I’ve already guided you through how to list an item on eBay for maximum profit, but there are reasons why eBay isn’t the best choice, Craigslist may be a better option. Here’s an outline of basic practices to help you list your items online, in the right place for the most profitable outcome.

Many of the items I covered in the previous eBay article will already help you list on Craigslist, such as knowing your product, searching ended auctions to see what a realistic price is to ask, taking quality photos and so on. But choosing eBay or Craigslist can prove to be a split in the road that not every seller considers.

Positives for listing on eBay:

  • Global marketplace that serves millions of people daily
  • Advanced searching features
  • People are now comfortable buying on eBay
  • Auction environments often lead to last minute higher bids due to excitement

Positives for listing on Craigslist:

  • Local or regional listings mean shipping an item is rarely needed, meet in person and exchange money for item.
  • No need to process a Paypal payment and wait for it to transfer to your bank account
  • Regional, sometimes items sell in less than a day
  • Free

Winner: Both offer features and benefits that are useful to sellers, no clear winner.

Negatives for listing on eBay:

  • It costs money; even if your item doesn’t sell you still have to pay
  • Not everyone is comfortable listing items for sale
  • Unless you have some positive feedback built up, you may not get as much for an item because buyers may be wary of purchasing from a new or unknown seller
  • Low starting prices with no reserves often backfire and you get much less than you anticipated
  • Items can get lost in the mail, making buyers very angry

Negatives for listing on Craigslist:

  • Regional, if you aren’t in a large city, chances are your ad won’t be seen by a lot of buyers
  • You may not have a regional Craigslist in your area yet
  • It’s still not nearly as popular as eBay, so again, less potential buyers may see your ad
  • Lowball offers are often made, the exact opposite of how eBay works where buyers outbid each other.

Winner: Craigslist, only because it’s 100% free regardless if you sell your item or not.

So which site should you sell your stuff on? Well it really depends on what you are selling, how fast you want to get rid of it and what kind of effort you want to put into it. As mentioned, Craigslist is free, so the only think you will be investing is time, however Craigslist is better suited for certain items that have never done well on eBay. Here is a list of items that I would list on Craigslist and more than likely never list on eBay:

  • Furniture / beds / carpets / large objects – shipping is a pain and in most cases, too expensive
  • Automobiles / motorcycles – again shipping isn’t much of an option and titles need to be transferred at a notary for most states
  • Expensive jewelry / watches – it’s best to meet a potential buyer at a jewelry store so they can get an appraisal on the item and you don’t have to worry about that $10,000 Rolex getting lost in the mail
  • Larger sporting goods items, such as bicycles, snowboards, surfboards, etc.
  • Guns – they simply aren’t allowed to be sold on eBay
  • Any item you need cash for fast – eBay is great, but even with Buy It Now or 3 day auctions, until money clears Paypal it could be a week or 10 days before you get cash in hand.

Previously I listed one negative for listing an item on Craigslist being low-balling. Low-balling is making an outrageously low offer on something, this is very common with Craigslist and you should be ready to barter. As someone who has bought off Craigslist, I can pretty much tell you that if your asking price is $225, I’m going to offer $200 and chances are, you will accept it. A low ball offer is me offering $125, hoping that I don’t offend you too much and you counter at $200 and I counter again at $175, but that’s just crap for both people. Be prepared though, this will happen. If you’ve done the research on what you are selling, list it for about 10% more than that (provided it’s competitively priced with other sellers, retail stores and recently ended eBay auctions) and be willing to give a little when an offer comes in.

Common Craigslist tactics for a fast sale.

  • Be descriptive. List out everything you can and know about the item you are putting up
  • Use photos. It’s free to host up to 4 photos with Craigslist, use all 4 slots
  • Respond in timely manor. This is a no brainer
  • Remove your listing when the item has sold. This is one of my biggest pet peeves, sellers who don’t remove their item or won’t reply an email to let me know it’s sold.
  • Offer to deliver the item within X miles. Gas is expensive, offer the buyer a reason he should spend his money on your item.
  • If the item is large, offer to help load it into the buyers car / truck.

Craigslist is a wonderful, free resource for all to use that has a simple, clean interface. It’s worth looking into if you have an item you don’t want to ship or would prefer to have properly appraised with the buyer. If you think a bidding war may break out over your super rare and pristine original collector’s item The Monkeys lunch box, put it on eBay.