So I’ve been busy lately – so very busy. Hottie and I contemplated a move to Kansas City and I was 90% sure we’d make the move – in my head, we were gone. I was shopping for houses, schools, friends (you know who you are), cupcake vendors, etc. My head was in the moving game, which meant it was time to get rid of STUFF! With the recent, final decision back in November that we’re done growing our family, I have been ready to sell everything baby-related. Before the topic of the move came up, I started casually selling baby gear and clothes on FB and CL, but once the move discussion was in full-force… well… I started selling everything.
I was a novice, I had no idea what I was doing and actually had Hottie help me post my first item on CL. It sold in an hour (I clearly under-priced it – again, I had no idea what I was doing). I got the bug and decided that I should try posting some of the CL items on FB as well. So I joined a bunch of FB swap groups and started posting things. And they started selling. Since my very first post on January 19th, I’ve made $3,173 and only $620 was made from CL listings – everything else has been from selling on FB.
I was trying not to get over-confident, but over the weekend, one of the swap site admins reached out to me to ask me to sell for her, and told me that she and the other site admins have never seen anything like my postings in years. Another swap site admin pinged me to say that I’m a crazy seller who commands and gets top-notch prices for my items. As everyone who reads me knows – if I’m going to do something – I’m going to DO IT RIGHT.
So what is right? People are asking me what I’m doing to be so successful at this. I get unsolicited emails and messages asking for tips and tricks, and today, a gal reached out to say that she took my advice on Saturday night and sold 90% of her stuff the next day in record time. YAY!
I am a perfectionist when it comes to things I take seriously – and I take making money very seriously. I don’t make a living working outside the home, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to save money and make it where I can (and always within legal and moral boundaries). So when I took to selling my stuff on FB, I figured out what made me comfortable and hit the road running.
- Every swap site is different – read and follow the rules of each one! I have been kicked out of two swap groups and one was because the admin was frustrated with all of the traffic my stuff was generating (she admitted in writing twice that I had followed every one of her rules but that I was just selling too much stuff that generated extreme interest and comments, bogging down the feed. Whatever. Move on.). The second group I was kicked out of – well – I have no idea why I was booted. What I do know is that I joined the group and immediately posted things, and forgot to read their rules. I’m sure I broke one of their rules about number of posts per day (of the 7 groups I was in, 5 of them had no limits as long as you used albums and 1 for sure had a limit to one post per day. The 7th group, well, I don’t know because I forgot to read the rules). FOLLOW THE RULES!
- Take great photos of your stuff! This is the advice I give out all of the time. Take photos of individual outfits put together, not a pile of pants, shirts, socks, etc. Use the same background for every one of your photos that is going to be in the same album (more on albums later). Using the same background makes your post look super awesome when it shows a few pictures side-by-side in the post. It makes it look like you care about selling your stuff, and it shows that you just take good care of things in general. I cannot stress the importance of great photos.
- Use albums! If you have a lot of the same type of thing to sell (like baby clothes, housewares, shoes, etc.), put all like items in an album. Again, make sure your photos within the album all have the same background if possible. Name your album something search-worthy (put brand names in the album name) and always, always, always include a very specific album description. When I’m selling clothes, I put in the album description how I washed and dried the clothes (always on gentle with gentle detergent, all sweaters and jeans line-dried, everything else tumbled on low) and I am not afraid to brag about how well I take care of my clothes. This helps sell the entire album. You have no idea how many times I have received offers from people to buy my entire album out-right – and we’re talking albums with list prices of $400+.
- Price with confidence! You know what your items are worth, and you know what you paid for them. No one else knows what you paid for them. If you bought all of your kids’ Ga.p jeans for $10 a pair – good for you – but sell those babies at $6 a pair without a second thought. I price clothing based on this pricing model for consignment sales: http://www.monkeyinthemiddleconsignmentevent.com/pricingguide What I do, and I state this in my album description, is I price my items in the middle of the brand range for that item and then list it on FB for 70% of that price. I do this because I feel it’s the fair thing to do. If I was going to sell my kids’ clothes at a consignment sale (which I will be doing in April), I would get 70% of the sale price. So an example of this is Ga.p jeans. The pricing guide says to sell them for $4-$10 based on condition, so I go with $8.00 per pair. 70% of $8.00 is $5.60 so I price them on FB at $6.00. They fly off the shelves. If you explain how you price (and I link the pricing guide in my album description) and then within each photo say “$6.00 (consignment retail of $8.00),” no one will question you because they know that you know what you’re doing. You’ve already explained the condition of your items and how you price within the album description, and then you remind the buyer of the consignment value and your FB discount in the photo caption.
- For clothing, price per outfit and not per item. If you have a complete outfit, do not break it up to sell it on FB. The consignment sales tell you to NEVER break up a complete outfit, and I believe you should not do it on FB either. I sell complete outfits all the time, and if I broke them up, I’d be stuck with a bunch of onesies/shirts and no jackets and pants to go with them. In your picture description, say, “I will not break up this set.” When I include that, I’m not asked to sell per item. It’s wonderful! They already know that I won’t do it. On the flip side, if you have a really big collection of clothes (I do), say, “$25 for the entire set, but am willing to separate items if requested.”
- For clothing, group like items together within a photo. I usually post a picture with 2-3 items included and say “$12 for all 3 or $4 each.” I do not give a discount for buying all the items in a photo. No way! Again, price with confidence! More times than not, people want all of the items in the photo. It’s amazing. You will sell more doing it this way – I promise!
- Take photos of multiple views of your item, but put them all into one photo collage to post. Like this:
- Do not negotiate prices for 24 hours. I learned this one the hard way. Unless it’s a stupid item that you really just want to get rid of, never barter on price until your item has been available to other buyers for 24 hours. And NEVER agree to discounted prices within the comments of the photo – take it to a private message! I have responded to barter requests before 24 hours are up, but I private message the person and say, “if no one else is interested in the next 24 hours, I’ll take $X for it.” That way, you have your out when someone else comes in at a full-price offer after the bartered offer.
- Post your items when you have time to check your feed for interested buyers. Some items go quickly, some items sit for weeks. You just don’t know what’s going to sell (I usually have a good idea, but I am often times very surprised by what does and doesn’t sell quickly). I have posted a few albums that were so hot, that almost everything was sold within minutes. I’m not kidding. When those items are going crazy, I just sit back and wait until it slows down and then go through my feed from the oldest request to the newest, ensuring that I’m offering the item to the first bidder each time. When you’re posting an album of like items, one buyer will often times want several things, so give them time to shop before you contact them to arrange pickup, etc.
- Managing cross-posts is hard, until it isn’t. I’ve mastered this and it’s all in how quickly you can copy an album from one swap to another and then manage your feed (described above in #9). I post the items to the first swap site and then keep that album open in one tab and create an identical album in the next swap site in a separate IE tab. I copy the album title and description from one to the other, and then each photo’s description from one album to the other. I’ve gotten efficient, and you will too! It just takes time at first, but tonight, I posted the same album in 5 different swaps within 20 minutes. Before I was done with the last one, items were already selling from the first album posted. When requests stream in for the same item but in different swap sites, your feed will tell you who requested it first. Use your feed to manage your list of sales. When someone requests something first, I go and “LIKE” their comment in the photo so I know who was first if I lose my feed. This has saved me! Always “LIKE” the comment of the first person interested in the item across all of your cross posts of the same item.
- Do not delete your photos until your item is picked up! I cannot stress this enough. If you delete your photos before your item is truly swapped, then you will lose all comments of interest from other buyers. I did this once as pressure was on to keep the swap sites clean, and my buyer bailed on me and I lost my list of 5 interested buyers. Not good.
- Delete your photos each night of items that have been sold and swapped. Admins will LOVE you for doing this as it is ALWAYS a rule to delete your photos of sold items, but few people do this consistently. When you may mess up and break a rule, the admins will cut you some slack when you point out that you simply messed up and that you have a track record of cleaning up the sites nightly.
- Play nice! This one can be hard for me because my stuff sells so quickly, and I get annoyed by people who agree to buy something and then, just before pickup, ask for a lower price. I hate that, and I almost always say no. But if it’s someone I think may want to buy from me again, I may cut them a deal and just say, “I don’t usually do this, but I will this one time.” I have NEVER turned anyone in for not showing up for a sale that they committed to (this has only happened twice so far) because I think it’s just not nice. I make a note of the person and then never sell to them again. But don’t turn people in to the admins.
- Get to know the admins. This is important for that time when you do break a rule (and you will without knowing it). If you realize you messed up, just message them and say, “hey shoot, I did this and I just realized it and I’m sorry.” They’ll forgive you in a New York minute! And here’s a tip with admins – if you’re having great luck selling on their site, be willing to cut them a deal if they request one of your items. You wouldn’t be making the money you are without them! If I know I’m OK with taking a lower price on an item I know an admin is interested in, I message them before dropping the price to see if they want it, and I offer it to them $5 less than what I’m going to drop the price to on the swaps.
- Know when to post your items for the right audience. Don’t know when those times are? Well I do! Women like to troll the sites on Saturday mornings. If you have stuff to sell to women (kid items, clothing, shoes, etc), have your stuff posted as close to 8:00 on Saturday morning as possible, and then sit back and wait for the feeding frenzy. Men like to troll the sites late at night, so if you’re selling housewares, electronics, sports stuff, or mens clothing, post them around 9:00 at night. Furniture sells at ALL times of the day, so just post it!
- Bump your items at various times, but never at the same times for the same item. The swaps are just a FB feed, so other posts bury your posts. If you have an item that didn’t get any traffic when you posted it at 7:00 two nights ago, don’t bump it in the evening two nights later. Bump it (and “bumping” is just commenting the photo so it pushes it to the top of the feed) in the morning or mid-day. All you need is the right person viewing the site at the right time for that item, so try different times to bump your item.
- Clean up your posts nightly. This is different from deleting sold items. Go through your posts and delete items that have sat stagnant even with bumps, bump items you’ve not bumped in a while, and review albums for any missed items that are sold but you forgot to delete.
- Have fun with your captions and album descriptions! Show your personality – keep it light! I make fun of myself in my album descriptions and that makes people “like” the album even though they’re not buying a thing, but their “like” then bumps my album to the top of the feed. When “bumping” your own item, make a joke about how shocked you are that your item hasn’t sold: “Surprisingly, my non-China China is still available. Any takers?” That comment sold my china because the gal thought it was funny and then noticed I’d dropped the price. That china sat in my garage for 12 years and disappeared because I made fun of it.
I think that’s it!
As I was writing this, I sold $50 in items and one of the items was a “Hail Mary” item that we thought would never sell! I was ready to pull the listing but bumped it one last time with the caption, “last chance at $10” and it was sold within minutes.
If you have questions, let me know! I’ll help if I can!