Craigslist curious

I could use a little help here, guys. As I've mentioned elsewhere on HH I've committed myself to getting rid of a lot of audio stuff so I can upgrade/simplify in the coming year. So far, I've sold a few of the things I've listed here, but it's becoming increasingly clear that the cost of shipping, especially for large or heavy items, is a very limiting factor. As a result, I'm contemplating trying Craigslist to sell some of these more challenging to ship items, things like speakers in cabinets, tube amplifiers, turntables, a tube tester, and a slew of 70's receivers.

What I was hoping was that some of you guys who sell on Craigslist might take pity on someone with zero knowledge or experience doing this and throw a little advice my way. So, what works for you? What should I not do? How great or gnarly is the typical experience? How do I maximize my chances of not getting burned? Or robbed? Or burglarized? Really, any insights you could share would be appreciated

Thanks in advance for any help you might offer.
 
I'll happily add some advice, experience in no real order.

### General
- If you think there is a regional market for these items, CL can be a great option.
- Sign up so you have a craigslist account, this makes managing listings, etc. much easier.

### Listings
- Take the time to clean items very well.
- Take the best photographs you can.
- Show all the angles of a device, but try not to duplicate shots.
- Quality over quantity, but do show enough images so that people can get a good feel for condition.
- Keywords: Lots of people have keyword searches so this can help get more eyes on your listings.

### Transactions
- Cash or paypal.
- If Paypal, don't hand over the device until it's in your paypal account. obviously :D
- Meet in public places, where people are near.
- iow: Meeting at the far, empty end of the Walmart parking lot is only moderately safer than in an alley.

That's off the top of my head, I'm sure others will chime in with more advice.
 
Thanks, Gable, this is exactly the kind of advice I'm looking for. I really like the idea of meeting in public places, and, no worries, I wouldn't park in a Walmart lot, let alone ever conduct business there. But I do have a question, how do you demonstrate the (electronic) item you're selling functions as it should? Or do you just sell it as is?
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
The above advice is excellent and covers most bases. I can maybe add a bit on my own feelings on sales protocol.

There are a LOT of flakes out there. And a lot of people who you wonder how they manage to feed themselves. Seriously, its astounding how, well, just plain stupid a lot of people are. I have come to grips with the idea that grammar, really a basic grasp of the English language, is optional now.

Depending on where you live you will have either a line at your door or crickets until that one person comes along. And they usually come along, eventually.

There's no rules. You don't have to sell to the first person who responds. My rule is, if its something in demand, that I pick the first person who responds that doesn't creep me out and who spells out their words and forms mostly complete sentences "Hey U stil got?" Yeah, I do, and you're not getting it.

You can usually tell who's serious or not by what they write in their response to you. I have even held things for people, after getting replies from additional people who said they'd come get it RIGHT NOW, because I felt the person/people who wanted it held needed/wanted, I don't know, 'deserved' it more...and they weren't as rude as the others. Life's too short for all that. Many people don't care and just want the money. I'd rather see things go to people who actually want them and aren't just looking to flip or add to a giant pile of otherwise similar things. My own prejudice. Sorry crap-stackers.

Some of this stems from the fact that I've sold some stuff out of my house, and if I at all feel you're sketchy in any way, I'm not telling you where I live. The reason I have, is that some things just sell better when you can plug them in and show people that they work. "Well, how do I know it works? Will you take half price because I can't test it?"

You get all kinds...but you also get some really cool and interesting people, and you can meet some fellow enthusiasts by selling. I've focussed on the bad parts but there's good parts, too. Mostly I've sold mid century furniture on Craigslist but I've sold a few audio things, too.
 
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Thanks, Gable, this is exactly the kind of advice I'm looking for. I really like the idea of meeting in public places, and, no worries, I wouldn't park in a Walmart lot, let alone ever conduct business there. But I do have a question, how do you demonstrate the (electronic) item you're selling functions as it should? Or do you just sell it as is?

John gave some fantastic advice above. I'll just echo some of them a bit. Depending on what you're selling, and what it does, or doesn't do you could do some of the following:

Photographs and/or video of the device operating, being measured, etc.
This could be drivers with a dmm showing their dcr, or video of a receiver playing, etc.

I have sold some thing from my home, and have had great luck with this method. Now, this is all after following John's advice. Get a feel for the interested party before you agree to meet them at your house. Intuition goes a long way.
 

adaug

Awaiting Updated Member Status.
buildling on the posts above:

- being able to demo a unit will raise its value to a buyer. i would certainly be willing to pay more for a unit that i was sure worked. after a few back and forths, you should be able to tell if a person is a serious buyer for your gear. ive played gear for quite a few serious CL buyers and never had the slightest issue.

- most scammers are easy to spot. if their message does not mention the specific item (calling it "your item" etc) dont bother responding. when you list, be ready for scammer messages. its just part of where we are right now - like spam calls on our cell phones.

- when CL asks for my address, i give the street crossing near me, not my actual home address.

- yes, you can meet some cool people thru CL transactions for audio gear. its how i got here to HFH.
 
To add to the good advice you've been given - Here's the flip side of the transaction - An example of an inquiry I've made, demonstrating myself to be an informed buyer with cash, a schedule, contact information, and able to write in complete sentences. I'm not quite committing to buy, and I'm also not negotiating price via email (although I'm old-school in that regard). Most of the arrangements will be via text message; often I don't audibly speak to the person until we're face to face. If we're not meeting at a Starbux, I often don't get an address until I text that I'm on my way. I don't ask people to hold things for me - First guy on the doorstep with a fistful cash gets the item. You want to deal with people like me.

Hi - On your Tannoys - How's the woofer surround material holding up? No holes/rips? Are you able to hook them up for a quick demo / frequency sweep? I'm interested, provided they're in good working condition.

I'm in the city, have transportation, & pay cash. Weekdays are best, weekends ok.

tel:1-xxx-xxx-xxxx

Thanks,
Andy

Here's an example of a guy doing it well... I've never met him, but I bet we'd be friends.

 
Thanks, everybody, I appreciate all the input. I guess the thing that has me worried most is the whole stranger on the doorstep thing. (I live in Albuquerque, if that helps explain it any.)

When you guys are screening out/feeling out buyers does this happen solely via e-mail or do you also (or sometimes) speak on the phone? Do you ever arrange a meeting with someone away from your home just to determine whether you even want them anywhere near it, let alone in it?
 
To add to the good advice you've been given - Here's the flip side of the transaction - An example of an inquiry I've made, demonstrating myself to be an informed buyer with cash, a schedule, contact information, and able to write in complete sentences. I'm not quite committing to buy, and I'm also not negotiating price via email (although I'm old-school in that regard). Most of the arrangements will be via text message; often I don't audibly speak to the person until we're face to face. If we're not meeting at a Starbux, I often don't get an address until I text that I'm on my way. I don't ask people to hold things for me - First guy on the doorstep with a fistful cash gets the item. You want to deal with people like me.



Here's an example of a guy doing it well... I've never met him, but I bet we'd be friends.


Great advice, and that listing was quite good!
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
(I live in Albuquerque, if that helps explain it any.)
Wasn't that where Breaking Bad took place? Wait, I'm not helping.

I do usually talk on the phone to somebody before meeting them. Usually by the messages you can get a feel for them, though. I've never had a bad in-person meeting, all that has gotten weeded out by the time it gets to that and its pretty easy to get a vibe off of somebody, at least in audio. I think because our gear is so specific that it doesn't attract the same folks that, say, a used ipad or even car would.
 

adaug

Awaiting Updated Member Status.
Wasn't that where Breaking Bad took place? Wait, I'm not helping.
its pretty easy to get a vibe off of somebody, at least in audio. I think because our gear is so specific that it doesn't attract the same folks that, say, a used ipad or even car would.

great point. if a person is conversant with audio gear - they are not thieves. hey what is it about audio that selects out an excellent class of people?
 
I do usually talk on the phone to somebody before meeting them. Usually by the messages you can get a feel for them, though. I've never had a bad in-person meeting, all that has gotten weeded out by the time it gets to that and its pretty easy to get a vibe off of somebody, at least in audio. I think because our gear is so specific that it doesn't attract the same folks that, say, a used ipad or even car would.

This hadn't occurred to me, but, yes, it definitely makes sense.
 

Thermionics

Post Whore In Training
Here's an example of a guy doing it well... I've never met him, but I bet we'd be friends.

That is an excellent CraigsList ad. I may copy that format for future use.
 

Audionut

Next Round Is On Me
On the craigslist front this may have been covered (but I only scanned through most of the posts above). You can’t test a specific piece of equipment in your vehicle with a power inverter, speakers/low draw receiver and some wire..... or you can risk strangers coming to your home. I usually demo items in my garage not in my house or again in the field using the aforementioned items.
Yes there are flakes and pushy/suspect characters out there (that’s how I met @marantzfan ;)). Actually he’s one of the few standup people I’ve met.
 
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