When I first started buying and selling, and parting out BMWs my main internet resources were Craigslist and Ebay. For the most part I used Craigslist to buy and sell cars, and I used Ebay to sell parts. One day when I was taking a look at my Facebook account I noticed that someone was selling a car within an Automotive Affinity Group.
Fast-forward a few years and at this point I can safely say that Facebook Marketplace has surpassed Craigslist by a mile in the automotive marketplace space. Craigslist has simply failed to keep up, and it’s fee increase from FREE to $5 in April 2019 certainly did not help things. I have found Facebook Marketplace to be an excellent free and improved alternative to Craigslist.
In this article I will discuss the positives and negatives of selling cars on Facebook Marketplace, and then I will show you how to list a car on Facebook Marketplace and in Affinity Groups.
So Why Should You Use Facebook Marketplace?
Anonymity is reduced
Buying cars on Craigslist for under $5k frequently felt a little like playing craps. You never know how the dice are going to land and I never knew how the car was really going to look and drive. With Craigslist you could talk to the owner of the car, ask him about major issues and for more pictures, but it was still nearly impossible to tell how honest the guy was being with you until you saw the car. This was always the most annoying thing when dealing with Craigslist sellers, you could do plenty of due diligence but still be left looking at a piece of junk when you check out the car.
By no means does Facebook Marketplace resolve this problem, but it does help noticeably. Anybody selling a car has a “Sellers Information” tab within the description of the vehicle, which tells you the person’s name and when they joined Facebook. These things are helpful because buyers can identify who is selling the vehicle and determine whether that is someone they actually want to meet. This is a huge upgrade from Craigslist where you pretty much had no clue. The “year joined” is helpful in identifying a distrustful seller who literally just made their Facebook account and has 1 friend (Mark Zuckerberg).
The reduction of anonymity also helps avoid transactions with “sketchy people”, which were more common than I would have preferred on Craigslist.
No Personal Information
Every time I posted an ad on Craigslist I felt like I was adding months of spam text messages and automated phone calls to my phone, but there was nothing I could do about it. People used to try and hide phone numbers from bots by interchanging spelling out the number and typing the number (three62), but that did not work for long. There are so many bot scams on Craigslist, and Craigslist has attempted over the years to stem the tide, but unfortunately it has failed miserably. Luckily you no longer need to give out your phone number or email address and messenger bots are pretty rare, easy to spot and far less common than they were on Craigslist.
Even three years ago I would not have considered using Facebook for the bulk of my car flipping. I started off solely using Craigslist, and then I started mixing it up with dealer auctions, but a lot of the cars I parted out I purchased on Craigslist. I feel that Facebook Marketplace has now overtaken Craigslist and it is a far better alternative because of it’s user friendliness. Marketplace used to only be a place for cheap parts cars, but there are a wide variety of price ranges and cars available today. Plus it’s free to list!
Tire kickers and Low-ballers
Facebook Marketplace is insanely user-friendly compared to other automotive marketplaces. I used to scroll through Craigslist on my smartphone and it was such a pain because the formatting was never correct and you had to keep scrolling around in different directions to find the price, description and sometimes it would freeze on you. It was really annoying to users, but it did cut down on the number of annoying messages you would get from low-ballers that ask “What’s you lowest price/Will you accept 10% of what you are asking?”. It was simply a greater time commitment for people to type up dozens of phone numbers/emails and lowball so many sellers. Nowadays with Marketplace it is so easy for a career low-baller to message dozens of sellers in the space of five minutes asking if they would be willing to take 10% of their asking price.
As frustrating as these messages can be, they are easily ignored. It’s usually simple to tell between the seriously interest people and the ones who are looking to make a quick buck off of a distraught seller. I don’t even respond to low-baller messages, and I recommend that you simply ignore them.
How to List Cars on Facebook Marketplace
Facebook has made it really easy for anyone with a smartphone or a computer to buy and sell things on it’s platform. Marketplace is already on your Facebook account just tap the “three horizontal bars” icon beside your notifications icon.
Marketplace should be the second category down under “suggested”. Tap Marketplace to be taken to the Marketplace Browse page.
Once you are on the Marketplace Browse page, tap the “Selling” label. Then tap “What are you listing?” to be taken to the actual listing description.
Its really simple and easy to list a vehicle on Facebook Marketplace. “What are you selling” is where you will state the year, make and model of the vehicle. “Category” will direct you to different options where you will select “vehicles”.
If you have ever sold a car on Craigslist some of the same go-to rules apply for Facebook “description”:
- If you want to sell a car take lots of photos and make sure they are good quality. Facebook now allows you to upload 20 photos to a single listing! It used to be 10, but 20 is far more than Craigslist allowed. You may feel that 20 pictures is overdoing it, but make sure that you take enough good photos for someone to get an accurate idea of the condition of the vehicle. You will likely want to wash the car first and maybe even wax it. Most smartphone cameras are capable of taking excellent, high quality photos so there is no need for a fancy camera nowadays.
- Be up front and honest about any major issues your vehicle might have. It immediately creates some trust between you and any potential buyers when you clearly state what is wrong with the car. It saves you time by avoiding having to answer questions about problems with the vehicle and it can help decrease the number of tire kickers messaging you.
- If you have used Craigslist you know that many people selling cars never really learned how to sell something. Descriptions are often as short as “runs good”. This is a great opportunity for you to attract buyers by writing a thorough description. I’m not saying write a book, just a paragraph or two of bulleted lines describing the car. It might seem like something very small but it can help set your ad apart from everyone else.
- If you are not interested in any trades, it would behoove you to post “NO TRADES” in clear and bold letters somewhere near the top of the description. Trust me if you do not state this clearly and prominently you risk being bombarded by trade offers. This will not get rid of all of those pesky offers, some people clearly do not even read the description, but it will cut down on them.
DON’T PUT THIS in your Facebook “description” :
- DO NOT post your phone number or email address in the description. With Craigslist I used to post my phone number and email address but that is no longer necessary with Facebook! Everyone you come into contact with on Marketplace will have a Facebook account and they will message you if they are interested in the vehicle you have for sale. If the buyer decides that he/she wants to see the vehicle than you can send the person your phone number in messenger or you can setup the meet completely through messenger. That way you never have to give out any of your personal information.
Facebook Marketplace Groups
There is an additional great way to sell cars on Facebook Marketplace. Until now I have described the process of posting ads on the general Facebook Marketplace, but you can also post your ad in various affinity groups on Facebook Marketplace. Affinity groups are awesome because the audience is often significantly more targeted and therefore more interested in your vehicle, posting ads in groups is free and it increases the number of eyeballs on your vehicle.
How to find these groups? It’s really easy, just type in Facebook search various phrases related to cars and select the “groups” tab. Not all groups allow advertisement however, most groups will have somewhere in the title that they are a “for sale group”. Assume that any group that does not explicitly state it is a “sales group” is not one and you will be banned from the group for posting ads.
What county/city/state do you live in? Type in your county/city/state name and then type “yard sale” or “for sale”, if you live in even a moderately populated area you will receive a ton of different groups! Most of the “yard sale” type pages are significantly better for cheaper cars (under $5k), but you might also have some luck with a more expensive vehicle.
The picture above is of a group I am a member in, it is specifically for people interested in buying and selling BMW E36 parts. But there are a million different groups for all kinds of vehicles. My friend is a member of several classic car groups. Whenever he wants to sell a car, he lists the vehicle in Facebook Marketplace and then lists it in every single classic car group he is a member of.
Overall, I might come off a little to supportive of Facebook Marketplace than I would like but it’s because I came from using Craigslist for years. Marketplace is a significantly improved platform for both buyers and sellers, and I am sure you will discover this to be a fact once you sell your first vehicle on Facebook Marketplace! If you are interested in additional information on selling cars, check out these tips to selling cars.