Thursday, February 2, 2012

Making Money off of those Miniatures: Barter Sites

Two days ago I posted an article about using Ebay to get money for your old or unused models. You can then, in turn, use this money to feed your plastic crack addiction.  The bottom line is to make as close to a "zero impact" on your wallet as possible.  You never know.  You may even come out on top.

As I mentioned briefly in my previous article, Ebay has lost quite a bit of appeal for many gamers.  Fees, lack of real discounts, anda less than robust market have caused many people to look elsewhere for places to pawn off their minis for the green.  Barter sites are a great answer to this problem.  They provide fee-free transactions, open communication with your buyer/seller/trader, and more freedom to advertise your wares.  On the other hand, they don't have premade forms to simplify the advertising process.  The also don't have as much protection as Ebay provides.  Finally, most site, only allow the average joe trader to post an ad once every 7 or so days.  That said, barter sites are a really cool experience and I highly recommend them. One of my favorite sites right now is Bartertown.  This is a haggler's dream!  Bartertown is set up to provide easy access to people interested in what you have.  A large portion of Bartertown is dedicated solely to wargaming miniatures of all shapes and sizes.  There are even dedicated forums to specific manufacturers like Privateer Press and Games Workshop.

So, you have minis, want money, and are ready to deal.  Here are a few pieces of advice I have for working in a format like Bartertown.

1) Put on your negotiating pants.  Nothing is set in stone.  There are two types of people who make it to Bartertown.  If you come to Bartertown or a site like it to sell, you come to make money and other people come to buy things.  They want merchandise cheaper than they can get for retail or even for discounted rates at popular sites like the War Store and Miniature Market.  The point I'm trying to make is, people want cheap.  You want money.  There has to be a balance.  Remember the rule of 50-60% off of retail that I mentioned in my last article.  That's what people expect.

Many times I see a seller set up an ad and they have a price set in stone and it isn't cheap.  I snicker to myself as I read, because unless what they have is an established rarity or has some really nice quality to it, it won't sell.  They will be forced to come down on their price.  Heck I have had to do this before.  That's the nature of sites like this.  Used isn't new and new isn't retail.  So, be prepared to haggle and negotiate.

2) Communicate your wares accurately and in detail.  Unlike Ebay, sites like Bartertown don't have any premade forms or databases of merchandise.  Your description of your minis will determine whether people take you seriously or not.  Give in-depth descriptions of your merchandise so that buyers know what they are getting.  Be prepared to provide pictures unless you still have it in the shrink wrap.  I find it best to go ahead and take good pictures.  When you describe your minis, give their correct name (SPELLED CORRECTLY).  How many models are there?  List their condition.  Provide weapons loadouts if models in a unit can be equipped with different weapons.  Finally, be up front of all costs associated with buying your models, price and shipping costs.  More information is always better.  Again, use those grammar skills.

3) Observe forum rules and etiquette.  While Ebay doesn't always provide the best deals, it is far easier to abide by its rules due to the structured nature of its advertising process.  When working with a bartering site, check out the site's rules first and then also make sure you follow established etiquette. When you have the freedom you get on a forum style site, you have to mind what you say.  If you have a strong personality, tone it down.  Being nice gets you the sell.  Good communication helps as well.  So, follow the rules and play nice. 

4) Don't take no for an answer.  To be more clear, if you are ready to negotiate and give a bit, you can really come out ahead.  Giving on a deal might yield you a return customer and that is a good thing. That is the real beauty of such sites.  With an open dialogue, some thoughtful negotiating can really get you some cool stuff, or a hefty stash of cash.

5) Have some faith.  Forum based barter sites are really honor systems on a grand scale. Bad experiences do occur, but in majority things run smoothly.  Trust the process. Do your best to provide security for yourself and then trust that the person on the other side of the transaction is a good person.  I haven't had a terrible trade yet.

When it comes to making money, you are in the driver's seat on a barter site.  With freedom comes responsibility, but also the promise of bigger profits.

Other articles:
Crusader Heavy 'Jack Completed
Warmachine the Way I See It: Part 2...err kind of
Warmachine the Way I See It: Warcasters
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