May 29, 2024
Grow Your FFL Business

Three Simple Keys to Listing Success

The basic goal of listing items for sale on is to sell them … pretty obvious. Of course, the second goal, matching importance of the first, is selling for the highest price you can get. The sale price is the final measure of the success of your listing.

Two main factors contribute to selling, and selling for the highest possible price. First is getting the listing seen by as many potential bidders/buyers as possible. Second is providing information they need to confidently place a bid and transact the sale.

Toward these goals there are three important keys in making your listings on

Complete, Accurate Characteristics: When you go to place a listing, the first thing you’ll enter after choosing the category for your item will be its characteristics. In the case of firearms, this includes manufacturer, model, barrel length, caliber/gauge, and capacity; and in some categories finishes and grips.

The characteristics you include will be a primary driver in the success of potential buyers searching, so consider the entries carefully. Think about what you would type in the search bar if you were looking for this item. For example, say you’re listing an LC9. You could state the manufacture as “Sturm, Ruger & Company,” but if you were a buyer looking for this gun, wouldn’t you more likely search “Ruger LC9” or “Ruger pistols”? So, best choice would be “Ruger” in the manufacturer box.

To extend this example to the model characteristic, you might be tempted to write LC-9 or LC 9, but when you begin to key in the model with “L” automatically shows you “LC9” as the designation — so use it.

Work on down through the list of characteristics. Have a catalog or invoice for the gun handy so you can refer to it for exact factory specs. However, if the gun is in any way customized be sure to state the characteristics exactly as they are.

Honest, Thorough Description: Write your description of the gun honestly and thoroughly. Particularly on a used gun, provide detail about nicks, scratches and wear. State exactly where they are. Try to provide some history if you know it. How much was it shot? How was it stored? Who made modifications if there were any? Are the original box and documentation included? Are any accessories included?

Be 100 percent honest in your description. If there are things you don’t know about the gun, state them up front. Encourage potential buyers to contact you with questions.

Good descriptions also include detailed terms of the sale and shipping. Let potential buyers know your returns policy. Being up front and giving all the information in black and white gives confidence to the buyer (who may have never bought a gun online before) that he or she is dealing with a reputable business. provides a number of listing templates to help you format your listing and act as a checklist to make sure you include all of the important details.

Sharp, Detailed Photography: Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is quality photographic support for your listing. While a wide shot or two may suffice for a new gun listing, used gun posts are best supported by numerous, detailed photographs. At the very least, each of the notes of wear, etc. in the description should be supported by at least one sharp, detailed photograph of each. Same goes for the box, documents and any accessories that may come with the gun.

Again, put yourself in the place of a potential buyer. In the store, with your hands on the gun, you would look it over thoroughly. You might even look at certain things through a magnifying glass. Provide a photo of each thing you’d look at.

Check out the post in this issue of FFL Unleashed on setting up an small, inexpensive photo studio to take great pictures with virtually any camera of the items you list for sale. The return in more and higher bidding will quickly pay for the small investment.

Jay Zwitter