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Used equipment retail profit margins

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Mike Buckley, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. I was really surprised to get a quote of only $10 from KEH for an item I sent to them for their consideration. Their selling price for the same product in the same condition is $115. If I had realized their buying price would be so low, I wouldn't have wasted their time by sending it to them.

    This isn't a complaint; it's just an observation. I wonder if their business model assumes a minimum dollar profit for any item. If so, it would perhaps result in a very large gross profit margin for items such as mine that have relatively low selling prices.

  2. They're in business to make money. LOTS of money.
  3. They rated the item one grade lower than I rated it. I should have known that would be likely but I never gave any thought to it at the time I rated it. After receiving products I purchase from them, the items seem to be at least one grade higher to me than their rating. So, at least in my relatively limited experience with them, their rating seems to be consistent whether they are buying or selling.
  4. I I have had pretty good luck with trading in lenses and a couple of times, camera bodies, locally through the years, at either District Camera (used to be Photocraft) in Burke or at Ace Photo out in Ashburn.
  5. Ace Photo bought Dominion Camera in Falls Church a couple of years ago, so consider going there instead of all the way to Ashburn the next time you need to visit them.
  6. Yes, I heard that not too long ago....... As it happened, it would have been just over two years ago I was in Dominion Camera one afternoon and the sales guy made some comment about the owner -- forget his name now -- being "busy in the back." I didn't think much about that as we continued with our transaction -- and all of a sudden the (then-)owner and to my surprise of all people, Mo, came out of the back room! It was funny to see Mo there. Now I realize that this must have been during the period of negotiations or whatever, prior to the completion of the sale..... Anyway, haven't been buying or trading much camera gear lately so haven't had an occasion to go over there, but it's certainly a lot less of a drive than trekking out to Ashburn! (That said, though, in nice weather, particularly in spring, it can be a very pretty drive. One time I got a really nice shot of the apple blossom trees all in bloom, gently curving along the median of the road.)
  7. The price they offer you will depend on how many of the same item they already have on hand.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. They had none of that model in any condition on hand, so presumably the price might have been even lower if they already had several in stock.

    I inaccurately remembered the details of the pertinent chart. They actually have over 30 items of the model I sent to them already in stock, so that could definitely lead to such a low buying price. This is my first time of offering to sell product to a reseller, so from now on I'll check current stocking levels before deciding whether to send a particular item.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
  9. Mike,
    The choice is always yours to take a lower price from a retailer and get quick(er) cash, or hold out for more and put up with the potential problems that may arise from selling privately.
    I've sold a few things to KEH directly when their purchasing agent John Izumi attended a couple of Camera shows here in Toronto, and I concur that what he offered for the pieces I brought him was less than I anticipated (having checked on line first), but on the other hand, when I agreed to the price, he put crisp Canadian currency in my hand, and I was rid of the gear.
    Similarly when I largely switched to Digital a short time ago, I decided to divest myself of most of my film cameras and a number of manual focus zooms and primes. Their value (based on checking completed eBay auctions) was vastly more than I was offered by my favorite bricks and mortar camera store here in Toronto, but it was enough for me to acquire two very nice auto-focus zoom-Nikkors (24-70 2.8 and 70-200 2.8) which I wanted, without having to pay any cash into the deal, so I feel I did well. Will the store realize much more for my stuff than they gave me? Undoubtedly yes, but who knows how long they'll have the pieces sitting on the shelf until they're all sold and they recoup their investment? Meanwhile, I have the two pieces and have been shooting with them since I walked out of the store.
    Circumstances and choices. Do what suits you best.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. I’ve been using the MPB UK site for a number of years now. They typically take ~35% margin based on what they offer vs their sell prices.
    You tend to get what you would have gotten from a good eBay sale net of the fees etc without all the risk and hassle. I imagine the US site operates the same.
    They move inventory quickly as their prices are competitive.
  11. ahinesdesign


    Mar 14, 2017
    NC, USA
    I always shop around when looking to sell gear - Amazon, MPB, KEH, B&H, and the local camera store. Often they can differ by a considerable amount, and they all buy for much less than retail of a similar used item. I understand they have to make money, but buying prices can be orders of magnitude below their market value. For example, a used Pentax 645Z sells for $3800+ on Amazon, but they will only pay $337!

    I have had a few occasions where a private sale for well below market value still netted more money than selling to a used camera dealer. It all depends on how fast I want to move an item and what I need the funds for...
  12. I tried to sell a body to the "A" store, my finding was they do not check how many actuation the body has taken, only appearance, which is what a lot of us go by, but they have take it, or leave it, they did ship it back, one of their customer service reps Helen has a job of putting out fires on different photo forums, boy is she busy.
  13. Pretty much every place that buys used gear has been lowering their offers. A few years ago, Amazon was pretty fair about gear condition. I sent a few items in back then and all were accepted at my condition evaluation. Now, count on an automatic downgrade of one level. Same with KEH. Don't know about the big online camera stores (Adorama, B&H) as I have only ever purchased from them.

    Some brick and mortar stores no longer deal in used gear. Mike's Camera here along the front range in Colorado does not.
  14. Sell on Nikon Cafe or Fred Miranda. That's always worked out well for me. But you have to be patient. It sometimes takes six weeks.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. I tried at another website to give away my item in question including shipping. I had two of them and six months later only one of them was taken. If things go as I expect, I will try to give it away here at the Cafe.
  16. Yup, time versus money, the eternal conflict.

    KEH, and others too I assume, will give you a break if you sell to them and then buy from them at the same time. I got 2 of my SB 800 flashes from them for a great price.
  17. BrianVS


    Mar 15, 2017
  18. One factor I had not considered is that KEH has now informed me that they will repair one small part of the item and replace other small parts if they purchase it from me. I assumed they sold the items in the condition they receive them but that's not always the case. Clearly, there is a cost to evaluating whether repairs and replacements are justified and then to making them happen. I am surprised they are willing to take on that risk for an item that they typically sell for only about $115.

    I asked KEH to return the item. Once I receive it, I will try one last time to give it away.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
  19. william hortis

    william hortis

    Nov 30, 2013
    Standard markup by sellers I have supplied for many years cost +50% + tax (non food), this then allows for unsold items /stolen items/ returns,bank borrowing rates and any discounts. With business rates and rents so exorbitant over here I can assure you it's no walk in the park showing a healthy NETT profit.
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