How to Sell Things Online

September 3, 2013

I have a question. Do you know how to sell things online? When you buy something, do you use it until it’s broken or do you look for a time to sell and get a decent return so you can upgrade? I know that it might sound like a very strange question in the PF world; especially  since most of us look to get the longest use of all of our products and the fear of having debt makes us not enjoy the little things in life. But it’s a valid question, I promise.

You might be wondering WHY I would even ask such a question. Well, they answer is simple. I like new and shiny things, but I hate full price for anything. That pretty much sums it up.

I’ve been able to upgrade my cellphone to the latest model for years without using up my hardware upgrade, locking myself into a new contract, or paying full price for a phone.

Facts that you should know if you want to sell things online (cell phone in particular)

  • What is the average price point of mobile phones on Kijiji?
    1. Overall – $251.38
    2. All iPhones – $299.30
    3. All Samsung Galaxy phones – $321.59
    4. All Blackberry phones – $194.21
  • What is the most popular mobile device on Kijiji based on search queries?
  1.      iPhone 5
  2.      iPhone 4s
  3.      iPhone 4
  4.      HTC One
  5.       Samsung Galaxy S4
  6.       Samsung Galaxy S2
  7.       Nexus 4
  8.       Samsung Galaxy S3
  9.       Blackberry Z10
  10.       Blackberry Q10
  • What are the 3 most popular cell phones available for sale on Kijiji?

1.       iPhone 4
2.       iPhone 5
3.       iPhone 4s
4.       Samsung Galaxy S3
5.       Samsung Galaxy S4
6.       Blackberry Z10
7.       Blackberry Bold 9900
8.       Samsung Galaxy Ace
9.       Samsung Galaxy S2
10.    iPhone 3GS

How many mobile phone ads are currently listed on Kijiji?

74,653 cell phones Canada wide


You may not know how to sell things online yet, so here are a few of my little tips and tricks that I use to upgrade my electronics, cars, cameras etc. 

Timing: This is the most important part of any transaction. For example, if you know that a new device is coming out shortly, you may want to list the product that you have before that. IE.when the latest version of the Canon camera launched, the value of the previous model plummeted. As a buyer you can wait for a few days or ever weeks after but as a seller you need to sell before a new model comes out or as close to the date as possible.  This will allow you to get the most money for your product.

Research: What price point do you want to sell your product at? If you price too high, you’re not going to get any offers, if you price too low, you leave money on the table. The key is to check on various websites and see what the going rate is and price around there. For example, if I see that 9 phones are listed for $400, I would price mine for $395 so I have less competition and I’m okay with the $5 dollar loss. The great thing about pricing slightly under is that most people don’t want to barter with you.  There are tons of sites that allow you to check the prices of your products ranging from cellphones to cars. RACQ’s car price estimator is great if you’re in the market to sell and upgrade your car.

Market: Knowing where you’re going to sell is one of the key components if you want to learn how to sell things online. My rule of thumb is to sell in a smaller market, and buy in a bigger. It’s basic supply and demand. Market also means knowing what website you use to sell your product. You can list something with mass appeal on Craigslist or Kijiji, but you have to find a specific forum for selling an expensive pro camera. Knowing your market saves you a lot of time, and frustration.

Appearance: This is pretty basic, but PUT PICTURES in your ads.If your product is brand new, then you might even be able to get away with using an online product shot, but if it’s a car for example, then post as any pictures as the site allows to make sure that your potential buyers don’t harass you with basic questions. Speaking of questions- write all the information that you would want to know in your ad, and be honest.

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  • Michelle September 3, 2013 at 10:58 am

    You definitely need to research the product and find a good price point. If you price too high then customers will just think you are crazy.

    • Marissa September 3, 2013 at 6:32 pm

      True that. I always do a few dollars less than most to sell it quickly.

  • Karla Twomey September 3, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Hi Marissa,

    Great Post! When we are working with clients, at times we have suggested that they sell items they no longer need to increase the amount they have to put toward paying off their debt. I love your tips for how to go about doing that and getting the most from your items! I am retweeting for our readers!

    Marissa, we are also are in the Debt Relief and Credit Counseling business and always looking for inspiration to present our material. Like you, we want to help consumers become and stay debt free. Perhaps we can share some of your blogs on our website to help promote your material? Hopefully we can officially join communities and educate more folks together! Feel free to use our Get Out of Debt Fast Superhero Slides if you feel it may help your readers.

    You can check out our company at the links below if you want, and here are links to our latest work:

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    We would love to hear from you.

    Karla Twomey
    Karla’s latest blog post – Superhero get out of debt guide:

    • Marissa September 3, 2013 at 6:32 pm

      Thanks for stopping by. I’ll make sure to go and check it out.

  • Kostas @ Finance Blog Zone September 3, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Timing is everything, especially with phones. For anyone planning to sell an iPhone, make sure to do so soon before the 5S comes out later this month and lowers the value of older models.

    • Marissa September 3, 2013 at 6:33 pm

      Exactly! You have about 3 weeks 🙂

  • Lindsey @ Sense & Sensibility September 3, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    Thanks for sharing some tips on how to sell stuff. One of the biggest learnings I had was having patience with the selling process. It takes a lot of work to email, talk, and show the item to whoever is interested. And sometimes people can be a little weird. It’s worth it though, I’ve made hundreds of dollars in the last six months on selling stuff.

    • Marissa September 3, 2013 at 6:33 pm

      That’s great to hear. I normally can sell electronics rather quickly.

  • Kyle | September 4, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Love selling things on ebay and I have gotten fairly efficient at it. I sell gently used clothing and kids toys mainly – have sold old cell phones as well. Key for me is to take a good picture and write a nice and honest description of the product. Saves a lot of problems down the road.

    • Marissa September 5, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      Agreed! Pics are key!

  • Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life September 4, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    I once tried selling some clothes on ebay and it was a total fail. I couldn’t get any decent pictures- pictures really are everything. I sold one item, a bag, which wound up costing more than I anticipated in shipping. I have yet to recover from that experience, but perhaps I will try again in the future.

    • Marissa September 5, 2013 at 3:29 pm

      Have you tried selling things on kijiji and making it a pickup only?

  • Demaish @ Borrowed Cents September 5, 2013 at 10:11 am

    I have upgraded cellphones by buying online but you have to make sure you get a good device because if it goes downhill one or two months later, that is money wasted. as many sellers might not be willing to replace it for you.

    • Marissa September 5, 2013 at 3:29 pm

      Agreed! I normally only buy if I can meet the person.

  • Lacey September 5, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    I’m currently tinkering with selling on ebay. My Dad is somewhat of a pack-rat, so I’m toying with putting misc. items on ebay. I’m 2 weeks in and so far it’s been ok.

    • Marissa September 5, 2013 at 3:28 pm

      Great! That’s awesome to hear!

  • Jake @ Common Cents Wealth September 5, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    These are great tips. I sell quite a bit of things on eBay and Amazon. It’s a great way to get rid of old stuff we don’t need while making a few extra bucks.

    • Marissa September 6, 2013 at 2:28 am


  • DC @ Young Adult Money September 5, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    My wife started to sell a TON of stuff on eBay, mainly things that didn’t sell at our garage sale. She sold a pair of my pants for $20 + shipping. It’s pretty amazing that they were sitting out at our garage sale for $1 and someone was willing to pay $20+ for them.

    • Marissa September 20, 2013 at 12:57 am

      Ebay is awesome of selling things that only appeal to certain people.

  • Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter September 7, 2013 at 11:05 am

    I never sell things online. I just don’t enjoy the process. When I got my new iPhone, I kept my old one because we always need spare phones in our household. J has a terrible habit of losing or breaking his!

    • Marissa September 20, 2013 at 12:57 am

      Seriously? We need to have a chat about this!

  • Simon @ Modest Money September 8, 2013 at 4:19 am

    Excellent tips.
    I wouldn’t claim much experience in online selling, two things though:
    a) research your products, how fast they move, markets etc, competition and then market and price your product appropriately and as you point out, you can make more if you find specialized “markets” to sell your stuff.
    b) Patience or call it customer service 🙂 Some potential buyers are very inqusitive about a product and fairly so, be as patient as you can be and accomondate them, more often than not they do buy.

    • Marissa September 20, 2013 at 12:58 am

      Excellent points!

  • Buck Inspire September 8, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Great tips! Are you gearing up for a new iPhone? Timing is key. I had a great experience at the beginning of summer. I had an old AC unit. Very powerful and worked great, but now I have central air. I put it up on Craigslist and had many people interested. I ended up with a nice buyer who had tons of computer equipment and needed to keep things cool. Two happy customers in one shot!

    • Marissa September 20, 2013 at 12:59 am

      My Iphone 5 is in great condition and I have no need for a new one yet. I’m a BB girl at heart and tolerate the Iphone for work.

  • Adley September 19, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    I love selling on eBay because the traffic is guaranteed. You just have to stand out from the crowd by making your pictures bright and elegant. Your listing title has to describe the item and your price has to be competitive. Once you master those things, selling becomes a whole lot easier.

    Great post!

    • Marissa September 20, 2013 at 12:59 am

      Agreed! Pics and description will move mountains.