One of the trickiest parts of selling things is determining the price. You want to price things so you’re not giving things away but you don’t want to ask so much that no one buys. The approach to pricing is different depending upon how you plan on selling. I will go into more detail on pricing for garage sales, selling locally and selling online in future blogs. I do want to talk about common issues with pricing here.
I highly suggest you research prices regardless of where you are selling an item. You should find out what the cost of the item was new. You should also find out what the going price is for these items. I suggest checking for these items on Ebay, Half.com (movies, music, books and games only), Craigslist, Amazon (entertainment items, toys and household) and your local classified ads.
On Ebay, you’ll want to check if your item is selling and for how much. You can do that by searching for the item. See how many of those items are listed and what price is being asked. See if the items have bids on them. You can also check recently ended auctions by selecting Completed listings in the Preferences > Show only option on the left hand side. Completed listings are listings that have ended within the last 15 days, whether or not the item sold. If there are a lot of the items listed and no one is bidding on them then this is probably an indication that your item will not sell online.
Search Craigslist and your local classifieds to see if there are similar items for sale. That should tell you the local going price.
Generally items will command the least amount of money at a garage sale. If the going rate online or locally is fairly significant ($10 or more? decide for yourself) then I suggest you try selling it online or locally prior to a garage sale.
If you’re considering selling online then you’ll also need to research shipping costs. You can get a rough estimate of shipping cost by checking out the Calculate Postage tool on the US Postal Service website. You can do something similar on the UPS website. You’ll need to estimate the weight and dimensions of your packaged item to get a good estimate. Generally when selling online you can get the buyer to pay the shipping cost but sometimes you’ll want to entice more buyers by offering free shipping, meaning you will pay that cost. Shipping large items is not always practical which may mean you want to stick with selling your item locally.
The condition of the item will also determine price. Obviously new items will command a higher price than used, regardless of how you are selling it. Also consider what you’d be willing to pay for the item if you were in the market to buy one.
As you can see, setting the price is an art, not a science.