Thursday, January 28, 2010

What’s It Worth? Not As Much As You Think

Just like watching a home show on HGTV, the first step in selling your old crap, is to realize it’s no longer your old crap. What you paid, what you think it’s worth, and how cool you think it is really doesn’t matter. So, what’s this used Easton EC90 SLX Carbon Fork worth? $450? $250? $125? I’ve learned, the trick to selling off your old bike components and parts is to realize that they're worth only as much as you can get for them. It doesn’t matter if full retail was $450. No matter where you sell it, you’re going to get market value for it. Right now, sitting on the bench in my man cave, this fork is worthless. The first step is to come to grips with that fact.

Some people have told me they use half of retail to gauge the worth of their items. These are the same goofballs on HGTV that don’t realize that not everybody digs their drapes. They say if it’s just a few 2- 4 years old, you should be able to get half of retail for it. Consider this; a brand new Easton EC90 SLX carbon fork has a retail list price of around $450. Retail mark up just about anywhere is somewhere between 40-50%. Pretty much, that fork was worth only about $250 brand new, half of retail, the day it was purchased. Secondly, with manufacturer retail employee purchase programs, chances are quite a few people picked up the fork brand new for somewhere around $250. Lastly, it’s pretty evident, because there’s plenty of brand new Easton EC90 SLX forks on eBay right now going for $250-$300. Now what’s half of retail? $125-150.

However, when pricing used items, you can’t start from the top down. Start from the bottom up. That is, just like a house, if you really want to sell it. So let’s do it. As the Easton EC90 SLX sits on the shelf in my garage, it’s worth $0. Sh**! We need to make that go up and get a realistic idea of what somebody might pay for it.

So, I watched identical or similar items on eBay to see what they’d actually sold for. Keep in mind the “buy it now” price or the starting price doesn’t count. That’s not what the item sold for. Those are the yahoos from HGTV who have this lofty number in their heads based on coffee talk with the girls. So, like selling a house, I took the time to get a few comps. I watched a few auctions until they ended. Recently there were about 20 Easton EC90 SLX forks on eBay, most new, a handful used. If by some weird chance there weren’t any Easton EC90 SLX forks on eBay, I’d find something similar, a top of the line fork from another manufacturer and/or the next step down from Easton like an EC90 SL to use to gauge a selling price.

When my watched items ended, two forks sold for $119 and $135, both with uncut steerer tubes. One listed at $199, didn’t get any bids. Right there, HGTV be dammed, that tells me at this moment, the fork isn’t worth anywhere near $199. At the very least, I should be okay with getting $119 for the fork, right? Wrong. If you sold it on EBay for $119, after you pay your EBay realtor fee, you’ll get around $110 or less in your pocket. At the very most I could expect $135, right? Nope. Consider that those buyers paid shipping closing costs too. If shipping was $10-$15, you might be able to sell the fork outside of EBay and get up to $150. So, now we know…an Easton EC90 SLX fork, in decent shape with an uncut steerer, is worth between $110 and $150 on the open market. That’s a $40 window for my fork. Or, is it?

Really, the window is a bit smaller and, considering my steerer is cut to 213mm, probably lower. For starters you know that the very least someone paid was $119 plus $10-15 shipping. That makes the out of pocket for the buyer $130-135. You also know that the most someone recently paid with shipping was $150 out of pocket. So the window is now about $20, between $130 and $150. Unfortunately, my fork has a tiny cosmetic nick on it and the steerer is cut to 213mm, a useable amount for most people, but still cut. To price my fork competitively, I’m probably looking at $120-$140. I’d list the fork for $140, and first try to sell it on Craigslist, Facebook, this blog or a cycling group site where I don't have to pay the eBay fees.

So how’s $140 sound to you. Seriously. Email here if you’d like to buy it. Click here for all the details.

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