Thursday, November 26, 2009

craigslist (or other bulletin board) ads for bicycles

I have advice for sellers of bicycles who post on craigslist or similar websites, including bicycle club message boards or elsewhere. This is advice that will help you attract buyers and also keep buyers from wasting your time. This is only a sampling of consistent issues I see in ads posted on craigslists, for all sorts of items, especially bicycles.

1) Write a title that is descriptive.
"bicycle - $20" is not effective.
"1990s Trek road bike" is a little better.
"1992 mens' Trek road bicycle 56cm, like new" is even better still.

2) Include a photo... a good photo!
Avoid using clip art. We don't know if you are too lazy to take a pic or if you just plan on mugging us when we arrive with cash to buy your $2000 Prince or Cervelo. And please, try to avoid blurry and dark obscure shots of your bicycle taken with your cell phone!

3) Include a SIZE in the description... and a description of the size and components is very welcomed!
Eliminate the waste of time created by potential buyers contacting you to get the size of your bike for sale - do both of you a favor and list the size. Measured from crank to the top of the seat post or whatever. Even a ballpark estimate is better than none.

Secondly, please describe how your bicycle is equipped. Is it all stock from the factory or did you upgrade and/or repair or replace parts during the time you've owned it? This might be proof enough to justify why you might be asking $200 more than what might sound reasonable for a bicycle of this model or age, for example. If you just list the make and model and year of the bicycle, the potential buyer won't know you spent $600 upgrading the wheels and drivetrain. I'm just sayin'...

4) No one wants your story... this isn't Oprah.
OK. We understand. Sh*t happens. You need to sell this bike for a reason. Maybe you bought it with an ex and she dumped you for a X-games star or her yoga instructor... we don't really care. What we do care about are the items listed above and if you have receipts for any work on the bike, including the receipt for where and when you bought the bike, if available.

5) Provide contact info and the times to call or when you're available to show the bicycle to buyers.
Assume someone might e-mail you 5 minutes after you post the ad. How will they contact you? If you put e-mail contact only in the ad, how often do you check it? If you put a phone number, is that cell or home or work? What hours do you answer? Do you accept text messages?

Related to this is your location. Please specify where you are able to and willing to meet-up. If you put "south end" that's pretty vague. South end of what?

Anyone else have suggestions to sellers? I may add more as time goes on.

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