How To Sell Stuff Online: Posting and Followup Etiquette (Part 4 of 4)

Knowing when to post your items for sale and what to do once someone shows interest are just two keys to selling online.

Welcome to the final part of the How To Sell Your Stuff Online series!  Thank you for sticking with me and reading through each of my posts.  I know it is a lot of information to digest, but I truly believe that if you use my tips that you’ll see success in selling your own items.  If you haven’t already, please be sure to read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 before continuing to make sure you are all caught up on what I’ve already gone over in terms of taking pictures, pricing and the anatomy of a good post.

In this part, I’ll be going over some tips when it comes to posting your items, as well as some follow up etiquette.

After you’ve created your post with all the necessary information about your item, you want to actually post it.  If you are using Facebook, they have a little drop down menu next to the ‘Post’ button that allows you select multiple groups to post your item in.  This saves a ton of time!  Before they had this feature, you had to go into each group you were part of and post the same thing multiple times.  Super time consuming.  So before you click the ‘Post’ button, make sure to select each group you want to post the item in, as you won’t have the option once you’ve posted it.  See my example below:

Knowing when to post your items for sale and what to do once someone shows interest are just two keys to selling online.

When it comes to ideal times to post your items, I’ve found that evenings are best because that is when most people are winding down and just browsing online.  I usually post between 8:30-9:30 or 10pm.  I also prefer to post on Thursday or Friday night because then you have the weekend to try and schedule pick up times.  People are a little more flexible on weekends and so arranging a pick up is easier.  I’ve had some success posting early in the morning because sometimes people will browse while they are getting ready in the morning.

Once you’ve posted your items, the next thing to do is…wait.  I know, it’s not very exciting, but if you’ve followed the steps I’ve gone over, then it shouldn’t be long before you start getting some interest.

So let’s fast forward a bit to the point when you’ve had someone express interest in your item.  I recommend being readily available to answer any questions people may have or being ready to work out a pick up time/place so you can catch them while they are still at their computer/on their phone.

I like to use full sentences when I reply.  I also like to assume the sale.  If someone simply writes “interested” on one of my pictures, I’m going to assume they want to buy the item since they didn’t ask any further questions about it.  Don’t haggle with them on price.  Simple ask them to message you and you can discuss it.  I don’t give any personal information out and I don’t arrange a pick up time/place on the thread.  I will say something like “PM (personal message) me and we can work out a pick up”.

Below you’ll see how I typically respond to someone:

Knowing when to post your items for sale and what to do once someone shows interest are just two keys to selling online.

Once I get a message from them, I like to clarify that they want the item.  After I’ve received confirmation, then I will ask them about a pick up time/place.  If we arrange a pick up at my house, my address is the very last bit of information I give them.  If we are arranging to meet somewhere else, I will provide my phone number.

*A word of caution: Be very, very careful about what information you choose to disclose about yourself online.  Don’t tell people you aren’t going to be home between _____ and _____ time, especially after you’ve given your address.  You don’t need to tell them that you have kids taking naps.  Just simply arrange a time and place that is convenient for both of you and leave it at that.

The next thing I do after arranging the pick up information is to go back to all my posts for that item and write “sold PPU”.  PPU means “pending pick up”.  I never say something is sold until it’s actually been picked up and paid for.  Going back through all the posts is kind of a pain, but it’s important to do so that anyone looking at that item knows that someone else wants it to. (Refer to the picture above.)

I have had a lot of times where someone will comment “next”, which just means that if the sale falls through that they want the item next.  If you didn’t include FCFS (first come, first serve) on your post and someone writes next, you will need to decide on a way to keep track of who is “next”.  I do this through a spreadsheet in Google Sheets.  I also have the item, price, person, pick up time/day, notes and next columns.  You can see my example below:

Knowing when to post your items for sale and what to do once someone shows interest are just two keys to selling online.

Another little tip is to “like” all of the comments that are made on your items (unless they are mean or something).  It just lets people know you saw their comment, especially if it is a “next” comment.

Once you’ve sold your item, go back through to all of the posts you made and click the ‘Sold’ button.

And there you have it!  You’ve sold your item(s)!  Go do a little happy dance, put the money in your wallet and take it to the bank.  Or go treat yourself with a donut or a pedicure.  Rejoice that what you were trying to get rid of got sold and you got a little money in return.

If you found this series helpful, please pin the image, share it with your friends/family or leave a comment below!

How To Sell Your Stuff Online: Anatomy of a Post (Part 3 of 4)

How you organize your post and what you include in it makes a huge difference in whether or not you sell it

We are on Part 3 of the How to Sell Your Stuff Online series!  It’s been so great for me to be able to share some new information with you and hopefully help you sell your unwanted stuff.  If you haven’t read Part 1 and Part 2, I highly recommend checking those out before continuing with this post so you’ll be all caught up.

So you’ve learned about taking good pictures and pricing to sell.  I could probably stop right here and it’s likely you will sell your item.  But if you want to sell it fast and avoid lots of questions like “How big is it?” or “What are the dimensions?” or “Is that brown or black?”, then you’ll want to read on.

Before we go much further though, I want to point out that most of my selling experience is with yard sales and online yard sale type sites.  I have sold a few items on Amazon and a couple on Ebay, so be aware that I don’t claim to be an expert in those areas.  I have also never sold anything on Etsy, however, some of the same tips I’ve covered could apply there as well.

Most of the items I sell are posted on local Facebook yard sale groups and I am most familiar with selling this way.  I am part of about 15 different groups that cover most of my county, or about 30 minutes in either direction of where I live.  I found these groups by simply searching for “(city) yard sale” and had a few options come up for each city I typed in.  I have also sold through a local classifieds site which advertising anything from jobs to rentals to furniture and is run by a news station called KSL.  I do not use Craigslist.

When you’re posting an item for sale, you are essentially using marketing and advertising.  Marketing because you are trying to communicate to the audience (the people you are trying to sell to) the value of the item you’re selling in order to increase your profit.  Advertising because you are promoting your item in a way that will catch the audience’s eye.

So what does this mean in practical terms?

It means that you need to be clear and concise when choosing what to include in your post because you only have a few seconds to interest someone in what you’re selling before they’ve moved on.

Next we’ll be going over what I’m calling the Anatomy of a Post.

Below you’ll see an example of how I post an item for sale on Facebook:

Anatomy of a Good Post: Learn how to sell your unwanted items!

Descriptive Title
Your title should be simple but descriptive.  Anyone looking at the title above would know exactly what I’m selling.  Make sure your spelling is correct.  I see so many people who don’t double check their spelling and it reflects negatively on them.  Like I mentioned above, you only have a split second to grab someone’s attention.  Make sure it’s not because you didn’t spell a word correctly.

Price
Your price should be a whole number and not a range.  If you have multiple items you’re selling in one post, perhaps because they are similar or part of a group, choose a mid-range price to display.  If you are trying to sell the items together as a group or set, put the amount you would take for everything.  In the example above, I include the cartridges in the title so people aren’t thinking I’m wanting $80 for a printer.  The fact that I included the cartridges should actually attract people to my post because cartridges are expensive so to be selling both together is a great deal.

Location
On Facebook, you have the option of putting a zip code which will then populate with the name of your city once you hit ‘Post’.  This is a good piece of information to include so people have all the information they need to decide if they want to drive to you to pick it up or perhaps meet somewhere if it’s a bigger item you are selling.  (We’ll discuss the pickup/drop off portion of selling in Part 4.)

Description of Item
The description of your item is so important!  If you’ve gone to the trouble of taking pictures and trying to price your item right, why wouldn’t you take the time to write a good description?  Included in the description should be the following:

  • Is the item new/like new or used?
  • Are there any problems with it? 
    • Mention any rips, stains, missing pieces, chipped corners, etc.
    • Be honest, but don’t give so many details that you talk people out of buying it.  Just tell them what you would want to know if you were buying it.
  • If your item is something that could be multi-purpose or it’s not completely clear what it could be used for, give an example.
    • Example: older piece of wood furniture
    • Description: I bought this to refinish for my daughter/son’s room, but didn’t have time.  Would make a great project!
    • Something people just need a little help imagining what they could do with an item or know what you did with it to get them interested.
  • Dimensions are important so people know if what you have will fit in their space.  Pictures can be misleading when it comes to scale so it’s better to just list it as part of the description.

Link to Item
In Part 2, I talked about doing your research.  In the example above, I found the printer on Amazon and then included the link as part of the description.  That way, if someone wants to know more about it, they can get all the information they need from an outside source and then decide if your item is what they’re looking for.

Good Photos
The number of photos you use in your post will depend on what you’re selling or if you’re listing multiple items in one post.  In the printer example, I posted two pictures: one close up of the printer and one that included the printer and cartridges.  If you’re selling a group of items, like dishes for example, take pictures of one dinner plate, one salad plate, one bowl and one mug separately and one with them together so people can see how they look.

*Note: Some Facebook yard sale groups have rules about posting more than one photo with the main post so check the rules before you post a million pictures.  You can always post additional photos in the comments and mention it in the description by saying “additional photos in comments”.

Other Information

  • Cross Posted: If you are posting your item in more than one place, it’s a courtesy to mention it.  It also helps people realize that if they want the item, they should act fast because someone else could ask for it first.
  • FCFS vs Holding: 
    • FCFS means “First come, first serve”.  This tells people that whoever can pick it up the soonest can have it, regardless of who asks for it first.
    • If you don’t put FCFS, then you might run into people wanting you to “hold” the item until they can pick it up, or their friend, or their neighbor, etc.  If you only have a handful of people wanting the item, then this might be fine.  But if you start having a lot of people request the item, you might need to change to a FCFS method to prevent yourself from going crazy trying to keep track of who asked for it and in which order.
  • Bundling: If I’m selling similar items that belong as a set or group, then often I will drop the price if they buy everything together.  People feel like they are getting an even better deal this way–and they are–plus, you get rid of your items faster.
    • Example: 3 unused decorative candles for $3 each or $8 for all 3

So there you have it.  The anatomy of a good post.  I hope you found this information helpful as you try to get rid of your unwanted items and make a little money in the process.

Check in next Monday for the last post in this series (Part 4) which will be about posting and follow up etiquette.

How To Sell Your Stuff Online: Pricing (Part 2 of 4)

Knowing how to price your stuff is a key part of selling your items online.

Hello and welcome to Part 2 of the How To Sell Your Stuff Online series!  If you haven’t read Part 1 about taking pictures, I would highly recommend checking it out before continuing on.  After you’ve read it, please come back and read this post here.  (Or, you can check it out after you’ve read this post.)

One of the most difficult parts about selling stuff online is knowing how to price your item.  If you price it too high, people might not even bother looking at it.  If you price it too low, you will probably sell it, but you might regret feeling like you “gave it away” and could have gotten more for it.  It’s a delicate balance and can be tricky to figure out.

When it comes to pricing what you want to sell, you have to remember that the goal is to both get rid of stuff AND make money.  In many cases, you’re selling items that are used and the price should reflect that.  I have found that by selling stuff online, whether it’s through a Facebook group or a local site, I can usually get a little more for it than I do at a yard sale, but it’s not a ton more–maybe a few dollars depending on the item.

I don’t have some mathematical formula that I use every time I need to price something but I do have some basic guidelines that I follow and questions that I ask myself.  I’ll go through each of these to help you get a better idea about how to price your item(s).

To start with, ask yourself the following questions:

Is it new or like new?
When I was helping my in-laws sell items at the yard sale we held this summer, I found a lot of new items.  There were a TON of things that were still in boxes or packaged up, never even used.  Most of them still had the price tag on them.  These items were either brand new or like new.  Unfortunately, many of them were also purchased at discount stores, such as Ross or TJ Maxx, and the time frame to return them was long past.  Items that are new or like new will generally sell for more than used items.

What did I pay for it?
In many cases, I can remember about what I paid for an item.  Not an exact amount, but I can estimate pretty well.  In the example above about my in-laws items, the price tag was still on it and so I didn’t have to guess.  Knowing what you paid for an item, coupled with how new/old it is will help determine a price as well.  It’s possible that there are going to be items that you overpaid for or bought on a whim and the odds that you’ll get what you paid for it are slim unless the right person happens to see it.

Is it a current item?
What you have might be in perfect condition.  But if it’s 5, 10, 15, or 20 years old, that might not matter.  My mother-in-law is a talented seamstress and has a sewing room filled with fabric and other materials.  But she doesn’t sew much anymore and one day we were helping her sort through her sewing room and found a huge bolt of peachy colored lace that was clearly many years old.  We suggested she simply throw it away but she insisted that it was in perfect condition and that someone would want it.  What she said might be true, but not likely.  The same principle applies to clothing.  My mom takes great care of her clothes and I’ve even seen some pieces still in her closet from 20 years ago, but if she were to try and sell them, she probably wouldn’t be too successful.  Items that are current will sell better and for a better price since the demand is higher.

Am I placing too much value in it?
So often we see an item that we no longer like or have a use for and decide we want to sell it, only to find that no one wants to pay what we think it’s worth.  This is where this question is helpful.  You have to be honest with yourself and think about why you priced the item as you did.  Maybe you have a memory attached to the item or it was given to you by someone special.  Keep in mind that while someone else might be interested in it, they don’t have the same attachment you do and they won’t see the same value in it.

Now that you’ve asked these questions, here are a couple more tips for pricing.

Do Your Research
If I have an item that I’m not sure the current value on, I will try and find it online, usually on Amazon.  This works well for electronics, entertainment (DVDs, books, etc), kitchen appliances and name brand items (excluding clothes).  If you can’t find the exact item, try and find something similar.

Take The Price You Want and Drop It
Even now, I still find myself wanting to see if I can get just a little more out of an item.  When I realize I’m doing this, I will stop and think about the difference between what I wish I could get and what the reality is.  For example, if I have a nice picture frame that I’d like to get $7 for, I will usually drop the price by a couple of dollars knowing that someone else will be more likely to pay $5.  There’s nothing wrong with trying to get what you want for an item, but if you post it and don’t get any interest, consider dropping the price a little lower and see if you get some interest then.

Be Willing To Negotiate
Sometimes you will post an item and get exactly what you asked for it.  Other times, you’ll find that people want to talk you down in price.  If you feel comfortable with the price you’re asking and you feel like it is fair, then stick to your guns.  I’ve found that many people are willing to pay what I’m asking, but they figure that asking me to take less won’t hurt.

Below I’ll show you some items I’ve sold and how I priced them.  Hopefully it will give you some ideas about how to price your own items.

Example 1: High Chair

Knowing how to price your stuff is a key part of selling your items online.

This was my in-laws that they kept at their house for when they had grandkids over.  It was in good shape but definitely used.  I wiped it down as well as I could and then took some pictures.

Based on what I know about high chairs, they tend to be on the more expensive end.  I looked on Amazon to get an idea of the price range for a brand new mid-grade high chair, which is about $50-$70.  I cut that price in half to $25-$35 and because it was used, I cut the price in half again to $12.50-$17.50 and then split the difference and asked $15 for it.  I sold it within a couple of days.

Example 2: Floor Vase
Knowing how to price your stuff is a key part of selling your items online.

Another item from my in-laws.  It was brand new and still had the price tag on the bottom: $20.  It was purchased at Ross and according to the tag, retail would have been $40.  However, since only $20 was paid for it and it was brand new, I cut the price in half and sold it for $10.

Example 3: Air Mattresses
Knowing how to price your stuff is a key part of selling your items online.

More items from my in-laws.  Before we took pictures, my husband blew these up with our pump to make sure there weren’t any holes.  Once we knew they were good, we researched online to find out about the brands.

One was a triple thick queen air mattress from Cabella’s, retailing at $70.  The other was a queen mattress bought at a local chain store, retailing at $20.  For the triple thick mattress, I priced it at $15 because I knew that someone would see the value of it, especially knowing where it came from (we’ll talk more about what to write in your post in the Part 3).  We sold it within 30 minutes of posting it.  The lesser quality mattress (not pictured) was sold for $5 and again, we sold it within about 30 minutes of posting it online.

Example 4: Clothes

Knowing how to price your stuff is a key part of selling your items online.
Unfortunately, you’re not going to get what you paid for when it comes to clothes, especially if they are not brand new and even then people are looking for a deal.  I shop mostly at discount stores, small boutique chain stores, Target or the mall so many of my clothes are in decent shape but aren’t extremely high quality.  If you’re going to take the time to take pictures of each item of clothing, make sure they are in good shape or you’re going to waste a lot of time for not much return. 

My rule of thumb for pricing clothes is the following:

  • Womens/Juniors Clothing
    • Dresses: $5-$10
    • Skirts/Pants: $2-$3
    • Sweaters/Sweatshirts: $2-$3
    • T-shirts (long sleeve, short sleeve, sleeveless): $1-$2
  • Mens Clothing
    • Pants: $3-$5
    • Dress Shirts: $3-$5
    • T-shirts/Polos: $2-$3
    • Sweaters/Sweatshirts: $3-$4
  • Kids Clothing
    • Tops: $.50-$2
    • Bottoms: $.50-$2
    • Boutique or Name Brand in new or like new shape: varies
  • Baby Clothes
    • Same as kids clothes
  • Shoes
    • Boots: $5-$10
    • Flats: $3-$5
    • Sports (example: cleats): $5-$10
    • Dress: $5-$10

Learning how to price items to sell is a learning process and takes a little bit of time so be patient with yourself.  And if you have a question or are unsure, you can ask your family or friends for their opinions/advice.

Part 3 of this series will be about the anatomy of a good post, which will be on Friday of this week so stay tuned!

How to Sell Your Stuff Online: Taking Pictures (Part 1 of 4)

Taking good pictures is the first step to making money selling your stuff online.

Today I’m introducing the first of a four part series about how to sell your stuff online.  Just this summer, I sold over $1100 at ONE yard sale.  I’ve sold hundreds of dollars worth of stuff through Facebook yard sale groups over the last few years, as well as through local sites.  I’ve even sold items on Amazon and Ebay although not as often as the others.  So I feel pretty good about sharing some advice with you in the hopes that you can have some success as well.

In the first part of this series I’m going to go over taking pictures.  I’m going to explain why good pictures make a difference and I’ll give some examples of good and bad pictures.

To begin with, let’s start with the obvious: good pictures sell.  If you see a picture of an item or product that is bright and shows off the item well, you are more likely to be interested in buying it.  If you see a picture of an item that looks dusty or the lighting is bad, you probably won’t be all that interested in checking it out further, even if it’s something you’re looking for.  Some people are good at seeing the potential of an item, but many people want to skim through pictures and will stop on the one that is bright, clear and easy to see what’s being sold.

So how do you take a good picture of what you want to sell?

First step is to clean it up.  If it’s furniture, wipe it down.  If it’s clothes, hang them up or put them in the dryer to get the wrinkles out before hanging it up or laying it out flat.  Even something that looks old can look decent if you clean it.  (This is also important when you’re hosting a yard sale.)

Second step is to take a picture.  Here are some tips:

  • Good lighting: Don’t take it in the basement where there’s only one light bulb.  Try to take pictures in the daytime in a well lit room.  If that’s not an option, turn on the light so it’s bright.
  • Use a decent camera, even if it’s just your phone.  Most of the pictures I take are with my phone rather than my point and shoot or DSLR simply because it’s more convenient.
  • Have a neutral background behind your item.  I use my couch, which is grey, or a plain wall.  Complicated or busy backgrounds will detract from whatever it is you’re selling.
  • Take individual pictures of each item, unless it comes as a set.  If it comes as a set, take pictures of each item and one picture of everything together.  Do not take a picture of a bunch of random items and then list off each item in the picture.

Here are some examples of bad pictures vs good pictures.  I just want to point out that the good pictures really are the ones that I post online.  The bad ones I took to contrast, but I’ve seen so many people post pictures like this.

Taking good pictures is the first step to making money selling your stuff online.

Taking good pictures is the first step to making money selling your stuff online.

Taking good pictures is the first step to making money selling your stuff online.

Taking decent pictures takes time, but as they say, time is money and if you spend a few extra minutes to get those pictures, it will definitely pay off.  (Pun intended.)

Lastly, upload your pictures onto your computer and save them in a file.  You will want to save all your for sale items in one place so you can find them easily.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the series about pricing, which I’ll be posting on Wednesday!