I made $70 without leaving my house this weekend!
I want to share my lessons learned so others can make some cash off of items sitting in their homes that are no longer useful to them.
Facebook’s rollout of their Marketplace feature snuck up on me. One day I was posting to individual neighborhood sites and the next day I had the option to post to a broader audience. As an experienced and avid eBay seller, this piqued my interest. The interface is easier than eBay and I am able to eliminate handling and shipping! But, is it too good to be true? For now, I’m striking while the iron is hot.
Of my $70 in sales, one item was $40, a headboard and footboard set that had been taking up valuable space in the laundry room. The other items I sold were a dented wine fridge, a carry-on suitcase that hasn’t been used in four years, a Thundershirt that my anxious dog used years ago, an IKEA play tunnel my child has outgrown, and a fake tree that the cat tried to eat.
The turnaround time for Facebook Marketplace is lightning fast compared to eBay, which is gratifying. Nearly instantly in the case of the dented wine fridge. Incidentally, I received two offers of double my asking price on that item. See rule #3 about that…
#1 Post a quality photo.
For some items, you may want to post multiple photos. For the wine fridge, I posted 5 photos, including a close-up of the dented area and the brand logo. For the suitcase and play tunnel, 1 photo was sufficient.
The more potential questions you can answer with a photo, the more streamlined your buyer/seller communication will be!
#2 Be honest in your product description and communication.
Most Facebook buyers are familiar with eBay-style shorthand like GUC, EUC, POMS, and PPU. Use the lingo to keep your posts short and to the point.
If an item has flaws, describe them! It is a lot easier to be up front than it is to have an unhappy customer.
#3 Obey the site rules.
Facebook will not allow multi-level marketing posts or sales of firearms and drugs. The Marketplace manager area of your Facebook app will immediately tell you if there are “problems with your item.”
I posted a backpack that I no longer use because I work from home – Facebook flagged this post because of the “work from home” phrase, so I altered the language.
Most neighborhood sites have rules in which an interested party should indicate “interested” or “dibs” on the sale post. Messaging a seller directly without commenting first is considered jumping in line. As the seller, it’s important to obey the rules so that you maintain integrity, especially if you plan to sell frequently on the Marketplace.
#4 Do your research.
I’ve seen fellow Facebook sellers post items for nearly the same price the item would be at a retail store! Most used items should be resold at 1/2 or lower their original retail price. Very few items retain their retail price value, and you generally will not find these types of items on the Facebook Marketplace. A Chanel handbag for example.
The IKEA play tunnel I sold this weekend was in VGUC (Very Good Used Condition). I looked for the item on IKEA’s website and found they are currently selling them for $14.99. I posted it for $5 and received a message from a buyer within 15mins. They picked up the item within hours. I used some humor in my post (see bonus tip), something about saving you time at IKEA on a weekend…
#5 Be safe!
The best part about Facebook Marketplace, that puts it to the #1 spot of my buy/sell rotation (ahead of eBay, Amazon, and Craigslist) is that I can see my buyers. More than half the people I sold to this weekend had 1 or 2 mutual friends with me!
Each of the items I sold this weekend were placed on my front porch and the buyer placed cash in my mailbox. The one exception is the headboard and footboard set – I placed that in the driveway for easier pickup.
I do not provide my address until the buyer provides a time they will be picking up the item.
In the past, I have arranged to meet buyers in an offsite location, like a grocery store parking lot, to exchange items for money. That became a hassle and more trouble than it was worth. I would use this method for higher dollar items, like a nice handbag or clothing item, however.
Bonus tip: Use humor, if you have such skills.
A lady in my neighborhood buy/sell group writes epic posts for her sale and free items. When I get a notification that she has posted something, I always check it out. I think others do too, and her items sell quickly!
Bottom line: I think there is still a place in my buying and selling life for eBay and Craigslist, even though Facebook’s Marketplace is proving to be pretty amazing.
The main reason I may use Facebook’s Marketplace more than traditional online selling is due to environmental impact. Compared to eBay where I need to use shipping materials like boxes, bags, and packaging tape, the Marketplace allows me to eliminate nearly all of that – unless it’s raining, and in that case I place items in a plastic shopping bag. Further overhead is eliminated because I do not have to print a shipping label or buy postage.
What do you think? Are you using Facebook’s Marketplace? Any tips you’d like to share?