My Most Profitable Day On Craigslist

April 4, 2013

General, Motivation, Stories

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How in the world are you going to make a living on Craigslist, my wife said to me. She thought I was nuts. So do you do this fulltime, many others have asked. Yes, I buy and sell things on Craigslist full-time. They are trying not to embarrass me, but their curiosity burns. Is there really enough money in it to earn a living, others will ask. Yes. Are you planning on doing this long term, they will finally blurt out. Yes, in some form or another. There is a lot of money to be made, as my most profitable day demonstrates.

Early last June, I had a day where I made $700 profit. It wasn’t a special day where I saved up my inventory and unloaded it all at once. In fact, the week ended up being one of my most profitable weeks ever, but that’s for another day. Before I list the transactions that led to my big day, I want to note a few things.

First, $700 in one day might not be a lot for a lot of people, but when you’re selling low priced physical goods, it’s a lot of money. It’s more in a day than I used to make in two weeks working a full-time, low paying job.

Second, I left a lot of money on the table. Other than the scrap metal, I probably could have doubled my selling price on everything I sold that day. I’ve learned a lot since then, and have adjusted my prices accordingly.

My Most Profitable Day on Craigslist

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Conservatively looking at the sale prices, this could have easily been a thousand plus dollar day. But it wasn’t  and that’s ok. It was a great day, and I learned some very important lessons about making money on Craigslist.

Inventory is Key

Sufficient inventory was the one thing that was going to prevent me from making the same amount of money the next day. It doesn’t matter if you sell blenders, or Iphones or couches, you must have good inventory to consistently make a lot of money. I think this was one of the most powerful lessons I’ve ever learned, because it’s an obstacle that can be overcome. To increase the amount of money you make, you must increase your inventory.

Expand Your Niche

Your local market might not be able to absorb your five iphones in a day, but it could probably handle five cell phones. The same goes for many other types of products, and specifically appliances for me. If there is only so many of a very specific product that will sell in a day, then add more items surrounding your niche. It could be just different brands of electronics, different types of appliances or different pieces of furniture. If you reach the ceiling of your niche, figure out how to expand it.

Don’t Be A Loner

You can’t handle the tools forever if you want to really increase your income, or build a business that will thrive without you. There is a limit to how much you can do before you will wear yourself out. This has been one of the most powerful lessons I’ve been learning this past year. It’s one thing to make a lot of money doing all the work yourself, but the key to long term success is being able to replace yourself and train up others to do the work. So, I’ve been working hard this past year trying to bring that about and am getting very close to it being a reality. I will be writing more about the process as it unfolds.

Increasing your profits is important, but not the most important thing. The more important thing is for each one of us to decide what we want our lives to be like. What do we want to do with all of our time? How much do we want to work? How much do we need to work? I’ve had many days over the past few years where I made a lot of money and then coasted the rest of the week. I spent time with my family. I worked on other projects. I read books. Making money is definitely important to me, but enjoying each day of life has become more important, and is often a greater challenge.

 

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14 Responses to “My Most Profitable Day On Craigslist”

  1. Joel Fredericksen Says:

    I totally agree with inventory being the key if you want to make consistent money on Craigslist. Many times a person will call and ask about a bike I am selling. I ask them, “Which one because I have more than one on Craigslist?” Many people have no idea about bike frame sizes. With extra bikes available they don’t mind driving a bit if there is a good chance they will leave with a bike even if it isn’t the one they originally called about. With gas prices so high people are very hesitant to travel far just to look at an item. Many times I’ve had a person come to buy one bike and they end up purchasing another that fit them better. I’ve also had women buy a bike and then come back another day with their husbands in order to get him one. Many times people don’t know what they want until they see it in person. If you have the room to store extra inventory you’ll sure increase your chances of making a sale.

    Reply

  2. Brian Says:

    Ryan, your site’s a goldmine of information and inspiration.

    I read most of your posts on the site on Wednesday and was inspired.

    Thursday I combed CL in my area and found/bought a dirty but working Whirlpool electric range/stove for $30.

    Friday (today) I cleaned it in about 4 hours time and posted it on CL for sale. I’m not 100% sure what to price it at for profit. I posted it for $200 just to start but I would be curious what you would sell one of these types of things for.

    Thanks for the information you provide and I’d love to see a buying guide from you on stoves to compliment your guides on washers and dryers. ;)

    Take care!

    -Brian

    Reply

    • Brian Says:

      Ryan, thanks for your advice given in email – I sold the stove today (Sunday) for $160 for a $130 profit on that one transaction.

      Awesome!

      I’ve flipped the occasional thing on CL before but that was my single most profitable flip ever. Thanks dude.

      I’ll have to set up some feeds for basic appliances in my area and put the combing through CL part on autopilot. That’s not a lot of extra work for that much cash… too bad I live in a small CL market. :/

      Good luck to you with your business.

      Reply

      • Ryan Says:

        Awesome, glad to hear that! If you can figure out how to overcome the supply issue in your area, you will be set. Push for trade-ins on certain appliances, especially washers/dryers and then fix them and resell them. That will certainly help with your supply issue.

        Reply

  3. Shannon Says:

    This is totally doable. This is what my husband does now…two and a half months ago, we were both laid off from the same place of employment. I’m now in real estate and my husband makes money buying and selling on Craigslist. It started when he decided to sell a couple of our kayaks. Turns out, in Sarasota, FL, kayaks, four wheelers, and golf carts are hot, extremely profitable commodities!

    Great, informative website!

    All the best to you in continued success!
    Shannon

    Reply

  4. Patrick Says:

    Thanks for sharing such personal information. Regardless of how much you make I think the thing that is so amazing is that you took something that’s not sexy, not new, not special and turned it into a goldmine. That’s awesome and I really inspiring, not everyone has to do something cutting edge to be important or make a living.

    Reply

  5. Robert Whitelaw Says:

    What are your goto places to sell appliances for scrap? I contact a few local places and asked and they wanted to charge me to accept an appliance for “Recycling”! I found one business that would take old cars and pay for them, but not appliances.

    R

    Reply

    • Ryan Says:

      We have multiple scrap yards here that pay on average $200/ton of metal. It adds over time! I will usually got once or twice a week with a big load of scrap appliances.

      Reply

  6. Tracey Says:

    What size truck do you recomend, I have a pickup which would haul a couple of standard appliances, but when hauling scrap I would think a larger truck would max your profit.

    Reply

    • Ryan Says:

      For scrap runs it’s nice to have a trailer to really make the trip worth it. For picking items up and delivering them even a smaller truck works great. (actually the smaller trucks are easier to load appliances in and out). The other benefit of smaller trucks is that they get better gas mileage, which can really add up, but they have a more difficult time pulling a trailer.

      Reply

  7. Aleks Says:

    I love learning this stuff. Can’t thank you enough for providing this goldmine of information to fellow resellers!

    Reply

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