Best Ways to Make Money on Craigslist

Best Ways to Make Money on Craigslist: Greetings everyone! I would like to introduce one of my favorite side hustles for the last 12 years – Craigslist. I want to explain to you in this post how I used Craigslist to make $500+ per month. Using the same methods, I want to show you how you can make money on Craigslist just as easily. That might seem extreme but once you have a method, it all comes together and actually gets easier!

Craigslist gives you the ability to create your very own business out of thin air, with very low start up costs. Let me give you an example:

  • Back when I was in college, I didn’t want to dedicate time to working a normal part-time job. Being a car enthusiast, I knew people bought and sold used car items all the time. After looking around on the forums, I noticed price discrepancies between similar items – simply based on their appearance. I made a small business from just cleaning up used car parts and reselling them. I would make anywhere from $20 to $200 per item.

So this all sounds great, I’m sure but where do you start?

Best Ways to Make Money on Craigslist, Tip 1: Find your niche

Ever wanted to work within your hobby? Now is your chance. Almost everyone has some sort of hobby that they enjoy. Most of these hobbies have forums of similar minded people that like to discuss the subtle aspects of whatever the hobby may be.

Also in these forums are marketplaces. Marketplaces have HUGE opportunities.

Most of these places do not charge to participate in, they’re there for members. So create a membership at your forum of choice and begin browsing!

Best Ways to Make Money on Craigslist, Tip 2: Research, Research, Research!

This is where most people fall flat. If you want to make money, you need to put the time in to do the research. You may be wondering – “What do you mean by research exactly, Dave?”. No worries, I will show you the steps:

  • Browse the forums
  • Find items that sell for a larger range (example: Item A sells for $100 to $200 based on condition)
  • Write down the item and the price ranges it sells
  • Continue researching for other items

Best Ways to Make Money on Craigslist

The goal here is to build a list of 5-10 items that fit your criteria. Common items may have a low potential profit margin so try to work towards niche items.

Check out some of our other articles in the side hustle category:

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Affiliate marketing: Wealthy Affiliate Review

Best Ways to Make Money on Craigslist, Tip 3: Comb the forums, Craigslist, Ebay, etc

This is second phase of your research – now that you have a price range of a variety of items, begin to comb your online resources to find a deal. It will take time and patience but can pay off very well once you are good at it. A few of my tips are:

  • Search consistently
  • Search in moderation (a consistent 15-min search is better than a sporadic 2 hour binge)
  • Post in parts/items wanted to draw traffic to you

Best Ways to Make Money on Craigslist, Tip 4: You found a deal! Now what?

Let’s say you’re on Craigslist and you found an item that is on the lower end of your price range. Everything looks good but how to do you proceed? Simply message, call or email the owner.

Here is the process I use on negotiating with a seller:

  • I prefer to open with asking if the item is still available.
  • Begin with some basic questions to get more detail about the item such as if there are defects or missing pieces. This gives you an opportunity to ask for a lower price
  • Find out what their timetable is like – are they in a rush? Do they have time to wait? A wise man once said – “who ever controls the clock, controls the game”. This is true here as well!
    • If they are in a rush or the item has defects: Ask for 20-40% off the price as an opener. A lower price from their initial request creates a new “anchor point” in which to start the deal. Even if they meet you half-way, you have still saved a considerable amount!
    • If they are not in a rush or the item is in really good shape, offer slightly less than asking. If they are firm on their price, ask for better terms such as: they will drop off the item or meet you halfway. Hey, time is money and gas isn’t cheap!

Following this, go and purchase the item for the agreed upon amount. Assuming everything goes well, you will have the right item for the right price. Just a reminder – please be safe when negotiating with strangers. I prefer to meet people in a public place, bring a friend and let someone else know what I’m doing. It helps to have a system of support for this!

Best Ways to Make Money on Craigslist, Tip 5: Value add – rehab, repair, fix, etc.

This is the crucial detail of this operation. How are you going to add value to this product? Will it be through superior marketability? Are you going to repair the product? Maybe add parts from another product to make it better? Who knows. There are plenty of options depending on your niche.

Think of it this way. What makes your product stand out from the rest of those out there? How can you make it better than the competition?

Best Ways to Make Money on Craigslist, Tip 6: Selling your item for max profit

Next objective is selling your item. The goal here is to obviously make a profit, so selling for your invested cost or less than it does not make sense. There are some recommended steps to make sure your item markets well. I like the following approaches:

  • Take great photos. Good lighting, clean background. Take multiple angles of the item. Take high detail shots of important parts. Quality is key!
  • Description – A great description sells a product. People like to know all the details about what they’re buying and why it’s a good value. It helps justify your price.
  • Market to the appropriate outlet – This one is tricky. If your item is cheap on the forums but expensive on Craigslist, you should buy from the cheap source and sell at the more expensive one. It seems like common sense but many people miss this step!

Best Ways to Make Money on Craigslist, Tip 7: Rinse and repeat

Your ability to do this will improve as you progress. It does take some initial time and monetary investment upfront. I have done this with 100’s of used items at this point, from all sorts of categories. My most successful items were automotive but I think that’s because I knew the hobby more in depth. I have one friend that does this with cars. He will purchase a car for $400, repair it (spending $200 on parts) and sell it for $2500. There was another example I heard on a podcast where a guy would buy couches from a storage unit, repair them and sell them for triple the amount. How’s that for a profit?

Other advantages

Scalability: Something most people don’t consider is that once you have acquired the item and posted it up for sale – you have additional time to find more items! This is like creating a mass of potential energy. Every item you acquire and set up to market just adds to the size of your potential profit.

Flexibility: The business can go any direction you need it do. There are no “rules” to follow.

Highly experimental: It may sound like a bad thing, but for any sort brand new operation – this is key. Having the ability to switch your business direction on a dime or try multiple different things leads you to finding a successful niche.

You’re in charge: You work whenever you want to. No boss, no unforeseen demands. This business is as free form as it can get!

Have you started a Craigslist side business? What were your results like? Post them in the comments below!

Did you like this post? Check out some of our others:

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20 thoughts on “Best Ways to Make Money on Craigslist

  1. It was nice to see someone mention CL again. That used to be my go to for finding stuff that I was really in need of (like a phone) but I didn’t want to pay full retail for. I also didn’t mind the fact that it was also slightly used. lol
    Do you think CL is as good as it was say 5 years ago or is their too much competition now with other sites like etsy or ebay?

    1. Craigslist seems pretty consistent as it always ways. If anything, the market is stronger now. I think there is some confusion with sites like Etsy and Ebay. Etsy is for selling crafted goods from your own store. Ebay is a good way to sell to a HUGE market. Like if you wanted to take something cheaper from craigslist and sell it on Ebay. Going from a small market to a large market makes sense at times.

  2. Wow, this seems really good and useful article for earning some side income especially busy people who want to earn a bot more rise in money to live a good life. I really love d all the points you have mentioned and will share it with others also for sure. Thank you for such a useful share.

  3. Hi Dave. I’ve never used Craigs List before, but am now inspired to go and check it out to see what it can do for me in term of generating an income. Many thanks for the information.

  4. Excellent post on Craigs List. As others have said, I used to use this years ago until the spammers hit it hard, so nice to see it being mentioned again

    One thing I didn’t see, given that you posted such useful information is anywhere to subscribe to get more info, when you post

  5. Hey, Dave!

    I absolutely loved some of the ideas you put out. In truth, all of them.
    The negotiation tactic makes so much sense, yet it’s something that I feel is hard to come up with, especially one like me, who have no experience with bargaining whatsoever.

    All in all I truly like the idea, will try to make something happen of it!

    Thank you for all the ideas and creative suggestions, I sincerely appreciate it!
    Cheers and have a Great One!

    1. No problem Matiss. Most people haven’t really considered this approach to Craigslist so it’s a bit unique. If you have any questions about it, feel free to contact me in the “contact us” tab at the top of the site.

  6. I haven’t thought about Craigslist lately, but you’ve given me food for thought. I also read your post on using Uber for affiliate marketing. More good food for thought and very beneficial.

    Please remember to encourage someone today!
    Vanna Pearl

  7. I have never thought of Craigslist as a place to make money in that way. Your system certainly is logical and makes really good sense. I think once you find your niche and figure out where to get good parts, how to clean them up and resell, the system would run really smoothly. Cool idea and something I will definitely keep in mind!

  8. Hey Dave, It’s so true – somebody’s no longer wanted items are somebody else’s treasure – If you can effectively cover the middle ground by purchasing at the right quality & price and supplying those who are searching for what you are marketing, you can become an authority within any niche.
    I have never used Craigslist before, I will take a look.
    I have used eBay in the past – buying and selling food prep equipment which I found extremely popular with takeaways, cafes and small restaurants. I used to strip them down, service them, replace broken parts and re-spray to look like new condition. Buying brand new is way out of most small businesses reach whereas buying good quality second-hand equipment is an affordable solution that prepares food in exactly the same way.
    I agree with your advice, research is key, all the best,

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