If you’re like me, you get tired of chasing the next clearance sale at the big national retail chains, only to have your retail arbitrage finds “tank” in price before you even get your inventory sent in to the Amazon FBA warehouse. Sure, there are times when you can beat other sellers to the punch and be the first one to sell your items after the big sale, but other times…well, we know that other times after those big clearance sales, we end up with a mess of dead inventory to clean up when long term storage fees roll around.
One easy way to combat the problem of competing in the midst of market saturation is to source items that other sellers can’t find – or at least they can’t find it for the same low, low, low price that you can. And what’s one often overlooked place to source hard-to-find deals?
I know, I know, Craigslist has a bad rap at times because buyers and sellers both can flake out on you at the last minute, and you have to be careful of scammers. But if you take the right safety precautions and do the right research, you can find some super sweet deals on Craigslist that you can turn into big profits on Amazon.
Here are my top 4 items that I love to source on Craigslist to sell on Amazon:
If you live in a college town, you’ll find textbooks sold by the lot on Craigslist at the end of each semester. Even if you don’t live in a college town, some students will bring their books home during the summer to sell on Craigslist.
Students know that by selling their books back to the campus bookstore, they might only earn $4 or $5 – and they can sell them on Craigslist for $10. Many of those books could be sold on Amazon for anywhere from $40 to over $100, so keep an eye out for them.
LEGO tends to always have amazing sales ranks on Amazon. Whether you list them as new or collectible, they seem to sell almost as soon as they hit the FBA warehouse shelves.
Sometimes you can find LEGO lots on Craigslist, but you can also find individual sets. Maybe a kid had a set that he put together a few years ago, it’s been sitting on his desk collecting dust, and now that he’s grown and leaving the house, the parents are selling that set on Craigslist, complete with box and instructions. Or maybe a kid got a LEGO set for a gift, only opened bag #1, and decided he didn’t want to put the set together after all. And there are even the rare occasions where you can find new, unopened LEGOs for sale on Craigslist by someone who’s just looking to get rid of stuff.
If you want to sell a LEGO set on Amazon as collectible, you need to make sure that each and every piece is included, along with any minifigures and stickers. You don’t need the original box, but you do need to include instructions, whether it’s the original instructions or a copy you’ve downloaded and printed from online. You must include detailed descriptions in your condition notes telling whether you have the original box or instructions.
Bonus tip: LEGO minifigures can sometimes be sold individually in collectible condition for big profits. We are always on the lookout for minifigures from the Harry Potter sets.
You probably know by now that I love board games so much that I wrote a book about selling them – The Reseller’s Guide to Board Games: How to Turn Play Money into Real Money. One of the places I keep an eye out for board games, new or collectible, is Craigslist. You can buy an entire lot of board games with the intention of only selling a portion of them on Amazon, and then resell the rest of them at your next garage sale. Make sure you message the seller ahead of time on Craigslist to find out if all the pieces are included.
Many people sell their children’s ride-on toys on Craigslist once they’re finished playing with them. These toys will be considered oversized on Amazon, but you know from our previous blog post that you can make big money selling big items on Amazon.
Do a search on your local Craigslist for “ride-on toys,” “ride-on animals,” or “ride-on cars” to find profitable toys you can sell in collectible condition. We have a favorite ride-on toy that we love to find on Craigslist for $40 or $50 and can sell it on Amazon in collectible condition for $400 to $500, depending on the time of year. It may take a little extra effort to put together a box for shipping it in to FBA, but that effort is worth it for the big ROI.
Buying these items on Craigslist is a win-win situation for both you and the seller. They’re getting cash for an item they no longer want, and you’re getting an item to sell on Amazon that will have less competition and less chance of “tanking” prices. The best way to keep an eye out for these items to resell is by setting up automatic searches and notifications through websites like Noticraig or IFTTT. That way you don’t have to constantly repeat your search, but you can just sit back and wait for the notification to come to you.
Word of caution about Craigslist: Always arrange to pick up your items in a public place, like a parking lot or even the police station. If possible, don’t go to pick up the item alone.
Have you bought items from Craigslist to resell on Amazon? Do you have any favorites that we’ve missed here?
ride on cars are not hazmat issue?
Not usually. If someone else is selling it FBA, then most likely it’s not considered Hazmat. You can double check by looking at your seller eligibility for each different ride on toy on the Amazon Seller app. They will tell you if it’s Hazmat or not.
I’ve been using Craigslist for books, but most students in the Philadelphia area, especially on the NJ side of the river, are selling their textbooks for a minimum of $40 and up. But, I get lucky once in a while. Picked up $1000 of nursing textbooks from someone who decided nursing wasn’t for them. They just gave them away, access codes and all unused. Pretty decent score!
I see a lot of items with good potential on my local Craigslist, but so far it’s been more trouble than it’s worth to get them. I spend time driving to meet someone somewhere and over half of the time they’re late, don’t show at all, or the item isn’t as described. It’s just not worth the time – my time is better spent sourcing elsewhere.
I’m trying to work out a way to make Craigslist buying more efficient. I’m toying with the idea of setting up Craigslist “office hours” in a public place for a couple of hours every week or two. I’ll set up appointments to meet multiple CL sellers during that time period and if they show, great. If they don’t, I’ve only wasted one trip and I was already there anyway to meet other sellers.
Great article. Can you give an example of an automatic search you have set up? I’d like to know more about how that works. Thanks!
Sure… an example might be “Ride on corvette” or “ride on jeep”
Thanks. What condition does something need to be in in order to sell as Collectible on Amazon? Using the ride on Jeep/Corvette example, does it have to work perfectly but not be in a box?
Yes, anything you sell on Amazon needs to work perfectly. Box is not necessary unless selling it as new.