Make Money Selling Your Used Stuff Online: 9 Tips for Successful Peer Exchange

Published by Aqqaint on

Make Money Selling Your Used Items Online:

9 Tips for Successful Peer Exchange

Let’s admit it, you have a garage, closet, or storage unit filled with items you never use and may have even forgotten about  and you have thought about making some money selling them online.

Your toddlers have grown, but you still have an old stack of children’s books and toys collecting dust.  If you are like me, you probably gained a little weight over the years and those “skinny” jeans you say you’re going to get back is just a pipe dream.  Or you may have just spent a couple decades filling a storage unit, basement, or barn full of stuff you don’t really need.

Why not use the power of the Sharing Economy to make some money and declutter selling those items to people who will appreciate them as much as you once did?  

You decide you are going to do it!  So you turned to the internet and noticed that there are many popular options to help  you get started.  So, how do you go about getting people to notice your items and how should you prepare for an exchange?

Thankfully you have found this post that includes a short list of tips to help you be successful, increase your profits, and hopefully keep you a little safer on peer exchanges.

How to Attract Buyers

No you don’t need a fancy photography studio, but a poorly lit photo of an item sitting in a closet won’t work either.  Believe it or not there is growing competition and professional buyers looking through peer exchanges for vintage and unique items.  There are also a growing number of environmentally conscious consumers who prefer to buy used items that last.  So, in order to reach those buyers, you want to up your chances!

1. It Starts With YOU

People want to know who they are buying from.  Sellers who have the greatest success take clear photos of themselves that show their face for their account profiles.  A nice smile doesn’t hurt either.

2. Take Great Photos of Your Stuff

You have likely noticed the high quality product photos on sites like Amazon (they have specific guidelines that sellers must adhere to).  Peer exchanges do not, but that doesn’t make a great photo less important.  You’ll want to keep the following in mind:

  • Make sure you take pictures of your items in well-lit areas that don’t give off a glare.  It is also best to choose a background that contrasts the item (white usually works best).  This helps to make the photos look more professional.
  • Take as many photos as the platform will allow you to post and take them from multiple angles.  Buyers are often wary that you might be hiding wear and tear.  It’s best to be honest and even to highlight the worst or most worn areas so the condition is clear.  Take close-ups of any damage and be honest with potential buyers.  They are going to find out anyway!
  • If you are selling something electronic be sure to take photos of the brand, model and serial number of the item.  Buyers may want to look the item up to read about specifications not mentioned in your description (we’ll get to that) or find availability of parts.
3. Be Descriptive

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a great description will still help sell your stuff.  Start by listing the general characteristics of your item (size, color, fabric, brand, model, etc).  Then you may want to include any special features the item has.  Maybe your table has adjustable legs or that winter coat has some hidden pockets.  

Lastly, you may include some emotional descriptions of how the item made you feel and how you hope it might make the next owner feel.  A “brown leather jacket” is one thing, but a “supple full-grain brown leather biker jacket that will give you the confidence and swagger of James Dean” is a totally different experience.

4. Price Your Stuff to Sell

This is where people tend to go off the rails.  Very few items retain their original value, so you need to think hard about the condition and age of an item before pricing.

You may also spend a little time looking at comparable items to get a sense of what your item might go for. 

On the flip side, pricing an item far below the market value is going to draw suspicion.  A fairly new flat screen TV selling for $25 sounds just a little too good to be true.  

When in doubt, consider listing your items for 30-40% lower than the original price or the price of a comparable replacement in the current market.  This isn’t a yard sale, but people are still looking to save some money when buying used.

Do It Safely

So you found a buyer, GREAT!  Now you just need to follow a few additional tips to protect yourself and your wallet during the exchange.  

Peer exchanges offer great opportunities to make money and find deals outside of the conventional economic system, but they are not immune to criminal activity.  There has been an increase in both violent and non-violent crimes being committed through the use of peer exchange apps.  We’ll cover some ways to help mitigate your risk.

1. Always Meet in Public

Choose a place that is out in the open and has lots of people.  If you meet in a parking lot (we don’t recommend it), be sure to park near an entrance or area with lots of foot traffic.  The better option is to meet in a coffee shop, inside a mall, or other area that has a lot of people.  

Due to the increase in crime we mentioned, some cities have set up “safe exchange” sites at police stations or public buildings.  Sites such as help you find a secure spot near you.  What’s safer than selling your item in front of a bunch of cops and 24-hour surveillance.

2. Cash Only

There are countless scammers who are using a variety of methods to separate you from your hard-earned money (we will discuss these scams in a follow-up blog).  Don’t fall victim to these thieves.  Accepting cash only and avoiding all other payment methods is the only sure fire way to make sure once the goods are out your hands and the money stays in them.

3. Skip the Strangers All Together

The safest way to know you aren’t going to be scammed or worse is to exchange with people you know.  It turns out that people actually have the best luck selling through word-of-mouth to friends or friends-of-friends anyway.  OfferUp allows you to import your Facebook friends so they can see your listings.  Aqqaint takes it one step further and connects you with friends and friends-of-friends to create an exponentially greater trusted network to exchange.  Both are available as apps in the app store.

4. Never Give Out Personal Info

Obviously you aren’t going to give a stranger on the internet your credit card information or social security number, but you need to protect a little more than that.  Avoid giving any potential buyer your social media handles, place of work, phone number, or home address.  

Most platforms allow for in-app messaging so you use it. It keeps all the communication trackable and logged if you need to refer back in the case of disputes. 

5. Trust Your Spidey-Sense

Lastly, if it feels off just walk away.  There will be other buyers out there and it’s not worth taking a risk.  

That's It

Well, that wraps things up.  Hopefully this will help you all become savvy sellers in the Sharing Economy.  

If you feel we missed an important tip or overlooked something feel free to leave us a comment or contact us by email at