Craigslist vs. eBay: Where to Sell 10 Common Items
Craigslist or eBay? When you are trying to get rid of clutter around your house and make a little extra money, that question can be challenging. Particularly when you want to get the biggest return possible for what you are selling. (See also: The 9 Secrets of Highly Successful Craigslist Sellers)
With each item, you'll want to consider the following:
- How much would shipping cost?
- Is the extra income I'd make via eBay worth the hassle of shipping it out?
- Do I want to risk auctioning the item or go with the safe-bet price?
- Are there enough people in my vicinity to sell the item through Craigslist at all?
- Is the risk of meeting a stranger on Craigslist worth a few extra bucks?
So why don't we take a look at 10 common items that you may sell through an online ad and see if it makes more sense to post each item on Craigslist or eBay.
You may be able to fetch more for a given piece via eBay, but shipping costs can be absolutely prohibitive unless you're talking about a smaller, highly coveted piece of furniture (i.e., an antique). I was just able to sell an old bed via Craigslist for $150. The shipping would have been at least that much if I tried to sell it on eBay. Winner: Craigslist
2. Media Items
When you are selling individual books, CDs, DVDs, video games, or vinyl, demand is often a necessity in order to find a buyer. Winner: eBay
3. Vehicles, Recreational Vehicles, and Bikes
Cars on Craigslist has become a big business. I was able to sell a car for the same price I bought it (used) two years earlier. The demand is sky-high. Once again, shipping becomes a prohibitive factor here unless you have something very unique that could fetch a much higher price with the added demand you'll get via eBay. It's also tough to find buyers who are willing to shell out significant funds without first checking the condition. Winner: Craigslist
There will be a local supply/demand for just about any type of TV on or off the market. At the same time, they are very heavy and fragile, which poses major shipping concerns. Winner: Craigslist
5. Event Tickets
I've really struggled with this one myself. I have only bought tickets from Craigslist ads; I've found that eBay prices are too high, and I can get a better deal buying from someone locally in the last few days or hours before an event. But this post isn't about buying, it's about selling. If you have tickets for a high-demand event and have a few months or weeks to sell and ship them off, eBay is the way to go. If you have to unload a ticket a few days prior to an event or less, Craigslist may be the only option. Winner: Depends on the timeframe
The fact that you can try something on in person might work out to your advantage if you list via Craigslist. But 9 times out of 10 (if you're as picky of a clothing buyer as I am) it will not. When you sell via eBay, the buyer will rarely return the item if it comes as promised. If they don't like the way it looks on them, they'll usually just re-sell it. Also, shipping is often inexpensive. Winner: eBay
7. Used Cell Phones
I've seen three-year-old outdated cell phones bid on up to over $50 on eBay. My theory on this? People fall in love with particular models, are locked in to contracts, and when their devices fail them, have to get them back. Because they can no longer easily find the older phones, they are willing to bid up to surprising levels on EBay. This is definitely a category that benefits from nationwide demand. Winner: eBay
Computers are such a commodity with the only big differentiators being the hardware and operating system, that they are frequently bought and sold at the local level. They can also be pricey to ship and very fragile, and a computer is an item that people may want to try out before buying used. Winner: Craigslist
Tools are a category where size really does matter. The smaller the tool, the more likely you'll be able to fetch a larger amount for it on eBay because of higher demand and lower shipping costs. The bigger the tool, the more likely you'll have significant local demand for it, and shipping costs become prohibitive. Bigger tools usually fetch higher prices, too, and buyers typically want to look them over. Wow, so many innuendos. Winner: Depends on tool size
10. Pet Supplies
When Fido goes to that little doggy place in the sky, he often leaves behind dozens of items. Americans are expected to spend $51 billion on pet supplies in 2011. That's a lot of crates, beds, bowls, and more. You're typically not going to be able to re-sell small used toys, but there is a lot of demand out there for the larger pet items. Dozens, maybe hundreds of people in your community are becoming first-time pet owners every day. When local demand is high and shipping costs are as well, turn to Craigslist. Winner: Craigslist
Deciding whether to sell on Craigslist or eBay varies for every product. I've provided some general guidelines here, but there will always be exceptions. Before you list a product, I'd recommend that you check existing and completed listings for that product on eBay and also search for that same product on Craigslist. Find out what items have been sold for. That, along with estimating shipping costs, should give you a great idea which option will give you the best return.
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