Buying & Selling Wargaming Miniatures on eBay
When it comes to selling stuff on eBay I like to think I'm a cut above the riffraff. During my meager existence I've peddled many thousands of Wargaming products as part of my work with Wayland Games.
Granted, these were brand new in the box shiny figures and not the paint caked variety with upside down heads and two left arms, even so I gained a great deal of experience with the site and also a program eBay put out called "Blackthorne".
So, grab a coffee and gather round - let me share a few things.
Preparing the Models For Sale
Strip the ModelsAssuming your painting is pretty bad it’s a good idea to totally strip the paint from miniatures prior to selling them. Don’t simply spray paint them in a plastic colored grey undercoat and pretend that they're new in the photos
This happened to me before and I eagerly gave the seller a nice dose of negative feedback (felt good too).
So why strip them? Simple really, the better you present the models to the buyer the more chance there is that they'll commit.
If you want to know how to strip models have a look on google and find one of the numerous guides out and about on the wargaming forums.
Market ResearchAlways have a look around on eBay prior to listing, familiarize yourself with the prices people are paying for items similar to those you intend to sell.
On this point don't be surprised if identical items sell for grossly different totals. On the internet there exists a thing called the ePeen and eBay is a notoriously ripe locale for flopping out the ePeen, take this Christmas for example.
I decided, (on account of it being the season of good will and so on and so forth espeically eating with relatives) that I'd entertain myself with the most vile Jumper I could find. Allow me to introduce the most vile Xmas jumper ever made.
|The most vile Xmas Jumper in Existence|
What followed was a sellers wet dream, no, a more fitting analogy would be to wake up next to Jessica Rabbit.
...Anyway, we entered into a bidding war, I'm stubborn and tenacious.
I don't lose.
You can see by the bidding history that a bidding war of epic proportions followed, I'm pretty sure this is the most expensive second hand Christmas jumper he's ever sold.
When it comes to eBay, market research is good but expect the unexpected, always.
Price ScaleNow I would love to take credit for this but it's something I found whilst researching so blame the other guy!
Also it gives me a chance to showcase Chalky the Hip Hop Snowman - he loves it!
Pro Painted > New In Box > Well Painted > Stripped > Poorly Painted
New in Box
Standard Color Schemes Sell BetterWhilst on the subject of paint something that you may what to consider when it comes to painting your armies is that usually (well almost always unless you're a top top painter) standard Games Workshop color schemes - like Ultramarines or Cadian Guard etc will sell for more than your custom pink and brown jobs. Why? I guess it's because more people can slot them into their current and existing armies so it widens your target market.
Setting Up Your AuctionOK, so all the stripping and tomfoolery has been ironed out and accomplished. Now it's time to get down to the nitty gritty technical stuff.
This is where it looks daunting, but isn't.
Taking PhotographsFirstly, every listing will need a nice clear image that displays all of the details. Remember that the image is the D weapon of eBay sales. It serves three main purposes.
- Reassures the buyer of the items condition.
- Shows the buyer what they're bidding for.
- Brings people into the auction via the listings.
I'm not going to give the rundown on what cameras to buy because frankly I don't think you need to find a massively expensive camera to take a clear photo.
This Ork picture was taken with a phone (Galaxy S4) camera. Quality shots can be achieved with standard equipment, in today's day of technology.
|Check this one out on eBay.|
Best Times to List on eBayThe eBay site swells like the bosom of a fat guy/chick chasing cake. Sometimes there's a lot of people online and others there ain't.
It's that simple, so you need to make sure the closing time of your listings fall on the periods when the most happy shoppers are busy clicking through the listings (there is one minor consideration with this**).
So let me very briefly go through the best and worst times to list on eBay *assuming you're not a monobrow inbred with buck teeth* you'll be able to figure out the rest.
**Sometimes for popular items listing during offpeak times will enhance the chances of a sale.
- Listings that end on Friday and Saturday evening. (people are usually at the bar getting their rocks off to Wham! - see you there baby!)
- Graveyard Hours suck major ballbag. Don't end listings after midnight (unless you're selling vampiric thralls and golf ball gags)
- February is bad. February is traditionally a crap time to sell, if you can avoid it do so - people are busy pleading poverty around then.
- Summer Months are worse - I know you can't avoid selling shit on eBay the whole summer but be aware that the trend is for less people to be online and buying during the summer.
- Listings that end between 7pm and 10pm in your items region are the best. When we shop online we usually do it in the evenings whilst the missus is
watchingbeing brainwashed by the governments latest liberal message. (soap opera).
- Christmas is usually a good time to sell, especially wargaming stuff.
- End of the month listings are better as most people get paid then, end a listing on the 2nd of a month and you will probably get a better return.
If there are very few a longer listing will probably be better, give people more time to find your item and when the final few minutes come around the battle will be epic. Mice the world over will bleed through the onslaught of excessive clicking.
Listing Your Auction
Start Price - Low or High?It's common for people to shoot straight in with a very high starting price.
Before you do this though take a moment to think about the point of an auction - clearly you want to sell for the highest possible price by enticing the highest number of bidders possible into a bidding war.
You have more chance of doing this with a lower starting value (refer back to the ePeen comments for proof of people going for it in the dying moments of a listing). My rule of thumb is to start popular items which are expected to attract loads of attention at a lower rate and less desirable items at around 40% of my expected valuation.
This by the way is how I operate when I sell stuff.
Description TipsThe description is majorly important, it's either your sexy sales woman with the "I want you" eyes or the fat dodgy car dealer that scares people away.
- What is the item?
- What condition is it in?
- Is the item new or used?
- Does it have any breakages?
- What country/location is it from?
- What methods of payment do you accept?
- What are your shipping costs and timescale?
If possible let the buyer know what the item costs new, tell them how much they will save by buying your item. The key is to remove as many doubts as possible and give them no option but to buy!
Also make sure
PUT IT IN THE RIGHT CATEGORY!
Seriously, some people search through categories rather than via the search function, they'll just hit a category and browse through - make sure you give your item the category it relates to.
Don't forget to mention damages or missing parts as well, it's really not worth the negative red flag you'll get when you send someone a set of plastic arms upside down rave marines.
I got some once, and I hit that idiot with more negatives than Kodak.
Lastly, don't allude to the reasons you're selling. No one, and I mean no one want to sit and go "Hmph...Hmph... okay.....right...(can this person just take my money for the damn miniatures already)....Ohh..I missed that last part you said"
Just get it cleaned, wrapped and sent away.
(Unless someone wants to hear your reason, in that case...unleash the beast!)
*** Pro Painted Warning ***Since it's inception the internet has been awash with idiots (and porn) so try not to join them by listing your item as pro-painted without first ascertaining that you are of a pro standard.
We all like to think we're better than we are - but please ask yourself are you truly a professional standard painter?
Lets have a look at this for example.
Is this pro-painted?
He thinks so.
Will he sell this dunked figure? Probably not 50/50. Lying doesn't help to sell miniatures - it just makes you look like a jerk in the long run.
ShippingMake sure you package things up nice and neatly and I mean this. Assume (Not all of course) that every delivery guy could be in a bad mood, they hate their jobs and they kick the living shit out of your items.
How do I know this? I worked at UPS for a few weeks back in 2006. The way they handled stuff made me want to scream.
Recorded/Registered/Special DeliveryIf you send large packages or really expensive items send them as recorded/registered or special delivery (signed for on arrival). If not people will simply lie, say they haven’t arrived and open a paypal dispute.
Without proof of delivery you will lose your item as lost in transit. Once again this happened to me. My missus decided to send a box of Lord of the Rings figures of mine standard delivery, the guy I sold to was laughing all the way to the bank when they turned up.
He opened a dispute with PayPal and claimed all of his money back.
I lost 60 or so well painted models and contemplated going to his address to administer a beating on the doorstep... who am I kidding,
I'm a wargamer, I would of thrown an effeminate punch, missed, fell over and knocked myself out on the plant pot. No, I didn't do that I just sulked.
Handling CostsNow this one is a real pain in the arse - charge too much and people think you're profiteering or trying to circumvent some of the final valuation fees.
My advice here is be fair, work out how much the packaging costs, how much the postage costs and stick a small sum on top for the "effort" of packing things up.
In today's day where free and quick is the standard anymore, you usually can't pull fast ones like that anymore...(Charging $6 to $7 to send a few items that weigh less than a pound and small enough to fit into the palm of your hand... unless international, a whole different ball game)
Bringing home the BACONGetting paid is obviously best via cash or cheque as it circumvents the paypal fees.
Most people pay with paypal though so it really is necessary that you include it as a payment option.
Be wary of third party payment offers, like eCheques and remember that much like a standard cheque they can bounce.
Don't ship anything until the money has cleared has cleared. Some buyers are so damn oblivious they don't even realize they didn't pay so you might well have to explain why they haven't received their item two days after "paying".
Real Life Example:
Following this long, tumultuous story, on how to do it right.
Take a look at this listing we created as an example that's live...
|An example to potentially follow/work off of. (Or Ignore)|
This guide should helps some of you in your buying and selling on eBay. It's just a few of my personal experiences and trapdoors I gloriously fell through on my journey through eBay.
When looking through on the web for wargaming miniatures, let us know the cool finds you dig up for sale.