Having a garage is always on our list of summer money-makers, but because we live an area where “garage sale season” is reserved for only about five months out of the year, we need to get creative the other seven months.
During the off season we opt to selling some of excess stuff via the many Facebook Online Garage Sale Sites. Though not without a hiccup now and then, using these sites has been immensely beneficial and one that I would recommend to others. Here are some facts you should know about these sites:
Cash is King: Cash is the only acceptable form of payment, unless the seller you are working with agrees to something else. I now always have change in the form of ones and fives on me at all times. Which brings me to another point:
Bring Exact Change: Just out of sheer respect for those you are doing business with, bring exact change whenever possible. Don’t hit someone with a twenty for a three dollar item.
Meet in a Public Place: Fast Food establishments or business parking lots are all favored places for buyer and seller to meet.
Group your Meets Together: Whether you are a buyer or a seller, try to group your “meets” together so you are doing more than one at a time or in conjunction with other errands you are running so you don’t find yourself making special trips and eating up your profits.
Reveal and Disclose: If something has a rip, tell the buyer that. If something has slight damage, reveal that. I once bought a coat that the buyer claimed was “in great shape,” but when I met with her I discovered (once I got home) that both sleeves were shredded. Nice. I opted to chalk it up to a lesson learned rather than raise a stink about it. Non-smoking homes is another biggee these days since so many people are sensitive to cigarette smoke.
Don’t Expect Refunds: Unless something is truly defective, don’t be requesting or expecting refunds. This is not Wal-Mart folks. If you agree to buy to purchase a medium-sized shirt from me (and I disclose that it is medium) but you are an XL, that falls into the “not my problem category” if you get it home and discover it doesn’t fit.
Pictures are a MUST: Not only do all of these sites require a photo with every listing, quality and clear pictures will work wonders for getting your item sold. I just use my iPhone to take pictures, but I usually include 2-3 photos for each items I am selling. If you are selling clothes (or anything for that matter) try to present your item in the best light possible. You wouldn’t buy items that are wrinkled, faded or dirty, why would you expect someone else to?
OBO: Sometimes, to move your item to a quicker sale you may want to include “or best offer.” This is especially true on bigger ticket items.
ISO: “In Search of.” Not too long ago I was in need of an extra hand-held recorder for my freelance work, but was too cheap to spend the $40 at a retail store. I posted an ISO on one of the sites ( along with a picture so people knew what I meant) and within an hour had a gorgeous $10 recorder in my hot little hand. And someone was $10 richer 🙂
PM: “PM me” means that someone will private message you via Facebook for more details about the transaction. Please note that, if you are not connected as friends on Facebook, the message may end up in your “other” message box. PM is a great way to work out details, share addresses etc. without the world seeing.
Stellar Descriptions: Create a listing description as if you were selling something one eBay. “Purple jeans, size 12” may not get a sale but “Like new purple Abercrombie Skinny jeans with adjustable waistband and zip/button closure. Size 12, 100% cotton, comes from smoke-free home, multiple sites, must meet in ___(town)” may garner a quicker response.
Delete Pictures of Sold Items: Just out of respect for the site and other buyers, type your name in the search box, locate the sold items and “delete” to keep the feed filled with only viable items for sale.
Sellers, Send an Reminder: After being stuck several times with “no-shows” due to the fact they “forgot” (It happens. Life moves fast) I now try to remind them before our meet time. This also give people a chance to reschedule if they need to. I also highly encourage everyone, whether you are a buyer or seller, to make a list of your meets that include details like place of the meet, the item in question, the buyer/seller’s name and also what sort of vehicle they will be driving. This prevents “forgotten” meets and confusing situations.
First to Respond, Wins: Anyone who is wanting what you are selling will respond in the comments something along the lines of “want” or “interested.” If you are slow on the keyboard, but still want to get in line in case the first buyer falls through, many will respond “In Line.” “@” tagging a friend does not constitute committing to the item or holding your place in line. Read all of the groups rules and guidelines before listing your items.
Be Polite and Respectful at All Times, But Stand Firm: This would be my #1 piece of advice. Treat people as you wish to be treated. Know when to be flexible, but also be firm. It should go without saying that buyers should NOT ask for a cheaper price AFTER they’ve committed and especially not at pick-up time. These sites are a huge benefit for buyers and sellers and operate on the respect and honor system. Yes, occasionally a turd gets into the pool, but I’ve noted that Admins from other groups will work together to weed out or block spammers or those who can’t seem to behave properly.
Commit and FOLLOW THROUGH: For those of us who sell, there are two main issue that are highly irritating: 1) No-shows 2) Those who commit or say “want” and then disappear. As a buyer commit, set a day and pick-up time and show up. As a seller, if this happens to you simply wait for 12 hours for the person to surface, then move on to the next person.
Hold it For Me? From my personal experience, “holds” rarely work out. If you chose to “hold” an item for someone longer than a week, just know there’s a 90% chance it won’t work out (again, this is based on personal experience) so save yourself the time and aggravation by having your meets and pick-ups within a week’s time. This applies to people who repeatedly need to “reschedule” and drag out the transaction for weeks. Know when to stand your ground, politely cancel the transaction and move on to the next buyer.
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