Advice needed on making offer to buy; Wheeler dealers please help

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by clovis, Jan 16, 2005.

  1. clovis

    clovis Well-Known Member

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    My wife and I recently rented a booth in an indoor flea market to sell some junk and make some money. We have done fairly well with this.
    We got a call from an elderly lady wanting to sell us some old dishes. If we bought these, we would keep some of the dishes and resell the rest.
    She has no idea what they are worth. She doesn't know if they are worth $50 or $500, but leans to thinking they are worth more than the $500. I am guessing that they are worth $300, if sold by the piece on ebay.
    Here is the problem:
    I don't know how to make the offer. I would like to buy them for $100 to $150. That price would be worth the risk and work for us. But, I just don't know what to say when I make the offer.
    Do I tell her that the dishes are worth more than my offer, and that this is the highest I can go?
    What would you say if someone called you about something you wanted to buy, but had no idea what it was worth?
    I want to be fair and ethical, but still get a good deal.
    Thanks in advance,
    clove
     
  2. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Tell her the truth, the dishes are worth $XXX dollars retail. In order for you to stay in business you must buy the dishes wholesale as you do not know how long it will take you to sell them and your money will be tied up until they sell. There are risks involved and time and expertise in selling the product. She can either take a fast sell to you or choose to market them herself if she can get more. If she could get what she thinks they may be worth she would have already sold them! Be prepared to pay her in cash and tell her so.
     

  3. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    you dont have to say anything what you think there worth just make an offer profit goes down the line in anything bought and sold thats the way it is
     
  4. Star In N.C.

    Star In N.C. Well-Known Member

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    clovis offer only what your willing to loose. Flea market selling is a crap shoot at best. some times you do good sometimes you hold on to stuff for months. it sounds like you both have a "idea" of worth. Offer lowest you think you want to pay. You can offer more but you can't go down after offer made.

    Star in N.C.
     
  5. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    check the marks on the bottoms and look up the values on the web (ie, nippon china or the like). they you will have an idea what the lot is worth.

    then you have to sell em... lol
     
  6. Lrose

    Lrose Well-Known Member

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    I used to fleamarket all the time. I would evaluate an item as to what I could get for it retail then offer half that amount to the seller. If the seller said the item was worth alot more; I would explain it was only worth what someone is willing to pay in my fleamarket and my money is tied up until it sells. That is the best I can do. Usually people would think about it and then agree to sell it to me. I would also tell them if they want more they should sell it themselves through an ad in the paper. I never pressured anyone and if they decided not to sell to me that was alright too. Many people would try to sell something theirslf and couldn't so would come back later. I needed to make a 30% prfit on every item I sold to keep my fleamarket profitable. By paying half what I thought something could sell for it allowed me to mark items up 50% and have bargaining room to dicker when invaribly a customer would say. " Can you drop the price any?"!
     
  7. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Do find out what your stuff is worth before pricing it, however -- ebay is a good resource. I regularly wander through the local swap and there are a few people who buy out storage lockers and don't always do their homework on oddball items. You would be astonished on the resale value on, say, old die-cast Transformers (those robots that turn into cars), other 80's toys, etc. Also, I got a Kirby vaccuum sweeper for $20 once -- the guy assured me it was working, I knew him well enough to know it probably wasn't (not the most honest seller in the world) but I had an idea I'd part it out on Ebay. Turned out the repair on it was $10. Ebay price on these vaccuums is between $500-600, plus shipping, and they're HEAVY. (New, they run a couple of grand.) I've also done good on books -- certain authors sell much better than others. (Mercedes Lackey and Stephen King come to mind.) But you'll find a box of books with EVERY book listed at say $.25 each, when, say, you can get $20 for a beat up paperback copy of Jinx High by Misty Lackey.

    As far as buying stuff FROM people -- I'd be inclined to give a fair price even if it cut into MY profits, as long as I knew I would make money. You make your money on volume, not individual items. If she's happy with the price you pay, she may send friends to you.

    Leva
     
  8. jack_c-ville

    jack_c-ville Well-Known Member

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    'Value' is a totally different animal for different types of transactions.

    A set of Pink Castle Spode may sell to a dealer in a estate sale for $75 at auction. Then the dealer cleans them up, takes them to a show and sells the set to another dealer for $300. That second dealer breaks up the set and sell them in his store as replacements for a total of $600. One of his customers is a woman who is replacing a broken piece from a set that she has insured for $1,000 because in the event of a loss she shouldn't have to wait around for months until a complete set shows up at auction or in a show - she needs to be able to walk into a dealer's showroom and pay whatever inflated price is demanded for the convenience of buying right away.

    Which of these was the fair price? All of them. Every one of those prices reflected the circumstances of it's sale, the expenses of the seller and the needs of the marketplace. I've long since learned to stop arguing with the world for offering products at a variety of strange prices. An asset is worth exactly as much as a seller is willing to sell for and a buyer is willing to buy for.

    You, the first dealer in the chain, need to be very conservative. You are dealing with something that is not a commodity and you take an exceptional amount of risk in dealing with used household goods. The effort that you will go to in order to sell the set is WORK. You are providing value to your marketplace by dealing with confused old ladies and taking on the risk that you do in order to bring a product to the incrediblly convenient 'click here' world of eBay. Don't feel guilty about getting paid for this. You are not being dishonest by offering a conservative figure. Nobody is holding a gun to this woman's head to force her to sell her dishes to you rather than any of 1,00o other eBay dealers.

    -Jack
     
  9. Kenneth in NC

    Kenneth in NC Well-Known Member

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    Clovis Ok you have a booth at the Flea Market, but how much space do you have to use for glass ware? In my experience glass ware will get broken or chipped in short order. Is this something you can sell on ebay and triple your investment? If not skip it. When my wife and I were setting up at flea markets Many many people brought stuff by that they thought was worth B-I-G money but would have been hard to sell for pennies on the dollar.

    So my sage advice, Offer the $50 bucks, if you can live with it. There is always an abundance of glass ware available if that's an item you can market quick with decent profits.
     
  10. Ozarkquilter46

    Ozarkquilter46 Well-Known Member

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    I have alot of baseball card a dealer wanted to buy from me. I took them in knowing what the books said they were worth. He offered me 1/4 of what they were worth. I turned him down. He told me that in the resale business that was commen. They had to pay for space, take the time to set it all up and the running back and forth with gas. Then he might have to wait for 4 months to even see a return. I told him I guessed that seems logical but I wasn't going to sell them to him. He was not a happy camper but oh well my choise. I did talk to a few other people around here and that dose seem the norm. You might sell them you might not. You might have to pay the rental for 2 to 6 months before they sell. 1/4 dose seem about right if the people don't want to bother with selling them there self. It is after all a business and that is how the flee market business goes. I am in south central Mo.
     
  11. CraftyDiva

    CraftyDiva Is anybody here?

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    When I had my re-sale store, there were people always walking in off the street with stuff to sell. This is the way I worked it........first ask what do you want for the stuff? They say, "don't know, what do you want to give me". This is were you work your magic. I say........look your selling it, you must have some idea of what you want for it, if it's too high, I'll turn you down, if it's the right price for me, you've made a sale. 9 out of 10 times they already have a price in mind to sell, but they want you to make an offer, just incase your offer is higher then what they would sell it for. It's a dumb game you have to play, sometimes you win other times you lose (the goods), but I never make an offer, they have to have a price in mind to sell, they after all are selling it. DUH!
     
  12. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    A transaction is based on a willing seller and a willing buyer. If you feel that you're comfortable paying a certain amount and she's not willing to establish a price, you simply tell her that $X is all you can afford to pay her for the dishes. If she doesn't like the offer, she can counter offer or walk away, if she walks away from the deal, the sun will still come up tomorrow. It's only a good deal if you both feel comfortable with it.
     
  13. clovis

    clovis Well-Known Member

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    Here is an update:

    We finally got to meet with the lady and inspect the dishes. There weren't as many pieces as I had hoped, but three of them were pretty nice.
    I explained that we don't have alot of margin in our dishes, and offered $75. She countered with a firm $100, and we struck a deal.

    If we have even fair success on ebay, we should be able to triple our money, maybe more if we get some competetive bidding.

    Thanks again!!!!!
    clove
     
  14. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    This is an interesting post especially for people looking to try 'horse trading". I do all I can to buy low as that is where your profit is made, it's harder to sell high. I also equate time to money, if I play the fish(seller) for an hours time and can get them down $50 I figure it's the easiest $50 per hr. job anyone could have.

    Please follow up with the actual results of your sales and how long it takes you to break even and how long to the big profits.