I am in the middle of my yearly gear/equipment/toys cull. I use the term cull, as I see it as a time to clear out some of the stuff I have not used in a while. This cull will make some space for the new toys I will inevitably want to buy and raise some funds so I am able to buy them. It is also a time for me to assess what I am actually using to make music, records and video projects.
I would like to share with you some of the questions I ask myself when I am sorting through my collection of goodies.
How To Choose What To Sell
When was the last time I used it? - I have a rule that if I haven't used it in the last 12 months I do not need it. However, needing something does not mean I do not want it anymore, but it is a good place to start when working out what you are prepared to let go.
Does it still do what I need? - We get a lot of questions to the Pro Tools Expert podcast about our opinions on a particular audio interface, mic pre or mic and if they should be upgraded. These questions are normally answered with the retort "If it still does what you need it to do don't change it". However, for example, if you find that you are now being called to record all your projects and sessions at 192Khz and one of your converters or interfaces only goes to 48KHz then maybe it is time for it to go?
Is it an investment? - We all know that most new gear, especially computers depreciate faster than fast Jack McFast, winner of last year's Mr Fast 2016 competition. But some gear can be considered an investment. A vintage Neumann U47 mic for example 15 years ago could be picked up for around £1000. That same mic could be worth 5 times that in 2017. Guitars are another potential investment. But please don't rush out to buy a new £2000 Gibson Les Paul and think that in 10 years time it will be worth millions. The vintage market can be very fickle and like any investment, the value of your prize axe could do down as well as up.
Do I still LOVE it? - I have pieces in my studio collection that I could never bear to part with that I have not even touched in well over my 12-month sell-off limit. I have some guitars that come out to play very infrequently but I love it when I play them. It may be that they mean something special or I used them on a particular project. It does not matter. The pieces I love are not going anywhere.
How To Sell Your Gear
So, you have your pile of older studio goodies that you want to shift and make a packet for but hold on there. Where are you going to sell them and when?
As I'm sure you know there are dozens of online or on your mobile apps and sights that enable you to sell your gear. The obvious ones are Gumtree, Craigslist (yes it's even in the UK now) and of course eBay but you can choose to sell through a dealer like Funky Junk in the UK, Vintage King in the US or sites like Larkin's List. I would only go to either of these 3 if I was selling something in the serious end of the market like that vintage Neumann U47. Don't trouble these guys with something under 10 years old. Their fees and commission will eat up any of your profit so personally, I use eBay.
Ready To Sell - I have been eBaying gear for well over 15 years and I think I have sold 3 or 4 times what I have brought so here are some tips and tricks to help you get the best price for your studio goodies on sites like eBay.
Timing Is Everything
The best days for your eBay (other online auction sites are available) auction to end are Thursday and Sunday around mid afternoon. This is a fact quoted by eBay themselves. Sunday, because a vast number of people have a day off on a Sunday and Thursday I'm guessing because it's all downhill to the weekend and hey, let's have a little eBay surfing fun, oh that looks nice! However, I have had great results from ending my auctions on around 3:30 pm on a Friday. Yes, there is that much of an exact science to it. Think about it. All the office folk with some spare cash to burn are thinking about calling it a day around 3:30 but need to look like they are working. Hide an eBay windows under your email and away you go.
Know Your Holidays - A good time to be selling is in the run up to Christmas between September and November. It seems funny that some people buy tech for each other at Christmas, or perhaps it could be the self-bought Christmas prezzies?
Try to avoid selling early in the new year. Nobody buys in January. Also, in my experience, it's not a good idea to have your auctions end over a holiday weekend.
Be Honest - What ever you do, please don't lie in your auction notes. Do not say that the piece is in mint condition and recently serviced when it is quite clearly knackered. You will get found out. A little white lie is not worth it. Give loads of information about your item and be honest. If it doesn't work, say so. Folks on auction sites love a cheeky punt on a piece of broken kit.
A Picture Say A Thousand Words - Take pictures of your actual item. Do not use stock pics from the manufacturer's web site. A potential buyer wants to see the scuffs from rack mounting or the minor scratch on the back panel. eBay now lets you add 12 pictures for free, use them.
Choose Your Catagory Wisely - When I'm selling, the first thing I do is search eBay for the item I'm selling to see where most of the similar stuff is positioned for sale. Go with the masses and what ever you do, never ever use an "Other" category. Items are sent into the pit of eternal eBay hell in "Other" categories.
Use Promotional Codes - eBay is always sending me emails telling me to sell with no listing fee. These are the times to sell. Unlike 10 years ago, you should never have to pay to list your item. Another good trick is to start your item at 99p and always use a 7-day auction, although I have only been caught out a couple of times with this.
Setting Out Your Stall
Sadly there a lot of time wasters out there so tell it like it is. I always put these last couple of lines in the notes of any auction I do on eBay:
So now the dull bit (sorry reputable eBayers):
- I do not end auctions early so please do not ask.
- I do accept cash on collection from London SE3 (near the O2)
- I will ship outside the UK with the eBay International Shipping Program (that can take time).
- If you have a question please do drop me a line but if the answers are in the auction notes please do expect a rapid answer.
- You can find out more from the manufacturer's website: (Gives the link here)
I hope this has given you some ideas and pointers on how to get the best results from selling your used kit on auction sites like eBay. These have not let me down yet. If you have any other moments of auction site genius to share please add them to the comments below. Happy selling.