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How to Post a Good Craigslist Truck (and Car) Ad

Selling your truck on your own can be quite a headache. But there are a number of benefits to being your own salesman. And sites like Craigslist provide an easy way for sellers and potential buyers to reach others. But selling on Craigslist comes with its own risks and its own strategies. So, if you want to improve your truck’s (or car’s) chances of selling, we have some good tips on how to post a good Craigslist ad.

Be clear and accurate

Whether buying new or used, potential customers hate feeling misinformed. That’s why a Craigslist truck ad has to be as clear as possible.

Starting with the title, The Drive recommends including at least the truck’s year, make, model, and trim. The ad itself should include additional details, especially things like the price—and how firm it is—the truck’s odometer reading and what kind of engine and transmission it has. Information like this is what potential buyers use to comb through Craigslist ads. But these are just the bare minimum.

Once a potential buyer finds an ad, they start to look deeper. Sure, a 100,000-mile truck may seem more worn-out than one with 50,000 miles. At first. But how well were the trucks maintained? Kelley Blue Book strongly recommends mentioning any maintenance and service records you have. In addition, be honest about your truck’s mechanical condition. Is there something broken, and does this make the truck undrivable? Is there rust? If so, how extensive is it? That 100,000-mile truck may have more miles, but it could be in better shape. Are there any modifications? All this doesn’t just impact buyer interest, it also affects the price.

Poorly laid-out Craigslist ad
Poorly laid-out Craigslist ad | Craigslist via The Drive

Also, it isn’t enough just to include this information. Just like no one wants to read a wall of text in an email, Craigslist-goers don’t like seeing ads written IN ALL CAPS or with poor grammar. If the ad is poorly laid-out or poorly written, potential buyers will take one look and move on, no matter how nice a shape your truck is in.

Know your audience and market

2020 Ram 1500 Tradesman
2020 Ram 1500 Tradesman | Ram

Writing the ad also means thinking about who might be buying your truck. People searching for something like a Ram 1500 Tradesman, for instance, are probably looking for a work truck. So, your Craigslist post should mention payload and towing capacities, as well as storage space or useful work features. People looking at Ford F-150 Raptors, on the other hand, are into performance. An ad for a truck like that should instead focus on suspension travel, off-road mods, and so on.

2019 Ford F-150 Raptor
2019 Ford F-150 Raptor | Ford

Knowing your truck’s intended audience also helps when determining your sale price. Sites like KBB and Autotrader, as well as other Craigslist ads, are good comparison tools. This also where having a clear, honest truck description helps. Buyers have a budget in mind. Having access to your truck’s mileage, maintenance history, and list of mods, helps them better gauge the truck in front of them. Modifications, in particular, KBB notes, can add value, and make the difference between which truck a potential buyer checks out.

Lots of photos

To post a good Craigslist truck or car ad, you’re going to need pictures. The more you can take and include in the ad, the better. It makes buyers feel more comfortable when they can gauge your truck’s condition for themselves. Some Craigslist posters even include links to image galleries on Flickr or Imgur. Pictures can also help keep ads short. It’s easier and quicker to include photos of where rust or damage is than to describe it.

You don’t need a fancy camera to do this. A smartphone or point-and-shoot digital camera work just fine. But make sure both your camera lens and your car are clean and choose good angles. The point of the photo is to pass on information as clearly as possible.

Be wary about including personal info

VOLGOGRAD, RUSSIA - NOVEMBER 19, 2016: A client looks at a used car for sale at the AGAT Profi dealership. Dmitry Rogulin/TASS (Photo by Dmitry RogulinTASS via Getty Images)
VOLGOGRAD, RUSSIA – NOVEMBER 19, 2016: A client looks at a used car for sale at the AGAT Profi dealership. Dmitry Rogulin/TASS (Photo by Dmitry RogulinTASS via Getty Images)

Craigslist is a very useful tool. Unfortunately, the ability to connect with people through the Internet has its downsides. In this case, Craigslist scams. Automotive writer and consultant Tom McParland once recounted on Jalopnik how an alleged buyer tried to scam him. But there are ways to avoid this.

The easiest is not to list your email address or telephone number on the ad. Wait until a buyer contacts you via the anonymous Craigslist ad email, then determine if you want to share that info. And, although convenient, not list your specific home address in the Craigslist map feature. Once you’re ready to meet a buyer, The Car Connection and Popular Mechanics recommend meeting a buyer in a public place. I’ve met with Craigslist sellers in front of police stations, and in front of popular restaurants.

 Happy selling.