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Best practices when selling banjos?

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Sep 21, 2020 - 6:37:37 AM
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42 posts since 1/7/2019

I would like to sell a few banjos (to make room for more banjos of course), and looking for tips on best practices and most effective places to list them. Also what to include in listings. Tips on shipping, etc.


Sep 21, 2020 - 6:51:09 AM
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5283 posts since 10/12/2009


List them "For Sale"here on the BanjoHangout Classifieds. You'll be reaching the most highly focused, motivated slate of banjo buyers there are.

Charge a Flat Rate for Shipping, or charge for "Actual Shipping Costs". Ship yourself or have it packed and shipped by a "professional" shipping company.

In the ad, just truthfully list what you know about the banjo. Include as many photos as possible. 

Browse thu the Classifieds here on the Hangout for ideas on writing ads. There are people on BHO who put together very effective ads, and there some ads that are just miserable. Emulate the effective ads!

I always offer to exchange phone numbers and talk to potential customers with anything I list for sale here on the Hangout, especially with high dollar items like banjos (as opposed to selling parts)

Edited by - RioStat on 09/21/2020 06:54:35

Sep 21, 2020 - 6:59:20 AM
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1097 posts since 5/19/2018

Best options are to either consign via a recognized and reputable dealer, or sell it here. Anything else comes with a level of risk and start to become a pain.

Craigslist brings out way too many tire kickers and folks who make me look over my shoulders when I meet them. EBay and Reverb give you good exposure, but you take a level of risk and they are getting costly to sell off of.

If you consign the instrument, you will not get the best price as the dealer needs to be paid for their efforts, but you have zero risk and zero level of any potential BS to deal with.

If you sell here, post tons of clear, detailed, and visible photos. Note any serial numbers. Be clear on any defects or flaws. Give a detailed description. Set a price, payment terms and any shipping details up front. Be willing to negotiate.

Do not ship any instrument without speaking directly, via VOICE call, not text or email, to the buyer. That way you can vet the buyer and make sure he/she/they are a real person who is actually going to pay for the instrument.

Shipping- that’s a whole topic in itself. Just pack it well and insure it. Take picture of the instrument and the shipping package before it goes out.

I do have to say, every time I listed and sold an instrument here on this site, it was an easy and enjoyable experience. Had a number of really good phone calls with some interesting conversations. Got paid quick and zero issues, and you get the best exposure to the absolute widest banjo audience.

The other option which I usually try and follow, keep the instrument and avoid sellers regrets years down the road.

Sep 21, 2020 - 6:59:29 AM
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1589 posts since 10/12/2011

Be reasonable in your prices, take lots of photos, if you can include video of how it sounds.

Be detailed in your descriptions of any damage/ repairs, photos of any dings, capo holes, etc. List any upgrades. If you have upgraded any parts and you still have the original parts maybe include them in the sale. If you want to keep upgraded parts make sure you swap them out before you take photos and/or video's. It disheartening when you buy a banjo and notice certain parts in the photos and when it arrives, they have been replaced. (If you do this make sure you list it in the description, so any potential buyer is aware.) Having a hard shell case is nice.

Shipping included is a good plus. For higher end banjos have a trial period (2 or so days) to test it out. If they don't like it, the seller can ship it back (on their dime, and insured.)

I prefer BHO as my banjo source, because usually the people your dealing with are all mostly knowledgeable banjo folks and appreciate what your selling/buying. I usually shy away from other on-line venues like ebay. I've had good luck with Craigslist but their a ton of scammers, and weirdo's so use your best judgement on that. Usually Craigslist the buyers (myself included) wants a bottom dollar deal, so be prepared to haggle on price.

Sep 21, 2020 - 8:07:47 AM
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13355 posts since 10/30/2008

Videos sell!!

You need a good clearly worded ad here on BHO with lots of good clear photos.  Look at ads posted here for advice.   If anyone is interested enough to scan that ad, they will then expect (or ask for) video.   Look at the "Recently Sold" section of the Marketplace Classifieds and you may get an idea what kind of ads/products/asking prices are selling. 

Be very clear if you will accept trades or not  -- many buyers will want to trade instead of just pay.   If you're not interested in trades, say so.  Decide now how much you're willing to negotiate, if at all.  If your price is FIRM, say so.  Decide now how you want to be paid:  personal check, bank check, PayPal, postal money order, etc.  Decide now if you're willing to let a buyer have the product for 48 hours "on approval" to decide if they want to keep it or return it for refund minus cost of shipping.  This is VERY COMMON.  (Usually disassembly/inspection of the banjo during the 48 hours is limited to taking the resonator off only.)  If no returns are permitted, say so.  

Basically you try to anticipate as many buyer's questions as possible.  Even then smart buyers will want to phone you and take your measure in a discussion.  As a new seller with no history on the BHO, buyers will tend to be cautious to figure out how trustworthy you are.   You will feel the same way about buyers!  Sound each other out.  At the end both parties have to trust each other.   Generally the buyer pays first, then  you ship.

When you post an ad, also post a thread here on on the Swap Shop:  Buy/Sell/Trade heading to point people to your ad.

Deceptive or "teasing" headlines and text tend to piss off browsers, do don't do anything cute. Tell it straight.

Finally, be patient. Depending on what you're offering it may take weeks to get a nibble.

There are great videos showing how to pack a banjo best for shipping. It's not intuitive so take your time and research it, and ask more questions here. Good luck with your sales!

Edited by - The Old Timer on 09/21/2020 08:17:36

Sep 21, 2020 - 9:41:44 AM
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42 posts since 1/7/2019

Thanks RioStat, The Old Timer, buckholler, Alvin Conder!

Appreciate the great tips! I will start doing my research.

Alvin, the potential for "regret" -- I hear you! However, I'm at the "You gotta sell some before you buy more" stage of my marriage. ;-)

Sep 21, 2020 - 10:24:51 AM
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273 posts since 4/14/2017

I think most of the major points have been made, but I have two more. These, by the way, are from the experience of being a customer, but they should be filed under best practices. I intend to honor them when I get around to selling something here. #1: Get back to people. Don't run an ad and then go on vacation. Some people seem to actually do that that, and that can range from frustrating to infuriating. Even if something is sold, two words (Sorry, sold) will cover it. Looking at the ads does not convey that information. I bought something here once, and more than a month later the ad was still up. Since that end of things will apparently remain clumsy, an email is the best practice. #2: Don't be so cheap as to request that somebody buy something from you on Paypal through Friends and Family. Paypal is a convenience that charges a small fee. They also will get you back your money if you typed in the wrong payment email, unless you used Friends and Family, because that was your attempt to cheat their system. Then you would be on your own. If you need more money, charge more money for whatever you're selling.

Sep 21, 2020 - 11:46:55 AM

42 posts since 1/7/2019

stelldeergibber Thanks for the perspective from the buyers side.
I agree with the PayPal complaint. Tacky.

Sep 21, 2020 - 3:05:41 PM
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12945 posts since 8/30/2006

use the large bubbles inside and out. The body needs to be raised properly to lay level and not shake inside

I then double wrap the hardshell case, shrink wrap, then clear plastic shipping tape waterproofs it

Then you cut and expose the handle and get “special handling” from USPS, they put it in its own cart and carry it, it LOOKS LIKE A BANJO

 I’ve now done it 100 times
Wait til you get a box half full of loose peanuts from UPS, that’s not shipping, that’s sales

Too much drifting, we read about claims all the time, somebody should write a song like “United Breaks Guitars.” Guitar people don’t normally ship a bowling ball on a stick = Banjo

This is the best of the hangout
If the Postal system is now jammed, then here comes the holidays, you better watch out, better not cry.

Edited by - Helix on 09/21/2020 15:20:29

Sep 21, 2020 - 5:05:42 PM

42 posts since 1/7/2019

Helix Great tips -- I would have never thought of doing this! Thanks!

Sep 22, 2020 - 7:24:34 PM
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3879 posts since 5/1/2003

I just shipped a hammered dulcimer like Helix described,in fact I think I got the idea from Larry years ago. It went from Kansas to Texas just fine.

Sep 24, 2020 - 6:21:22 AM
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55 posts since 5/5/2019

One thing as a buyer... if you have beautiful pictures of when the banjo was made, print them and hang them in your home, DO NOT use old photos in your ad. I’ve got a thousand dollars worth of trouble sitting here from a seller who used old photos to sell his banjo to me. Damage and a buzzing neck have it sitting in my closet, and me feeling lied to and cheated... because I was lied to and cheated. I can’t even sell it with a clear conscience.

All the advice above to show and describe all the flaws and concerns is good advice.

Sep 25, 2020 - 5:11:23 PM
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5787 posts since 9/5/2006

take detailed pics best you can,, be as honest as you can in description,,, list on BHO ,,reverb ,, ETC ,,,,, price it about 5 to 10 % more then you will be willing to take,, just to have some give room for the buyer. and pack it as safely as possible. remember to figure your shipping cost in your price if not listed separate

Sep 25, 2020 - 5:28:16 PM

42 posts since 1/7/2019

Ks_5-picker A hammered dulcimer sounds like a cool instrument. I am still thinking about that banjo cocoon -- great idea. Thanks for seconding the cocoon.

bigleaf That is my biggest fear buying online! Is there no recourse if you get a dud?!

1935tb-11 Shipping, ugh. Always the hardest part for me to estimate. I had not thought about adding the 5%-10% -- I am always worried I am asking too much when I sell anything and then second-guess-lowering the price to the point of regret.

Sep 25, 2020 - 5:44:47 PM
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5787 posts since 9/5/2006

Originally posted by Creativespirit

Ks_5-picker A hammered dulcimer sounds like a cool instrument. I am still thinking about that banjo cocoon -- great idea. Thanks for seconding the cocoon.

bigleaf That is my biggest fear buying online! Is there no recourse if you get a dud?!

1935tb-11 Shipping, ugh. Always the hardest part for me to estimate. I had not thought about adding the 5%-10% -- I am always worried I am asking too much when I sell anything and then second-guess-lowering the price to the point of regret.

well usually the buyer if serious will make you a counter offer and that will give some wiggle room..  as for shipping  box one up like you were going to ship it and carry it down to UPS and ask them to give you a price on shipping with insurance on this package to ,,,say to a kentucky zip code ,,, just ask for a price and say thank you and leave.

ups has a online calculator for big packages ,,but i ain't smart enough to figure it out.

Edited by - 1935tb-11 on 09/25/2020 18:00:16

Sep 25, 2020 - 6:11:36 PM

42 posts since 1/7/2019

1935tb-11 Thanks for the tips.

Sep 26, 2020 - 4:12:22 PM



12945 posts since 8/30/2006

Ks 5-picker Is one of the best packers in the business
For the cocoon, Special Handling is only offered by the post office USPS

At Hurricane Sandy, the post office carried mine by the handle up over the rubble About 8 pm Urban legend

I don’t get claims. I also don’t insure, I want the parts back and I don’t have the time

i still insure valuable vintage and give extra care

Edited by - Helix on 09/26/2020 16:13:52

Sep 27, 2020 - 9:12:45 AM

42 posts since 1/7/2019

Helix That is a great story! Good insight. Thank you!

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