What is Porch Pick Up When Selling Items?

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    One of the easiest ways to make extra money is to sell items on Facebook or Craigslist locally. And to make it even easier, taking advantage of the porch pick up means you won’t have to haul your stuff all over town just to get rid of it.

    So what is porch pick up, and how can it make your life easier as a seller?

    What does porch pick up mean?

    When a buyer and seller agree on a transaction, they often choose to do a porch pick-up (or pickup, depending on how you choose to spell it). The seller will leave the item on the front porch, sometimes in a bin to provide covered shelter to protect it from the weather. The buyer usually has 24 hours to retrieve the item and leave payment.

    boxes stacked on a front porch

    Porch pick up is a term that’s recently been used more often as buy-nothing groups, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist transactions become more popular. If a seller states that an item is “porch pick up only,” this means that the buyer must come to their house to get the item, and delivery is not an option.

    Porch pick ups are most commonly used with:

    • Donations through buy-nothing groups or other local Facebook pages or different groups
    • Facebook Marketplace as a means to sell items without having to deliver them
    • Craigslist
    • Newspaper ads can often request porch pick up for purchases
    • Lastly, an online garage sale or yard sale where sellers aren’t likely to physically deal with buyers

    How a Porch Pick Up Works

    While it’s not super complicated, communication between the buyer and seller is vital. If everyone’s not on the same page, it’s easy for either party (or both!) to become upset.

    Step 1: The potential buyer and seller connect online through an ad, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace.

    Step 2: They agree on a price through direct messaging, and the seller provides their address. They also agree on how the payment will happen (whether left at the door or made online).

    Step 3: The item is left on the seller’s porch or near the front door, often in a bin (called a swap bin). The bin protects the item from the area’s elements and potential porch pirates.

    Step 4: The buyer arrives within 24 hours, retrieves the item, and leaves the money as previously discussed. The buyer can follow up with a phone call, text, or message to let the seller know that the transaction is complete.

    How is a Porch Pick Up Payment Made?

    Once the buyer retrieves the item from the seller’s porch, they have several options to complete the transaction:

    • They can leave the money in the mailbox, in the screen door, under the doormat, or in the swap bin.
    • They can pay online through Paypal or Venmo before leaving the premises, so there are no miscommunications.

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    Is Porch Pick Up Safe?

    Porch pick up can be safe if done correctly. Yes, there is a risk in giving out your address, but the chances are slim that anything might happen.

    To make your sale as safe as possible, follow these porch pick up ideas for safety:

    1. Always only provide your address to the buyer in direct messages, and never directly on Facebook Marketplace or in Facebook groups.
    2. Never let the buyer into your house, ever. If they’re here to grab a big piece of furniture, and it’s raining – have it moved into the garage, porch, or the yard before they show up. 
    3. Never leave big-ticket items out for a porch pick up. A good rule of thumb is if it’s cheaper items under $30, it’s ok to handle your transaction this way. This method is not for expensive, rare, or collectible big-ticket items that would crush your soul if someone stole your porch pick up.
    4. If you’re concerned that a seller is scamming you, check their seller rating. Feedback left there from other Facebook users can help you determine if they’re legit or not.

    The Pros & Cons

    There’s a lot of great reasons to use porch pick up, including:

    • It’s contact-free. In the age of COVID, that’s a huge plus that you’re not being exposed to others necessarily.
    • It saves so much time (and awkwardness!). If you’re an introvert like me, avoiding small talk is the perfect reason to use porch pick up. Plus, buyers can pick up at their leisure within the agreed pickup time frame, and no one has to be home to help them.
    • There’s no more haggling. At this point, the price is set, so there are no last-minute attempts to talk you down on the price.
    • It doesn’t matter if the first person is late or is a no-show. Again, you don’t have to be present, so you can move on to the next buyer if they don’t show within the timeframe.
    • There’s no shipping items. Unlike with services like Poshmark or ThredUp, there’s no worrying if your stamps are expired or if you’ll have to pay to ship items.

    But there are still some cons to using this method:

    • Safety. While it’s safer than letting a stranger into your house, it’s not entirely as secure as meeting them in a public place, like a police department parking lot. However, I’ve never had an issue in all of my times of using the porch pickup method.
    • It’s possible they might skip the payment. True, they could just grab the item and run, but if you’re only putting out small-ticket things, it won’t be as devastating. Plus, you can report them to Facebook Marketplace or call the police station to see if you have any legal standing in retrieving your item.
    • It’s not great for big items. If you have larger items like furniture or a car to sell, you can’t quite place them on the porch.

    What does PPU mean in the Facebook marketplace?

    This one threw me for a loop, so it’s worth mentioning. I assumed that PPU was the “porch pick up” abbreviation – makes sense, right? Well, yes and no. Depending on the person using the term, this acronym is common for “pending pick up”. As in, someone’s claimed it and is on their way to get it. 

    So remember, if you’re not sure, ask. It’s better to look like a goof online than to assume something, and it becomes an even bigger mess!

    Now that you know how a porch pick up works use it to your advantage to save time and money when selling items from around the house. You’ll have a bigger profit and be able to sell more when you’re not running all over town.

    Do you sell items on Facebook or Craiglist, and want to try eBay? Learn how to make money on eBay with this guide. Or, learn more about Poshmark vs. ThredUp, and which is best to resell on. Or, learn about the best places to sell your old Disney VHS tapes for the most profit!

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    A forty-ish web designer/developer by day, a budget & financial fanatic by night. I’m a mom, wife, avid reader, and DIY enthusiast who’s tracking our journey to debt freedom. Read More

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