Success! A Staffer’s Gumtree Experience

What do Gumtree staffers do on their holidays? The honest answer is that we spend it on Gumtree! I found my success quite early in December when I sold my car on Gumtree – you can read the blog post about my experience here. So I was inspired to gain a little more cash for the month of January.

My spare room has been cluttered with lots of unused stuff for years – books I’ve read, an exercise bike, old furniture and appliances…you get the picture. I decided that one of my resolutions this year would be to clear out the clutter and convert the room into a little study. I kept putting it off until I finally snapped on Sunday and started sorting through the mess.

photo (2)

My humble vacuum got snapped up in minutes

I couldn’t be bothered to set up my computer or look for a camera, so I decided to try the Gumtree app. (I’ve never tried it before, but the new version is probably the best ever, so it was time). I quickly snapped a picture of my old book case and hit the post button. Boom! Within minutes, I started receiving emails. A lovely chap called Wesley drove through to the house, looked it over and loaded it into his car. I was a full R900 richer in a matter of hours.

I had a little vacuum that I was going to give away to a charity, but they were closed, so I decided to upload that as well. The vacuum didn’t get nearly as much attention as the bookshelf, so I decided to take out a Homepage Gallery ad. I quickly received 5 replies, and sold it to someone who lives around the corner – he picked it up within 15 minutes. I was on my way out for a quick dinner but didn’t want to stop selling (I was on a roll!) so I quickly took a bunch of photos of my exercise bike and then posted my ad when I was in the restaurant. I found a buyer before the drinks arrived.

I then uploaded an old satellite dish, a painting, a wet suit, some old clothing I never wore anymore…you get the idea!  I didn’t sell everything, but I ended up a full R2,000 richer within a matter of hours – and my spare room is actually clear so I can start redecorating!

photo (3)My and my Madibas! Not bad for a day’s work!

The great thing about the app is that it keeps track of the items I viewed and the items I’m searching for – so whenever I came across a great desk or cupboard for the study, I was able to go back to it later with ease. (I haven’t started redecorating yet, but I’ll be sure to share the result.)

Even Gumtree staffers have to be cautious on Gumtree though, especially since I had invited people into my home to collect and view the items. The tips I found to be most useful to me:

  • “Research” the buyers. I didn’t put too much information about myself in the ad. When someone replied, I first Googled them to look at their social media profiles. (Scammers often have fake names and fake accounts). I also didn’t reply to respondents who had strange email addresses or who didn’t provide the right number, and tried to chat to them on the phone before providing my address.
  • Don’t be home alone. I made sure someone was with me at all times when buyers were visiting. I also did not, at any point during my correspondence, let the buyers know that I wasn’t home. I had recently almost fallen victim to a scam whereby someone stole my phone bill. The scammer phoned me claiming to be from my telephony provider, confirmed my details and then asked when I would be home so that they could do an upgrade on my line. When I phoned my service provider, they confirmed that this was a trick robbers use to scout when someone would be away from home so that they could break into houses. I haven’t heard of anyone doing this via classifieds, but it’s still never a good idea to alert people to the fact that no one is home.
  • Give as much information about the product as possible. I found that if I updated my ad with the reasons for selling (e.g. clearing out my spare room, unwanted gift) people found my ad to be more believable, particularly if the price was low.
  • Don’t settle for the first counteroffer. I got counter-offers quite quickly, but I waited for buyers who were willing to pay full-price. (I kept the counter-offers on file, though, just in case I didn’t sell my stuff). There are PLENTY of people using Gumtree and you don’t need to settle.
  • Promote your ads! I uploaded about 12 items, half of which I promoted. The ones I promoted got the most responses and sold the fastest. If that fails, come down on pricing, or try to reword your ad. The more photos you have the better.

My final tip would be to try selling your unwanted goods before throwing them out or giving them away. I haven’t really sold much via Gumtree because I thought no one would be particularly interested in my unwanted stuff but the response was extremely positive. There is always someone who wants what you are selling…and I’m going to be using my extra cash for a nice weekend getaway!

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