Hello again; I’m back to continue this series as I try to get people ready for the end of the season. I apologize for not getting this out sooner, but my family and I had to attend the Texas Pecan Festival in Groves Texas two weeks ago. My family has been responsible for providing the carnival there for 45 years. We are expected to be there, and honestly we look forward to it. Many of the committee members are like family. And for me Groves has always been one of those weeks where I sit down and take stock. I used to measure the success of our season by how well we had done up to that week. We got rain this year, but I still enjoyed reconnecting with old friends.
So, this week as promised I am going to focus on issues specific to selling mechanical rides. This discussion will include suggestions for both portable carnival and fun fair rides as well as fixed location amusement park and family entertainment center rides. But the bulk of my comments will probably apply more to traveling or road model equipment. The one thing I can say that applies to everyone is that the more expensive or difficult the ride will be to acquire the more information, photos, and videos you should include! I mention price and difficulty because sometimes a ride may have a low purchase price but require a lot of work to make it ready to use. Or in the case of park rides a sale will often require the dismantling, loading, shipping, and reinstalling on a new location. The bigger a person’s investment in time, energy, and money; the more he or she is going to want to know before making a decision to buy.
You should try to anticipate as many of their questions as possible. I will give you some to think about and then share some example ads. I’m sure you can think of the obvious questions that any buyer would ask such as the name of the manufacturer, year built, current condition, actual location, ride dimensions, electrical or water requirements, capacity, and of course selling price. But here are a few that you may not think of. Some of these can be very helpful to a potential buyer.
First, when was the ride last inspected and by whom. Here, you would want to include the name of the inspector, name of his or her company, name of governing body, date of completion, and date of next required inspection. You would want to include any issues found and their resolution. You should also mention any technical improvements that were made to pass the inspection or that were done to prepare for future inspections.
This little dragon ride’s listing is a good example of what I’m talking about. While the improvements that were made were not done just to pass an inspection, the description is very well done. So, I will quote a bit of it here. “Last season they put in a new hydraulic system including pump, motor, and valves. The season before they had a new center bushing made and installed. It replaced the original one, so they believe it should last at least ten years. They also replaced the hand-crank boat winch that used to suck the center up on to the trailer with a twelve volt electric winch. It used to have a computer controlled drive system that I’m told was not reliable. They took it out and made the ride much simpler to operate and much easier to work on. ”
Next, you should address transporting the ride. If it is a trailer mounted ride, then the buyer needs to know how many trailers there are and of what types. He or she will need to know what kind of truck you currently tow it with and whether or not the truck or other vehicles will be included in the sale. If there are multiple trailers, can any of them be pulled as a double load. You should advise them as to the condition of the trailer or trailers. You should tell them about how road worthy the ride is. Some things to include are condition of axles, bearings, wheels, tires, breaks, and lighting. If the tires are difficult to find replacements for, then the buyer should know this. They will need to know if it has a current inspection. If it does, then when is it up for renewal. If it doesn’t, then what are the primary reasons for it not having one. And your opinion as to how well the trailer tows is very valuable to a potential buyer.
In this listing for a package of three kiddie rides in Hungary, the owner not only mention the truck but they included two nice photos of it. They also let potential buyers know that this truck can pull another ride behind it. Given the high cost of fuel and general shortage of drivers, this is an important thing to mention.
If the ride is a park model, then knowing how costly it will be to get from its current location to its new home is critical. It would be very helpful to be able to tell them the approximate cost and time required for dismantling, loading, shipping, and reinstalling. Knowing the number of truck loads or container loads would be a good thing to know. You should b able to include all technical documents such as proof of ownership, operators manuals, schematic drawings, etc. You need to let the buyer know if you will make the arrangements or assist with making them or if the buyer will be completely on his or her own during the process. I am not yet a full service agency, so I have to depend on either the buyer or seller being familiar with the process. In the past I have located companies to help with relocating equipment, but this is the extent of my ability at this time.
This himalaya type ride called the music express is a good example of what I’m talking about. The ride is located in Bulgaria. My contact told me that the ride will take three 40 foot containers to load for shipment and that the estimated cost of dismantling and loading would be 15,000 euros. Now, they are experienced in this area, so I would expect them to know. You may not have this kind of information yet, but you should be ready to discover it in a short period of time should a buyer need these details to determine whether or not they can afford your ride.
Something else that can help sell a piece is knowing its history. In most cases this means knowing how long you have owned it, who you bought it from, and how many owners it has had all together. It could also mean knowing if the ride came from a famous owner or perhaps was the first or last of its line. Some ride companies are known for how well they take care of their equipment. Being able to mention one of these names can add value to your item. If you have been the ride’s only owner, you should definitely mention that. And it would be helpful to know if the ride was handled by employees or if it was moved solely by its owner or his or her family. And given the highly competitive nature of the business be sure to mention if your ride is one of a kind or the only one operating in a given market. As they say on Auction Hunters the better the story the higher the price.
This listing for the casey jones cannonball train is a good example of several of these points. It mentions that the train was most likely the last iron horse 24 gage park train built by Allan Herschell. It tells about how this train was at Liberty Land Amusement Park in Memphis Tennessee the favored park of Elvis Presley and his friends and family. And it also covers the fact that while they can’t deliver the ride, they will help load it for shipment.
Now, I have spent a lot of time in the past discussing photos and videos. But what if you don’t have any actual photos or videos. What if the ride was taken down and placed in storage without the opportunity to take any pictures. This often happens when the owner had planned to use the ride again or when an expected sale falls through. It can also be caused when a ride must be removed in a hurry such as the closing of a business or a natural disaster. There are a couple ways you can handle this lack of photos. First, you can choose to include stock photos from the manufacturer or photos of similar models of your ride. You can also include the technical specifications and or engineer’s drawings. You could search the internet to find photos of your equipment from previous years. You could also take photos and video of the equipment where it is being stored. The key here is to be honest about the images you are providing. In my opinion there is nothing wrong with any of these options as long as you make it clear to the buyer that they are not perfect merely offered to give them an idea of what they would be getting. Naturally, the best option is to include current photos and videos of what you have for sale. The best way to accomplish that is to make it a practice to update your media files on your equipment every year.
This sky coaster ad is a good example of using pictures of similar rides as well as including schematics of a ride. It also has a link to a video taken by a fan of the ride from back when it was part of Opry Land Park in Nashville Tennessee.
And this listing for a Huss rainbow is a good example of including a video walk through at its current location. this ride has suffered greatly from being stored in an outdoor location. So, to help a previous interested party, the owner recorded these three videos. They show its current condition better than any photos could have.
For portable rides you should also address the difficulty of set up and take down. Buyers will want to know how many people are required and how long they will have to work to have the ride ready to open. If having additional workers will speed up the process, then you should mention that too. Is the ride complicated enough that it requires a supervisor to ensure it is not damaged during set up? Will the buyer need a winch or crane to move the ride? If so, will one be included in the price. Do you have one you could sell them or know of one for sale? Does it come with any special tools that would be difficult to replace if misplaced by employees? You should mention any items that routinely need to be adjusted after transporting the ride to its next location. Even though you may think someone should know this, you should include recommendations about how often fluids and filters should be changed. You have been using the ride, and your experience may tell you different than what people can learn from the manuals. I mention this because a buyer wants to feel confident he will be able to get as much use out of his or her purchase as possible. Knowing what will be involved in properly maintaining the ride may be critical to their decision process.
I know I have given you a lot to think about here. I’m sure many of you are thinking that most sites where you would advertise an item don’t give you enough room to include all this information. Well you see this site wasn’t always the way it is now. For many years people had to click the name or description of a ride to see the photos or videos. I got really good at asking the right questions and helping people right excellent descriptions of their equipment. So when I updated the site to the current version last year; I decided to allow long descriptions. My site will accept ads up to 5,000 characters. It will also allow up to 25 photos per item, and I can include as many videos as I believe will be helpful to potential buyers visiting the site. So, I strongly encourage you to answer these questions for yourself. Have the answers ready. A short headline with the name, maker, year, and price may be enough to get them interested; but its not going to be enough to get them to buy. This is a very competitive market. And the continued uncertainty surrounding the U S economy and our government will continue to make people cautious about spending what cash or credit they have available. The more information, photos, videos, etc you can include in your ad; the better your chances will be to find a buyer at your price and in a timely manner.
If after reading this post, you have decided you want to give the midway a try at selling your surplus rides; then here is what you need to do. You need to either send me an email or click on submit your listing page It doesn’t cost you anything to list an item. I only get paid when I am responsible for the sale. And you get the same quality of work whether you have one ride or twenty. I have often been surprised by what sells the quickest, so I show no bias based on the age, condition, location, or price of your rides.
I have put a lot of work and thought into this post, so I really hope you like it. If you do, then please share it with your friends, family, and coworkers. Please take a minute and leave a comment. They are all greatly appreciated. Even a critical comment is a blessing as I can always find a way to learn from them and become better at my profession. You will not be added to a mailing list just because you left a comment. You either have to fill out the subscribe to emails form or have requested to get email updates about new additions to the website. I do really love hearing from my readers, and I hope to hear from you soon. Thanks and take care, Max