This article was born by the occasional emails I receive through this website from people trying to sell pieces of radio equipment. The main problem sellers with no background in radio face is what information to put in an ad, where they sell the radio and how much to ask.
These people come by the radios through different means ranging from partners who had no understanding of their late husbands/wife hobby, those who found a radio in a newly purchased property to businesses who buy whole job lots then profit by selling pieces individually. I always enjoy the story behind any radio and try to find out that little bit of information when ever possible.
Have to confess to being tempted the very first time I got an email asking for advice from a seller trying to shift a very tidy Lowe HF225 complete with the direct frequency entry kit but decided against it. Somehow it didn’t seem the right thing to do and who knows if the price I offered would be better than the end price of an online auction.
Taking the unbiased route is the more morale thing to do and to be honest I don’t have the room for many more radios and I’m the one who should be selling not buying 🙂
Having bought and sold a fair amount of used shortwave radios over the years all these points are covered below with information on how to make the whole process as painless as possible.
Knowing What Your Selling
Many years ago I used to spend my weekends trawling secondhand markets looking for pricey antiques mixed in with the low quality items. Even though it was hit and miss it usually paid off and for a while I did well out of it. Then a mixture of antiques programs started creeping into mainstream media and an explosion of antique sites on the internet started making people look at what they where selling a little bit closer.
Even though this killed off my nice weekend sideline it shows how the massive amount of information available online can help the uninitiated make better choices over what they’re buying or selling. Knowing what you have in your hands in my opinion is half the battle in making a successful and profitable sale.
Taking the time to do a quick search online will not only supply information to fill out the ads but also give you a reference that you can point the buying toward for clarity on the specifications, should this ever be needed.
Seeing radio listed with generic terms like “shortwave radio” on some of the online auction sites makes me realize how much exposure these ads are missing out on. Not only is that term too broad for the in site search system but will not get any visitors via search engines like Google either.
Listing a radio with its make and model will always generate a lot of interest from the very people who know exactly what your selling (easier sales).
Proof Of Life!
Providing some assurance that the radio “lights up” even when you can’t supply a detailed report of its condition will get a lot more views to the advert and make a huge difference to the price you can ask for it.
If your talking about a radio that can be simply plugged into the mains or whacked on a low current 12 VDC supply the effort to get it working will reflect in the final price of the sale.
Of course some radios of the more vintage variety need high current supplies that most people just don’t have lying around and its not possible to run power through the radio. If you’ve never powered it up then state this clearly in the ad so all the possible buyers know exactly what they’re getting (or not).
Find A Hungry Crowd
A well known marketing term “find a hungry crowd” is a quick way of describing how to get your items in front on the very people most likely you bite your arm off for them.
A simple example of this is only advertising in those places that your ideal customer will be looking. This can be as basic as getting ads put in the right categories on a website to using only those advertising publications centered around the very thing your trying to sell.
This can be very important with the more specialized radios, where putting it in a broader category means it will only be of interest to very few people and limiting the potential for a sale. You’d be surprised at the shortwave radios I see on a regular basis listed in completely irrelevant categories where the viewer is not going to be interested and is unlikely to process the required technical knowledge to even understand whats being sold in the first place.
This scenario leads to a low price being paid for the radio and a long sales process that can involve re-listed an item multiple times.
Taking the time to do a quick search online will not only supply information to fill out the ads but also give you a basic understanding of what the radios function is, leaving you set to find a more targeted place to advertise it.
Setting A Realistic Asking Price
One tricky part of selling used equipment of any kind is determining its value to set a price when advertising. What the radio means to you and how much others are prepared to pay for it are nearly always at odds with each other.
Online auction sites are full of “stuff” that will never sell because the buyer has failed to investigate how much it should be going for and slapped a huge price tag on it, in the hope someone will have a moment of madness and buy it. This usually fly’s in the face of adverts for the exact same products on the same site being sold for a fraction of the inflated price they’ve listed theirs for.
This where research comes in to get a ball park figure you can work with. Once you know what your radio is worth work towards getting at least close to that price and avoid the offers of a quick sale from the inevitable chancers who will pay you peanuts then just sell the radio on for a profit (usually on the same website you advertised it on in the first place).
Pricing For Auction Websites
With enough bidders items sold on auction sites (tend) to find there optimum price and asking a low price at the start can give the listing the sort of activity to drive a great final price. This can so easily backfire and leave you feeling like you’ve been mugged, my rule of thumb when selling this way is to only heavily discount the price if its a fairly common radio with a few of the same already listed.
Thing to Do Before The Sale
Apart from the research needed on the best price and information to fill out the advert there are a few other things to do before the radio is ready to be sold.
1. Give the radio a wipe over with a dry cloth just to remove any dust that has gathered over time. Collectors and radio enthusiasts understand that older models are hardly ever going to be in mint condition and can be forgiving of the odd mark or two but when I see a set for sale that looks likes its just come through a sand storm it instantly puts me off.
2. Don’t skimp on the photos, most online sites will give you the first one free then charge a small fee for the others. At a minimum I like to see good quality photos of the front and back panels along with any serial/model number information displayed on the radio.
3. Sort of an addition to point 2 but if there are any bit and pieces being sold with the radio (antennas, manuals, power supplies etc) make sure their in the main photo along with the radio. Most people won’t be bothered to read the description to find out exactly whats on offer unless the pictures grabs their attention first.
During The Sale
1. Make yourself accessible! Can’t stress this one enough and Ive backed away from buying a radio because the seller just isn’t there to answer any questions I may have.
2. Radios are complicated pieces of equipment and judging how well they work takes a lot more than just turning them on. Be prepared to let the buyer visit you and have a quick go with the radio, it doesn’t mean you’ll get a steady stream of people knocking on your door as it won’t happen often and only the more serious buyer will even consider it.
3. NEVER let the buyer take the radio away unless the sale is finalized and make sure your aware of the rules/safety tips that the many online auction sites recommend for cash on delivery sales.
After The Sale
If all goes well you’ve made a bit of cash and there’s another happy radio hobbyist out there. Always make the point to thank the seller and if possible retain some solid contact details for them. You never know you may have another shortwave radio to sell one day and going straight to an interested buyer will cut out all the need (and cost) of advertising in the first place.
This article turned out a lot longer than I planned and if you’ve made it this far well done!, if you think Ive missed something out or would like to say anything about the subject please use the comment box below.