July 16, 2014

Craigslist: You found WHAT?

The joys of Craigslist
 
Useful for hours of bathroom entertainment (or so I'm told), it CAN be a valuable shopping tool to score BIG finds. We have braved the world of online classifieds to purchase and sell various parts and cars over the years. As a result, we've experienced some interesting nuances and consequences of using Craigslist.

One example of the diversity that IS online buying and selling:


What... you weren't in the market for a dually Honda with a "pa speaker" and 8 "cb wips"? (whatever those may be...spelling people)

The selling process as it may happen now: (based on some previous experience)
  1. You list your item. 
  2. Within minutes, you promptly receive 5 spam emails and phone calls if you don't take all the precautions. 
  3. Text messages begin to lurch you out of sleep at 1AM seeking details on your item for sale. What, you've never gotten a drunk text from a guy browsing the classifieds? 
  4. Then you set up an appointment for a normal sounding individual to view the item, but only after they ask for a discount because they had to travel 2 hours to (maybe) buy it. 
  5. IF they show up, they are late. VERY late. "Wait, what's your address? Yeah, we're just leaving now, we'll be there in 2 hours" (as they call an hour after they scheduled their appointment).
  6. They proceed to haggle about the price because they drove there (by choice) and this entitles them to a discount. I don't know about you, but I'm doing to try this next time I go to a big box store: "I had to drive 30 minutes to this store, so I need $20 off my bill for fuel"
  7. The dilemma hits you like a ton of bricks: Sell it at slightly less than you wanted to in order to avoid repeating this process, or experience the alternate universe that is Craigslist selling and try for a bit more money out of the next person, and waste another day waiting for them to show up.
Don't get me wrong, we've had good experiences, they are just much harder to remember and so far outnumbered by the bad ones that it's nearly impossible to believe that next time it will all go well. 

Some tips:
If you're going to list your car or parts for sale the following steps are a MUST:
  1. PHOTOS: It would be wise to start with unique photographs of your car or parts for your listing.Why? Well, if you re-use ones you have listed elsewhere on the web (like Facebook, Instagram or Flickr) they are geo-tagged. This means that tech geeks can search the image and tracked it to your house without bothering to contact you! You will likely be asked for additional photographs as well so be ready with a few in hand (or on your phone) for rapid response.
  2. STAY HOME: Or at least time it so you aren't going on vacation when it's listed. Wait, now that we think about it...if you REALLY want to sell something, list it. then go out of town. It never fails. We've sold 3 cars, an couple engines and lots of parts while out of town! (We are joking of course. Stay put or it's hard to show your car to the prospective buyer)
  3. Your contact information: Consider how you want to share this information. Phone numbers displayed all numerically get spammed so you will commonly see numbers like 88eight-512-six102 (sorry if that's your number. I don't know you I promise). Email addresses may be the best way to go as that is not as "intrusive" for many buyers looking to purchase your item. Lets face it, many people have a fear of talking on the phone these days with the popularity of text and e-mail, so by allowing people to contact you through those methods you at least double the chances that they will actually try to buy your item. However, if you go with email be prepared for many inquiries that are just browsing and may not be serious about spending money. We hope you can tell the spammers and the scammers from the actually buyers, it's usually obvious. 
  4. Spelling: If you are listing a vehicle spell the name of it correctly. Please. Also consider using multiple forms of spelling of the Make and Model throughout the ad (Chevrolet, Chevy, GM) 
  5. Price: Please, if it's not $1, don't list it as $1 and then say make an offer. That rarely works out and only makes YOU mad when people under bid what your item is worth. Do some research, find some comparable's, look up blue book value and set the price appropriately
  6. Key words: Attempt to use the way the general public would describe the details of your item (truck or pickup, car or sedan) to make it search friendly. Then again, don't go too crazy. It's always a curiosity when you see a Dodge Coronet show up when you search for a Ford Mustang
The other side of the story: Buying.

Follow the same general "dummy proofing" rules: when using the internet to search for car parts and products assume your seller knows almost nothing. You have not met the people you are buying from. The sellers may not always know what they have(shocking, I know), how to spell brand names and details,  or how to list their item properly. Afterall, should a truck be listed in "cars & trucks" or "farm & equipment"?

Hopefully you can find what you need using some basic search terms, or at least stumble upon your targeted item if it's not at all listed correctly. For example, maybe you would like a trailer chassis...at least it's free. 


All joking aside, the following are tools to make parts and car shopping a little easier:

Search Tempest: Your new best friend if you are willing to shop nationally!!!!! It pulls ads from every city listing of Craigslist all over the nation based on your keywords. No longer are  you restricted by your selected metro area when shopping (unless that's what you want, then by all means, target away)

You can also search all posts from the last week across all of Craigslist directly through Google. Craigslistsearch.org for details on how they get it done. 

Hot Rod Magazine recently did a couple excellent posts on the in's and outs of searching on Craigslist. Those posts can be found here:

Craigslist Car Search Options
Score your Killer Project Car

 Some examples of search methods:
  • Seach multiple makes or years simultaneously:
    • 1969| 69| 1970| 70 Charger
  •  Search multiple years and models at the same time and GROUP the search: 
    • (1969| 69| 1970| 70| 1971| 71|) (Charger| Roadrunner| Challenger ) 
  • Eliminate certain terms: 
    • Chevrolet - V6  The - is the key symbol eliminating the terms following it.
For the ultimate guide go to Craigslistsearch.org . They cover everything you need to know about using Craigslist search features.

Enjoy the hunt! Let us know what you find...the stranger the better!