Falls Avenue Collectibles: Posting An Ad On Kajiji
inDecember 13, 2010 - 12:33pm
Like most sellers, I've found plenty at flea markets, yard sales and auctions. We'd all agree, the hunt is the best part of our jobs. Nothing is more thrilling than finding something amazing; except selling it at a profit of course! The problem is, these venues chew up hours of your time and when you come home with next to nothing besides a feeling of frustration you think, there has to be a better way. Enter Kajiji...
I'm not a fan of yard sales because I hate muddling through piles of junk just to find one sellable item and those miserable people! I've wasted hours plus packed on the calories with those darn tasty Egg McMuffins! Auctions are good but then you've got taxes along with buyer's premiums ranging from 10-25%. Sunday Flea markets are my favorite but there are fewer to attend every passing year. Plus, it seems the older vendors are being replaced by booths selling newer items, cheap designer knock-offs and a host of other paraphenelia; otherwise known as crap. Personally, I never buy items for resell on online sites. A nice chunk of your profit goes to USPS and again, talk about time consuming.
Early last year, I posted a free ad on Kajiji which today provides me with the majority of my inventory. It took no time at all and the results have been terrific. I receive at least two inquiries a week and I come from a smaller region. If you've mastered selling online then posting an ad on Kajiji will be a snap.
First, choose the most appropriate category(s) and your location (or as far as you're willing to drive). Second, you MUST use those keywords! List everything you want (be specific) and avoid using plurals and characters. Use the same words the average person would use if they were looking for a buyer or seller. As an example, a search for coats will render far fewer results than coat on Kajiji. Your ad will run for a month and reposting takes just one click. Once you repost, it goes to the top of the page again and that's when I get the most responses. You can pay extra to keep your ad at the top but it usually takes me the rest of the month to get more money together to keep buying anyway so this works for me.
Although I thank all inquiries, I will actually be interested in less than half. I respond asking questions regarding condition, quantity and I ask if we can speak on the phone so I can get a better idea of what to expect and how much money to bring. Unless it's spectacular, rarely will I make the effort for just one or two things. It's nice to get photos but many aren't computer savvy so if they don't offer I don't ask which is why the phone call stage is so important. I love that I can make appointments for times that are convenient to me, much better than those 7am yard sales! I usually make housecalls in the afternoons and for those sellers who aren't comfortable with that, I'll arrange to meet them at a nearby public spot.
In most cases, the sellers are either downsizing or an elderly relative has passed away. Rarely do I encounter true collectors (bonus!) and their items are usually in pristine condition. Now, to be sure, the Internet has made researching value a relatively simple matter so don't assume everything will be a bargain. However, I do find they're aware of your need to make a profit and are often quite willing to make a deal. Most are also aware that, depending on the item, there aren't too many options they have and the last thing they want to do is donate it for nothing. Remember, we're not talking about Rembrandts here. It's mostly items worth under $100 but these people might have lots of them. Some had already tried to sell to shops or to the flea market vendors but refused to accept "$50 for all of it". They've simply told me, "At that price, I'll keep it!". So don't insult them, you need to build a solid reputation and we all know what word of mouth can do.
While I'm there, I examine each item, ask what they want first (very important!), counter-offer if necessary and then I write it down. I tally it up when I'm done and if it's more than I was able to spend, I might make another offer on the whole lot or remove some items. By the way, you'd be surprised how many times my counter-offer is higher than what they asked. I consider myself to be an honorable person and besides that, I like to sleep at night.
So what have you got to lose? It's free and you'll never have to take a single photo or divulge any personal information. The people you encounter are wonderful especially when you show interest in what they love. I've stayed for hours listening to their stories while handling each new treasure, already writing it's description in my head. Hey, and just think, you'll be able to sleep in weekends again. Ahhhhh....