In this two-part series, we layout the basics on selling gear you no longer use, and how it can pay for new gear you’ll love.
In Part One of this series, we discussed some simple steps to get you started in the world of selling musical gear via the internet. In Part Two, we’ll expand on some points we mentioned previously, including making a listing on Reverb, negotiating your price with potential buyers, and getting your gear ready to ship once you’ve sealed the deal.
Making A Listing
This is your opportunity to put your best foot forward and make that gear look really good to potential buyers. To create a brand new listing, you can find the ‘Sell’ button in the top right-hand toolbar of Reverb or at the bottom of the Reverb app.
You’ll start by typing in what kind of gear you’re selling into the search bar (just like you would a search engine) and Reverb will search its database for product information. If you find a match, clicking on ‘Sell One Like This’ will autofill any applicable information Reverb has on the backend. And if you don’t find a match, that’s alright! It’s very simple to manually fill in the form. Just click on ‘Can’t Find it? Start a listing from scratch’ under the search bar.
With those main details squared away, let’s move on to what comes next in your listing!
Photos are an integral part of an effective listing. “Nothing helps your gear sell like good photos,” said Dan Orkin, Director of Content and International Marketing at Reverb. “Luckily, all you need is a smartphone and some thoughtful scene-setting to get great pictures. Clear, well-lit photos where the items are centered tend to perform best. Prospective buyers also like to see a lot of photos of the gear from multiple angles.”
When taking photos of the gear you’re selling, it will always benefit you to take a moment to be intentional about your presentation. As buyers scroll through listings, their first impression will be almost entirely visual, and a nice representation of your cool gear will ensure that buyers come knocking.
- Good light and a clean backdrop can make even smartphone photos look quality and professional, both things buyers are drawn to and appreciate. I love a good rug or colorful blanket to photograph my pedals on.
- Be conscious of keeping clutter and other distractions out of the shot. You want your gear to catch the eye, and be sure to cover every angle.
- If there’s any damage or imperfections to the gear you’re listing, include clear photos of that as well. Honesty is the best policy when it comes to building trust with your buyers, and letting them know exactly what they’re getting eliminates hassle for everyone involved.
- You’re allowed up to 25 photos per listing on Reverb; get clear, well lit close-ups of details, hardware, and other points of interest—buyers eat it up!
- Reverb uses square-cropped photos on their site and app.To keep your gear front and center in the photo, keep that crop in mind.
- If you’re looking to use Reverb on a more regular basis as a seller, consider adopting a consistent brand or aesthetic; Southside Guitars in Brooklyn, NY, features a brown and white background in each of its photos. This establishes a level of professionalism, and the care you put into the photos of your gear will not go unnoticed.
I can’t emphasize enough how honesty will bring you the most success and the least amount of trouble when forming your product descriptions. Consider what you’d want to know if you were the buyer—this is where a well-rounded and accurate statement can really drive the point home that your gear is “the one.”
“When describing the gear you’re selling, think through every potential question a buyer might have,” says Orkin. “Be detailed and thorough so that anyone reading it can understand just how great the gear is. Start with the most important info first and use bullet points where you can.”
The product description is an excellent place to tell the story of your gear, too: a guitar you’ve taken on the road for years, a pedal that brought your sound to the next level, or a synth that reminds you of the tones on a record you love. We all know how emotional and connective music is; instruments and gear help facilitate your ideas and give them new life—something every musician can relate to. That little extra bit of magic might be just what the buyer needs to commit to purchasing your gear.
It’s critical to keep your wording and text presentation professional. Everyone can spot spam-like text these days; typos, errors, and dramatic emphasis can come off irksome and unappealing, with the potential to drive your buyer away. Again, the representation of your gear is about putting your best foot forward, and taking the time to follow these tips will have you off to a great start!
Last but not least, when you make your listing, there is an entire section dedicated to shipping. You have two options (or both) to choose from: ‘Shipping’ (mail the gear to the buyer), or ‘Local Pickup’ (allow a local buyer to come retrieve the item from you for no shipping charge). The shipping charge is listed separately from the asking price of your gear, but is included in the collective total.
What to Charge
Reverb has your back when it comes to deciding what to charge for shipping. Below the shipping options is a label estimator that can help you more accurately decide what will cover the cost of packaging and mailing your product to your buyer via USPS, FedEx, UPS, or whatever company you prefer. By typing in your zip code, the destination, and the package weight and dimensions, Reverb gives you an estimate to include in your listing. The website even allows for you to select an example measurement of what kind of product you’ll be shipping for convenience and in case you don’t have a scale handy to know exactly what you’re working with.
You have the option of multiple shipping rates depending on whether or not the buyer is in the continental United States. There’s even an option for ‘Everywhere Else’ which can be more specific, such as your expected shipping rates to Europe, South America, or anywhere else.
At this point, if all went according to plan, you now have your item posted on Reverb, with the condition listed as the most accurate assessment while keeping the buyer’s contentment in mind. By using the Reverb Price Guide that we discussed in Part One, your listing should be at a price point both fair to you according to the market in real-time, and (fingers crossed) enticing to the people viewing it.
Negotiating on Reverb is not a necessity, but it’s highly recommended. You have the option to opt-in as you’re creating your listing by clicking on the ‘Accepts Offers’ box. By doing so, you’re opening up a door for more buyers to interact and ask questions— plus, listings that accept offers tend to sell 1.5 to 2x faster than those that don’t. “When it comes to buying and selling used gear, negotiation is generally an expected part of the process,” says Orkin.
If someone sends you an offer that doesn’t quite work for you, you can reference the handy Price Guide and send back a counter-offer that fits. Reverb reports that nearly 40% of counter offers lead to a sale, and both parties involved can walk away feeling satisfied. Knowledge is power when it comes to feeling comfortable in negotiating. Knowing what your gear is worth puts you in a good place to receive what you hoped for, and flexibility aids in completing the sale. Reverb puts some great tools into the hands of both the buyer and the seller—use them to your advantage!
For an additional boost, Reverb also allows you to ‘bump’ your listing in the search queue, maximizing its potential to sell. You can set your own rate with this by adjusting the percentage (up to an additional 5%) that Reverb receives in the event that your gear sells. You’ll know the exact amount you’ll be paying, and you’ll only pay when the sale of your item is processed. The higher the rate, the more people that see your listing.
Hooray, your gear has sold! Reverb is processing the payment and you’ve got the green light to ship your item. But before we drop it in the mail, let’s touch on shipping methods.
Packing to Ship
If you’re wondering how you’re gonna fit your whole drum set into a post-friendly package, or how to properly pack a guitar without a hard-shell case, once again Reverb makes it really simple to get started with their Shipping Guide and International Shipping Guide. There are outlines and instructional videos for all sorts of commonly traded instruments and gear to help you safely and confidently prepare your product for its journey, as well as FAQs for shipping internationally. Hope you’ve got your tape and bubble wrap on hand!
In the past I’ve used other websites to print shipping labels from home to avoid the boredom of the post office, but Reverb gives you the option to purchase and print Reverb Shipping Labels directly from their site. These labels help you save time, money, and protect your gear!
In fact, by printing labels through Reverb, you can also take advantage of their Safe Shipping system that protects you and your gear from any damage your gear might endure en route. Safe Shipping will cover the cost of any necessary repairs or even reimburse you for the sale amount if your package is lost—all for a fraction of the price of the gear you’ve sold. If anything is lost or damaged during shipping, Reverb’s support team will help resolve the issue quickly.
When the time comes, congratulations on your first sale! Reverb keeps the process incredibly simple and helps you be informed throughout each step, and I don’t doubt you’ll quickly become fluent in buying and selling used gear. Catch you on the search page, and be careful you don’t get too good at listing your used gear—I’m a sucker for fun toys and will buy all your stuff!