I no longer respond to ads on the free section by telling people I can come right away. I’ve given up. There are so many people sitting on there trying to get the items that it’s not worth my time competing to be the first to respond. The thing is, you don’t have to be the first to respond to get the item. You just need the best response.
If you want to get something from the free section on Craigslist, reply to the person offering to pay them what you would willing to pay for the item. (This only works if they don’t post their phone number. If they have already replied to the first person that contacted them, they will most likely honor that commitment.)
The key to success is to say “I will give you $20 if you still have the ….” and put that in the subject of the email. It doesn’t need to be a lot of money, just a fair amount that doesn’t open up too much risk for you. If you don’t put your offer in the subject field, they will most likely not even see it and your email will look like every other response.
I’ve done this many, many times, with remarkable success. A few days ago, someone put a nice washer and dryer up in the Free Section. They didn’t put their phone number in the ad so I knew I had at least a chance. I sent them an email offering $20 for the washer and dryer if they still had them.
About a half hour later they responded and said the appliances were mine if I wanted them. I was the only person of the 80+ respondents in that first hour to offer the lady any money for the appliances. She was excited to actually get something for them, especially after putting them up in the free section.
After putting a $16 clutch in the washing machine, our total investment rose to $36. One day later, we sold the pair for $270 for a $234 profit.
The lady that posted the washer and dryer was happy, we were happy and the people that purchased the refurbished washer and dryer in the end were happy.
As more and more people start using Craigslist, the competition for the free items is only going to increase. So try offering a bit of money the next time a great free item gets posted. I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.
Has this technique worked for you? I’d love to hear your stories and feedback.
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