Facebook selling tips

Flog on local groups for FREE

Facebook Marketplace and local selling groups are hot on eBay's heels as the place to earn cash flogging unwanted stuff. The best bit is there are NO fees, so the profit's all yours. This is a crash course on how to earn £100s.

  1. Facebook vs eBay – where to sell for max cash

    Facebook Marketplace and local selling groups are where, instead of eBaying second-hand goods, people harness Facebook's power to sell to others in the local community. 

    The idea's simple: sellers post ads for unwanted goods, and buyers pop round and pay cash in hand if they're happy. Think old-school free classified sites.

    One question that crops up often is: "Where's the best place to sell for the maximum cash – Facebook or eBay?" Facebook's boon is it's fees-free, whereas eBay takes about 10% of the total transaction including postage when items sell.

    Logic dictates goods should sell faster on eBay*, as posting things is common, so you have a wider audience. However, bizarrely many MoneySavers report shifting things instantly on Facebook Marketplace, while they remain unsold on the 'Bay.

    That said, there's little comeback if you have problems. Buyers aren't always reliable – sometimes they just won't turn up, or they'll change their mind.

    Selling on Facebook also works better for people in towns or cities, given it's mostly about selling to those nearby. If you're miles from your nearest neighbour, the market for your wares is going to be limited...

    eBay vs Facebook – which pays the most? 

    We wanted to put this to the test, so in April 2019 we pitted eBay vs Facebook to see where you get the most for your wares. We crunched sold prices for 20 items, from trainers to Nutribullets, to get an idea.

    Facebook won for 14 out of 20 items, once fees were factored in. But it wasn't an exact science, and we only looked at Facebook sellers' asking prices, so while we know the item was sold it's possible some buyers ended up negotiating a different price via private message.

    For full results and more findings, read MSE Jenny's eBay vs Facebook - which wins? blog.

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  2. What sells best on Facebook?

    Here's a rough guide to what sells best on Facebook. Of course, you've nothing to lose by trying your luck there first, then bunging it on eBay if you've no joy.

    Popular goods. Facebook's a good bet for mainstream goods such as Nintendo Switches, settees and spare TVs – things lots of people have and want.

    When postage outstrips small items' value. This is great for paperbacks, baby grows and old DVDs, as postage dwarfs the gain on eBay.

    Bulky or breakable items. The market for collection-only goods, such as sofas and wardrobes, is often limited to local folks anyway.

    Kids' stuff. Parents groups are among the most bustling, so this is brilliant for cots, kids' clothes, Frozen dolls and Jumperoos.

    It's not so great for the following things, though – if you're trying to flog one of these, you might be better off on eBay* or Amazon*.

    Rarer items. Facebook's a less good bet for pricey, niche wares such as high-end art or spare headlights for an Aston Martin DB9.

    Adults' clothing. There might be few people with the same taste and size in your town (though you could get lucky).

    High-value items. You might feel uncomfortable meeting strangers to sell very expensive items, such as a Macbook or designer clothing.

  3. Selling on Facebook is quick and easy – and it won't cost you a penny

    Facebook selling's major, erm, selling point is its sheer convenience. Facebook is free to join and there are usually no fees for selling either, so it's very low-risk. Plus because so many of us use the social network anyway for keeping up with friends and family, it's easy to get to grips with. What's not to 'like'? (Sorry...)

    The thrill of instant sales is addictive. We've tons of success stories from people who've become minted through Facebook selling. Here are a few to inspire you:

    Made £200 this weekend selling 2 items on Facebook. I've been selling on the groups for a while and have probably made £500 since I started. A lot easier than eBay, plus no fees.
    - Gavin

    There are loads of groups in my area and I've sold several things on them. One thing sold within five minutes of posting – I'd put it on eBay a few times with no takers. I like it because it's more like traditional classified selling. Someone likes something you're selling, they come round for a look, hand over their dosh and off they trundle.
    - hermum

    I use Facebook to sell household items and find it excellent. I'm a member of 10 groups in my area – the best bit's there are no fees.
    - kelpie35

    Let us know how you've got on in the Facebook Selling Tips discussion.

  4. Other free alternatives to Facebook, including Gumtree, Preloved

    If you've no luck through Facebook, consider free local classified sites, where buyers also collect in person and pay cash on collection.

    The king of local classified sites is Gumtree, which gets over 11 million visitors a month, and lets sellers list for free. Interestingly, Gumtree is owned by eBay, but thankfully this hasn't affected its free community-based operations.

    Many MoneySavers rate second-hand site Preloved*, where placing ads is also free. There's also free smartphone app Shpock, which Forumites have had success selling on – see its feedback in the forum.

  5. Sell items by location via Facebook Marketplace

    Facebook has its own classified ads service, named Facebook Marketplace.

    It's available via the iOS and Android Facebook apps, plus desktop browsers too, and allows sellers to list items with photos and descriptions, tagged to a certain location, for free. Users can then search for items and/or browse by location and category.

    The service is operating, for the time being at least, alongside Facebook groups. Facebook isn't involved in payment or delivery for items listed on Marketplace – that's between the buyer and seller. So many of the same warnings about safety – as well as the other tips in this guide – apply equally to the two systems of selling.

  6. Find top Facebook selling groups near you

    Thousands of Facebook buying and selling groups have sprung up across the UK. To get started, search for your area or postcode in the main search box, alongside words such as 'selling', 'sale' or 'buy'.

    Many areas have several groups – for example, in Birmingham, there's Birmingham Buy and Sell, Birmingham Classified and Buy, Sell, Trade West Midlands (though we've no specific feedback on these groups).

    It's worth joining as many groups as you can find, though some are busier and deal in higher-quality wares than others. Ramp up your chances by joining one or two bordering areas, especially if they're well-to-do.

    To start selling, just click 'Join group', and an administrator should approve you within 24 hours. Once you've joined, Facebook suggests similar groups – a list should pop up on the right-hand side, or just hit 'New groups' on the left-hand side. 

    Another cheeky way to scout out top groups is to check the 'about' sections in members' profiles to see which ones they've joined.

    It's not just specific selling groups either – some other kinds of Facebook group also allow selling, for example parents' groups or those themed around a particular interest or hobby. Do check the group's rules, as some don't allow it.

    Be very wary of selling beyond your local area, though – see Specialist Facebook selling groups for more info.

  7. How to list an item on Facebook Marketplace

    Most people already know how to use Facebook to upload wacky pet videos or post pics of their sourdough attempts.

    Posting items for sale on Facebook Marketplace.is just as easy. 

    1. Click the Marketplace icon, then 'sell', then the 'Create listing' button. Select the type of item, then take a photo of your item (you can select more than one from your gallery), and click the ‘Add Photos’ option to upload them.

    2. Enter an item title, description and price. As when selling via a group, include all relevant details to attract interest. Then set an asking price.

    3. Select a category of item. Buyers can also filter listings by these.

    4. Confirm your location. This is how buyers browse items on Marketplace. Don't worry, it won't reveal your exact address, only a rough location.

    In the final step you can also choose to post to any specific buying and selling group you're a member of at the same time as you list on Marketplace, if you want to maximise the visibility of your item.

    All your for-sale items will be stored under the 'Your items' tab, including any offers and messages you've received from interested buyers (see below for more on this).

  8. How to post an ad on a Facebook group

    Just post directly on your group's page and upload a pic. Most for-sale groups just have a super-simple 'for sale' form, including item, price, category and a photo.

    Include as many salient points about the item as possible: size, dimensions, flaws, if you'll deliver and if it's so big a van's needed. There's nowt more irritating as a buyer than having to slowly prise the info out in the comments underneath... 'Pic?' 'Size?', 'How much?', 'Whereabouts?' and so on.

    Stay safe. Remember, posts are public, so give a general location, but not your phone number or full address at this stage.

    You can advertise on more than one group (unless rules ban it), but it's good manners to mention you've advertised elsewhere.

    Handily, when you post an ad, any Facebook pals who are also group members should see the post on their feed. Users can also tag friends who might be interested. Don't worry about spamming all your friends with ads for scrapped espresso makers and hamster cages though. If it's a closed group, only members can see ads.

  9. Price it right (and allow room for haggling)

    To get an idea of how much your item's worth before you put it on Facebook, head over to eBay* to do a 'sold items' search. Type your item into the search bar, then select the 'sold items' option on the left-hand bar.

    Also search for similar items on local Facebook groups (top right-hand side) or on Facebook Marketplace (the magnifying glass icon). How much have others asked for?

    MoneySavers also recommend listing a few older things for free at the same time. This could tempt buyers to look at your other wares – just enter "free" as the price and upload your listing at the same time as your other items.

  10. Upload quality snaps to show buyers exactly what they're getting

    Digital photo camera. 3D Icon isolated on white background

    A decent picture's paramount. You might get away with no image for a West Side Story DVD, but no one pays good cash for a dining table they've never laid eyes on.

    When creating a listing, click 'Add photos' and 'Create photo album', then upload the photos you want. Make the album public, and copy and paste the link to the group.

    On Facebook Marketplace, you take photos as part of the listing process.

    Most phones these days will take a snap good enough to upload.

  11. Close the deal via private message

    With Facebook groups, buyers may initially express interest with a comment on your post (though also check your 'secret' inbox). In most groups, the first user to comment gets dibs. If a few are interested, be friendly and let them know they're next in line.

    A sneaky peek at the buyer's profile page reveals a lot, and you may have friends in common. If you're selling in a group, search for their name in the group (top right) to see if they've been fair and polite in past dealings.

    If you like the cut of their jib, private-message them – or 'inbox' them, in Facebook parlance – to arrange where you'll meet to do the deal.

    Facebook Marketplace works a little differently, as interested buyers can make an offer or message you directly from the listing. Similarly, check out their profile, and if you're happy to proceed, agree on payment and collection details. All your correspondence will be stored under the 'Your items' tab in the Facebook Marketplace section of the app.

    Once it's gone, update the post/listing as sold. And if you didn't sell it, try another Facebook group or consider reducing the price in the Marketplace listing – or give eBay a shot.

    Got a bad feeling about the buyer? Just say "really sorry, I've sold this to someone in another group" or "someone else messaged me just before you". This might break some groups' rules, but your safety comes first. On Facebook Marketplace, you can just ignore them.

  12. Safety first! Always be careful

    Incidents are rare, but be careful. If someone's message or profile looks dodgy, trust your gut and walk away.

    For smaller goods, do the exchange in a busy public place – why not outside the local police station? 

    If they must come to your home, try to do the exchange on the doorstep – don't be pressurised into letting someone into your home. Also make sure someone else is in the house when the taker comes to collect.

    It's a good idea to have a mobile phone in your pocket, keep valuables out of sight, and if you let a collector in, limit their movements to as few rooms as possible.

  13. Exchange for cash to avoid being scammed

    Always ask to be paid in cash rather than by bank transfer, cheque or PayPal. If someone has your bank account details, it increases the risk of fraud against you. With cheques, you've no guarantees they will clear.

    One common trick is crooks asking if they can pay by PayPal. They then send convincing-yet-fake emails ostensibly from PayPal, saying your account has received funds. Scammers often ask you to send the item as soon as possible, claiming it's, say, a birthday present.

    Another PayPal scam is when unscrupulous buyers take your goods, then issue a 'chargeback', where they claim the transaction was unauthorised and the card issuer reverses a transaction that has already cleared.

    Likewise, when buying via Facebook, don't get talked into making a bank transfer. If someone asks you to pay by Western Union or another instant money transfers service, run a mile. For more on how to protect yourself online, see 30+ Ways to Stop Scams.

  14. Earn £100s doing personal stock control

    Retailers cannily manage their stock levels, and it's time we did the same. Have a rummage through your home for abandoned items – clear out boxes in the garage, rifle through drawers and hunt under the sofa.

    Not used something in a year? Consider flogging it on Facebook to raise cash. Whether it's games, TVs, LPs or even an old WC, even unloved items can still be worth something to someone.

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  15. In groups, it's all about etiquette

    Before posting an ad in a Facebook group, read the rules pinned to the top of it. These vary but dictate the types of items allowed, how many you can list per week, and how often you can 'bump' ads (comment underneath so they rise to the top).

    If the admin's a stickler for the rules, they may kick you out for an infraction. Don't worry too much though – rules are usually aimed at weeding out dodgy dealers and repeat offenders.

    Have a quick scroll down to see how other transactions have gone down. What language do people use, what are prices like, do people haggle?

    There aren't the same rules on Facebook Marketplace as it's not run by admins (though Facebook may still remove listings against its terms, such as those advertising illegal items).

  16. Check your secret 'Message Requests' folder

    There's a secret 'Message Requests' folder in your inbox. Facebook uses this folder to prevent spam, but often useful messages end up there too – usually from buyers outside your circle of friends if you're selling via groups.

    To find it, click 'messages' (top right), then the three dots. You should see a 'Message Requests' folder. Just don't blame us when you discover an invitation to an amazing bash you're five years too late to.

  17. Give people 24 hours to buy

    Frustratingly, some buyers may quickly post or message to stake their claim, then change their minds without telling you. Or worse, arrange to collect, but don't show up.

    This is definitely one of Facebook selling's biggest downsides. To help, put a clear deadline in your ad, along the lines of 'will offer to the next person down if collection time not agreed within 24 hours'.

  18. Search for wanted items to find waiting buyers

    Another feature of Facebook groups is that people can post 'wanted' ads. It's worth searching the group first, in case someone's looking for that Etch A Sketch. 

    If you spot someone looking for what you're flogging, just private message the user to let them know you have what they want and take it from there.

    Facebook Marketplace doesn't offer this function, sadly.

  19. Declutter your news feed to avoid a deluge of for-sale spam

    The downside of joining multiple groups is your Facebook news feed can get flooded with for-sale ads.

    To change your notification settings for a group, go to the group and click the three dots in the top right, then 'Manage Notifications'. Choose 'Friends' posts', so you only get notifications whenever your friends post. Don't worry, you'll still get alerts when people respond to your ads.

    An advantage of selling on Facebook Marketplace is that all messages relating to an ad you've listed are stored in the 'Your items' tab of the app, so your news feed should be safe from spam.

  20. Look for specialist Facebook selling groups

    This guide focuses on local selling groups, where you do the deal in person. Specialist national groups are also springing up too though, covering everything from quad bikes and musical instruments to special needs equipment. Just search for your interest to see what's on offer.

    The advantage is a bigger audience for niche goods, but we don't recommend posting items to strangers from Facebook.

    If you want to stick with selling on Facebook locally, but want to expand your reach beyond the usual selling groups, try local Facebook groups for parents. Often these allow selling ads too – do check the rules at the top of the group though.

  21. Control your Facebook privacy settings

    As you may be messaging strangers, now's a great time to check your Facebook privacy settings.

    First, make sure only friends can see your stuff. Click the arrow in the top right hand corner of your profile, then go to 'Settings'. Select 'Privacy' and edit the settings.

    While you're in there, click 'Privacy Checkup'. This tool lets you check the audience of your posts and adjust if needed.

  22. Get a Facebook batphone

    If you don't want to give out your mobile number, consider getting a cheap pay-as-you-go Sim just for Facebook selling communications.

    As MoneySaver Soolin says: "Lots of people want a mobile number when collecting. I've had some odd phone calls, including one at 5.30am from a man who'd failed to collect the week before and wanted to drop by on his way to work."

    A Sim is the small (roughly 2cm by 1cm) microchip card you insert into a phone when it's first set up. It provides the identity of a phone for the mobile network, so it can recognise, bill and send calls to individual customers

    When you temporarily change the Sim card in your phone, you'll have a different number. The Sim card is usually located behind the battery on the back of the phone. See Best Pay-as-you-go Sim Deals for more.

  23. Got lots of junk to dump? List in bulk

    If you've done a really big clear-out and have lots to offload, consider listing as many goods as possible in one batch. Pick a day when you're online, so you can answer questions promptly and don't lose sales.

    This means you can arrange one or two time slots to wait in, rather than 10 different days. Another trick is listing similar items together, such as baby stuff.

  24. Sell as you'd like to be sold to

    Buyers have fewer rights when buying on the second-hand market than at retailers. The rule is caveat emptor, or "let the buyer beware". The law just states that the product must be as described and the owner has the right to sell it, ie, it's not stolen.

    While not a legal obligation, offering great customer service is good practice and will stop you getting banned from your local group.

  25. Facebook not right for what you're trying to flog? Use our eBay selling tricks instead

    If you decide to sell on eBay* instead, to really get the cash rolling in, you need to know the tricks and shortcuts.

    Our eBay Selling Tricks guide offers a crash course, including tips on cutting fees, the best time to close auctions, how to profit from bizarre items you never thought you'd sell and much more.

  26. Sell off your wardrobe for FREE on Vinted

    With over eight million users in the UK, clothes-selling app Vinted is a great way to make cash while decluttering your closet – especially as there are NO fees for sellers.

    Vinted told us the most popular categories are women's and kids' clothing, though you can also sell other small, post-able items, including toys, toiletries and homeware.

    For a crash course on how to earn £100s and scoop bargains, see Vinted Tricks.

  27. You can flog old gold for serious cash

    "Sell unwanted gold for CASH!" TV, mags and billboard ads pulse with promises, yet rarely seem to live up to them. However, amid the scrap are shining examples – meaning it's possible to get £100s for old jewellery.

    Gold-buying companies' business models are simple – they buy gold, melt it down and flog it on for more. This means you can get cold hard cash for broken and unloved bling. Yet it's a Wild West out there, so make sure you get quotes from several reputable places including jewellers and a few reputable gold websites.

    Our research showed that if you do it right, you could get £55 for an 18ct wedding ring and even £54 for an old gold tooth crown. It's worth doing your own research too, but two sites that have good feedback on our forum are Hatton Garden Metals* and Lois Jewellery.

    Beware, there's no protection if things go wrong – if a site goes bust, you may not get your gold back.

  28. Know the rules on paying tax when selling

    If you're flogging old unwanted stuff such as cast-off clothing or second-hand stereos, there's usually no tax to pay. But become a trader, making or selling goods bought with the intention of resale, and it IS taxable.

    There are some grey areas, so read this HMRC guide to work out if you need to tell it about income made from second-hand sales.

    A tax break means people no longer need to report the first £1,000 they make from selling goods including via platforms like Facebook Marketplace to HMRC. See Gov.uk for full details.

  29. Consider giving stuff away as well

    Top-quality goodies are available daily across the country for FREE. It's all about web communities, and the big names are Freecycle and Freegle.

    Instead of binning or selling goods, people offer them to their local community. In return, they often hope they can grab back something when they want.

    For a full guide, see Freecycle & Freegle.

  30. It's not just selling... 10 Facebook BUYING tricks

    Local Facebook groups and Facebook Marketplace are brilliant ways to get quality, often little-used items for less. Here are 10 tricks to help you track down the uber-bargains.

    Plus while the rest of this guide focuses on selling, it's still well worth a read for buyers too, as much of the info is still relevant.

    • Check on Facebook Marketplace. Facebook has its own classified ads feature, called Facebook Marketplace (see more on this above). You can search by keyword or browse categories to find goodies. It also lets you change your location and search options to narrow down to a specific area.

    • Find selling groups near you. Just search for groups in your area or postcode in Facebook's main search box, alongside words such as 'selling', 'sale' or 'buy'. It's worth joining a few. See more on finding groups above.

    • Mark your place. Seen something you fancy? In most Facebook groups, the rule is the first user to comment on the for-sale post gets dibs. If another buyer gets there first, it's still worth posting 'can I be next in line please?' below, as many sales fall through. On Facebook Marketplace, simply click the 'Message Seller' button.

    • Haggle. There's nothing wrong with politely proposing a lower figure – especially if a seller listed an item a while ago and doesn't have any takers. On Facebook Marketplace, all you need to do is click 'ask for details' and suggest a sum.

    • Check as often as possible. Unlike eBay, Facebook doesn't let you set up email alerts for specific items. So if you're after something, check throughout the day, as goods are offered and taken at breakneck speed.

    • Close the deal via private message. Once your offer's accepted, the next step is to private-message the seller, to arrange collection details.

    • Don't assume a Facebook deal's always a bargain. Just because it's on Facebook, doesn't automatically mean it's a bargain. Always compare prices elsewhere. 

      It's also worth checking the going rate for similar items on eBay. Fill in eBay's search box and filter for 'sold items'. It'll come up with a list of prices goods have fetched.

    • Pay in cash. Always pay in cash rather than by bank transfer, cheque or PayPal. If someone asks you to send money by Western Union or another instant money transfer service, run a mile.

    • Stay safe when collecting. If a listing or message sounds dodgy, trust your gut and walk away. If you do go to collect an item, tell someone where you're going, take a mobile phone and stay on the doorstep if possible.

    • Bag hidden local eBay bargains. eBay sellers sometimes specify items, from bikes to PS4s, as 'collection-only' – often they get fewer bids so prices are lower. You can either alter the delivery options via eBay’s advanced search to be ‘collection only’, or use our Local eBay Deals Mapper to find 'em.

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