TOP 5 considerations when you're ready to sell off used cameras, lenses, & more. PLUS 3 BONUS TIPs.
#1 market research
First decide where and how you are going to sell your camera equipment. The most common places would be: 1. Online platforms such eBay and Facebook Marketplace. 2. Retailers such as Bedford Camera & Video, B&H Photo, Adorama, and KEH.com. 3. Your own personal network of friends, family, co-workers, etc. There are pros and cons to each listed below.
- Vast nationwide or even (if you choose) international user base
- Fairly easy to use platform and listing services
- "Buy it now" and/or "auction" style listings with lots of options on how your list/price/ship/etc.
- Secure forms of payment
- The need to build up your positive seller ratings first to be considered a trusted and legitimate seller. This takes time b/c unfortunately not every buyer will leave feedback.
- Heavy fees. This is a big topic and it's best to look at eBay's help pages to determine the amount of fees for different categories.
- Large and location specific user base
- Fairly easy to use platform and listing services
- You can share to specialized groups
- You can choose to sell in-person local-only and/or ship
- No platform fees (unless you do sponsored ads)
- Get paid cash upon transaction if you sell locally
- Negotiation is up to you and the buyer. Which I guess could be a con for some, but I like that part of the process.
- Lots of bots and scammers to weed through (more tips later)
- No buyer/seller protections. You have to be honest and you have to find honest buyers/sellers yourself
- Sell without needing to take photos. Either ship to the company or bring in person.
- Trusted established companies
- Get paid quickly*
- You'll get the lowest amount of $ for your gear b/c they are businesses needing to make a profit by reselling the equipment. Don't get caught off guard. This is perfectly normal and reasonable.
- If you don't find a local retailer, you'll have to ship your gear to them before getting an official quote of what they'll pay you. Once you approve, then they'll send payment. There are online estimating services with some companies beforehand, but it could change once they see your gear. Be honest about the conditions up front and your estimate will likely be closer to their final offer. Best to find a local retailer you can talk with face to face if possible IMO.
- You know who you're selling to (that might be a con as well haha!)
- Negotiation is up to you and the buyer
- Get paid immediately
- Limited buyer base
- Sometimes your "friends" expect the biggest discounts! LOL
#2 pricing and value research
Before listing your camera equipment to sell, research the current market prices for similar items. Check online marketplaces such as eBay, photo/video retailers who sell used gear, and specialized camera gear forums or blogs to understand the going rates. Consider your gear's condition, age, and any accessories included when pricing your equipment. Below is a short video on how to quickly check for fair the market value using eBay. I generally also check places like KEH.com to see their used-gear prices. Just remember the retailers are well-established and trusted businesses so they can generally command a higher price when selling used equipment more than an individual.
Personally I like to negotiate (and I think the majority of people do), so if I'm selling on FB Marketplace I'll list higher than my "bottom dollar" to give some "wiggle room" in the price. Then the buyer "gets a deal" and you walk away with the amount money you hoped for or more.
#3 high quality photos
If you are selling on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or other online selling platforms, then invest time in taking high-quality photos of the items you're selling. Clean and well-lit images showcase your equipment in the best possible way. Capture multiple angles, get specific close-ups of any significant wear and tear, and images of accessories included. Clear and appealing photos attract more potential buyers. Generally non-busy white, black, or grey backgrounds are ideal with soft lighting.
You can use your phone, however if your phone has a single lens option then you'll be using a wide angel lens which WILL distort the shape of the object. If that's your only option try backing away a bit and make sure your object in the center of the frame. Then crop closer. That should lessen the effects of the distortion. If you're using a phone with multiples lenses make sure to choose the "2" or "3" option will be more standard or telephoto lens which will give you a truer representation.
Want help learning how to take better photos? I know someone who can help. ;)
#4 provide detailed and honest descriptions
Be transparent about the condition of your equipment. Highlight any major scratches, dents, or imperfections. Include information about the shutter count for cameras, lens optic quality, and functionality or lack thereof.
Don't re-invent the wheel! There are plenty of detailed descriptions and specification lists on the manufacture's websites to pull from. I personally don't go overboard on the fine details or specifications lists because that's something interested parties are likely going to find out on their own.
Also try ai within certain platform like eBay. AI is not perfect, but it can give you a great jumping off point to edit and make your own.
Just be clear, direct, and honest. If you're beginning your journey selling online, you want to be honest in order to start building your seller reputation through reviews and word of mouth. Which leads me to...
#5 Build a positive seller reputation.
If you're using an online marketplace that allows user reviews like eBay and Facebook, aim to build a positive seller reputation ASAP. Respond to all legitimate inquiries, be transparent in your communication, be fair on your negotiation, show up on time if you're meeting in-person, and ship items promptly. And don't be rude. Just be an all around nice person. Is it really that hard?
Positive feedback will enhance your credibility, making buyers more confident in purchasing from you, so I personally ask for reviews on both platforms. It took time and effort, but now people can see I'm a "highly rated seller" before even clicking on my profile or reading past reviews.
Lots and lots of scammers out here these days. You're almost seen as guilty before proven innocent, so make sure you're easy to deal with and honest. Now go get to building up those positive reviews! But first a few bonus tips...
3 BONUS TIPS WHILE SELLING
#1 Secure Packaging and Timely Shipping
Once your item is sold, ensure it reaches the buyer in the condition described. Use secure packaging materials to protect the equipment. I'd suggest taping all seams and corners of a box to reduce the chance of theft. Provide a tracking number and get insurance for more expensive items. AND of course, ship in a timely matter. Life happens sometimes, so if you do ship late just make sure to communicate to the buyer asap. A positive post-purchase experience increases the likelihood of positive reviews and repeat business.
#2 Facebook Marketplace tips
There are scammers who will try all kinds of shady techniques to get your $ on Facebook and I'm sure Craigslist (does anyone even use that anymore.?) I always look at potential buyers FB profiles. Some red flags to watch out for:
- How new is their profile? A lot of scam accounts are 1 year old or less. Their accounts get banned so often and they have to create a new one. RED FLAG
- Look at their friend count. Now I personally have my friends list set to private so you do have to consider that not all profiles will show friends lists. But if their friends IS public and they only 1-10 friends. RED FLAG
- Are their public posts all spam with little to zero engagement? RED FLAG
- No profile photos at all. I mean come on. Who creates a social media account and leaves the profile blank. RED FLAG And if you're not a scammer without a profile pic... I mean come on!
#3 When Meeting in-person
When doing meet-ups, I NEVER have someone come to my personal home or give out my address. I ALWAYS meet in a highly visible public place and cash deals only. To make it safe for all parties there's a police substation not far from my house, and I'll often meet in their parking lot. Other law officers have told me that I'm welcome to meet in their lobby in a town I'm close to as well. If unsure about your city, just them a call. They're generally very kind and helpful.
Thanks, and I hope these tips help. Sign up for my newsletter if you want to stay updated on the blog, events, photo tips, and more.