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Selling at a swap meet guidance needed

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I usually take 3-5 bikes to a swap meet to sell and feel really lucky if I sell 1 or 2 bikes. The bikes are almost always detailed and in 8-9 condition. I put a sale tag on each bike with the price, year and model on the tag. The price I put on the bikes usually leaves a little wiggle room to come down to market value and this may be my problem. I feel that you can always come down in price but not go up in price. I always greet the people looking at my bikes but do not hover over them. What have you found that works for you when selling bikes? Do you put a price tag on the bikes or not and wait for someone to ask how much? Is there a better way to display/ arrange the bikes the bikes like tightly side by side or with walk around room. Any help appreciated and thanks in advance. Tim

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Having what people want is always important. An old saying in the car business was half right, there is an ass for every seat. Part two was that rear end could take forever to find.
 
All great advice.

If I can add a few things:

1. Do your homework. Try to determine the current value of your bicycle/stuff -
Check EB, especially historical sales.
Explore the large bicycle auctions.
Copake in NY has a great archive of their auctions going back a lot of years.
There was a recent large auction in Kansas that has posted results.
Check the collector sites- like the Archive, here on the CABE.
A bit of research can yield a lot of auction and sales results.
On day of event, try to scan for the same or similar bicycles/stuff to yours
Educate yourself on your "local" competition.

2. You know what you have invested ($$$ and time) -
Are you selling to make a profit(flip) or just "thin the heard".
Cost or market pricing can be very different.
Simple $ invested
Invested $ + markup
Invested $ + markup + restoration $
Market can fall anywhere on the spectrum -
from far below to well above your determined $.

Have you ever seen a very low end bicycle, artfully/painfully restored,
for sale, but not really worth anything near asking?

3. Per your own observation turned advice - you can always come down -
Start with the strongest price you can imagine and bring it to a round number.
Odd numbers seem to invite immediate haggling.

4. Markets are different, and prices vary from one region to another.
The greater the population the swap draws from, the better the chance strong pricing.
(as a rep, I came to believe that it took 30k people to support a small bicycle store, for instance)
The more vendors the better the pricing.
The more "thru the door" buyers the better, obviously.
I have been to a number of swap meets where it was vendors trading
amongst themselves, and very few outside buyers. Little new money involved.

5. Time of year.
Not scientific, but I find pricing better in the late winter and early spring swaps.
Fall seems to be more value/buyer oriented.


6. Time of day
A serious early buyer will likely be a looking for a stronger "bargain" than those that follow.
See "plan" below.
Decide a time to discount if that is in your plan.
Be aware of the "value seekers" who approach as you are packing up.
(or my pet peeve, when you open your vehicle to begin set up and
people start poking around - Arrrrrrrgh! )

7. The all important "cool factor" and curbside appeal of your offering.
Not everyone will know the details of your bicycles, but you must.
Service provided, parts replace, and the most important part of the chat,
the story of the bicycle.
Always "sell the sizzle, not the burger"!
Is yours:
Fully restored to showroom fresh;
Detailed and pristine;
As found and grungy;
or is it somewhere on spectrum of possibilities?
Note - all type of offerings have their appeal -
there is no right or wrong on this one.

8. Have a plan for the meet.
What do you really want to sell and what are willing to go home with?
Capture the name of anyone who is interested, but may balk at the current price.
Or, hand them your business card(even today, the my collectors world, people
still seem enjoy business cards.)
Decision is: An early deal vs taking it home?
Getting a feel for the strength of the interest, level of rarity and knowledge
of your products along with developing a feel of a buyer
will come with experience.
As you get ready, think about it
"Do you really want to put a price tag on your bike?"
Two schools of thought, and I encourage you to develop one of your own.
(I am able to discuss my stuff pretty well, so I use a combination.)
I become the relative subject matter expert (at least in my mind!)
I find it invites conversation, which will put me in control of the narrative.

9. Decide how you will accept fund.
Cash -is always king!
Venmo (and other p to p) sites art great for in person transactions
(I have a large Venmo scan code available in my booth)
PP - F&F (again in person transactions), or G&S (fees, but protection)
Shhhhhh! - but in my view that give opportunities for buyers to use
non-cash transactions can generally invite
opportunities for higher realized pricing.

Best of luck, and I am off to a swap a bit later today (though, only as a potential, early buyer - with cash!!!).

My plan to be there just before the doors open. and quickly scan for my categories.
and then lollygag around and explore the unique possibilities each swap presents.
(Jumble for our English friends).

In closing, a thought from and early sales meeting with a presentation from sales motivator, Harry Friedman.
Basically he told us to remember one simple thing, that anytime you are on the sales platform -

"It's Showtime!", so be ready to perform.

rusty


(Sorry for the length, I couldn't help myself on this one -r)​
Great advice overall from someone who has 'been there'. In my town, there are about 38,000 people. We have two bike shops. One has been here forever and in a family of manipulative grumps. The other is an 'upstart' downtown where the tourists thrive. There's even a Brit guy involved in that one(gasps)....lol.

I'm sure the grumpy family business thought/hoped they would eventually fail, but the tourists have kept them alive. Somewhat by happenstance, vision, and well-heeled tourist types, the 'upstart' has become a perennial favorite downtown. They are renting a prime piece of real estate downtown very close to the coveted 1st & Main streets. The grumps have their shop away from downtown and may even own that real estate....dunno. Their business comes from being here forever and serving generations of kids/adults. Their repair prices are cheap, but it's hit & miss with their bike techs. Their money comes in from new bike sales & accessories, not from bike service.

Now there have been at least four attempts to derail the two bike shops by other 'upstarts' and they all have failed. So my point is that the actual attendance at a bike show/swap may be crucial to your sticker price. With the Internet, there are not many areas where people are complete dolts and have no idea of vintage bike prices, as the prices are just fingers away from their smartphones. There are variables of course even in that, which shows some local ignorance but you get the idea.

Kevin
 
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I bring anywhere from 100 to 1000 items to every swap I go to. I don't have time to price everything. And I never will. Some times the parts are from my display case. If they don't sell, they will go back in there.
Agreed.
While there some things that can justify a visible price, I tend to know my products
and am up on value(try anyway).

The better your depth of (market value )knowledge on your offerings, the better your position to price on the fly.
rus
 
I want to follow up with how the swap went yesterday. First the bad news- not one of the twelve bikes that I had to sell sold, only a set of tires and a schwinn rear rack sold. Now the good news- I met some nice bike guys face to face that I had previously only talked to on the phone. Many people commented on how nice the bikes looked/ were detailed and that they either had one back in the day or remember seeing them. The bikes that got the most attention / looks were the 1999 Grape Krate, orange World Voyageur and silver mist Paramount that were all in near perfect condition. The prices on all bikes were well below EBay prices. My wife said it seemed like we had a museum set up rather than nice bikes to sell. I am still in search of the best place/ way to sell bikes. Could also be the time of year too? Overall still a good day, Tim

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