Buying and selling used gear is a great way of making some extra money. If you know a decent amount about guitar gear and are a savvy buyer, it's actually very achievable - assuming you don't hold on to everything you buy! Here's how to spot bargains, and make yourself a tidy profit
Choose your level
Buying/selling gear requires a minimum level of capital - you don't have to start out trading vintage Les Pauls. Effects are abundant on eBay, and you can pick up some bargains if you're clever. Choose an area you know about, and do your research.
Buy from the right places
To seek out bargains, you need to be looking where other people are not. eBay, local papers, Gumtree and even supermarket noticeboards can be great places to keep an eye on. There's a lot of other junk to wade through, but persist and it'll pay off.
And sell in the right ones, too
When it comes to selling your gear, you need to do the opposite; expose your advert to the biggest and most relevant audience possible.
This is often eBay, but guitar forums, Facebook groups and dedicated reader ads pages such as the ones found in our sister mag, Guitarist, will put your gear in front of the right people.
Use eBay's tools
Take advantage of eBay's search tools (see above) to find the best deals. You can also exploit sloppy typing by using Fatfingers; a site that searches eBay for spelling mistakes, meaning you might spot a badly-listed bargain.
Make it presentable
Once you've snagged a bargain that you can make some money on, it's time to get selling. Tidy up the gear - a sad-looking guitar with broken strings, missing controls and covered in grime can be transformed with some cheap replacements and a clean. Make sure your gear works, and looks good before you sell.
Sell, sell, sell!
Be clear about what you're selling, what's included and what isn't. Write a good description detailing the product, what it does, how it sounds, the features included, and point out any defects, too (cosmetic or otherwise). If you're selling on eBay, good photos are a must. Shoot in good light at the highest resolution possible, and upload three or four photos from different angles, including any damage.
Don't forget the fees
eBay and PayPal both charge a commission for listing, selling and receiving payments. All of these will eat into your potential profits, so don't forget to factor this, plus the cost of postage into your buying and selling rates.
Communication and honesty are key. Package the item properly, stick to the delivery times you state, and stay in touch with the buyer until it's delivered. Your reputation as a seller hinges on the feedback of happy buyers.
Online buying/selling is built on trust, but things can go wrong. Get as much contact info from the person you're dealing with as you can. PayPal offers an extra level of payment protection, and if you're using eBay, always do transactions through the proper channels.
5 tips for bagging eBay bargains
You can sort your search in many different ways (time, distance, listing type). For late bargains, check out auction-style listings that are about to end. To get an early bargain, filter your search by newly listed items that have a 'Buy It Now' option.
2. Use categories
Searching by product name is great if you know what you're looking for, but viewing a category and filtering as above can produce some cool surprises. Drill down as deeply as possible to browse what's on offer and you could uncover some gems.
3. Make offers
If there's a 'Best Offer' option, use it and push your luck. Don't worry about offending the seller - they don't have to accept it, but they just might.You only get three goes on each item, though...
4. Set alerts
Gone are the days of being tied to your computer to bid. eBay's mobile app can notify you when items you're watching/bidding on are ending, or have been listed. Set up alerts and 'saved searches' for newly listed items, too, and eBay will notify you when they are added, leaving you to bag 'Buy It Now' bargains as soon as they appear.
5. Time your bid
You've probably realised by now that there's often a flurry of bidding activity in the last 60 seconds of an auction. By bidding on a seemingly cheap auction three days before it ends, you're effectively only pushing the final price up. Decide a maximum price you're willing to pay for the item (don't forget postage costs) and stick to it. Try to wait as long as you can to place your bid (the last 30 seconds is advisable). If you don't win, don't worry, another one will be along shortly!