Jun 132007

…or How to sell everything you don’t need for cash-money!

I hate ebay. I’ve been burned so many times before on ebay, from scams to broken goods, that I refuse to use it. But how do you sell all that junk you don’t need anymore? In this post I will describe some useful techniques to sell all the stuff you don’t need or want using social and local web sites. I deal in cash only, local pickup sales. I meet face to face with the buyers in a public space and never get scammed. It may take a little longer to sell your stuff, but its worth the wait when you get a motivated buyer willing to pay cash and pick up the item.

Every few years it seems like I go through a purge of all my old stuff. Over the course of a couple years I end up accumulating a bunch of gadgets and tools I just don’t really need anymore. I generally take very good care of my things, so they last longer and maintain a higher resale value. Instead of having something sitting in a box somewhere until its obsolete and worthless I try to purge these unused items. The point is, if you have something of SOME value (over $20?) but you don’t use it, what good is it to you? Just sell it. Using some smart techniques you can minimize your risk and make social selling tools work for you. People who respond on local sites are generally motivated individuals actively looking for what you are selling. No shipping costs when selling local either.

Lately I’ve been using Craigslist. I know there is still a potential for scams and spam on Craigslist, but you do not have to deal on their terms. Advertise your item in the appropriate category in your LOCAL city. State clearly in the post that you deal only in LOCAL CASH PICKUP. Meet with them on your terms in a public space. I usually meet up at a local coffee shop, I’ve never had any complaints. When posting your items, be as descriptive as possible. Include pictures, the more the better. Set your price maybe 10-15% higher than you are willing to accept so you can drop it a couple bucks when they try and haggle. Haggling is an important part of society and many cultures take it seriously, be flexible but prepared. It may take up to 2-3 weeks to sell an item on Craigslist, but I’ve had things sell in less than 2 hours. To date I have sold EVERY item I’ve listed on Craigslist.

I will also use localized web classifieds. Many local newspapers provide an area on their websites for users to post free sales ads. Use any free local posting service to get rid of your stuff that you can. Back in the late 90’s I used Yahoo! Classifieds to sell some things, I had decent luck at the time with it, when Yahoo had a decent user base. It may still be good, but I don’t know. If you have an extensive MySpace (or other social network) friends list, you can always post a bulletin. A lot of your friends have similar interests and might be interested in some of your stuff.

Finally you can always use a local physical bulletin board. Public bulletin boards can usually be found in coffee shops, music shops, grocery stores, and college campuses. Don’t be annoying with fliers, but if you are having a yard sale or selling a lot of things at once, it can help spread the w0rd to generate a better response or faster turnaround.

To keep track of all the crap I’ve been selling I even had to implement a rudimentary accounting system. I’ve been using a web application called SideJobTrack. I like it, a lot. Its not as fancy as some other time tracking and invoicing systems, but it works for me as a freelance consultant too.


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