How to Buy or Sell Second-Hand Merchandise


As a buyer, you may already have a price point in mind. Often, when buying a pair of shoes, I limit myself to $45 dollars. This is fine until I see something I really want for $50. I recommend a tight range. Always look slightly above the price point you have in mind to see what a couple extra dollars will provide. This will help you decide on value for the dollar.


Here is a tip that has worked for us in the past. It is very hard to turn away a potentially paying customer with cash. With this in mind, remember that while you showed up, others could have stood the seller up to the point of frustration. Even if you have the full amount, offer say $10-15 less based on the total item cost (gas costs money!) If they balk, pay the full price because really, you wanted it anyway.


As a seller, your work could already be done for you. Search eBay and Amazon just like any pawnshop would do and make it worth it for a local buyer to come to you directly for instant gratification. Remember that your benefit is flexible pricing, no delivery wait, handling or shipping charges, and a free item preview.


Determine how much the for sale item means to you. This will help determine whether to mention a firm price or indicate willing to listen to best offers.



As a buyer, know that confident sellers will take more pictures based on the value of the equipment. These sellers often know what the item is worth so getting a deal might be a bit harder.


How many pictures of the item are available? Use this to make a snap judgement on whether the seller just wants to dump the item rather than waiting to grab the price they are asking for. This is not a foolproof method but can be used to prioritize the list of people you contact after narrowing down your choices.


As a seller, provide as many photos as possible. This may result in less inquiries, but you now know that the buyer has deemed the item worthy of a conversation. This will also save you time and money during the haggling process. Remember in most cases one or both parties will have to travel to an arranged location to physically pickup and pay for the item. Guard your reputation as a seller by providing honest photos of the item as surprises are only good for birthdays.



As a buyer, the photo in most cases is what initially grabbed your attention along with the price. The description is just as important. This is where an honest seller will detail any imperfections as well as the features of the item. The photos, description, and price should all align. Beware of stock photos. A stock photo is usually a professional photo with a white background. This typically means the user has pulled the photo off of an E-Commerce website like or The only instances where I recommend accepting a stock photo is if it is the last photo of 5 available images.


As a seller, sometimes a stock photo will help a user visualize every component. While this should never be your first picture, this is helpful when the item consists of attachments. Always indicate what is included when using props for photo staging. As a buyer, I would want to know if the snare stand in the picture is included. Define this upfront. If you are willing to throw that in for an additional fee, either list the price or let potential buyer know you are willing to talk about it.


Another selling tip is to provide grades and the internal grading requirements. This helps for the users who hate reading as encouragement to either read further or to stop now. I would only recommend the following sparingly.

Place a hyperlink to your same item selling new for a lot more. This will typically let the user compare the new price to your “discounted” posted price and may include further information, specs, and reviews of the item.



The early bird on both sides gets the worm. As a buyer potentially looking at 4 different items, I want to receive a response as soon as possible. If you see a fantastic deal, typically others will have seen it as well. Jump!


As a seller, slow responses often result in hearing, I purchased this item from another seller. If you have posted an item, make sure your contact method is one you can readily check at all times. I would also recommend having a very open schedule or posting the best time to reach you. "I am available between the hours of ...."


Product Testing

As a buyer, you should always want to test a product. We recommend asking upfront if testing equipment is available if you do not have your own. This is also where a sellers rating comes into play. For a snare drum, our example, we recommend bringing a lug key. The outside is not an indication of the internals namely the drum rim.


As a seller, always offer to test drive. This builds buyer confidence in you. When is the last time you purchased a new car without taking it for a spin? This will often cement a sale.


If you are an expert at whatever you are selling, often demo the item yourself. Nothing sells faster than a pro playing a steel drum. Demos highlight potential meaning what this for sale item could be at its peak. On the converse, do not demo an item you are unfamiliar with. Let the buyer navigate.


Happy Hunting!!!

Note that most local pawnshops have at least one tech-savvy employee who is probably pricing items utilizing online marketplaces as a reference.  This means deals aren't quite deals unless you know the market intimately or decide to haggle on an item that has been sitting awhile.