Airsoft 101: How to Sell Your Airsoft on the Forums
When perusing the classifieds section of the forum, quite often do I see improper or poorly made for sale posts. As a member who has seen considerable market traffic, this is quite aggravating, as your sale post is meant to bring in potential buyers and seal a deal on your product of choice, not immediately turn away those in favor of your goods, as many for sale ads do. These ads lack pictures, location, and sometimes even basic information of the product at hand.
If one of these abominable ads applies to you, then continue reading.
First, why do we sell our Airsoft gear?
The answer to that is normally pretty simple. Either bills pile up, one is tired of their current platform and want something new, one needs to thin out the surplus in their collection, or it's broken and you don't know how to fix it. Knowing why you're selling is the first key, as it will help structure the entirety of the your ad. This will help you construct your rules, sale price, and how flexible, if at all, you are on your price.
Rules are very important to your post. Deterring less than savory buyers is as important as attracting good buyers.
Rules can include anything you desire, provided it follows forum rules. Be sure to include shipping options, location, prices, fees, etc. into your rule set. These also protect you in the case of a buyer who did not read your ad, then complains about anything you have clearly depicted.
Setting a Price
If you are selling a boneyard item, do not expect someone to pay retail value. Broken or damaged goods are only worth ~50% of their retail price, at the very highest. Often times this price is closer to 25-35% of retail price. Many sellers over value their items and is why many times you will see sales that last forever, and when the price finally does drop, people still won't buy because of the egregious original price. A general rule of thumb is that broken items are sold for 50% or less than their retail value, used items* for 66-75% of retail value, and items for trade listed at 100%** market value. The more deals you make, the easier pricing will become as you observe the market and understand what your goods are worth. Predicting trends is also helpful, but that is an advanced selling technique not reserved for this guide. Your price might not be a price at all, but rather a trades list. An example trades list is below. Be sure to include condition of trade items. You may be able to obtain expensive boneyard items by trading a lesser value, good condition item.
*Used items are any item that has been bought from a store. Even if you have never used the item, as soon as you buy it, its value goes down. Unless it is a collector's item, it will only fall in value. This value is normally much lower, closer to 50-60%.
**Trade items are listed for full value in order to find a similar trade value item.
To attract buyers, you will need information about your item. Things to include here are all pros to your item. This includes upgrades, rarities, special features, and anything that may make this item worth more than the other one being sold two posts down. Though you are showcasing all of the good your item has to offer, it is also important to make any and all issues known to prevent you from having the hood pulled over your eyes in the case of a sketchy buyer, and to build your reputation as a reputable seller. These include manufacturer's defects, broken items, missing parts, or other details that were not intended by the manufacturer. Below is an example description from one of my own sales threads. Notice my price is well below market price. This was a personal decision based on the fact that I needed to move it quickly, and get it sold.
However, possibly the most important part to attracting potential buyers is having a plethora of pictures that depict the item you are trying to sell. Good pictures can be the making or breaking point of a sales post. Photos should be of quality, avoiding cell phone cameras if at all possible. These should be taken in natural light with the light source being from the same direction as the camera is shooting from. Be sure to keep your limbs out of the photo, and take your photos in landscape format, being sure to include the entire item in the photo. Close up photos may be take to highlight pros or cons of your item. A couple ad quality photos have been added below.
Sealing the Deal
The art of sealing a deal with a potential buyer is tricky. Balancing the proper price for an object with a buyer can be difficult, but hold your ground and be sure you know what it is worth. If your item is an "Or Best Offer" price, be sure to back that up and be willing to negotiate on price. Any offer more than 30% lower than your OBO price should be considered an insult. Do not be offended if someone offers 25% lower than your OBO price. Once you have agreed on a price, send them your PayPal information so that they may transfer the funds needed for the transaction. Avoid using cash, Money Order, or other means that can be fraudulent or otherwise scammy. Then pack it securely and send your package on its way to its new home.
By even semi-following these steps, you can help clean up the classifieds and create a greater buying/selling/trading experience for us all.
Thank you for reading,
Triston (AKA TheLost)
*All photos here are either my own or stock photos. I do not take credit for any stock photos.