One of the most difficult parts about selling stuff online is knowing how to price your item. If you price it too high, people might not even bother looking at it. If you price it too low, you will probably sell it, but you might regret feeling like you "gave it away" and could have gotten more for it. It's a delicate balance and can be tricky to figure out.
When it comes to pricing what you want to sell, you have to remember that the goal is to both get rid of stuff AND make money. In many cases, you're selling items that are used and the price should reflect that. I have found that by selling stuff online, whether it's through a Facebook group or a local site, I can usually get a little more for it than I do at a yard sale, but it's not a ton more--maybe a few dollars depending on the item.
I don't have some mathematical formula that I use every time I need to price something but I do have some basic guidelines that I follow and questions that I ask myself. I'll go through each of these to help you get a better idea about how to price your item(s).
To start with, ask yourself the following questions:
Is it new or like new?
When I was helping my in-laws sell items at the yard sale we held this summer, I found a lot of new items. There were a TON of things that were still in boxes or packaged up, never even used. Most of them still had the price tag on them. These items were either brand new or like new. Unfortunately, many of them were also purchased at discount stores, such as Ross or TJ Maxx, and the time frame to return them was long past. Items that are new or like new will generally sell for more than used items.
What did I pay for it?
In many cases, I can remember about what I paid for an item. Not an exact amount, but I can estimate pretty well. In the example above about my in-laws items, the price tag was still on it and so I didn't have to guess. Knowing what you paid for an item, coupled with how new/old it is will help determine a price as well. It's possible that there are going to be items that you overpaid for or bought on a whim and the odds that you'll get what you paid for it are slim unless the right person happens to see it.
Is it a current item?
What you have might be in perfect condition. But if it's 5, 10, 15, or 20 years old, that might not matter. My mother-in-law is a talented seamstress and has a sewing room filled with fabric and other materials. But she doesn't sew much anymore and one day we were helping her sort through her sewing room and found a huge bolt of peachy colored lace that was clearly many years old. We suggested she simply throw it away but she insisted that it was in perfect condition and that someone would want it. What she said might be true, but not likely. The same principle applies to clothing. My mom takes great care of her clothes and I've even seen some pieces still in her closet from 20 years ago, but if she were to try and sell them, she probably wouldn't be too successful. Items that are current will sell better and for a better price since the demand is higher.
Am I placing too much value in it?
So often we see an item that we no longer like or have a use for and decide we want to sell it, only to find that no one wants to pay what we think it's worth. This is where this question is helpful. You have to be honest with yourself and think about why you priced the item as you did. Maybe you have a memory attached to the item or it was given to you by someone special. Keep in mind that while someone else might be interested in it, they don't have the same attachment you do and they won't see the same value in it.
Now that you've asked these questions, here are a couple more tips for pricing.
Do Your Research
If I have an item that I'm not sure the current value on, I will try and find it online, usually on Amazon. This works well for electronics, entertainment (DVDs, books, etc), kitchen appliances and name brand items (excluding clothes). If you can't find the exact item, try and find something similar.
Take The Price You Want and Drop It
Even now, I still find myself wanting to see if I can get just a little more out of an item. When I realize I'm doing this, I will stop and think about the difference between what I wish I could get and what the reality is. For example, if I have a nice picture frame that I'd like to get $7 for, I will usually drop the price by a couple of dollars knowing that someone else will be more likely to pay $5. There's nothing wrong with trying to get what you want for an item, but if you post it and don't get any interest, consider dropping the price a little lower and see if you get some interest then.
Be Willing To Negotiate
Sometimes you will post an item and get exactly what you asked for it. Other times, you'll find that people want to talk you down in price. If you feel comfortable with the price you're asking and you feel like it is fair, then stick to your guns. I've found that many people are willing to pay what I'm asking, but they figure that asking me to take less won't hurt.
Below I'll show you some items I've sold and how I priced them. Hopefully it will give you some ideas about how to price your own items.
Example 1: High Chair
took some pictures.
Based on what I know about high chairs, they tend to be on the more expensive end. I looked on Amazon to get an idea of the price range for a brand new mid-grade high chair, which is about $50-$70. I cut that price in half to $25-$35 and because it was used, I cut the price in half again to $12.50-$17.50 and then split the difference and asked $15 for it. I sold it within a couple of days.
Example 2: Floor Vase
Example 3: Air Mattresses
One was a triple thick queen air mattress from Cabella's, retailing at $70. The other was a queen mattress bought at a local chain store, retailing at $20. For the triple thick mattress, I priced it at $15 because I knew that someone would see the value of it, especially knowing where it came from (we'll talk more about what to write in your post in the Part 3). We sold it within 30 minutes of posting it. The lesser quality mattress (not pictured) was sold for $5 and again, we sold it within about 30 minutes of posting it online.
Example 4: Clothes
Unfortunately, you're not going to get what you paid for when it comes to clothes, especially if they are not brand new and even then people are looking for a deal. I shop mostly at discount stores, small boutique chain stores, Target or the mall so many of my clothes are in decent shape but aren't extremely high quality. If you're going to take the time to take pictures of each item of clothing, make sure they are in good shape or you're going to waste a lot of time for not much return.
My rule of thumb for pricing clothes is the following:
- Womens/Juniors Clothing
- Dresses: $5-$10
- Skirts/Pants: $2-$3
- Sweaters/Sweatshirts: $2-$3
- T-shirts (long sleeve, short sleeve, sleeveless): $1-$2
- Mens Clothing
- Pants: $3-$5
- Dress Shirts: $3-$5
- T-shirts/Polos: $2-$3
- Sweaters/Sweatshirts: $3-$4
- Kids Clothing
- Tops: $.50-$2
- Bottoms: $.50-$2
- Boutique or Name Brand in new or like new shape: varies
- Baby Clothes
- Same as kids clothes
- Boots: $5-$10
- Flats: $3-$5
- Sports (example: cleats): $5-$10
- Dress: $5-$10
Part 3 of this series will be about the anatomy of a good post, which will be on Friday of this week so stay tuned!