Art of the Flip: The First Sale

It tweaked the brain whilst choosing the best price to put on a crash cymbal.  After all, cymbals appeal to a niche market.

I studied Amazon, Ebay, Reverb.com, Craigslist, Offerup, and LetGo to determine the going rate.  The prices were all over the place!  I realized that I could measure the value of cymbals when I applied a cost-per-inch gauge to each cymbal.  This made it a lot easier to measure the market's opinion of each cymbal class: rides, hi hats, crashes, effect cymbals, etc.  This also helps me see when a cymbal is under or over priced.  Here are a couple of things I discovered about the various selling sites.

Amazon, Ebay, and Reverb.com seem to get a better price per cymbal.  The trade-off is you need to ship to the buyer.  The buyer pays the shipping, but you do the work and front the money to ship the package.  Plus it is possible that you may get the item back from an unsatisfied costumer.  There additional fees these sites charge so they can stay in business.

Whereas Craigslist, LetGo, and Offerup give both the buyer and seller the opportunity to negotiate the price (more on that in the next blog post).  It is rare to get full asking price through these sites, but you can work with the buyer to get the item to move.  You also get paid at the point of sale and it is a done deal when you and the buyer part company.  I have not heard of someone returning an item.

Ultimately, you need to decide what is most important to you... top dollar, or moving an item quickly.

Remember that I am starting out with $0 of flip money?  

My first sale came through Offerup.  I like this site a lot.  Good pictures and a good description are up to you.  The platform lets you post up to five pics; add the title, description, and price; and lets you choose if you want to keep it local or ship nation wide.  As of today, I keep the offers local only.  The best part of this site (like many others) is you get to rate the person on the other side of each transaction.  This levels the playing and forces everyone to pay attention to their own actions.  Reputation is everything.  Uber and AirBnB do this too.  Simply stated... you will not survive long when you do not play well with others.  And there is the social media component and its impact on your rep, but we will not dig into that in this post.

The buyer contacted me about a crash cymbal.  I listed it for $110 ($6.47 per inch of cymbal) and reduced the price to $90 ($5.29 pic).  The buyer inquired about this cymbal plus another listed cymbal, asking if I'd be willing to part with both for $150.  I wanted flip money so I agreed to his offer.  The costs per cymbal were $4.41 and $4.17... more than $2.00 less than originally listed.  So... I came in to this local market kind of high.

Let's talk about "The Market."

The market is an equal opportunity abuser for all who choose not to pay attention.  It has NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO emotion whatsoever.  Please check all your emotions at the door when you play in any and every market.  What you paid for an item is irrelevant when you sell it.  To drive the point in a bit: a guy bartered with me about a pair of hi hats priced at $85.  He made the following offer: "Can I trade for a Royals authentic jersey I got for $120 with authentication tag?"  I checked his profile.  He is selling this same jersey for $50!  Each transaction measures the value of the two things being traded at that moment in time.  Those two things could easily change in value five minutes after the transaction is completed.  That is the market, and it care not about your opinions.

Following my budget and spending plan, the $150 was split out as follows

$30 into GOD Money

$30 into INVESTMENT Money

$90 in FLIP Money... now I have a little cash to work with on future deals.

Niche markets are a game of patience.  There are not a lot of people looking for cymbals.  Drummers are, and parents of kids who are getting their first drum sets.  Plus, most people want the full set with all the bells and whistles. 

Perhaps you are thinking, "I do not have cool things like cymbals..."

Look around your house for the more common things people need and want: clothes, baby gear, toys, books, old phones and computers, Beats and Turtle Beach Headsets, etc.  Search out the markets for such items... they are out there.  Markets are fairly easy to find.  You must search them out cuz they usually will not just knock on your door and ask if they can stay awhile.  Find that market, learn how it values items, figure where things are under priced and over priced so you can capitalize on the difference, the "delta."  These are some fundamental ideas on how people play in all markets.

Got a hack you can share?  Love to hear about it.  

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