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What Is The Best Way To Sell Guitar Gear Online - eBay vs Reverb

by vaughn skow November 30, 2016 3 min read

What Is The Best Way To Sell Guitar Gear Online - eBay vs Reverb

I’ve been buying and selling gear on eBay since the last millennium … otherwise known as 1999, but hey, that’s still a LONG time!  Over the last decade eBay has become less and less advantageous for individuals like me as a place to sell gear.  The fees keep escalating and the deck is stacked more and more against the seller in as much as we actually CAN’T give a buyer who rips us off bad feedback … that’s plum insane, and a buyer can blackmail us using a threat of “bad feedback”.  Furthermore, the ONLY payment method we can accept is PayPal, and PayPal is terribly biased towards the BUYER getting whatever they want, and often the seller gets screwed by a buyer who CLAIMS the item was not as described or some such nonsense.   Even in a “for local pickup only” auction, we can’t accept anything but PayPal;  if you’re item description even hints to the fact that you will accept greenbacks, the eBay bots will catch it and cancel your item.  Why?  Because they want the PayPal percentage, of course!  (EBay may have “spun off” PayPal into its own company, but they are still corporate siblings.)  The end result:  unless you are a big company selling gazillions of cheap widgets, you are probably looking for an alternative place to sell your stuff.  If your stuff happens to be guitar and music gear, your best option is Reverb(.com). 

Let’s start our head-to-head comparison where the rubber really meets the road:  how much it COSTS to sell!

What Is The Best Way To Sell Guitar Gear Online - eBay vs Reverb

So, it’s quite clear that it just flat costs less to sell on Reverb.

let’s take a couple of hypothetical sales and compare the cost to sell the items.  First how about a sweet yet inexpensive old Sigma/Martin acoustic guitar that sells for $200.  EBay would take $26.40 out of that two hundred bucks; Reverb would take $12.65.   That cuts the cost of selling more than in half!  Put an even better way, the difference in fees would allow you to drop your price to $186, and still wind up with the same profit, and that motivates buyers!  But how about on a more top-end item, how about a mid-level vintage instrument worth $9,000?  Well, now it gets interesting indeed!  EBay would take $1,011.60 of your money, and Reverb would take $593.25.  Baby, that’s $418 bucks difference.  Now let’s just say over a year or so you sell a dozen or so of those $200-ish items, plus a couple of those 9-grand-ish items, plus a few in-between items and a good solid splattering of pedals and other sub $100 items (that’s fairly typical for a mid-level buyer/seller/collector/player).  Man, you’ll save WELL over a grand selling that on Reverb vs eBay.

But wait, there’s more, MUCH MORE! 

As I alluded to earlier, both eBay and their sister company PayPal are terribly biased towards the buyer and agents the seller.  This simply is not the case with Reverb; the Reverb selling and payment system offers EQUAL protection for both the buyer AND the seller.  If you are the seller, that’s important.

Okay, so given all this evidence, why on earth would anyone continue to sell gear on eBay?  Simple: they still have a larger user base than Reverb, especially world-wide.  And, speaking of world-wide selling, here eBay really shines with their proprietary world-wide shipping service, which actually costs the seller nothing to use, as the buyer pays for all shipping fees.  And so, if you have an item that you just KNOW will fetch a premium overseas, then the larger fees eBay leverages just might be worth it.  Also, arguably, the eBay selling system may be easier for a newbie to use, but to me that’s not an issue, and it probably isn’t to those of you reading here either.

So there ya have it.  Happy gear selling.

emailVaughn   About Vaughn Skow

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