I was out to dinner with a friend a few weeks ago when he mentioned how he was pretty good at finding free stuff on Craigslist. In a moment of necessity, he discovered that not only could he find a bunch of free stuff he needed (he furnished his entire house) but that he could also flip some of that stuff for cash.
Being the money blogging hustler that I am, I was intrigued. We decided to go an adventure together so he could show me how to find free stuff on Craigslist he then flips for cash. Here's how we did it:
Step 1: Make sure you’ve got the Craigslist app set to the right locations
You'll want to head to the App Store and download Daily Classifieds app. It will ask you to enable location services so it can give you a listing of classifieds in the area.
You'll then want to make sure you've got your bases covered in terms of location. In our case, we were in Miami which wasn't very plentiful, so we added Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach to our locations. If an item is good enough and it's free, it's worth the drive.
Step 2: Stalk the ads
People are constantly posting free stuff on Craigslist, but it's kind of a numbers game in terms of whether or not the stuff is any good. Additionally, the good stuff moves really fast. That's why you need to refresh the page on the app every few minutes.
In terms of what makes a good ad from a bad one, pictures are worth a thousand words. We were able to find a nice coffee set, bookshelf and even an older iMac computer listed on the app!
Step 3: Contact the person giving away free stuff
Once you find something good, you'll immediately want to contact the person who posted the ad. You can shoot them an email from within the app, though admittedly I had issues doing this. I ended up having to copy and paste the ridiculous Craigslist email into Gmail.
Since these items move quickly, there are a few specific things you'll want to mention when you send them an email:
Tell them you saw the ad (duh).
Tell them you're interested in the item and ask if it's still available.
Tell them you're nearby and will be there soon.
Give them your number and tell them to text you.
From there you wait for responses. Sometimes they answer quickly, sometimes they don't. And sometimes they sound like creepers so you decide it's not a good idea.
Step 4: Make money
Once you've gotten your items, you can relist them on Craigslist for cash. Reason being that the people who are giving away the item likely aren't going to be looking at the for sale section of Craiglist so they won't know you're making money off their stuff.
The pricing depends on you, but my friend had a formula that was pretty straightforward. His pricing goes with the Craigslist market price. If he's willing to keep the item in his garage for a week he'll sell it for 30% less than the market price. If he's trying to flip it right away, he'll sell it at 40-50% below market price.
With that being said, he did mention how you soon realize that storage becomes an issue. Since you got the item for free and are making a profit no matter what, he suggests flipping it sooner rather than later.
If you're looking for a quick way to earn some extra cash, look no further than Craigslist. Even if you're not looking to make money, you can definitely save some by getting free stuff you might need.