Of all the companies I've worked for, GC has by far the fairest trade policy. They pay you 60% of whatever they're going to sell it for. Even if you'll take less or they think you'll take less.... you're getting 60%. I've known some companies that try to pay as little at 20% and will pay only as much as they absolutely have to..... Think GC's pricing policy is too low for used gear? Think paying you 60% of the sale price is criminal? Look at it this way. Take two Ibanez SR505's... one used, one new. The new one sells for $599. At least once a month, and almost constantly between Black Friday and New Years, there's some kind of 15% off coupon. So, with a little patience and some effort, you can actually buy the bass BRAND NEW for $510. That's brand new, factory warranty, fresh strings, a setup and a return / exchange policy. That means, there's NO WAY a dealer stand's a chance at selling a used one for $450, more like $400... or 60% of the new price retail. That means if you get offered anything more than $240 for your used, Excellent Condition SR505 you're very lucky. Because if they price it at $450, and give you $275... Then they're in a tough spot: The new bass is $500. The used bass is $450, the first thing the customer wants is a 10% discount, AT LEAST... any they'll likely get it... so now the price is around $400.... plus they want GC to throw in a case or set of strings....now GC is getting $380.... at the end of the day they're lucky to get $100 profit.... less than they make selling a new one... so accepting trades AT ALL is a COURTESY to customers.... think they wont sell that SR505 to someone else without a trade? Think again... they don't need youR business..... they want it, they DO value it, but they dont need it....
Here's some tips to make your trade-in experience at GC easier. 1) Do some research.
See what your EXACT instrument or amplifier is selling for used. Look at COMPLETED listings on Ebay... not what they're ASKING for the unit... but what it actually SOLD for.... pay attention to shipping.... if your guitar sold for $200 but $45 of that was shipping, your guitar is worth $165, not $200. Even better go to the GC used website. See if they have any examples of your guitar for sale already at other stores. If there are several, come up with an average. That's what they will sell your guitar for... you will get 60% of that number. 2) Dont call asking for a quote.
You wont get one. We get probably a hundred calls a day people asking what they can expect on a trade. No respectable company will offer you a trade quote over the phone. WHY? I have personally probably fielded a THOUSAND trade quote calls or more. You wanna know what every single one of those calls had in common? Whatever those people had to trade, no matter what it was....it was always described as being in EXCELLENT CONDITION. Every single one
. I have NEVER had someone call looking for a trade quote and say their guitar or bass was in poor
condition. Over the phone, it's always MINT, AS-NEW, PERFECT, UNPLAYED etc. Then when this perfect, as-new guitar shows up the neck is like a banana, the strings are little threads of pure rust, the tuners are busted, the trem bar is missing, there's a 'SATAN RULEZ' sticker on the back and one of the pickups doesn't work. That's why you're not getting a trade quote over the phone. Because you lie
You would think this is common sense buuuutt: CLEAN YOUR TRADE
. Clean it. Tune it up. Put a fresh set of strings on it. Bring it in a gigbag or case, even if you're not trading the case. We make instant judgements about you when you walk in out of the pouring rain carrying a guitar by the neck with no case. You literally will be cutting 10% - 20% off your trade number just by having it be dirty and having a bad setup. 4)
If your item is rare, boutique, discontinued, vintage or a specialty item, ask to see a manager
. Although GC does employ some incredibly knowledgeable people, not every floor sales guy will know what a Bergantino IP310 is. When in doubt, they will always go low. Ask to speak with the department manager. As far as GC goes, they cannot get to that level without extensive training in product knowledge. Also, if you're trying to sell a hi-dollar vintage piece, be prepared to take less than half of what you think you should get. The vintage market has TANKED since 2007. Same with valuable art, antiques etc. Christie's auction house has reported a 38% drop in sale prices across all segments. You saw a '65 J-bass sell at auction for $5k once? Great... take 38% off of that price to reflect the current market.... take 25% off of that to cover the Auction House's fee, add about 9-14 months to actually complete the process of selling through a major auction house, and be prepared for it to probably not sell the first time. Dont wanna go through all that? Fine, bring it to GC, but understand they will sell it for about 40% of auction prices, and give you 60% of that. Them's the breaks... and lets face it....your '65 J-bass is not in auction condition... 5) Be realistic.
Nothing in the world depreciates more severely than music gear. The only difference between the depreciation factor of a guitar and turd, is the turd was worth nothing to begin with. It doesnt matter you never played that Ibanez Soundgear once since you bought it five years ago, it's still used
... it cannot be sold for the new price, or anywhere close to the new price
. If you saw one once sell used for $500, but you saw ten more sell for $300.... they're going to sell yours for $300. If you cant sell it on the street for $500, they're not going to try and sell it for $500, because obviously there are no buyers at that price.... and you're certainly not going to get $500, because they have to build in a profit margin. Also bear in mind market trends have a huge impact on used prices, that's why dealers build in a 40% margin or more on used gear, when they only make a margin of 18% - 25% on new gear. For example, a Line 6 Spider IV sells new for $400. Sells used in good condition for $200. All of a sudden the Fender Mustang amps come out on the market. Sounds as good or better than the line 6, has all the same features, COMES WITH FREE RECORDING SOFTWARE and sells new for $199..... the value of your used Line 6 just got cut in half!! Who's gonna buy your used POS when there's a nicer amp available new for the same price or less? This is a real example too... those Fender Mustangs have DESTROYED the resale value of any small-format SS combo amp. Lastly, understand that some things truly have no value. CRATE is a great example. They're out of business, a dealer cant get parts if it develops a problem, and the stuff simply cannot hold a candle to new gear that sells for less than $200 new. There's no buyer in the world looking at a $75 amp that isn't also going to consider a $150 amp. Small format Crate combos are worth less than nothing. Same goes for used Squier Affinity basses. The dealer is literally doing you a favor offering you anything for it at all, and they will probably just throw your trade in the dumpster after you leave. 6) Keep your cool.
It's not Billy Salesman's fault your gear isn't worth what you want it to be worth. Of course you're going to get less for a trade-in than you might if you spent a few months trying to sell it on your own. That's the nature of trade-ins.... they're not out to screw you
. If you start arguing or trying to haggle or get belligerent they will just as likely throw you out. Making statements like: "Look Jerky, do you know how many guitars I've bought? Don't you try to tell me what it's worth!"
Chances are, that Jerky salesman has sold more used guitars in the past week than you've ever owned in your whole life, and insulting him or her will not get you anywhere. Most companies have written policy now to simply toss you straight away if you get ugly with the staff. 7) Dont LIE.
Seems like common sense buuuttt: If you have no idea what the unit is or what it's worth... they will know... if you try to spin a yarn about it having never been played or having found it in grandma's attic....they will know, and you will look like a fool. Understand that they have much more experience with the value of used gear than you do in most cases. Tell them honestly what you hope to get for it. Don't artificially inflate the number expecting to dicker.... at least at guitar center they will not dicker in most circumstances unless you have an exceptionally nice, rare or highly sought-after piece. If you throw them unreasonably high number, they will assume there's probably no deal to be made, stop researching the value and try to move on to another customer. Be honest. Whatever it's worth
, you're getting 60% of that and that's it. However, that should not dissuade you from trying to negotiate the selling price of the new item you're trading in for! Edit: See #8 EDIT:
8) Beware of the "Volvo Switch". The Volvo switch is a process colloquially coined after the stereotypical shady used car salesmen who probably originated the idea. It works like this: Every store pays the same for let's say, a Gibson Traditional Pro. Every store tags it for the same price. Lets say $1,999.99. Lets say Billy brings in a beat up Ibanez RG220 he's hoping to get $200 for. Guitar Center knows that they can sell it for $200 used with a setup and a little polish... they know this because they have the last 5 years worth of sales data from 200+ stores around the country. They offer Billy 60% of their sale price, or $120. If he accepts, he may then negotiate the selling price of the Gibson. Maybe he gets them to sell it for $1700.00. Or, instead, in the case of several people in this post, he storms out, heads to the independent shop and promises himself to write a scathing GC-Bash on the forums later on....
Now, lets say Billy goes to the small independent Shop "Sergey's Strings and Stuff
". Sergey knows he can sell Billy's Ibby for $225 because his customers almost by nature do not shop at GC. He pull's the Gibson off the wall, tagged for $1999.99 and announces he's going to give Billy $300.00
for his trade... Three Hundred!!!
Billy walked in hoping for $200 but knowing he was probably going to get $175 or less..... Sergey has really screwed this one up
, Billy thinks to himself! Sergey happily announces he's also gonna throw in a pack of elixirs as well.... Billy is ecstatic and he's eager to get the deal finalized before Sergey realizes he's mistaken the trade-in for a more expensive model. Billy walks out the store thinking he really got over on poor Sergey. He almost feels pity... but not quite... not while the gloat and gearlust is upon him.... Sweet old bugger Sergey... like the brother Billy never had....can't wait to get home and bash GC on the forums!! Might even add Sergey to the Christmas Card list!
..... problem is..... Sergey got over on BILLY. Billy has become a victim of the Old Volvo Switch.
This is where the dealer artificially adds the discount he would have given you anyway on top of your trade number, thereby offering you a number so far in excess of what you expected, you just automatically buy the guitar
. In the end however you pay more, or in the best of cases, the same.... but one way the salesman used a shady technique to manipulate your emotions. If Billy buys the guitar at GC, he will pay $1,580 out of pocket for the guitar. At Sergey's, he will pay $1700
. Almost 15% more. Think you're too smart for this to happen to you? Think this sounds ridiculous? Think again
. Guitar and Bass purchases are highly emotional ones.... doubly so with trade-ins. I have seen many many dozens, perhaps hundreds of people fall for it... in instrument sales and car sales.... but not at GC. I cant speak for the past, but currently GC has a very strict "Full Disclosure" policy. No tricks, no song and dance, no artificial manipulation of the numbers etc.... every customer is to be treated with respect and given all the pertinent information. Make sure when comparing trade-in numbers that you get THE WHOLE PICTURE!!
Follow these rules and you'll get more $$ for your trade and have an easier time doing it!