Thursday, 13 March 2014

Thrifty Thursday: Gumtree

I've never been the biggest fan of selling on eBay, when I have things to sell it's usually because I want them out of the way as soon as possible and who wants to spend days waiting for their auction to end to then have to package the item and rush out to post it? Not me, that's for sure.

I'm regularly tempted to bundle everything I want to get rid of into a bag and take it to a charity shop, great if you're not saving yourself, but not so resourceful if you're saving or on a tight budget. 

After buying a couple of things on Gumtree (a kitchen stool and rabbit hutch, hardly glamorous), I dabbled in the unknown waters of selling on Gumtree and was pleasantly surprised. I've sold a fair few bits and pieces on Gumtree over the last few months so I hope that my tips can help you make the best out of selling unwanted things on Gumtree.

When you post your ad

Unlike eBay, Gumtree has a rather limited number of filters so unless someone has made a specific search for an item like yours, chances are they will be faced with hundreds of listings. Gumtree ads are listed with the most recent first (aside from paid for 'upgraded' ads) so take advantage of this and consider when potential buyers of your product are most likely to be online. As a general rule evenings and weekends are the best time to post ads.

Thinking ahead in this way will mean that the maximum numbers of people will see your ad whilst it's still near the top of listings.

If you've got the patience/space then it's worth waiting for a time when your item will be more popular, a coat will be much more likely to sell for more in October than in May.

Unfortunately there's no way of scheduling an ad to be posted so you'll have to have photos and a description prepared ready to post at your chosen time.


Unless you're determined not to let your item go for less than a certain price, do some research and see what price similar items are being sold for.

It's best to be realistic with your pricing unless you're happy to wait for a while to sell the item.

I tend to initially put a more optimistic price (don't forget people regularly make offers) and lower it if I've not received any interest.

If your item doesn't sell you can always re-list it again for free.


As with buying anything online, photos are all potential buyers have to go by when browsing Gumtree. As tempting as it is to snap a quick photo on your phone and pop it onto the ad, you'll get a much better response if you take a little more time with the photos.

You can add up to 9 images to a Gumtree ad so take advantage and take a good range of photos, I find that images of the whole item from various angles along with some close ups of any pattern etc. work best.

Take a photo of your product doing what it's supposed to do. It's much easier for someone to want to buy into a product when they can imagine what it will look like when they use it. Selling a dress - put it on and get someone to take a photo of you wearing it and crop your face out before posting it. If you're photographing cushions, scatter them beautifully over a cosy-looking sofa. It's also worth considering whether the size of the item will be obvious, if not consider photographing it with something that will help give an idea of size.

You can even post a link to a youtube video in your ad so if you're feeling adventurous or selling something particularly valuable it could be a good idea to really sell the item.

Think carefully when choosing the thumbnail photo that will be displayed on the listings page. You need a photo that will encourage someone to click on your ad and read more. A clear image of the whole item is usually most appropriate for this.

Title and description

Alongside the thumbnail photo, a title and the start of the description is your only opportunity to encourage interest in your item from the listings page. I find it best to put a basic, clear title in uppercase. There's no point hiding key details from the title, just because someone who wears a size 12 has clicked on your ad to find out that the dress your selling is a size 6 doesn't mean that they'll decide to buy it anyway because it looked nice.

My titles tend to go a bit like this 'TOPSHOP SKATER SKIRT - SIZE 8 - WORN TWICE'. It's always worth pointing out if the item has only been used a few times as this is appealing to most buyers. A shorter title is better so there's no point stating the obvious like the colour when that's perfectly clear from the thumbnail.

The description is your opportunity to say all there is to know about your item, but don't go crazy and fill the space just because it's there. Someone after a plastic garden chair isn't going to want to read an essay on the life of the chair, they'll probably be more likely to give up reading and find another ad. On the other hand if you're selling a valuable antique then there probably is a story to be told and it would pay to write it.

Like with photos, I tend to give a little description about how the item could be used like 'perfect for a night out', it's worth bearing in mind what people might be looking for at the time of year too, near Christmas describing a dress as 'great for a Christmas party' could invite extra attention.

Always be honest in your description, it's no use make your item out to be better than it is as you'll just get buyers turn up to buy it and leave without it if it doesn't meet their expectations.

Don't forget that the first part of your description is shown on the listings page so be sure to include anything important at the beginning.

Be easy to contact

Gumtree gives you the option to provide email and telephone contact details. I always provide both and find I'm contacted most by text.

It's likely that you'd get less enquires if you only provided a home contact number, as many people prefer to text or email rather than speak to someone directly.

Know when to give up

I'm sure it would be easy to let selling on Gumtree become your life, but you need to consider whether the time and effort's really worth it. If my item hasn't sold for £3 then I usually put it aside to be taken to the charity shop.

Don't forget:
When selling on Gumtree, buyers will expect to pick the item up from your house so be prepared for this, I would not recommend posting anything to a buyer and I would never meet anyone anywhere, although this is just advice.
On one occasion I've had a rather strange buyer contact me and ask for photos so don't be afraid to ignore them or just say no.

Happy Gumtreeing!


  1. Great post, I always used to use eBay and it got so frustrating waiting for my auctions to end
    Megan x | MeganRoisinn

  2. I think your blog i soo good! I have followed it and it would mean so much if you could do the same for me thankyou!!

  3. I've seen some cameras for sale on Gumtree and there are some brilliant prices out there- really good! xx

    Beauty Soup | UK Beauty Blog