Facebook Yard Sales: Worth the hassle?

Some good tips for making money clearing out clutter and selling it in a facebook yard sale group.

Have you heard of Facebook Yard Sales? They are (usually) private Facebook groups (you have to request to be added) that are organized by region. People post items that they would like to sell and respond to inquiries on Facebook.

I usually sell my baby gear at semi-annual consignment sales, but there are some downsides. For someone trying to declutter her basement yesterday, it’s frustrating to wait for the sale to roll around twice a year. It also involves a lot of pricing and tagging at what might be an inconvenient time of year. Thirdly, the sale organizer will typically take  30-50% of your sale.

For those reasons, I attempted to sell some nice items on my local Facebook Yard Sale and had mixed results. For example, I sold my jumperoo for $25 to someone who rescheduled our appointment no less than four times. That’s the kind of shenanigans I loathe with things like craigslist. On the flip side, a grandmother bought our high chair and activity table for $30 and arrived right when she said she would.

How Much Time Did it take to Sell Stuff on Facebook?

Of course, this will vary based on the number of items you have to list, whether you can easily upload photos to Facebook, and how much time you devote to meeting interested buyers. Here is how I spent my time…

Time Invested: 1 hour and 15 minutes

  • 25 min: Cleaning the items (and a small corner of the house) and taking photos
  • 10 min: Listing the items
  • 40 min: Responding to interest and meeting buyers. The actual meetings with buyers (who didn’t reschedule) all took less than 5 minutes. But the to and fro shenanigans of scheduling with one buyer really sucked up my time, as did driving to meet her.

How Much Money Did I Make Selling on Facebook?

I listed 11 items, 7 of which sold. But what’s interesting is that the buyers of the bigger items bought some of the smaller items. But no one just bought a smaller item.

Here is what sold:

  • Carseat with two bases: $25 (I got so much response to this that I should have listed it for more. There was one listed for $70 in the same group, but no one responded to that listing.)Is a Facebook Yard Sale worth the effort?
  • Jumperoo: $25Are Facebook Yard Sales Worth the Effort?
  • High Chair: $20
  • Sing Along Stage: $10

These items sold to buyers of big ticket items:

  • Activity Table: $10
  • Bjorn: $5
  • Bouncy Chair: $5

Here is what did not sell:

  • Crib mobile: $10
  • Carseat cover: $8
  • Infant tub: $5
  • Bumbo: $5

Amount Earned: $100

If I had consigned these items at a sale, I would have earned $50-$70. I would have spent a lot more time, however, with tagging the items, dropping off and picking up, and volunteering for a sales shift (many consignment sales require this). I would have put many more items into the sale, however, and might have netted $100 by the end of it all.

All in all, listing big tickets items in my local yard sale group was worth the effort. It wasn’t worth the effort to photograph and post the smaller items, however, so I will either save those for a consignment sale or a traditional consignment store or take a group picture of the items and post it as a group. That way, buyers of the bigger items can see if they want to buy something else.

Tips for Successful Selling on Facebook Yard Sales:

List Big Ticket Items Individually

I listed items ranging from $5 to $25 and got the most response on the $20+ items: Jumperoo, high chair, and carseat. The only reason why someone bought our activity table for $10 was probably because she was at my house anyway.

Remember: If you’re selling a carseat, crib, or other items that might have been recalled, check the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Recall site HERE

Clean the Item and Snap a Pic

A picture tells a thousand words. Namely: Is the item clean? Is your home clean? Does the item look well-used or in excellent condition? Let the potential customer set their expectations for the item before you both waste time meeting up. You don’t want the customer to see the item in person and run the other way.

Price competitively

This is particularly true when you’re listing an item online in a yard sale group because you’re reaching a limited audience. With a limited geographical area, you’re unlikely to sell your rare antiques to the highest bidder — ebay is a better format for that because (a) you can set up an auction and actually have a bidder, and (b) you will reach a wider audience.

Respond Promptly

With an online yard sale, you want to pique interest and have several people respond, ideally. The plus side to having responses to your listing is that you know that there is demand if the first sale falls through. The downside is that potential buyers might not reach out to you if they think that you’re already going to sell it to someone else. For that reason, respond promptly and try to meet with the buyer right away. If they decide not to buy your item, quickly make it apparent in your listing that the item is still available.

Safety Considerations

On Facebook, a buyer can’t respond anonymously. There’s their photo, right next to their name, and you can click on it and get a little bit of info about the person — including whether they are, in fact, local. Regardless, you may not feel comfortable giving out your home address. Many police stations have a “Safe Lot,” or an area in their parking lot for online sales exchanges. If someone won’t meet you at a police station, then you probably don’t want to meet that person!

Another alternative is to do porch pickup.  Thats pretty easy you just make arrangements to leave the item on your porch and handle the transaction via venmo, PayPal or the like.  Cleverdude has more details on how to do porch pickup.

In the end, I’m glad that I listed the big ticket items in my local Facebook Yard Sale. I don’t think that the $10 and under items will sell in that format, but I already have the photos and I will list them on ebay. (They can be easily shipped)

For other ways to turn your unwanted things into cash check out these great articles.

How to Make Money Selling at Consignment Sales
How to Use eBay to Turn Clutter into Cash
Online Clothes Consignment: What Store Pays More?

Have you had any luck selling items in a Facebook Yard Sale? Or no luck at all? 

3 thoughts on “Facebook Yard Sales: Worth the hassle?

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