3 Steps to Successfully Selling Used Merchandise

Selling used items on free venues like Facebook Marketplace has become a great source of generating quick cash. When you are striving to meet financial goals or finding money to pay for a sudden emergency, then it is wise to begin looking around your house and evaluating if you need to keep some of your possessions.

We all have excess “stuff” and the old saying is absolutely true, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

My husband sells on Marketplace all the time!

The habit of critically looking at your possessions and “thinning the herd” can not only be emotionally gratifying, but can also put extra cash in your pocket. My husband recently decided that he would clean out his downstairs office, which had become the “unloading zone” for anything we found in the house that had no permanent home.

As you might imagine, there were multiple items in that room that we really didn’t need to own. In January, we decided to invest in updating some of our aging recording equipment in order to provide new content for our YouTube channel.

In six weeks, he made nearly $1000 from simply cleaning out his office! That’s how powerful it can be to clear out space and sell your “stuff”!

Along the way, my husband made mistakes and learned lessons in how to sell (and not to sell) merchandise on Marketplace.

You can see and hear my husband and I discuss this step-by-step process in detail on this YouTube video.

Here are 3 Steps, which will help insure a successful sale.

Step 1: SHOW

Take good photos!

  • People won’t buy what they can’t see!
  • Be sure they are in focus.
  • Stand close enough to actually show the item for sale.
  • Turn on the lights or drag that item over near the window and use the natural light.
  • Take the item outside and shoot it in a well lit area.
  • Clean up the item before photographing it.
  • Keep pets and children out of the photo.

Shoot the item from several angles

  • Stage the item on a table.
  • Be sure the background is not cluttered.
  • “Less is more”. Have the item alone, if you can. Otherwise, people will start asking if the other items in the photo are for sale.
  • Create a simple backdrop with an inexpensive piece of poster board.
  • Capture all the details of the item. If there are special features that will enhance the sale, then be sure to feature these in separate photos.
  • Sometimes, it important to lay a ruler alongside the item so the perspective buyer can clearly judge the exact size.
  • You can display up to 7 photos on FB Marketplace.

Take a photo of the item working

  • This removes all doubt to whether the item works.
  • This step also saves you time demonstrating your item when potential buyers show up to see it.

Step 2: TELL

Include a well-written description

  • Set your item apart from the competition.
  • Use complete sentences
  • Don’t use slang
  • Do research and give the make, model, and year of manufacture.
  • Describe the unique components, features, or functions of your item
  • How have you cleaned or maintained the item?

If there are flaws, show and describe them

  • Honesty is always the best policy.
  • Include photos of any physical flaws
  • State where the flaw is located on the item. For instance, “Our five year old used a red crayon on this cushion, but we were able to get most of the stain off with furniture cleaner.”
  • If you’ve had trouble with buttons or functions, then say so.

Price items fairly

  • Use Ebay’s SOLD listings as a guideline.
  • Do a search for the item in Marketplace to see what others are selling it for.
  • We take between 20-25% off the going price to sell our items quickly.

Decide if you will allow holds and for how long

  • We generally go with “first come, first serve”.
  • Always tell potential customers where they are in the line.
  • Track the responses if you get several, so you know where they are in line.
  • State it in the item description so there is no question as to what your policies are.

Be clear on shipping policies

  • If you don’t want to ship, then say so.
  • If you will, designate that shipping will be added to the price.
  • Decide if you want to add a straight shipping fee or the exact cost of shipping to the price.

Step 3: SELL

Find a safe place to sell it

  • Weigh the pros and cons of porch sales
  • Step out of the house with the item when your potential buyer arrives
  • Police stations offer a safe, neutral location for sales

Don’t mark it “sold” until you have the cash in hand

  • Until the point, mark it “pending”.
  • Once you push the “sold” button, you lose all the contacts and correspondence from any other potential buyers who were waiting in line for the item.

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