If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I’m incredibly interested in sustainability. Whether that means committing to preserving our natural resources and lessening our individual environmental impact by eating less meat, doing my bit to save our planet by working towards ditching the single use plastics (sorry, favourite takeaway, your plastic containers mean that we won’t use you), or just committing to reusing and recycling as much as possible in our day to day family life and trying to reduce the amount of waste we create. Of course, one of the best ways to work towards zero waste is to sell your unwanted items, be they clothes, furniture, cars, or anything else, online. It’s a great way to save money and then, of course, you can purchase something to replace it feeling completely guilt-free. It’s a win/win way to live more sustainably. I wish I’d known then what I know now, though. I’m definitely going to give it a go a lot more often, and it’s all thanks to some top tips for buying and selling on Gumtree that I’ve learned.
We’ve had some great successes so far: Jim’s finest purchase was a hideous orange pine shelving unit that he picked up for £50 (you should have seen my face when it came through the door), sanded down and repainted in Farrow and Ball ‘railings’. It now takes pride of place in our kitchen and looks way more expensive than it was. I had to eat my words with that one.
This one was another orangey pine monster, but now looks beautiful after the same treatment from Mr E (he’s good, isn’t he?). I love how these individual pieces can make an otherwise pretty standard fitted kitchen look like something far more special.
Like a lot of people, however, I’m sometimes a bit nervous about buying online: the thought of dealing with someone you don’t know and talking about money with them can seem a little awkward. Luckily, Gumtree has teamed up with the How to Academy and negotiation expert Gavin Presman to create a brand new PDF guide called ‘The Etiquette of Buying and Selling Online’. It’s free to download on Gumtree’s blog here, and offers simple tips to give you practical advice and the confidence to tackle all the bits that can seem a bit confusing about navigating the online marketplace process, covering everything from creating an advert that’s going to do our items justice, to making first contact, meeting your buyer/seller and helpful tips for the transaction itself.
Even better, Gumtree has announced that news that you can come along to a practical, interactive workshop (which will be taking place on 4th September at 6.45pm at the Condé Nast College of Fashion and Design, London) to help you hone your negotiation skills and feel more confident buying and selling with Gumtree. Tickets are available for free – just click the link here.
I was lucky enough to go along to experience one of the workshops last week to listen to Gavin speak more about his seven step guide, and it was really interesting to hear him talk about some of the things that hold us back from feeling confident in the online marketplace. Top of the list, of course, is just our Britishness, we don’t like to meet face to face (new research from Gumtree has found that more than a third of us – 34% – feel anxious when meeting) or – gasp! – talk about money (37% dread the buyer trying to haggle on price). Some of the best tips I picked up from Gavin were:
- Research is everything: what’s for sale that’s similar to the item you’re selling? What’s the difference between the highest and lowest priced items? This will help you set a realistic price, and is a useful negotiating tool
- Don’t be afraid to show the faults of an item you’re selling (say, for example, the item of furniture you’re selling has a small chip out of the paint) – people are far more likely to trust you if you show that you’re honest
- Stressing the personal benefits of the item appeals to the buyer’s emotions: ‘my child learned to ride on this bike’, or ‘my kids spent many happy summers on this trampoline’.
- Spelling out at the beginning of the transaction exactly what’s going to happen is really beneficial, for example: ‘when I come to see the car I’ll sort some temporary insurance and we can take it for a test drive, then I’ll just need to look through the paperwork’.
- Turn a deal round from haggling (awkward – you’re not offering anything in return to make the deal sweeter) to negotiating (easier – offer to throw something extra in), for example ‘if you take £10 off, I’ll give you the cash now’. It feels more like a business transaction and you’re giving your seller an actual benefit.
So whether you’re looking to save the world, create a sustainable capsule wardrobe by sourcing great quality preloved items, or just fancy updating your dining table, I highly recommend that you download the guide or attend the workshop. Look at us, saving the planet, one transaction at a time!