So, go to www.craigslist.org, and choose your state and city. Once there, in the upper left of the screen there is a box that reads: “Search Craigslist”. I am going to enter in “lawn mower” at first to see what comes up. Unless you are on the site every day (as I am) you may have to go back and search multiple times, under “mower”, “rider mower”, or possibly specific name brands (John Deere, Allis Chalmers, Simplicity). If there is not a specific key word in the seller’s ad, it will not come up in your search. This is why correct spelling as a seller is very important.
My search yielded 54 results, the oldest dating back to June 3rd. It is safe to say, but not guaranteed that the oldest postings will not be available anymore. This is not necessarily always the case, but sellers are not very good at deleting their ads once something has sold. That is why it is important to me to restate from the last tutorial to delete your ad when the item has sold!
Who knew there were so many different types of mowers! This search will turn up anything with that key word in it, so from there you have to weed out some undesirable results. For instance, there is a person who wants to barter (which has become increasingly more popular since a new reality television show highlighting this practice has come into play). For my needs, this will not do. Also, someone has an electric mower, which comes with a 60-foot cord. Again, I don’t think this fits my client’s bill…
Ah! Here is one! A 20” Weed Eater lawn mower that judging from the pictures appears to be in good condition! The ad lists the model number, the engine number, and some clear concise pictures! Also, it has just been serviced and the blade sharpened, and the asking price is $50! Sounds right up my alley!
Since there is no phone number in the ad (a phone call would be step number one…), you can click on the “Reply to:” address at the top of the ad. Personally, I will copy and paste the “reply to” address into a new email, because simply clicking on the address takes too long, and doesn’t always work.
Once you have pasted the email address into your new email, I will usually put what I am interested in on the subject line, but vary it slightly so hopefully people see it is not spam. I will also put the price in the subject line, and possibly the city. This helps if you are sending multiple emails to various people about different lawn mowers. Something like, “Weed Eater Lawn Mower [City]- $50.”.
In the body of the email, I try to keep it simple, but detailed enough so that a seller knows that I am local and not just spam. Please be courteous! I will almost always delete an email as a seller if it simply says “Is this ITEM still available?” or Do you still have IT?” My emails usually read something like this:
I am interested in your lawn mower if it is still available. I live downtown in Ithaca near the Commons. I can pick up most any time, and pay cash.
Please let me know, thanks!
This gives a specific geographical location, a name, and a contact phone number. Feel free to inquire to as many ads as you would like, but make sure to be courteous in regards to responding back if you have found what you are looking for, and/or are no longer interested. Also take the liberty to review my blog “Tips on How To Get A Good Bargain”.
Also, it is my recommendation that you try to ask about a reduced price on the item before you meet the seller… either via email or phone ahead of time, otherwise you risk showing up and having the seller NOT want to reduce the price… because again, you will have wasted a trip, and both of your time.
From here, you wait! Either someone will call or they won’t (or some may email back, as I do, to ensure that the email message is not spam. I have had spammers email me with a “phone number” that is missing digits, or has no area code. Make sure you include both. As I am in a college town, it is more likely than not the buyer is not in my area code). If you haven’t heard back in a couple of days, you may want to email back just to make sure your note didn’t end up in someone’s “Junk” folder…
I do not mind meeting someone at my home. However if it is a smaller item, you may want to consider meeting in a public place to avoid any uncomfortable situations. Please note my “Suggestions! Do's and don'ts (in my opinion) for your ad!” blog.
Next week: A Few Other Suggestions For You As A Buyer...