter your strategy and flip items on Craigslist for a profit. I’ve done this too and it works. I’ve bought and sold the same item over and over again sometimes making $20-$50 profit each time depending on the item in question. This takes more of an entrepreneurial spirit but it is another way to actually make money on Craigslist.
If you have any other thoughts on making money buying and selling used items on Craigslist I’d love to hear them. Drop us a line in the comments below.