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Author Topic: Now I understand why so many don't like hamfests  (Read 1846 times)
AG4DG
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« on: October 03, 2004, 07:06:31 PM »

Today, I had my first experience as a seller at a hamfest.  I bought an indoor table and paid extra for electricity so I could demonstrate the biggest-ticket items I was selling, my Kenwood TS-430S, power supply, speaker, microphone, and straight key.

Several people looked at the radio, but I received NO offers, not even a lowball offer at the last minute.  Strangely enough, nobody took the freebies I offered (magazines, 75 ohm cable, and packing material).  I couldn't unload my yardstick, even at $2, and I couldn't unload my 10-foot tape measure, even at $3.  I didn't even get any lowball offers on these cheap items.

At least the hamfest wasn't a total loss.  I unloaded a DVD player for about half the price I paid.  (It wouldn't play the Britney Spears movie _Crossroads_.  I marketed it as a "smart" DVD player.)  

Well, at least the hamfest wasn't a total washout.  My revenues were $42.75, 75 cents for 3 QSTs, $18 for the DVD player, $5 for the straight key, $9 for a balcony/pole antenna mount, and $10 for one of the 6 HF mobile antennas I had for sale.  I also gained good sales experience, talked to several people, and even met a fellow UIUC alumnus who graduated in my year and works at the same large company I do.

I'll be selling the Kenwood TS-430S and accessories on E-Bay sometime in the coming weeks.  All proceeds will go into the Help Me Buy An Icom 706MKIIG Fund.  Smiley
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KC8VWM
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« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2004, 07:39:05 PM »

If you think your gonna strike it rich at hamfests .. better think again.. Smiley

If you had high hopes of selling your radio and it did not happen - all is not lost.

If anything, you at least enjoyed yourself didn't you?

Did you get to talk and meet a few people?

Got you out of rearranging the garage?

Had a hotdog or two? (ok, not a good example..lol)


Smiley



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N7NBB
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« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2004, 08:10:26 PM »

How much did you have (price) on the 430?
Was the price listed (shown) or did one "HAVE TO ASK"?

If you thought you could get $2 for a yardstick (the measuring kind?  the kind that any hardware store either gives away or sells for about 50cents?) or did you mean some type of antenna. . . .  and 3 bucks for a 10 foot tape measure.. (again the measuring kind ya can get for a buck? or did you mean some type of antenna)?

If those inflated prices are reflective of what you thought the 430 was worth, then I wouldn't even give the 430 a second look either... S'no wonder no one offered anything.

The 430s even with ALL the filters, and the auto tuner, might go for about $350.00 if you find someone who really wants it - - hamfests being what they are - - most would pass it up at anything over about 200 to 250.

Like the guy said, if you went to the hamfest to make money, rather than have a good time, then you came away with what you put into it.

73
CAM
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AG4DG
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« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2004, 08:29:35 PM »

For the Kenwood TS-430S, my price was $395.  It's at the upper end of the price range, but everyone knows that asking prices aren't set in stone.  Asking prices are supposed to be high in order to leave room for negotiation.  I would have accepted $250 for it.

I'm surprised I didn't even get any queries from lowballers offering $100.  So I'll be putting it on E-Bay, and I'll set the reserve price at the low end of a reasonable range.

I don't think that lowering the price would have necessarily drawn buyers.  As I mentioned, there were freebies (magazines, packing material) that nobody wanted.

As I mentioned in the original post, I did enjoy my day, and it wasn't a total washout.
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WIRELESS
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« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2004, 08:39:41 PM »

Hamfests suck.  If you are selling, hauling stuff, paying for tables, dealing with people who want it for next to nothing,..... thank God for eBay.

As for buying, I didn't see anything I would want to touch when I was still going to them.
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KC8VWM
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« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2004, 08:55:55 PM »

Bet if it was powered up, you would get at least 30% more response.

As a consumer, I just have trouble becoming interested in a radio just sitting on a table like a hulk of metal.

But power it up, and hey , you suddenly got my attention!

I am surprised that more people don't bring a marine battery with them to "demonstrate" the equipment at hamfests.

They say that "touch" is 70% of the sale. They do studies in stores that confirm this. The idea is to get you interested in the packaging. Enough interest to stop and "touch" the product.

When the radio is powered up, it is a natural "reaction" for people to stop by and play with the buttons. When that happens, you are 70% ahead of the sale in terms of probobility.

Not a bad looking rig.
http://www.rigpix.com/kenwood/ts430s.htm

$225.00 final offer...  j/k..  lol


73

Charles - KC8VWM
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K5LXP
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« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2004, 09:09:44 PM »

Hams are an odd lot (read:CHEAP) when it comes to buying and selling  equipment.  I have adopted a policy of putting my minimum price on big ticket items right off, and only negotiating down if there is an offer on multiple items.  I've found that if I price stuff for what it's worth, and guarantee it's what I represent it is by giving them my card and to call if they have problems, I have great success selling stuff.  If I saw your rig on a table with that price, I'd walk on by too.  Anyone with that overly high of a price on any item is (in my mind) not really serious about selling it, or is willing to wait for a sucker.  It seems too, lately, that big ticket items (>$500) hardly ever sell at hamfests, but people will spend that much and more on the internet for sight unseen equipment.  When I make a "lowball" (reasonable) offer on anything, quite often the seller acts like I hurt their feelings.  "I gotta get this much out of it", "low hours", "mint", "original box", etc as though all of those reasons somehow justify the price.  Their equipment is somehow immune to the effects of time and advancing technology.  I find it interesting that on my "cheap" table I can have items priced under a buck that will sit all morning, and if I put "free" on them, they disappear almost immediately. Are hams really walking around the hamfest with less money than it takes to buy a soda, looking only for free stuff?   I've had storage bins full of stuff I've carried from hamfest to hamfest literally for a few years that didn't sell, then all of a sudden I'll sell it all at one hamfest.  You just never know what's in demand, and what people are willing to pay for it.  One thing's for sure, if you're selling it to a ham, you won't make any money at it.  Anymore I'm just happy to have it out of my garage without having to pay to leave it at the dump.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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AG4DG
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« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2004, 09:28:23 PM »

My Kenwood TS-430S was powered up so that everyone could see that it worked.  (I was surprised to see people try to sell transceivers without having them powered up.  How else is the buyer supposed to know that it works?)
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N8FVJ
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« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2004, 05:03:12 AM »

The economy is down at the moment. The only money flowing well is in the Northeast, West coast states & Texas. Most eBay sales are from Asia with a stronger economy.

Only issue with eBay is deadbeat buyers & cheap hams that want a lot for nothing. I had a ham return two 'as new' sweep tubes due to being dusty & stated would blow up their transceiver. They used eBay Square Trade, threats of negatives, etc to bully a refund.

Another was two tubes in a 200-lb burst rated box. The tubes survived, but I received a neutral for the carriers mishandling. Oh, the tubes sold for $1, buyer thought they paid too much.

Ham sales are not a picnic right now, believe me.
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KA5N
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« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2004, 05:18:42 AM »

I was at a swapfest a few years back.  One guy had a nice S-Line combo for sale on a card table.  He looked to be around 40 years old and was sitting at one end of the table so that his knees were out past the edge of the table.  His mother (I am guessing that was what the 65+ woman was) was sitting at the other end of the table with knees past the table edge.  Each person was fondling a small dog that they were holding in their laps.  The only way to look at the S-Line was to get past the two and their dogs.  Nary a price shown or any other indication.  Never a nob or word to people passing by.  The one or two hams who stopped to glance at the gear where ignored.  Needless to say the S-Line went unsold.  
Went the swapfest was breaking up in the early afternoon I happened by the couple and their dogs and their unsold S-Line.  The man said (the first words he had uttered that day):  "I don't know what is wrong with people an S-Line for $300 is a very good deal."
Presentation is everything.
Allen
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WB2LCW
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« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2004, 05:19:09 AM »

I love Hamfest's!

I will go to as many as I can !

It is the best place to buy parts for my projects
at bargain prices (Also it's the only place I can buy parts and supplies that I might need! ).

My problem is that I work on every other weekend and
the mystic powers that schedule Hamfests, Miraculously
decide to do them on the weekends I have to work!

I think it's a mistake for ham clubs to schedule two
hamfest's in the same weekend if they are in the same local area. There are two Hamfests
this weekend.Both are local and I would like to attend both, But I am working on one of the days.

Both Hamfests are good ones BARA in NJ and Hall of Science in Queens, And I need parts for a couple of
antenna projects I would like to complete in the next two weeks before it gets too cold! And now I have to
choose whice one I can try to attend. If they were on alternate weekends I may be able to attend both!
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N8FVJ
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« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2004, 07:17:12 AM »

BTW- Hamfests are good to find radio parts that are out of production & not usually listed on eBay.
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N4VNV
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« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2004, 08:46:25 AM »

Jeeez, don't give up so easily. ONE HamFest and you're discouraged. In my thirty years, some I sold everything and others nothing. I won't touch ebay again. Been there, done that. For what it's worth, I think your starting price was too high. I don't expect anyone to reduce the price more than one hundred dollars. My best results have always been the first HamFest after Christmas.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2004, 08:58:30 AM »

Having done this a zillion times (a zillion is "more than I ever wanted to"), I'd recommend next time, if there is a next time:

-If you have an option of setting up inside or outside, set up outside, but have power available.  Just your car battery is enough for a good demo with a TS-430S.  The advantage of "outside" is that you can use a mobile whip, or even a tossed-up dipole, to sit there and make HF contacts.  That kind of demo is far better than, "Look, see?  It works because it lights up!" type of demo.  When I've set up at a ham swap meet, flea market or convention and sat there rag chewing with DX on 20 meters using a rig I have for sale, I've never failed to sell the rig, often for more than I expected to get for it.  "Active" demo is way more effective than "passive" demo, even with power applied.

-Do place a price sticker on every item you have for sale. "Make me an offer" is a lousy price, and I personally avoid looking at stuff that's not priced -- don't have the time to waste.

-Do place a large, easy-to-read sign or banner stating you're open for offers.  

-Do bring business cards or QSL cards or something identifying you, and how to contact you, post-sale.  This gives people an easier feeling about buying stuff from a total stranger, which is pretty much what they're doing at a swap meet.  I bring QSL cards with my phone number written on them (the address is already there, obviously).

-This only works for parents: Bring your kid or kids, if they're young and cute.  It's hard for people to resist buying from anybody with cute kids.  I used to bring my daughters when they were younger, and have them sell lemonade or donuts (or something) while I was selling ham gear.  Never failed to attract smiles, and the kids made money!

73

Steve WB2WIK/6
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WA4DOU
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« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2004, 10:16:21 AM »

My own personal opinion of folks who don't price items, is that they are keeping their options open to quote you a price based on "sizeing you up". And on folks who way overprice items, no sense in even thinking about it. I have generally adhered to a philosophy of pricing my items at a "fair and firm" level. There is a great demand for items that are good at well below "market value", but its just as much a form of greed as it is to try to sell well above market. I've never sold anything on Ebay but I have purchased there. The same ethics and sometimes "lack thereof" that exists in the greater market place, exists there also. There are unethical folks who will stand eye to eye with you, knowingly sell you defective products and charge you a premium all the while, so a hamfest won't protect you from these types.  I'm sorry to see hamfests declining.Perhaps its a sign of the decline of character in the general ham population. Theres really nothing special about hams anymore.
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