Craigslist: The Perfect Side Hustle
Craigslist where you can find anything from someone selling a business to someone soliciting for obscure sex fetishes. We are going to find a happy medium to cover in this article, even though both of those options mentioned could likely net you some significant compensation. However, like most things in life, with greater reward comes greater risk. Craigslist hustles can range from quite a few things, including the aforementioned niches, but today we are going to dive into flipping.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love hustling on Craigslist (and now Facebook Marketplace). It’s the perfect forum for someone to get rid of something they no longer want or need and make some money off of it. And on the other end of that transaction is someone that wants to part with some cold hard cash for an item, but doesn’t want to pay a premium price for a new one. In most cases, both people leave happier than they were when they came.
But how exactly is Craigslist the perfect side hustle? Well, like I mentioned earlier, you can find practically anything on Craigslist, and everyone has different hobbies, and interests that they probably know more about than the average person. For instance, there are plenty of photographers (professional or hobbyists) and these people know cameras. Any 6 year old these days knows everything there is to know about phones. Others may have a penchant for other electronics or computers. I personally like bicycles, and I’ll explain why these are ideal later on in the article.
All of these items and thousands more are available on Craigslist. All you have to do is find one that is either under-priced, or poorly listed (preferably both) and then re-list it. AKA: Flipping it. Flipping stuff on Craigslist can be super easy if you pick something that needs very little to no work at all, and you can buy it, and list it, and sell it all in a matter of minutes all while working around your typical job.
Why Do You Pick Bicycles?
Bicycles are my choice of poison for a number of reasons. First, every bike I save from some dark corner of someone’s garage is another bike that is back on the road. Sure, statistically speaking, it might only be used a few times before it too finds itself relegated to the black abyss of someone else’s junk. But, occasionally, there might be one that actually stays in use, and that would be a small victory in a world dominated by the crippling dependence on cars.
Second, the idea of owning a bike is popular enough that a significant amount of people have them, so there is always a bountiful supply to pick from, and the few people that don’t have one always seem to want one, whether they’ll use it or not. Finally, the most beneficial reason I pick bicycles for Craigslist flipping is because of their size. Bikes are large, not overly heavy, but their size makes shipping them an expensive ordeal from any location. So, because of this, it behooves an interested buyer to look locally for a bicycle. And because of the locality of the bike search, you don’t have to compete with online sales. I don’t have to worry about some guy in Sacramento selling his Trek for $50 while I have an identical one for sale for $200.
Craigslist Hustle Case Study
Here are two cases where I flipped items with my Craigslist Hustle guide and how I made it worth my time.
I was in the market for a bicycle trailer (grocery shopping, carting around our dog, etc.) and there was one for sale with two bicycles. However, they were listed as a group, not individually. The listing was for 2 bicycles (one men’s, one women’s, both dept. store bikes) and the bicycle trailer for $300. All three were leaned up against each other in the one picture in the listing, and the picture must’ve been taken from 12 feet away. In any world, this would’ve been grossly overpriced, and I would’ve just passed on it. But, it stayed listed for a while, which is one of my favorite indicators that it’ll be a good flip for a side-hustle on Craigslist. So, I finally contacted the guy about it.
I ask if they are still available and he immediately told me yes. Within a matter of seconds, I receive a barrage of texts saying that he needed them gone. And another text stating that he would take $100. I waited a few minutes and finally offered $75 and he jumped on it. So, I went and picked them up and listed the bicycles the same night. I sold the men’s bike for $75 and one of my co-workers wanted the women’s bike, so I cut her a deal and sold it for $60. So, I spent less than 1 hour getting the bikes, listing them, and selling them and I made $60 + I still had the trailer that started this whole chain of events.
Emily and I were taking a weekend trip back to Alabama, and so I hop on Facebook Marketplace and begin searching for a bike. After a couple minutes of scouring the listings, I find a men’s Bianchi bike for sale in the area. The picture of it was upside down because the bike was hanging in their garage, and the person listing it couldn’t even be bothered to get it down to take a picture. It was listed for $80. I offered them $50. They countered at $70 but I could get a free helmet.
I appreciate their concern for my safety, but they don’t know me. I’m reckless, and I don’t need no damn helmets (Don’t listen to me kids). I stayed firm at $50 and kindly passed on the helmet. They accepted. My wife and I rolled by and picked up the bicycle. We meandered our way back to St. Louis, and I aired up the tires and rode it a couple miles to the gym and back. I listed and sold it for $200. Took me 5 minutes to air up the tires. 10 minutes to take pictures and list it. $150 in 15 minutes of work. Talk about a Craigslist hustle!
There are a couple of things that are similar in these flips. One, the sellers take terrible pictures. This not only tells me that they don’t care about whatever they’re selling, but it also keeps other potential buyers from looking at the listing. In turn, I have less competition. Second, I make offers that I am comfortable with, and never worry about walking away if they don’t accept. I’ll admit that the bargaining is probably my favorite part of the entire flipping process, and being good at it ensures that I make the most of my time.
Guide to Craigslist Side-Hustle
You’re in luck because I am feeling generous. Here’s my comprehensive guide to buying and selling on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, and all the other outlets for buying and selling in your area.
- Look for listings with terrible pictures and descriptions.
- Find listings that are under-priced.
- Find listings that are over-priced, but have been up for a significant amount of time.
- Make low offers. If you feel like you aren’t very good at negotiating, make even lower offers, and expect to meet somewhere in the middle.
- Prepare to walk away. Making offers doesn’t cost me anything, and I can’t count how many offers I’ve made on items and they fall through.
- Pretty much the opposite of the buying process.
- Have multiple clear, well lit pictures. Bonus points: don’t have a lot going on in the background, ideally nothing in the background.
- Have thorough descriptions. Yes, the pictures should be descriptive enough, and they can see the bike is black in the pictures, but I put it in the description anyway.
- List your item for more than you want. Again, if you aren’t confident in your negotiation skills, list it for a little more than you normally would. Everyone wants to feel like they’re getting a deal.
Here are two of my listings of the exact same bike to illustrate how much a listing and pictures affect the sale.
53 cm men’s bike. Rides great. $80
This listing got 24 views in a week, and I had one person contact me about the bike. After a week, I relisted it with the posting below.
53″ flat black Hyper mountain bike with white and grey graphics. Full suspension. 21 Speeds. Adjustable seat should accommodate riders from 5’5″ – 5’9″. Shifts are smooth with no issues. Tires are in good shape, and the brakes stop on a dime. This bike needs nothing, just hop on and ride. $80
This picture was taken 30 feet away from the first one. The back drop is the door of our neighborhood pool house. This still isn’t an ideal picture. But, nonetheless, this listing had 140 views and sold within 24 hours.
All of the points I make don’t just apply to bicycles either. I’ve sold cameras, appliances, and furniture using these same guidelines. The best part is, that you don’t have to learn anything. You can pick something that you are already passionate about. And, there’s no weekly or hourly commitment that you have to make, unlike a typical second job. If you have a busy week at work, you don’t have to buy or list anything. If you have some time on your hands, you can pick up an item or two. With an item or two a week, it would be easy to get $75 for less than an hour of work. $75 x 52 = $3900 a year, or enough in one year to pay your Netflix bill for the next 40 years.
Go out and see if you can’t flip an item or two by using our guide to buying and selling for Craigslist Hustles this month and see how easy it is. Be sure to check back in with us and let us know how it goes.
Solid advice on the ad info and clear pictures. I’ve been doing a bit of this on eBay and forums with camping gear as it tends to hold its value in the same way that bicycles do. You can almost talk people into buying it when it looks like you put in some effort!
You are absolutely right. And whether consciously or not, you think that if someone takes this type of time and effort into their listing, it’s likely that they took pretty good care of the item you’re looking at. I love the intricacies of it, even though it seems very simple and replicable.
Every time I drive by a free sign in someone’s front yard, I think about seeing if they have anything I could sell on craigslist. You have pushed me over the edge, next time I see something decent I’m grabbing it!
Definitely! There are people that solely do this. Flipping items that are free leaves you with tons of room for profit haha. Let us know how it goes when you make your first flip.
The care you took while taking the pics of the items that you want to sell gives off a VERY positive vibe.
I can’t believe the garbage pics that I see being posted by people who want to dispose off their stuff.
It’s all in how you present and market it.
1) Good pic’s …(The product cleaned, dusted and wiped with a semi wet cloth (to give some ‘sheen/luster’) & against a single color background…maybe place fresh green potted plant(s) next to the item to rub off the freshness.)
2) Great title …(Just like a good resume…it will immediately make people give the ad more eye time.)
3) To the point feature list …(Makes buyers reach some decision faster.)
Last Dec I sold off my PS3 for $220 using the above points.
The product was very well taken care off so that just sealed the deal with the buyer when he saw it in person.
Love this post! I have made several hundred over the past few months getting refrigerators and flipping them on Craigslist/FB marketplace. I got one that was broken for free and sold it for $50, one for $20 and sold for $80 and then a couple others I got for $100 and flipped for $200. I get a nice little workout in loading and unloading them as well. I need to learn more about bikes.
I have a small eBay store that’s doing about $500 a month now and do an antique booth with my dad. While I’m out shopping for things on eBay, if there is a large item for a great price, I’ll pick it up and flip it on FB marketplace. I also got $1,000 worth of floor tile for my house on Craigslist for free. I guess you could say I’m a flipaholic lol.
Like!! I blog quite often and I genuinely thank you for your information. The article has truly peaked my interest.