If you are looking for a part-time job right now, stop for a moment and read this post. I believe everyone looking for part-time work should consider Craigslist for many reasons. You have total control over what days you work, how many hours, and how much money you make. You can bring your kids with you while you work and you don’t have to go through the humbling and painful experience of slinging applications all over town for low paying jobs only to be rejected by most of them. Whether you need an extra $500 a month or a few thousand dollars extra, I’ve written this post to convince you to give Craigslist a shot. No application needed.
How much do you need to make?
You need to figure out how much you need to make per month. Then divide that by 4 weeks to figure out how much you need to make per week. This is good to always have in the back of your mind as you are deciding on which items to buy and sell and how many you will need to sell.
What does a part-time job buying and selling on Craigslist look like?
I had a friend that contacted me a few months back about making some extra money on Craigslist. After a little discussion about what type of item would be best, we settled on kids bike trailers and strollers. She usually gets them for a relatively low price, fixes them when needed, cleans them up, and resells them at the market rate. The more value she adds to the stroller or trailer, the more profit she makes. She averages about $100 profit per sale.
Many of the students that have gone through ApplianceSchool start out buying and selling appliances part-time. It only takes selling a few machines per week to make $800-$1000 extra per month. Average profit is $100-$140 for basic washers and dryers. To do this, a person would need to pick up a washer/dryer set once per week. Then in their spare time, test, repair and post the machines back up for sale. Deliveries can be scheduled when convenient, or all they can be done on the weekend. The broken machines are hauled back, repaired and then resold, which makes for a very efficient use of time.
There are many readers that buy and sell bicycles part-time. They pick up bikes that need a little work for a good price. Bring them back to their apartment or home and fix them up, test them and then post them back up at market rate. Profit for each bike can range from $50 to several hundred dollars.
Why should you focus on one type of item?
First, you become an expert fairly quickly, which makes your work much easier and profitable. The more you know about your niche, the less you have to think while doing your work. It becomes almost effortless at a certain point. You know exactly the make and model, condition and price to look for. You know what questions to ask prior to purchase. You know the best ways to add value to the item prior to resale. For items like electric dryers, for example, you can have the tools and parts you need for any needed repairs.
Learning the local demand for an item and how much the market is willing to pay can take quite a bit of time and effort. But you only have to learn these things once if you focus on one type of item or niche. Learn a market, focus on it and you will make the most efficient use of your time.
How do you pick which item you should focus on?
I always encourage people to start with what you know. Then look for items where you can add the most amount of value, usually via repair, cleaning, painting, delivery etc. Then look at the amount of profit that can be made for each sale. I like to shoot for $100 profit per item. In general, and if possible, try to focus on lower volume, higher profit items. This will increase the amount of money you are making per hour of your time and ultimately allow you to work less and spend more time on the things that are really important to you in life. Work should be organized around your life, not the other way around.
There are 5 things that take time.
1. Finding the items. This can be done at any time, anywhere. You just need access to Craigslist. Many people will scan listings on breaks at their regular job. It can be done in the in the mornings, lunch hour, evenings or whenever you feel like it if you have total freedom over your schedule. It takes a minute or so to quickly scan your local Craigslist for the type of items you are focusing on.
2. Picking up the items. Believe it or not, there is an art to scheduling pickups of items without the seller letting someone else beat you to it. If you ask the seller if you can pick an item up later in the day, many times they will wait to get back to you in case someone else is willing to come before you. To prevent this, you tell the seller that you would like to buy their item, and you then ask when they are available for you to pick up the item. You put it in their court and give them the feeling of control over the entire transaction. When they say “anytime today or this evening” you quickly respond back that this evening would work great! Then get their address and you are all set. Obviously, if you don’t have any obstacles in your schedule, the sooner you are able to pick up a good deal the better. Pickups usually take an hour or so.
3. Fixing, cleaning and adding value to the item. Sometimes this only takes a few minutes. Other times it can take hours. It really depends on the item and what is being done to it. The average prep time for me on appliances is 20-40 minutes to clean, repair and paint and appliance.
4. Pictures and posting the items. I can take 3-4 pictures of an item and post it with a unique description in about two minutes flat. The more items you post the quicker you get.
5. Selling and arranging pickup or delivery of the item. Most sales calls last about 5 minutes. If the buyer is picking up the item, that usually only takes a few minutes. Delivery can take anywhere from 30-90 minutes round trip on average. Make sure you are making a good amount on delivery to make it worth this extra time. I usually double my profit when I deliver appliances because I get the broken machines in return which I fix and resell. For other items, you may need to charge for delivery, or simply don’t offer it.
You control your schedule.
If there was one thing that makes part-time jobs horrible is that they often destroy your schedule. There is nothing like not being able to go camping with your friends or family or go to a child’s or grandchild’s ball game because you have to work a three-hour shift in the middle of a Saturday afternoon. Like to make plans in advance? Have a part-time job? Good luck! Most part-time jobs are audacious enough to require extreme flexibility when it comes to scheduling work shifts. Not willing to work an ever-shifting work schedule for minimum wage? There are 500 other people right behind you that are willing to take your place. It’s crazy and I don’t blame you if you are trying to figure any other way to make the money.
When you have your own part-time Craigslist business, you set your schedule. You work when you have the time. If you are delivering items, you deliver them when you have the time to. If you are having people pick the items up, you have them pick them up when it works for you and your family. If you need to take a vacation, with one click on Google Voice you can have all your Craigslist calls go straight to voicemail and get back to people when you have a chance. If you are short on funds, you can buckle down and hustle until you make what you need to make.
If you work at a part-time job for 4 hours, it takes at least an hour or two to get ready for work and then commute back and forth. Not only do you not get paid for this lost time, it actually costs you money in the form of gas and maintenance on your vehicle. These are just a few more of the hidden costs to traditional part-time jobs.
Being able to work from home is a beautiful thing. There’s nothing better than getting up on a Saturday morning, having a cup of coffee in bed with your computer to browse the latest listings, all from the comfort of your undergarments. If you have kids you can stay home and be with them and not have to hire a babysitter which almost defeats the purpose of most part-time jobs. You can eat meals with your family. You can work on a house project and if there is extra time, work on your business. If you have kids, you can teach them the business while you work. You can listen to whatever music you want. When you get tired, you can lay down and take a nap, in your own bed. Your dog or cat can also keep you company while you work.
Your part-time work is an investment in you and your family’s future. Invest wisely.
Want to be a mechanic after you get out of high school? Start picking up and fixing broken small engine equipment. Want to get a high paying job in sales? Start getting experience selling things on Craigslist. Getting your business degree in college? Get some real life experience actually starting a business from scratch in your spare time. Want to own your own bike shop someday? Then start buying, selling and repairing bikes. Want to build homes someday? Start building dog houses, sheds, picnic tables or even tiny homes and sell them on Craigslist.
What you learn and experience while you work can be worth far more than the money you might make. Money has a way of growing wings and quickly disappearing. Knowledge and skills stay with you for a lifetime. Consider these things when deciding what path is best for you.
Who have I seen using Craigslist as a part-time job?
High school students, college students, recent college graduates, people with regular jobs needing a second income, stay at home mom’s helping the family bring in extra income, people doing whatever it takes to get out of debt, people that are under-employed, retirees that want to supplement their fixed income, professionals that want to test the waters and escape their current line of work, families that want to earn extra money to spend on travel and teachers that simply don’t get paid enough.
So if you are thinking about how to make some extra money, or about picking up a part-time job, I think you should consider Craigslist.
Is Craigslist your part-time job? Tell us about how you got started. What you share could very well be the encouragement someone needs to get started.
You can now find our appliance repair course at our new site, Tradeskills.io