Craigslist is the Worst

23 Jan

But it’s obviously really cool too. It’s basically an instantaneous, free classifieds and a cool way to find free stuff, sell stuff, or find a job. You can also find an adult modeling gig, a pair of crutches for $15, and a forum for atheists.

I sold some musical instrument related stuff (Motion Sound Pro 3x and Road Ready Case) last year on Craigslist, and found the people to be the flakiest I have ever encountered. People would e-mail me just to ask about what I was selling, ‘So, is that a good speaker? What does it do again?’ The worst was when I was all set to meet a guy on Monday, and he e-mailed me Monday morning and said, ‘Sorry bro, it looks like I’m not going to be able to get the funds together’. Freaking deadbeat.

But each Craigslist for each town has a section called ‘musicians’, where bands post looking for members, studios post looking for work, and teachers look for students. I decided back in November to try and use it for the latter purpose.

I went and checked out other Craigslist teacher postings, those that would be my ‘competition’. I immediately noticed that they all seemed a little weak compared to what I might offer.

That one looks okay but doesn’t impress me too much. So I set about creating my own posting which highlighted these points: 1) I am young 2) I am seasoned 3) I am from L.A., home of the real heavies 4) I have practical touring/performing experience 5) I have experience in Rnb, Reggae, Jazz, Church 6) but also experience in Classical which I know and love 6) I teach beginners as well as those who’ve taken for awhile and want to teach themselves something specific.

And I posted a couple pictures of me playing and my piano. So I’ve been running this ad for 2 or 3 months now, and I’ve probably gotten about 30 responses total. You would think that each of these responses would be a great lead, an opportunity, and if I gave it my all I could sell each one on my teaching ability and they would become loyal students. But although most of the e-mails that respond to my listing seem sensible enough, probably 3/4 of the people don’t get back to me after I send them a response.

And that right there is the great mystery of it all. If you don’t want lessons, why E-mail in the first place? You probably think that my return e-mails must be horrible or just perfectly wrong since they seem to shut down 75% of all interested parties. But I really don’t think that’s it. I always state my rate, and some encouraging and respectful words. I think that maybe when they hear my rate, they move on. My rate is the industry standard, if not a little under it actually. $45 for 45 min, $55 for and hour (which is a DEAL). But they don’t e-mail back after that.

I think that people who look for things on Craigslist don’t want to pay for their full value. They are looking for a screaming deal.

Out of 30 or total responses how many students have I really gained? ONE. That’s right, I have one student who actually followed up with me and said ‘lets get together’. He’s a professional singer named Phil and has a working corporate cover band, but he wants to get some keyboard chops together so he can do his own thing. We’ve had two lessons and it’s going very well. But I’d really like to get more students.


3 Responses to “Craigslist is the Worst”

  1. mlhughdefrance January 23, 2010 at 10:33 am #

    “Let’s play singer…Phil!” haha.

    It might not have to do with your rates. My guess would be that you get a lot of queries from people who are just curious what piano lessons cost and are probably just not seriously interested. I did the same thing with a class on bike repair that I was “interested” in and I emailed the bike shop about it. The cost wasn’t too astronomical, but in the end I just wasn’t serious enough and I kind of forgot about it.

    But here’s the point. If I ever do become serious about bike repair and want to make time for it in my life, I still have that return email and I’ll probably try them first, because they got back to me quickly and the rates were decent. In other words, I don’t think all your efforts are wasted even if you don’t hear back immediately.

    I think you’ll build up a little network of folks soon enough. Think of how long it took Katie Cox or Andrew Szucs to get a full schedule, and they have a storefront bringing them business. It’s only a matter of time.

  2. bobbycressey January 23, 2010 at 11:37 am #

    They never did get a full schedule, those bastions of Amuse teaching prowess.

    Singer Phil, now I get it! For a second it crossed my mind that it could be the same Phil, until I googled him and found out it was definitely not. This guy looks more like Phillip Banks than singer Phil.

  3. bernadette January 27, 2010 at 7:32 pm #

    You take you chances on craigslist. I was trying to sell a coach bag I had received as a gift. After listing it for good price and I got this one person emailing repeatedly like she’s all interested and then finally asking how much I’m willing to lower the price.

    I’ve actually thought about posting on craigslist for photography, cos I’ve heard Jabby getting work by posting.

    If I had the money– I’d hire you in a minute.

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