Income School Blog

Hustle It!—Craigslist Flipping in 6 Steps

Have you ever just scrolled through the free section on Craigslist?

It’s crazy the kind of stuff you can find on there.

You’ll find a lot of things that aren’t worth the drive to go get them, but you’ll also find some stuff that’s pretty cool.  It’s stuff that the owner doesn’t want or need but just can’t bring themselves to throw away because surely someone can use it.

If you search through other categories on Craigslist you’ll also find tons more stuff ranging from free to a good deal to completely overpriced.  And it’s this wide range of value that creates such a good opportunity for someone willing to put in the effort.

Let me give you an example of the kinds of steals you can find.

Earlier this month, my cousin and his wife found this playground set on Craigslist.  And it was absolutely FREE!  PlaygroundCan you believe that?!  My wife and I like to look at these when we go to Lowes or Costco and most of them are
$1,000 or more.  And they got this one for free.

You don’t find deals like that every day on Craiglist.  In fact, they’re pretty rare.  But there are so many good deals on there that it’s practically a gold mine if you’ve got some time to look.

Let me give you another example from my own experience.  About a year ago, we were knee deep in a bathroom remodel and we had this old, heavy, pink cast-iron bath tub.  It was actually in really good shape and we managed to pull it out without damaging it.  My only problem with it is that it was pink.  But I figured that someone else would probably love it.  So it sat in my garage waiting for me to post it to Craigslist.

Months passed waiting for me to get around to cleaning it up and getting it ready to sell.  But I’m a busy guy and I never got around to it.  So one day I just decided that I didn’t care if I got a penny for it, I just wanted it gone.  So I pulled it out and took some pictures without worrying about cleaning off all the old caulk.  I posted it for free, and within a couple hours I had about five texts and emails asking for the tub.  Two hours later, I was helping a couple guys load it into the back of a truck.

These guys got a perfectly good, cast-iron bathtub absolutely free.  And I got some free space back in my garage.

I tell you these stories to make a point.  And that is that there are so many things posted on Craigslist that are either free or way under-priced.  And this presents an opportunity for you if you’re willing to put in a little time.  But that’s what Hustle It! is all about, putting in the extra time and effort to make money.

So here’s what you need to do to make money with Craigslist.

  1. Find Your Niche—Everyone needs a niche, even when flipping on Craiglist.  You should pick a category that you know something about and buy things in that category.  This will allow you to get a sense of when things are under-priced, and when you have an opportunity to make money.  Picking a niche will allow you to get better at this as you go, which will save you time and make you more money.
  2. Scour Craigslist—Spend a little time on Craigslist every day.  In any given category, posts may not sit near the top very long.  Depending where you live, good opportunities could be buried on page 3 in a matter of hours.  How much time you need to spend on the site depends on how much stuff gets posted, and you’ll get a feel for that as you go.
  3. Determine the Value—Once you’ve found something that you think might be a good deal, do a little research online to figure out what it might be worth.  You can search on Craiglist and Ebay to figure out how much other people are charging for similar items.  You can look at other retailers that sell new or used versions of the same or similar items.  Figure out how much people are paying for items like this.  If it’s much higher than the posted price, then you may have an opportunity.
  4. Negotiate the Deal—If the item is a good deal, then it may not last long on Craigslist.  So you probably don’t have a lot of time for research.  This is where picking a niche and becoming an expert over time will really help you close good deals quickly.  But once you’ve contacted the seller, it’s time to negotiate.  Now, if it really is a good deal, then you probably don’t have a lot of room to negotiate the price down further.  Especially if other offers are coming in.  But you may have some luck if the seller is anxious to sell.
  5. Restore the Item—This step isn’t always necessary.  Some things are just way under-priced and you can immediately re-post the item on Craigslist.  You can often sell items better by cleaning them up a little (depending what they are).  Sometimes a can of spray paint or stain can bring new life to a worn out piece of furniture.  You also want to make sure you take some decent quality pictures.  People are always more comfortable buying things that have pictures.  And good pictures can go really far toward increasing how much people think stuff is worth, which means faster sales at better prices.
  6. Post It—Now you just post the item on Craigslist.  You’ll want to use that research you did before to set a fair price that gives you a nice return.  Use your nice picture and give a good description of the item.

When selling on Craigslist, you should always expect people to try to negotiate the price down.  So set you price on the high end of what you think it’s worth, then plan to sell it for a bit less.  Make sure you set a minimum price in your head before you start negotiating.  If you can afford to hold onto the item for a little while, then you don’t need to sell it to the first interested buyer.  You may have to post stuff a few times before it will sell at the price you want.  But if you price it fairly, it will eventually sell.

Craigslist flipping can bring in a lot of money for not too much work, which makes in an excellent source of extra income.  As you do it, you’ll get better and better at spotting those perfect items that are easy to flip for a nice profit.

Like everything else worth doing, it takes some work.  It won’t make you a fortune overnight, but it can help you get to your fortune someday.  That is, if you’re willing to put in the work and Hustle It!


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