Newbie with a question

Discussion in 'Welcomes and Introductions' started by RutsCameras, Apr 10, 2009.

?

Would you use a site like I describe below?

  1. Yes

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  2. No

    3 vote(s)
    100.0%
  3. Only using Escrow Transactions

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. RutsCameras

    RutsCameras TPF Noob!

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    Hi,

    I am new to the forum. I consider myself a beginner photographer but I am interested in learning more about photography. It is slowly becoming an obsession, according to my wife :)


    How do people typically sell their equipment? To online/local retailers? Ebay? Classified site like craigslist / Photo.net / Thephotoforum.com / Fredmirand.com etc.?

    Are you afraid to buy used equipment from the internet? If so would buying it with an escrow transaction make you more likely to buy from someone online?

    As I am sure you can see in my signature I am creating an online marketplace for buying and selling camera and video equipment. I am asking for feedback because I want to make rutscameras.com as safe and trustworthy as possible. I know I can't make it perfect but I want to do anything I can to ensure the buyer & seller are as protected as possible.

    Since the site is just starting up at the end of April, I am offering the opportunity to post your equipment for sale without paying any seller fees. If you have questions about the site or feedback(good and bad) please send it my way.

    Thank you in advance and I apologize if this seems like a advertisement but I am really trying to solicit feedback to make the site as photographer friendly as possible. I created this out of frustration of trying to sell some lenses....
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2009
  2. Moon Baby

    Moon Baby TPF Noob!

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    Good luck with the business! I think the biggest factor on your end is going to be advertising your business and drawing in newcomers.
    A while back, I sold my camera via forums (POTN). I think one of the reasons why it sale was successful was I had a somewhat large post count which meant I was an active user and gave me some credibility amongst the community which made me look legit. If you can provide some sort of "hook"...i.e. warrantees, live customer service...etc. then you should be fine.

    It'll be quite a battle to provide an alternative service from B&H, KEH and Adorama which are solid companies. If you can find something that they don't provide, like next day shipping on all orders as a standard...;) then that would be awesome.
     
  3. RutsCameras

    RutsCameras TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Moon Baby, I really appreciate the feedback

    I am in a different business than B&H or Adorama. In fact they are the reason I came up with the idea. I think they are reputable businesses and in fact I have bought stuff from them multiple times.

    I am offering a marketplace for you to sell and buy equipment. Similar to Ebay but focused on camera and video equipment. I am also offering escrow transactions for free to protect the buyer & sellers.

    The reason for this website was how frustrated I got when places like Adorama or B&H and a few other places(local & online) would only offer me $100-$150 for 2 lenses that were virtually brand new. Then when I looked on their sites to see how much the exact same lenses were selling for they were listed for $300-$350. That is out of control markup and really frustrated me.

    In seeing that I think there is a large market for a service to buy and sell equipment to other photographers. As I am sure you know there are many other places but I don't believe they are very convenient to make the transaction($$$ & shipping) Also there is no protection for sites like craigslist or other classified type websites.

    I agree it is going to be tough and slow going to earn a reputation of a reputable business. I am confident I can get the traffic to the site in numerous different ways but the difficulty I see is getting the type of products I want on my site and getting them early.

    I hope by offering No Fees for sellers in the beginning it will be enticing enough and risk free to try and sell equipment on there. By doing that I am losing money for every transaction, and that doesn't include the cost of me creating the site and marketing it. Hopfully that will get others to list there products and make them money.

    Let me know if you or anyone you know is interested in hearing more about the site or wants to list stuff for sale. If you or someone you know is interested and contacts me I will make sure your username does not pay any seller fees.

    Anyways....Thank you very much for the feedback, it is greatly appreciated. I want people like you guiding me in creating the site because if photographers are the creaters of the site then it will make it a valuable website to buy and sell equipment.
     
  4. HelenOster

    HelenOster No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Adorama offers 70% of the open market valuation. This is to cover our costs such as staffing, building overheads - and, of course, we are a business! We also provide a pre-paid label for sellers to send their equipment in to us for valuation, and if customers decide not to sell to us, we ship it back at our cost.

    As a reseller of used equipment, we offer a 90-day guarantee on used equipment; we aren't able to field test all equipment thoroughly, therefore have to allow for the costs associated with a certain number of items being returned, repaired or exchanged.

    Prices of used equipment shown on our website also don't necessarily reflect the price we would pay for an item on that day, but the price we paid for it. Price fluctuations in the used market are also frequently a response to the release of new models - which in turn often leads to a glut of an older existing model.

    I hope this helps to clarify the position.

    Sincerely

    Helen Oster
    Adorama Camera Customer Service Ambassador

    helen.oster@adoramacamera.com
    www.adoramacamera.com
     
  5. RutsCameras

    RutsCameras TPF Noob!

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    Hi Helen,


    I appreciate your response. First I want to say Adorama is a great site and I have bought multiple items from you. Your customer service is great and you treat your customers with great respect and I truly appreciate that.

    From my experience trying to sell equipment to you, you do not offer even close to 70%. I have gotten quotes for numerous items and they are not even 50% of what you are selling the equipment for. As for your reasoning of we buy them at different times for different amounts I don't buy it. I have been in contact with a large amount of camera/video equipment vendors and nobody offers even close to 70%, at least on a regular basis.

    I apologize for disagreeing but I have tried many times to sell equipment to you and not once was I offered even close to 70% of what you were selling the item for on your site.

    -Jeff
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2009
  6. HelenOster

    HelenOster No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hi Jeff

    Thank you for your kind words about Adorama, which are very much appreciated.


    I can't really comment on what you are saying with regard to the prices for which we sell used items. With over 20,000 individual used bodies and lenses in our warehouse, I'm not sure how easy it would be to identify for certain whether the re-sale value of any individual item might be exactly 70% more than we paid for it - or not.

    These values take into account many factors, such as whether manuals, packaging, instruction books, caps, batteries, cases, straps, batteries and charger are included; the cosmetic condition of a body eg brassing, scrapes and bruises; the presence of fungus, dust, marks, haze or scratches on a lens; dependant upon the model, the number of actuations.

    We deduct the 30% to cover our costs such as staffing, building overheads - and, of course, we are a business! We also provide a pre-paid label for sellers to send their equipment in to us for valuation, and if a seller decides not to sell to us, we ship it back at our cost.

    As a reseller of used equipment, we offer a 90-day guarantee on used equipment; we aren't able to field test all equipment thoroughly, therefore have to allow for the costs associated with a certain number of items being returned, repaired or exchanged.

    Basically, we provide a service for people who want to sell their equipment, but who want to do without the hassle of negotiating a sale for themselves; for those who want to buy used equipment, we provide a warranty to ensure customer satisfaction and peace of mind.


    Sincerely

    Helen Oster
    Adorama Camera Customer Service Ambassador


    helen.oster@adoramacamera.com
    Digital cameras, all other cameras and everything photographic from Adorama Camera
     
  7. henryp

    henryp TPF Noob!

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    I think Helen made some excellent points. The fact is there's a good deal more to a retailer buying your used equipment and reselling it than simply giving you 80% of what you paid and charging the next fellow 90% of what you paid and counting the slim margin as profit. I know everyone selling stuff wants top dollar and I have no problem with that in theory, but in fact a retailer has a fistful of fixed costs. The retailer also has to consider how much it costs to buy, inspect, inventory, warehouse, resell, and warranty your lens.

    Selling a used car is no different. You'll get more for it if you put an ad in your local weekly than if you take it to the dealer as a trade-in. The offset is one's more convenient and you don't spend the whole weekend waiting for folks who called and promised to come by and never do.

    There's pluses and minuses either way, but I think your frustration is just a little misplaced. It's not "out of control markup." It's what it costs to operate a business.

    That said, there's more than one way to skin this proverbial cat and we wish you the best in your endeavor.
     
  8. RutsCameras

    RutsCameras TPF Noob!

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    Henry,

    I guess we can agree to disagree. I believe you are not paying fair value because there is not another convenient forum for people to sell their equipment. One will come along someday.

    By no means do I disagree with running a business and I completely understand the costs associated with it, I just see an area for improvement. I don't fault you or your business at all as I am a firm believer in capitalism.

    My frustration wasn't necessarily with B&H or Adorama as it was more with not having a better forum to sell photography equipment. As you both know, probably better than I do, there is a huge secondary market for photography equipment and I was just extremely surprised at the limitations there are when selling used equipment.

    I think both your businesses do a very good job and I have purchased equipment from both with great experiences. Selling is another story and hopefully that will change someday.

    -Jeff
     
  9. henryp

    henryp TPF Noob!

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    There's eBay, Craigsist and buy-sell forums in dozens of sites I frequent. I know folks at fredmiranda.com that won't move used stuff anywhere else. We're paying fair value consistent with our market and our costs. You'd sell to a retaler for convenience and the peace of mind of knowing the check you get back will come on time and won't bonce.
     

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