Monday, May 25, 2009

How to Search Craigslist

Recently, I've found myself clicking through craigslist approximately 200 times a day. Between four geographical areas near me and a few items that I'm keeping an eye out for (power rack/squat rack with max weight capacity of 800+ lbs., weight trees, Olympic sets, and 45# and 100# plates) I found myself acting like a chain-smoking Vegas grandma playing the slots, hitting "refresh" on four tabs and praying for the good deals to come up.

Photo by Jeff Kubina

The refresh monster came out after I got beat out on a few deals. Let me explain:

Four 100# Olympic plates, $80 (20 cents a pound). I got the email off and it's already gone.

How about this: bench, Olympic weight set, and 15 pound EZ-curl bar, plus weight tree for $50. I offered this guy $75 just to hold on to it long enough for me to come pick it up!

For context, my local Play-It-Again Sports will buy your equipment at these prices: cash 20 cents a pound, trade at 25 cents a pound. They sell at 69 cents a pound for used weights and 89 cents a pound for new, though depending on the type of weight, you can easily pay up to $3-10 a pound.

How do you make sure you're there for the best deals?

For the last week, I was constantly going back to four local craigslists and trying to find the best deals before anyone else. Frankly, it was exhausting me. There had to be a better way.

There is a better way
I learned this technique from Get Rich Slowly. The trick is using RSS feeds to do your bidding. Don't know what RSS is? Check out the short video below:

Notice my feed icon in the upper right hand corner of the screen

So here's the hack. Go to your local craigslist, and enter the search term that you're interested in. Make sure that you're getting the right results, then scroll to the bottom of the screen and check it out: there's an RSS feed to the lower right.

Now you have a feed of just the search terms that you're interested in. I did this for the four cities nearby and four search terms that I'm interested in, then I cleaned up the names of the feeds in google reader so it's clear where the feed is from and what the search term was. Now, I quickly review my feeds, and I'm done, rather than doing my best imitation of a Vegas grandma.

Let me know how it works out for you in the comments. I'll let you know when I make another purchase.

No comments: