Let’s be honest, Craigslist hasn’t always had the best reputation in the eCommerce world. And so, in reading this guide on how to make passive income on Craigslist as a beginner, you may initially be a bit skeptical.
Can you make passive income on Craigslist? You can make passive income on Craigslist or other peer-to-peer classified platforms like Facebook Marketplace or Kijiji by flipping items. You can outsource or delegate the work to make it more passive.
Not to oversell the concept, but there are actually people who earn all their living by flipping items on Craigslist! You can also purchase items on Craigslist and resell them on other platforms like eBay. The best part is that you don’t have to turn this into a full-time gig in order to make some cash. By flipping a couple of items every week, you can actually make a few hundred dollars regularly. We share the secrets to making this work for you in this post.
Looking for more ways to make money online? Check out our 58 passive income ideas here.
How to Make a Passive Income by Flipping Items on Craigslist
Although flipping items is a pretty straightforward venture, you should make sure you know as much about the business as you possibly can, with a special focus on Craigslist, or any other platform. Don’t have Craigslist in your country? Here is a list of peer-to-peer classified advertisements platforms
- Craigslist USA
- Kijiji Canada
- LeBonCoin France
- Backpage.com Worldwide
- Gumtree.com Worldwide
- Adpost.com Worldwide
- Adsglobe.com Worldwide
1. Choose High Demand Products That Sell Fast
There are things that will sell well on Craigslist and others that will not. To avoid doing too much work pushing your products, you should try and flip items that usually sell quickly. For instance, cars are great as thousands of them sell on Craigslist every day (learn about flipping cars in this beginner guide on our site). But if you are not into flipping cars, you can also try fast-selling things like furniture, technology items, appliances, electronics, mobile phones, home appliances, and so forth.
Obviously, the amount of money you have at your disposal can also determine the kind of products you resell. For instance, you need more money to flip cars than you would need to flip phones. When choosing the kinds of products you would like to sell, you should also take taxes, licenses and so forth into consideration. For instance, to sell cars in some States, you might have to get a dealer’s license. In other cases, you only need the temporary power of attorney. Therefore, to avoid any legal issues, make sure to consult a lawyer in your area.
One way to easily get started is with your own belongings from around your home. If you have some things you never use and want to sell, list them on Craigslist. If they sell quickly for a good price, there may be a demand for it. Further explore how fast that item is selling and purchase a couple (within your budget) to resell them at an added value.
2. Purchase High Resale Value Items
This process is simple – you just go on Craigslist or any other marketplace and find an item you believe will have greater value once you restore it or post it on Craigslist or another platform with better value. Some ways you can provide more value is by taking better product photos, writing a better description or by restoring the item. You can also sell it on another platform where customers are willing to pay more money like Amazon or eBay. Always try to negotiate the price if possible.
You can also use the techniques described in this article about flipping items on eBay (beginner guide here). In this article we talk about how you can carry out product research for popular products on Google Trends. You can also purchase items in garage sales, second hand or thrift stores.
We love how entrepreneur Gary Vanerchuck demonstrates how easy it is to buy and resell products in his episodes of Trash Talk on his YouTube channel. He especially likes to hunt for highly collectable and vintage toys. Check out an episode below.
3. Boost The Item’s Resale Value
You can boost your margin if you can improve the item before selling it. In some cases, you just need to clean up the item properly and you can add a sizable margin to its price. Taking better product photos, writing a more compelling translation or selling it on another, more specialised platform, can boost your resale value. Back when I was purchasing and reselling items, I bought specialty items locally in Europe, and then resold them on eBay USA where the perceived value was much higher than locally.
Selling the items in another language can also add convenience for the buyer. For example, purchasing items on Craigslist in the USA and then reselling them in French on eBay.fr to the French market can boost the resale value. This will also allow you to profit from currency conversion rates. Think outside the box and add more value to the item you are reselling.
4. Sell The Item on Craigslist or Elsewhere for a Profit
Once you are ready to sell the item, post it on Craigslist and set an appropriate price. Make sure you use a good picture and description. You can put the price a little higher as many buyers will often try to hammer out a better deal through negotiations. Otherwise, once you agree on the price, the client can pay and get the item and you will have made some money. Always make sure to meetup in a public place and avoid providing any personal information including your last name, address, bank information or other.
Pro-Tips to Maximizing Your Profits on Craigslist
Here are some pro tips to help you maximize your profits when flipping items on Craigslist.
- Take the Best Product Photos Possible: Photos are super important to provide the best possible first impression to potential clients. You can take excellent photos with a cell phone these days. If you want to add extra effects to them, you can use free online software like Canva to embellish them, add text and other features. The camera quality doesn’t matter as much as having excellent lighting. Take photos outdoors on a sunny day if necessary.
- Interact with Customers ASAP: The faster you interact with customers, the more chances they will remember contacting you and will be interested in making a purchase. Use a Craigslist mobile app to get live notifications and reply to customers asap.
- Detect and Avoid Scams: People asking you to meetup in sketchy places? Others telling you that their mother is sick and they just need some money to pay for an operation? Or maybe they want to pay via direct transfer and have it sent to them by drone! Yeah, these sketchy setups are common so if you have any doubts, avoid them like the plague.
- Sell On Your Terms: I can’t tell you the number of times I went out of my way to meetup with a client who never showed. Don’t waste your time and sell on your terms. Meetup in a public place close to your home and make the sale there. If the person is serious, they will go out of their way to show up.
How Passive is Selling on Craigslist?
Flipping items on Craigslist isn’t very passive because it does require your time and physical presence. An hour’s worth of effort every week (off your regular job) in exchange for a few hundred extra bucks every week is worth it. As we have just seen, this business boils down to finding an item, improving on it, and then selling it at a higher price on Craigslist. Once your process is in place though, it can be very lucrative! Find a product that sells quickly, and keep your listing online to meet demand for everyone who is interested. You will just have to meetup with the clients or send someone else to make it more passive.
Flipping items is as scalable as the number of products you can sell. Some people have managed to flip items on Craigslist for a living. You could make a business out of it and hire a few employees to help you grow the operation, but it would be much more demanding.
You might need a fair amount of money in order to get started with this business, especially if you are keen on trying something like selling cars. But if you don’t have that kind of money lying around, you can always start out small (with what you have around your home) and work your way up by flipping small items like phones or laptops. You can make about a $100 every week and with time, you can start flipping larger items for greater profits. So, the startup costs should not stand in your way if you think this business is worth a try.
The entire process is about buying and selling. Many people are quite familiar with the buying part – the selling is not that hard. Once you make a purchase, your next main step will be finding a buyer at a better price. In between, you only need to take a few steps to promote your product better or improve on it in order to get a profit when you finally sell it off. It’s fairly simple.
Since your interest in flipping items is to create a passive income, you should spend very little time once your process is built. Looking for items you can buy online and setting up your strategy may be a longer process. But once you have it down, it can take much less time.
As with any other business, there will be some risks to flipping items for a profit. The good thing is that you can do plenty to minimize these risks. For instance, if you are interested in getting into the car flipping business, you can learn as much as possible about it so that you can identify good deals when you get them and avoid bad deals that will undermine your profit margins or even make you a loss. Other risks involve scam attempts, although they are easy to detect. Make sure to consult a tax or legal professional in your area to ensure you are up to reglementation no matter what kinds of items you decide to sell online for a profit.
Seasons are not an issue in the item flipping business. People buy items all the time. Sure, some items might have certain ups and downs, but you will always have a chance to sell and make a profit regardless of what time of the year it is as long as you are selling items that are not highly seasonal. That said, you can always try to adjust yourself to the market and focus on items that are always in high demand for greater business stability.
Return On Investment
The return on investment you can get can be pretty good. As mentioned earlier, you can even make thousands of dollars every month in profits flipping items on this popular online marketplace. That is a pretty good ROI, especially if you can manage to focus on items that have good margins once they have been upgraded.
What are the best items to flip on Craigslist? Some of the best items to flip on Craigslist include electronics, cars, jewelry, instruments, bikes, furniture, appliances and collector items like cards. Yard equipment and toys like Legos and PlayMobil are also very popular.
What are the easiest things to flip? Easy items to flip include electronics and working Apple products such as Macs, MacBooks, and Macbook Air computers. Appliances such as washers, driers, and fridges are also easy to flip when in working condition.
What are the most popular items to flip? Some of the most popular items to flip are appliances, electronics, jewelry, popular toys and automobiles such as cars, scooters, motorcycles and tractors. Vintage items are also very popular.
What is the most sold item on Craigslist? The items that are the most sold on Craigslist are functional electronics. These include desktop computers, laptops high-end headphones, used phones, mp3/mp4 players, electronic watches, tablets and cameras.
How can I make passive income with no money? Flipping your own items on Craigslist or other peer-to-peer classified advertisements platforms can allow you to make passive income with no initial investment. This consists in looking around your own home and selling items you do not use. Reinvest your profits to purchase and resell items until you find one that can provide passive income.
How long does it take to sell an item on Craigslist? Generally, this depends on the item you are selling. But if you focus on high demand items, you can reasonably expect to sell an item every week. Some items may take months or years to sell if they are highly specialised or have low demand in their listing area.
Are there product categories you should avoid on Craigslist? Some product categories might not sell as fast as you would like them to. As with any other market, some products just do not sell well on Craigslist. Also, as a general rule, you should avoid products you know little or nothing about as you are likely to make lots of expensive mistakes buying and selling them.