To get started selling on Facebook all you really need is stuff to sell and a phone with a camera. You can use the Internet connection at your local coffee shop if you don’t have Internet access at home.
The only office supply I recommend having from day 1 is a receipt book. This will allow you to keep a record of what you sold, for how much, and to who. This may come in handy for more than just tax/accounting purposes. We’ll talk more about why you might need this in the “risks” section of How to Sell on Facebook: 3 Ways to Make Quick Cash.
Risks of Selling on Facebook
As with any business, there are risks involved. Below are a few of the risks you need to be aware of when selling on Facebook.
For whatever reason, probably because it is a social networking site, Facebook tends to have a more casual environment than some other selling platforms such as Amazon. Due to this, at one time or another, you’ll probably encounter an unreliable buyer or two when trying to sell on Facebook.
These buyers will message you saying they want something and then vanish into a black hole. They will arrange to meet with you and then stand you up like a bad blind date. It’s frustrating but hard to avoid. Some things that might help are:
- Time limits – Tell an interested party they only have a set amount of time (ex. 24 hours) to get an item and then it is back up for grabs.
- Contact info – Once you reach a point where you’re arranging to meet the buyer, exchange phone numbers so that you can easily stay in touch if plans change.
- Confirm – Before heading out to meet someone confirm they will be there.
When you do encounter an unreliable buyer try to keep your cool. I know it can be super frustrating, especially if you rearranged your schedule to accommodate them. However, do not blast the individual on Facebook. Keep calm and move on!
Since selling on Facebook is a bit more casual there isn’t really an arbitrator of disputes. With Amazon, the customer service team can step in if a problem arises. On Facebook it’s really just between you and the buyer.
Obviously, you want to provide the best customer service possible but sometimes you encounter people that seem to want to be unhappy.
Again, when describing your item on Facebook, be as upfront as possible about the condition. In addition, I suggest letting the buyer know (via private message) what your return policy is and writing it on the receipt before giving the item to the buyer.
Having a receipt book can definitely come in handy if a customer comes back later and disputes the product, amount, or return policy.
I also save private or public messages (you can always take a screenshot) in case problems ever arise.
Before you start selling on Facebook, you’ll want to figure out what methods of payment you’ll accept. If you’re going to be selling a lot of items you may want to invest in some kind of credit card reader that can attach to your smartphone (ex. Square). This will be quite convenient for you and for buyers.
Otherwise, you’ll want to think about what forms of payment you can accept that both you and the buyer will be comfortable with. For example, checks are just pieces of paper. If a buyer gives you a check it doesn’t mean he or she has the money… that check may bounce when you go to deposit it and since Facebook doesn’t have a formal way to settle merchandise disputes you’ll be hard pressed to collect that money from the buyer or get your item back. However, if its an expensive item, the buyer may not feel comfortable just handing over hundreds of dollars in cash so what other options are there? This is something you’ll want to think through carefully.
Since selling on Facebook could very likely require you to meet face to face with a buyer, you’ll always want to consider your personal safety. If you’re selling to family or friends, this (obviously) isn’t a big deal, but when selling in a group or the Marketplace, you’re probably going to be meeting up with a stranger.
Remember what your mother taught you about strangers!
Just because you’re an adult does not mean you aren’t at risk. Here are a few safety tips:
Meet in a public place. Don’t go to someone’s house or invite a stranger to your home. Pick a public place that is well lit and highly trafficked. Preferably not a parking lot.
Tell someone where you’re going. Tell a friend or family member where you’re going, who you’re meeting, and what time. Provide as many details as possible in case something were to go wrong. Better yet, offer to buy your bestie a coffee if she’ll ride along with you.
Be aware. Watch out for red flags. For example, has this person been asking a lot of personal questions or refusing to give you contact info? If something doesn’t feel right don’t be afraid to ask for someone else’s opinion on the situation or call the deal off altogether.
Learning how to sell on Facebook is a great way to get rid of unwanted clutter in your home, make money on the side, or even start a lucrative business. Selling on Facebook has many benefits including a huge potential buyer pool and no fees! However, as with any business there are some risks. Hopefully this article has given you a better understanding of how to sell on Facebook. If you’re looking for more resources, I suggest heading on over to Amazon and checking out some great “how to sell on Facebook” books and eBooks.