VarageSale – Your virtual garage sale Money Saving Tips

Addicted. That word pretty much sums up my relationship with VarageSale.

What is VarageSale?

Around 5 years ago I discovered buying used and reselling, and thus my long love affair began. I had been using Kijiji until 2 years ago. I loved buying and selling but I was became increasingly annoyed with sellers not updating their status on items sold, not responding to my interest, buyers not showing up on time or sometimes not at all. I was also nervous of the anonymity of the buyers and sellers I was interacting with. Sometimes I wouldn’t even know simply, if they were a man or woman.

Enter VarageSale. From day 1 my experience was 100% different. Not only have I been much happier but I am also selling way more items then I ever did with Kijiji.

If you haven’t heard of it, VarageSale is like a virtual garage sale on your phone or computer. It’s a free marketplace app that allows families to buy and sell pre-loved items with their neighbours. Similar, yet distinctly different, to Kijiji and Craigslist. Each member joins ‘communities’ and signs in using their Facebook account. The entire searching, buying and selling process takes place within the app.

VarageSale Pros:

  • You feel secure:
    • People tend to be better behaved when their name and picture is attached to their accounts. In all my transactions I have only come across a few bad apples.
    • Not sure if a buyer or seller is reliable? Just check out how many ‘praises’ they have received from other users.
    • I have found that in my communities the vast majority of members are women and usually moms too. There is a comradery to help each other out. We are all trying to make a little extra cash and that cash is usually spent buying more stuff for the kids. Communication is typically very quick, friendly and helpful. Most people negotiate and can be quite accommodating with the erratic schedules moms usually have.
    • They have just added a new feature to indicate very active members with good standing to be labeled as a ‘top member’. You can be safe to know that these people are buying and selling a lot, and can expect to have a positive experience.
    • You can also follow members that you have purchased from, so you know immediately when they post new items.
  • Porch Pick Ups! I know this is not something I should probably be endorsing publicly but it makes my life sooooo easy! If I am selling, I just leave the items in a bag on my porch and the buyer picks up when they have time that day and leave the money under the mat. Or vice versa if I am buying. Of course there is the risk that either the item will get stolen or the money taken but in all of my many many transactions I have never come across this.  It is actually pretty standard practice with most purchases in my communities. My recommendation is to not do it for items that are not too valuable. If $10 worth of pjs go missing, no big deal. If a $120 Lululemon sweater is gone you’re in trouble! I guess this could be done with other buy/sell sites but because I feel much safer I am willing to take the risk. So far my faith in humanity has been upheld 🙂
  • The status of each item posted to let you know whether something is available, reserved or sold. In my experience, a vast majority of items are usually have an accurate status.
  • The ‘bump’ feature allows you to keep your items on the top of the category. As long as you check in regularly and bump your items they sell much quicker.
  • With the chat style communications, no messages are lost and it is easy to track conversations. It is so simple to set up times, negotiate price and determine meet-up location.
  • You are able to ‘watch’ items that you are interested in but not ready to commit to. This is a great feature when you only have a second to search before baby screams or if you want to compare a couple items before making a decision.
  • Quickly able to see what else a seller has available. It is more worth the gas money to pick up a bundle of items than just a single item.  Also, I often go shopping from the same user again in the future once I see that we have similar tastes and I have had a good experience with them.
  • Shopping cart feature to keep track of all the items you are buying and selling.
  • Well organized categories to help you find what you are looking for quickly.
  • The ability to follow categories so you know when new items are added.
  • Discussion boards to chat with other locals (I very rarely use this feature buy have found it helpful when I did)
  • On transactions, you can manage what you are buying and selling and change the values depending on what you negotiate so its easy to tally totals owed.

VarageSale Cons:

  • On the mobile app you cannot search within a category, only the entire community. Very frustrating when trying to narrow down a search.
  • I recently moved more out of town and have found many people no longer want to drive a little extra to purchase from me. I am sure this would be the case with any buy/sell site, so I have made use of consignment shops in addition to VarageSale. This is not a con for VarageSale themselves but would be a con if you are in a similar locations as myself.
  • A feature I really liked with Kijiji was their alert system. You can save keywords you are interested in and if an item posted containing that keyword in its title you were notified.
  • The app tracks which items you have sold and for how much. The next step would be to total it to show how much I have made. It would also be interesting to see how much I have bought as well… or maybe not, did I say it’s addicting? 🙂

According to Amanda… the verdict is:

As you can see by the heavily skewed Pros/Cons list that I am a big advocate for VarageSale. However, your location can make or break you.  If you don’t live in a well populated area, people may show less interest in your items or ask for delivery – making it not worth it to post for low valued items. I will likely be bringing my small items to a consignment store but will continue to sell my high valued items with VarageSale. And of course, I will still be buying, buying, buying! It’s not VarageSale’s fault that I moved so I still give a really great rating!

9/10


Based in Toronto, Amanda is a full-time mom of 2 little monsters, creator and editor of the blog According to Amanda (accordingtoamanda.ca) and since that isn't enough to keep her busy she also manages her own marketing consulting agency, Amanda Mercier Consulting (amandamercier.com).

Comments

  1. How do you utilize varagesale if you only have a computer?

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