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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Part 1 - Make the pile go away

Wow! I can finally breathe after the whirlwind that carried most of my "for sale" list out the door.

I thought I would share a couple of tricks to selling tack I’ve learned as a buyer and a seller. I have a bought a significant amount of tack through private parties, but had less experience selling anything but single high dollar items (like saddles) until recently. Heaven forbid you are faced with having to abandon your tack hoarder ways and cleaning house (or rather tack room), but here’s a couple things to keep in mind.

Part 1 – Make the pile go away

1. What is your goal? Get the money that each item is worth, or move it quickly? In my case, the majority of tack I wanted to move quickly, but there were a few pieces (notably a saddle) that I was interested in getting close to what it was worth. I recommend making two piles of tack – pile one contains a few high dollar items that you are willing to sit on for a while in order to sell at YOUR price, the other pile tack containing all the rest of the tack that you would see go out the door and get some money to boot. Advertise and promote each pile separately and differently.

2. Don’t expect to sell junk. If it’s broken or unsafe, throw it away. No one wants that pile of broken reins, or the homemade rump rug in a half finished state. (or DO YOU????? Contact me if you are interested in either…..). Critically examine your tack. If you purchased a replacement for the tack you are now selling – there was a REASON you decided to make it a spare and not your primary use item. Some stuff is worth selling – but not necessarily online. I have a pile of stuff I didn’t even bother to list in my ads, but that I fully intend on putting on a table at a local tack sale in April – plenty of functional stuff that a browsing customer might pay a $ or two for.

3. Be brutally honest in your descriptions. Realize that your perception of the tack may be influenced by how it looked when it was new, good memories of a ride it was used on etc. The brown schooling bridles that I priced at $15-10 were a good example of this. These bridles were Minx’s, and Farley’s for a long time. I had a lot of happy rides in them. Part of me wanted to price them much higher, but part of me also recognized that they were not top quality bridles to begin with, they were older (but in good condition), and EVERYONE has these bridles hanging in their tack room. If they were going to sell, the price had to be right. Otherwise I may as well not waste my time taking pictures and answering questions about them.

4. Pick your priorities. There was no way that I was going to be able to take the time to advertise my high dollar items “right”, while also making the mountain of other tack disappear. I decided to focus on the pile because space is really tight, then move onto the $$ items.

5. Price it right. Let’s take the pile of tack you want to move out the door. It HAS to be priced right. If you don’t get any hits on your ad in the first 24 hours (assuming you have placed an ad in all the appropriate locations – more on this later) than take a look at your pricing. A rough guide is to price good condition used tack at 50% of new price. You can expect to get that if you know the brand, provide pictures, and the item is in good, usable condition. Expect to take a hit in price if the brand is unknown, the item is very worn, not clean, or you can’t/won’t take pictures. And by the way – while we are on the subject: providing manufacturer’s pictures are not the same as taking a picture of the ACTUAL item you are selling.

6. Advertise in the right places. (Free) I start with the free places. My favorites are, craigslist, blogs, a variety of forums (such as Horse grooming supplies), and horsetopia. If it’s going to sell at those places, it will probably go in the first 72 hours. I usually wait 10 days before going to a paid site.

7. Advertise in the right places. (Paid) After an ad has run ~10 days in the free ads, I start looking around for my paid options. At this point, if you haven’t already, organize your list into discipline or use. Since you are paying good money, you want your ad to have impact and for customers to be able to easily find the item that fits their needs. It won’t do much good to advertise a bunch of western gear on a primarily dressage site and it will just clutter your ad and make it harder for someone to see an item that they want to buy! I usually advertise on one paid site at a time, leaving an ad for 7-10 days before listing somewhere else.

8. Handling inquires. It can be tough to handle the volume of interested buyers, especially if you have many items for sale. Have pictures taken of all your items ahead of time and ready to go. Have a tape measure ready and measure the most common asked for measurements. As people start e-mailing, keep track of who is interested in what item. Decide on a system of who gets the item if multiple people want it. Is it the person who pays first? The person that e-mails first and then upon your notification that the item is available, their response that they want it in 24 hours? It’s easy to make mistakes and it’s important to play “fair”. I had so many offers on my $10 Haf pad in the first 12 hours it was listed on it was ridiculous. It literally sold 2 minutes after being listed – even though it was used and close to being worn out. It really took me by surprise because it had been listed for that same price on all the afore mentioned free sites for $10 without even a hit!

9. Keep your ads updated: As items sell, update your ads. It will reduce clutter AND save you time answering multiple inquiries into a popular item that has already sold.

10. Shipping. My rule is never overcharge for shipping. Most people think shipping charges are a rip off and have no clue how much it costs to ship an item. I sure didn’t until I started selling tack. The last thing I want someone to see is that the shipping charge on the box is way less than what I actually charge them. I hate going to the post office and don’t like the extra day it takes to get exact shipping charges, so I estimate and I error on the low side and eat the difference.

Tomorrow – Part 2 – Selling that high $$ stuff.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent advice.

    I hope to use it.

    Still, not to nick pick but.., in item #5

    "A rough guide is to price good condition used tack at 50% of used price."

    I believe you mean "new" rather than "used".

    Blame it on reading a lot of regulatory documents that I can pick out inconsistent items without trying. We all know what you mean...I think?



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