The Gentleman & Gentlewoman’s Guide to Proper Craigslist Etiquette: for the Seller


craigslist etiquetteFor some storage auction hunters, Craigslist is an essential facet to their selling strategy. With good reason; Craigslist is completely free and it’s by far one of the easiest ways to reach out and connect with potential buyers and sellers in your area.

However, since it’s so easily accessible, and you don’t need to worry about a seller’s rating or positive feedback…people seem to immediately forget about etiquette. Yes, there is a certain etiquette involved in all aspects of Craigslist, from listing the item to the actual sale of the item. Here are some tips on being a proper, high-class gentleman or gentlewoman when selling to the fair patrons of Craigslist.

Your Listing

When writing your ad, as with any online selling site, you should be clear and concise, and you should always include photos. Craigslist does not charge for adding photos or writing a description, so there’s absolutely no reason not to be as clear as possible. Make sure you describe and photograph any flaws or damages to your product. Try to take a nice, clear photo without tons of junk in the background. It’s distracting, probably pretty unsightly, and no one wants to see it!

old illustrationMany people like adding their phone number to the listing because it usually weeds out buyers who aren’t serious, but you do run the risk of attracting phone solicitors. It’s up to you if you want to include your phone number in your listing or just communicate by email.

Make sure you’re very clear about a few things, the most important being the price. If your price is non-negotiable, make sure you say so or people will haggle you to death. Even still, people are going to try to haggle but being able to say “the listing clearly said non-negotiable” will help reinforce your argument.  Also, many people will assume that you’ll help them lift their item into their car, but if you’re not thrilled about that idea, make sure you specify that they’re going to need to bring help or lift it themselves.

For more ideas on how NOT to write your ad (or if you just need a good laugh)….check out You Suck at Craigslist. You’ll be amazed by what you read.

The Sale

Once you have a potential buyer and set up a time, make sure you stick to that schedule. There is nothing more frustrating to a buyer than to drive all the way to the agreed location, only to find that you’re not there and never intended on showing up. Even if you sold the item before they got there (which is a complete breech of etiquette in itself), you at least owe them the courtesy of a phone call.

older illustrationThe anonymity of the internet does not give you the right to forget your manners. Even though you’ve never met them, these are still real live human beings you’re dealing with, with lives, jobs, families, and responsibilities just like you—so treat your buyers with respect. A good impression can lead to future friendships or buying connections, so always be courteous and keep your promises.

Also—and this is for your own protection—when completing the deal, make sure you count the money right on the spot. Some people might feel self-conscious because it seems “rude”, but the sad fact of the matter is that there are scammers everywhere. It’s better to be safe than sorry. As a rule of thumb, all transactions through Craigslist should be completed in cash in order to avoid fraud. Be leery of large bills!

After the Sale

This is one part that many people tend to forget. Finally, you’ve successfully sold the item. You got your money. You're all done, and you've got more space in your garage to boot. Well then….why is your ad still up? This provides endless frustration to Craigslist buyers, so try to be polite and take down the ad as soon as the deal is done. Of course, if you forget to take it down, you’re going to get emails enquiring about the item. Kindly email them back and explain the situation….then you oldest illustrationreally need to delete that ad, okay?

Just like Mum always told you, always say please and thank you. Yes, yes---this even applies to the internet! I can’t stress that enough. Take a few extra seconds to be courteous, and it could make a huge difference in whether or not you make a sale.

In our next blog post, we will proceed with the second installment of the Gentleman and Gentlewoman’s series, and teach you the proper and sophisticated way to be a Craigslist buyer. Stay tuned!



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