How to Sell Locally

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Forum topic by docspencer posted 04-08-2016 09:32 PM 1584 views 1 time favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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354 posts in 1941 days

04-08-2016 09:32 PM

I am about to finish a coffee table and want to try my hand at selling it locally. I’d rather not deal with trying to ship it. The problem is that I can’t figure the best way to do this. I don’t have a website – at least not yet. My first idea was Craigslist but last time we sold something there we got all sorts of scam attempts. Etsy seems more like a national market. I assume some of you folks have done this and was wondering it you could tell me what you’ve done. By the way, we live in West Lafayette, IN. Thanks in advance.

14 replies so far

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2800 days

#1 posted 04-08-2016 11:07 PM

Craigs list, classifieds, or maybe your community might have a “yard-sale” page that you can post for free. We have one here in Spencer County, KY.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View tncraftsman's profile


92 posts in 3135 days

#2 posted 04-11-2016 03:00 AM

Local facebook groups sound like your best bet. It will be the quickest and fastest way to get your product out there.

View MalcolmLaurel's profile


298 posts in 1619 days

#3 posted 04-11-2016 10:18 AM

A craft gallery or a consignment store is an option. You could try a craft show, though you’d need more than just one table to fill a booth at a show. A furniture store is another possibility, if it’s a local one and not part of a chain.

-- Malcolm Laurel -

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2510 days

#4 posted 04-11-2016 11:38 AM

You indicated that you are about to finish a coffee table, so I am thinking you have one singluar item at this point.

To get into a gallery or consignment situation, (like the museum store I sell out of), you need more than one piece, and always some sort of variety of items. My museum likes me to keep at least 8-10 items on display at all times.

Etsy is another option, but is sort of seasonal, depending on what you sell. Fees are good, their shipping rates are not bad, (USPS), but again, Etsy urges you to have at least 10 items to start a store since you won’t get much traffic with just a few items.

As far as Craigslist, the way to get around the scammers is easy. I often sell things that my wife and I pick from garage sales on CL, especially if it is hard to ship or possibly a bad seller on eBay or Etsy. I have a vintage amplifier on there right now.
At the top of the CL listing page, click on “no replies to this email”. DO NOT put in your phone number anywhere in their REPLIES section. Rather, put your phone number in the text of the description, at the bottom. I also, as a matter of rule, also put in No Trades, Cash Only and I will also limit the amount of distance I will travel to meet the person and sell the item. You don’t travel 20 miles one way to sell something for thirty bucks.

When you put in your phone number, (Call or Text Only:), put in a combination of numbers and spelled out numbers using alpha characters. So if your area code is say, 803, you would put in 8-zero-3. Keep this format for your entire number.
Scammers typically pick off phone numbers looking for 7 or 10 digit sequences in the text or reply section. Putting your number in a numerical/alpha character mixed format eliminates the scammers.
I have not had a scammer in a few years, since I started doing that.

Remember, no matter where you sell, (outside of a gallery), you will get lowball offers. Just be ready for that.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View docspencer's profile


354 posts in 1941 days

#5 posted 04-14-2016 12:07 PM

Thanks to all of you for the ideas. All of that makes sense. Looks like I need to spend more time in my shop!

View becikeja's profile


882 posts in 2809 days

#6 posted 05-15-2016 12:10 PM

High end consignment shop is the way to go.
Problem with CL and facebook groups, is that no one wants to pay a fair price. Everyone is looking for a deal on used poorly made junk.

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2656 posts in 2917 days

#7 posted 05-15-2016 12:26 PM

My experience with different consignment shops has been zero sales. I have had my product in shops in Maryland, Delaware, and in California. I was only offering $50 items. I sell my stuff at our local farmers market here in west Texas, but then, I sell smaller, cheaper items than you have with your table. I have had very limited success selling on creigs list.

-- Website is No PHD just a DD214 and a GED

View docspencer's profile


354 posts in 1941 days

#8 posted 05-15-2016 12:44 PM

That has been my experience on FB and CL as well. Nothing. Good thing this is a hobby. I may try our farmer’s market this summer. Thanks for the input.

View bearkatwood's profile


1572 posts in 1007 days

#9 posted 05-15-2016 01:29 PM

I would love to have more local sales as well. I have junk in a string of fine art galleries along the coast and I haven’t had a lot of sales this last year. Two years ago was good, but I don’t think the economy is doing better, though the news says so. I would try a consignment shop or the facebook CL thing. Unfortunately I have become very good at making crates and ship almost all of my work. It is a hassle, but it has been about the only way I can find people that are willing to pay for custom work. Most people want the custom work at the walmart price. Best of luck selling your table.

-- Brian Noel

View nate22's profile


475 posts in 2871 days

#10 posted 05-22-2016 06:01 PM

With me I have used Craigslist. I agree with Tennessee on what he said about Craigslist. I have sold quit a few beds on there. Another thing to do with Craigslist is keep it at the top. I found out if you don’t refresh it every day people won’t see it. So refresh it everyday and keep it on the front page of it. I live Middlebury Indiana and I have sold quite a few around the fort Wayne and lower part of Michigan area. That and I would put at least 4 pictures of it to.

-- Gracie's wooden signs. Middlebury, In.

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1448 days

#11 posted 05-22-2016 06:33 PM

Get off the computer and start dragging it around. Consignment shops don’t want email, they want product. Drive around and put several pieces out there.

If you’re not a production shop and you just have this one piece, give it to a friend. You have to make stuff to order quickly, you can’t be a one-a-year maker.
production boxes


-- Madmark -

View wuddoc's profile


272 posts in 3713 days

#12 posted 05-22-2016 08:01 PM

Hello fellow university academician. Purdue use to have wood tech in their extension dept. would they help?
Manufacturing to sell a product depends on your market. Or as I would offer my students a quote from Marshal Fields; “Give the Lady What She Wants”.

Selling something you built only has value to the individual wanting it. Advertising helps to find that individual but costs $. Try signs with pictures of product(s) at stores that have local posting boards. Will community paper or advertiser write an article about you. Local libraries sometimes offer craft display days.

Donate item with you name and number on it to local group for placement or auction in the hopes people will contact you for additional projects. This could be fire departments, library boards, etc.

Be prepared to have your price compared to a discount furniture store price as expensive. You will have to educate the potential “investor” on the idea of a custom item and it’s value to the future generations of the buyer. Sign your name with date and who you built it for will add value to the customer.

Good luck.

-- Wuddoc

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2656 posts in 2917 days

#13 posted 05-22-2016 08:14 PM

Get off the computer and start dragging it around. Consignment shops don t want email, they want product. Drive around and put several pieces out there.

If you re not a production shop and you just have this one piece, give it to a friend. You have to make stuff to order quickly, you can t be a one-a-year maker.
production boxes….”

Production is a good concept if you like repeating a project many times like I do.


- MadMark

-- Website is No PHD just a DD214 and a GED

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4215 posts in 2557 days

#14 posted 05-22-2016 08:51 PM


I would think the first thing is to show your items and get a feel for what people are wanting and price range and if anyone wishes to engage you in making something.

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

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