Barter Basics: 3 Things you Need to do Before you Start

So you’re starting to see bartering all over the place now and you want to get into the game.  You know that bartering is a good idea, but you have no idea where to get started.  Maybe it seems a little overwhelming or even not possible.  Well, You’re not alone and I’m here to help.

On a side note, you’ll find that once you really get started trading up, people will tend not to believe what you’re saying because they just don’t get it.  I just laugh it off and think that’s just more opportunity for me.

Alright, back to the point at hand.  I wanted to come up with a short list of things people can do today to get their bartering journey started.

  1. Find your starting item

Go look around the house right now and see what you aren’t using at all or very little.  Is that item something you think someone    else   might be interested in?  No, I don’t want your collection of Mickey Mouse Figurines.  However, it doesn’t have to be something worth $500.  You can even start with something worth around $50.  I wouldn’t suggest going any lower than that.  I’ve tried a few very low value items and didn’t have the best luck.  Maybe I could have waited a little longer, but I have zero patients to wait that long in-between trades.  That doesn’t mean you can’t try it out though.  I personally like starting items with a value around $50-$100.

2.  Create a Craigslist account

This step is pretty self-explanatory, but I’ll lay it so it’s easy to follow. Go to  Click “my account” in the top left-hand corner.  On the next screen click “Sign up for an account” in blue on the bottom left-hand corner.   Enter the email address that you will be using for communicating with others and the verification word and click “create account”.    You’ll then be sent a verification email which will contain a link that you need to click to continue the process.  After clicking the link you will be taken back to Craigslist to choose a password.  After you’re done doing that, click “Submit Password and Log In”.   Finally, you’ll have to agree to the terms and conditions which I never read, but know I should.  That’s it!  Now, you’re ready to roll.

3.  Take some NICE pictures

Nice pictures compared to crap pictures can make a world of difference.  You don’t need to be a professional photographer either.  Heck, you don’t even need a professional camera.  I use my iPhone 4 and it works perfectly fine.  Below is an example of what I’m talking about.  The picture on the left is what the guy sent me and on the right is the picture I took to list it on Craigslist.  If you followed my original blog,, you’ll see I traded that 4 wheeler in 3 days and got 14 offers on it.

Bartering example picture

After you complete those 3 things there really isn’t anything holding you back beside yourself.  Don’t be scared to go out and try it.  It’s free to try and you aren’t obligated to trade if you don’t want too.  I feel like a cheese ball sales person trying to sell you something by saying that.  It’s true though.  You only have to make the trade if you are comfortable with it.

I challenge you to go ahead and list something just to see what kind of offers you’ll get.  You might be surprised or you might realize that your original item isn’t the best thing to start with.  You’ll never know until you try!

What advice would you give someone who has never traded anything before on Craigslist?

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Leave A Reply (4 comments so far)

  1. Brian
    1707 days ago

    Great post! I think I’m going to list something tonight. I’ve been putting if off for to long. Keep this stuff coming!

  2. Chris Willie
    1703 days ago

    I think that a good item for starting your bartering career would be an iPad or Iphone. You can easily get valuable things for it. Something like an antique or something.

  3. Maria
    1703 days ago

    I read about something like this before where a guy started out with a paperclip and traded his way up to a NICE convertible. Definitely going to have to give it a try. Great article! Thanks!!!

  4. wendy rogers
    1702 days ago

    For one that has done alot of bartering this is a simple, yet detailed article to help the new comer get into the swing of things.

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"Sean helped me get started and make my first trade. He really went above and beyond to make sure I understood every step of the process. Thanks again, Sean!" -Tyler L Orlando, FL

"I honestly didn't think trading up was possible. Sean said to email him if I had any questions so I figured I might as well. He not only convinced me how possible it is he walked me through step by step until I made my first trade up. I am so happy I found this blog and emailed Sean." -Dave R. Raleigh, NC