City Scape With Craigslist Company Name

How to Sell on Craigslist Without Getting Ripped Off


This post is for folks selling on Craigslist for the very first time. It will teach you how to sell on Craigslist safely but before we do that why don’t we take a brief look at the company, itself.

It is an American business providing a platform for people who want to advertise in classifieds or forums. Some categories include housing, items for sale, services, local community announcements, events and jobs.

The founder Craig Newark began the service in the San Francisco Bay area in 1995. It was initially an email distribution list service for friends which developed into a web-based service by 1996.

It quickly expanded the number of categories and started growing to other US cities in 2000. The famous list is now available in over 70 countries.


Overview of Craigslist

Company Name: Craigslist

Founder: Craig Newmark

Headquarters: San Francisco, California, America

Type of Business: Private

Employees: 50 (2017)



How to Price an Item to Sell on Craigslist

It’s a simple fact that your stuff is worth more to you than it is to other people. When you are pricing an item for Craigslist, don’t rely on what you paid for it yourself, or what you think it’s worth. It is essential to do some research to establish a fair price.

Examine your Craigslist and nearby Craigslists to see if there are similar items, and what the costs are. Checking “completed listings” on eBay will give you an indication of how much demand there is for your item, and what people are willing to pay for it.

Completed listings is a much more accurate way to research the actual purchase price, rather than looking at the asking prices of items.

While you can try to put “final price” or “firm price” in your ad, most people will attempt to negotiate and don’t be surprised if you get ridiculously low offers. It is better to ask for a price 10-20% over what you want so that you have room to bargain with potential buyers.

Alternatively, if there are many items precisely like yours on your local Craigslist, try pricing yours just slightly less than the competition.


How to Create a Craigslist Ad That Sells

#1. Take Good Pictures

Take bright, accurate, high-resolution, well-lit photos. Take photos of the whole item from a few angles, and then close up shots of any damage, wear, or unusual features or details.

#2. Write a Good Headline

Your headline should be precise and accurate, and also include words that make it easy for others to find when searching. Your headline should include the name of what you are selling, the brand, and the condition.

#3. Provide an Accurate Description

Be honest about any damage or wear, how old it is, or anything that is special or different about the item.

#4. Provide Details

Take accurate measurements, if necessary. If you have misplaced the manual, look up the model number online and copy the description of the item from the manufacturer or Amazon. Provide as much specific detail as possible.

#5. Give a Reason

People are much more comfortable contacting you about an item if you say why you are getting rid of it. You don’t need to tell a long story, just a sentence or two.

#6. Give a Phone Number

Most buyers would prefer to text than email, and you will get more and faster responses by giving a phone number than you will by using email.

If you are hesitant to give out your number on Craigslist, create a Google Voice account to remain accessible while protecting your privacy.

Create an account and be prepared to repost. If you create an account, you can merely repost your ad every few days until the item sells, rather than making the advertisement from scratch every time.

Use multiple Craigslist sites. If you are located somewhere with nearby communities that also have Craigslist sites (look at the Craigslist sidebar for nearby cities), it might be worth also posting your ad in those Craigslists as well.


How to Spot Scammers and Get Rid of Them Fast

There are a ton of scammers on Craigslist, and you won’t be able to weed out all the undesirables, but there are a few signs that should send up red flags:

  • They Don’t Name the Item

Most real buyers will say something like “Is the bike still available?” A scammer will often not reference the content of your ad at all, instead of calling it “the item.”

They will also often say “your area” instead of naming your city. They talk as though they haven’t actually read your listing.

  • They Make a Higher Offer

If anyone offers you more money than you are asking, for any reason, he or she is a scammer.

  • They Cannot Meet With You in Person

A scammer will never be available to meet in person but is willing to buy your item without seeing it first.

  • They Are In a Hurry

Most legitimate buyers either aren’t in a hurry, or they act like they aren’t in a hurry, as a negotiating tactic to bring the price down. Scammers want to complete the transaction as quickly as possible.

When in doubt, thank these people and end the conversation. Don’t spend any more time than necessary engaging with them, or trying to figure out whether they are a scammer or not. It’s not worth it.

If you have a horrible experience, or experience any harassment, or are the victim of a scam yourself, report it to the Internet Fraud Complaint Center.


How to Stay safe When Selling on Craigslist

Most Craigslist transactions are incredibly safe, and there is no particular cause for concern. However, it’s always a good idea to be cautious.

  • Meet in Person at a Third Location

If possible, meet your buyer at a neutral place like a coffee shop that is mid-distance between you. It’s safer if you aren’t going to their home, or having them come to yours. Of course, that won’t work for selling a couch, but it’s a good practice if you can.

  • Have a Plan

If you are selling a big item, like a couch, even if you have stated in the ad that you won’t deliver it, you should still have a plan. Make sure it can easily be removed from your house.

If it’s a substantial item, it’s a good idea to have done some research on local hauling companies and know the approximate price on behalf of your buyer.

  • Get the Money

Never accept Western Union, a money order, MoneyGram, or a check; they are too vulnerable to fraud. Most experts advise doing all Craigslist transactions in cash.

However, if you have a Square, or PayPal, and feel comfortable making real-time digital sales, that could be a good choice as well. Remember to take down your ad once you have sold your item.


Other FAQ About Craigslist

Can We Post to More Than One Craigslist Site? Location?

This may seem like a strange question but for businesses promoting a service or people selling items for a business, it is relevant. The answer is no. It is prohibited to post an ad to multiple locations. One ad, one site is the rule.

Where Can We Advertise Our Business Products or Services on Craigslist?

The rule is to advertise them in the “services offered” categories only.

How Do I Post an Ad on Craigslist? Do I Need An Account?

Craigslist help section does a very good job of showing you step-by-step how to post an ad. Incidentally, you do not need to have an account to make a posting. However, if you do have an account it is easier to post, delete and edit ads.

What is Prohibited From Being Sold?

This is interesting. The usual things of course – weapons, hazardous materials, prescription medicine etc. Also more intriguing to me is the fact they do not accept advertisements for lottery tickets or from affiliate marketers.



Craigslist is a good method for the average Joe to sell items. I even believe it could be a decent way to start selling goods for your offline business which may then develop into establishing a real web presence. However, I would not ever use it for dating because there are safer sites on the net.

From an affiliate marketers point of view, this is a recommended way to make a few extra bucks from selling things but it’s not the best way to make a long-term sustainable income using the internet. Those interested in learning additional ways to make money online can browse the section on how to earn money online.


Q&A How to Sell On CraigsList

6 thoughts on “How to Sell on Craigslist Without Getting Ripped Off”

  1. This is so helpful because each great idea people come up with; is great. Until…. someone turns it into a scam. Honestly, I forgot Craigslist even existed. I’ve been so caught up with WA I forgot about this. Great products in Craigslist. Things many pregnant women look for. Such as baby strollers etc.

    1. Hi Linda!

      Wow, thanks for reading two of my posts! I also had forgotten about Craigslist but I thought it useful for folks who want to make some extra cash on the side while building a business like at Wealthy Affiliate. 

      They don’t allow affiliates to advertise on Craigslist but selling an old baby stroller or bicycle could help affiliates with some of their business expenses.

      Thanks so much for your input!

      Best regards,


  2. Hi Devan,
    Wonderful article on how to sell on Craigslist without getting ripped off. This is a great read for anyone unfamiliar with selling things on Craigslist.
    Over the last 10 years or so I’ve bought a few things on Craigslist and sold more than a few. I’ve purchased concert tickets and a file cabinet in the last several years, both were great experiences.
    I have sold everything from a baby stroller to a iPod to even contacts that weren’t the right prescription. Even better I sold the 2 different eye prescriptions to 2 different people!
    Craigslist is a valuable resource. My mom and dad just moved to Tuscan and sold about 40% of their stuff on Craigslist.
    All the best,

    1. Hi Mat,

      Thanks for sharing your experience on Craig’s List. It’s invaluable for people reading about it Craig’s list for the first time. Seems your Mom & Dad did quite well too! Thanks so much!

      Best regards,


  3. Thanks so much for this insight to Craigslist, it answers some of the questions I had about the platform – particularly when it comes to scammers. I’ve hesitated to use Craigslist in the past because of my fear of being ripped off; now I can see that by taking the precautions you mention it should be reasonably safe to navigate.

    I agree with what you say, as an affiliate marketer, you’re not going to make megabucks on there but it could bring in a nice amount of extra cash flow (every little helps).

    Good advice on selling my business products/ services – I’l stick to the “services offered” categories.

    Thanks again for the heads up!

    1. Hey Les,

      Thanks. As an affiliate you will need to be very careful how you “sell” products and services because I believe the terms specifically prohibit us from selling our affiliate products on Craigs List.

      I mentioned it in the article but it was only in one sentence. Easy to miss 🙂

      That’s why I don’t bother with Craigs List.

      If you stick to the services offered categories for your original business products you should be okay.

      Hope this helps.

      Thanks for dropping by!



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