For simplification reasons, I'm switching over to as my main site. I'm doing this for a few reasons. 

First is that most people don't know what arbitrage is.  Besides, what I'm doing really technically isn't arbitrage, though in a way it's close.

Second, craigslistarbitrage is longer, harder to spell and harder to remember than  

So head on over there and start ferociously commenting on all my posts.  

Thanks - Ryan
I’ve been thinking lately about how, without overdoing it, I could make more money on each item that I’m selling on Craigslist.  For appliances, I’ve come up with a few pretty solid ideas.  

For example, this morning, a guy came over to purchase a nice dryer from me.  When I talked with him on the phone, I told him if he brought his old dryer over I would transfer the power cord to the new dryer he was purchasing from me and recycle his dryer afterwards.  I asked him what happened to the dryer and he told me it had suddenly stopped working, and that I might be able to get it going if I tinkered with it. When I went to remove the cord, I found out that the one of the wires in the power cord had melted all the way through, rendering it useless.  I had a spare power cord laying around so I installed it on the dryer he was purchasing from me and he was on his way.  (I save all the power cords from washers/dryers I scrap to either use them later or recycle for the copper later on.)

Later in the day, I came home and I noticed a screw had not been tightened enough, which causes it to arc back and forth enough to melt the wire all the way through.  It hadn't damaged any other wires, so I went ahead and put a new power cord on the dryer.  I turned it on and the thing runs as good and quiet as a brand new dryer.  I cleaned it all up and it's ready to sell.  At the very least I was going to get about $14 in scrap metal for the dryer.  In this situation which is abnormal, I made an extra.....


Come up with a plan to make some additional money on your transactions.  Find additional services to offer like delivery, set-up and haul away of the old appliances etc.  Ask if they are selling anything else.  Each situation can be different, but there are often additional services you can provide to those you are buying/selling from to increase your profits.  

For my first post I thought I would share a common story for those of you who buy/sell much on craigslist, the item not as described. I’ll mix in tips and helpful hints for common situations that you may find yourself in. Enjoy—Ryan

I called up a guy about a month ago about his washer and dryer he had listed for $75 for the pair.  I asked him how old they were and he said about 4-5 years old.  I then asked him if they were all white, like all the new ones are and again he said yes.  Sweet!  I had found another great deal!  

Thirty minutes of driving later I arrived at his townhouse only to discover that the washer and dryer were all white except for the control panels, which were brown and black.  These colors are consistent with the washers and dryers made 15-20 years ago.  He was correct in saying they were Kenmore 80 series however.  What I did next is a result of my experience in how to handle these situations over the past months.

First, communicate your disappointment in finding out that the appliances were not 5 years old, but more likely 15 years old.  At this point, you have to test the washer and dryer out and make sure they work fine with no problems and figure out how much you can pay for them and still make some money.  I wanted to make $50 on the pair for my effort.  He saw that I was was going to walk away without getting them the way things were going so he said he would let me have them for $40 for the pair.  That was a big drop in price so I went ahead and shot for $30, with still a hint of irritation in my voice at having drove 30 minutes only to be deceived.  He agreed on $30 for the pair so I loaded them up and went home.

Once I got home, I put them up for $100 for the pair and said that I could possibly deliver.  30 minutes later a lady called and wanted the pair delivered.  She only lived 18 blocks away so I said I would deliver them for an extra $10.  I ended up setting them up for her which took about 15 minutes extra.  You have to be careful about delivering, because delivery in most customer’s minds means setting them up as well.  Make up your mind beforehand what you’re willing to do.  I tend to go the extra mile and help people out, especially single mothers with kids.  If there’s a man around, let him hook the appliances up.  It will be good for him.  Answer questions and maybe give some instructions, but let them do the work.  


I used get so worked up about not being able to make much money on a mis-advertised appliance or item, that I would just leave.  Now, I calm down and relax. How much is this old set worth?  Do the math in your head.  You know the market.  Offer them an amount that will make you a decent profit, and at the same time figure out your maximum amount you are willing to pay and don’t go over it. Part of it is out of principal, but there is also risk involved in every transaction. Always be prepared for situations where the item was not described accurately.


    Ryan Finlay

    Stories of how I make my living buying and selling on craigslist.  


    August 2011