This time I will continue our discussion about selling amusement equipment with some suggestions on inflatables and inter actives.
best time to sell
Let’s start by talking about timing. There are times of year that are best for selling because potential buyers have the funds to invest and the incentive to do so. After winter time the next two best times for selling rides, games, inflatables, concessions, generators, etc are after the July 4th weekend and just before the start of the fall fair and festival season. Of course, these dates apply to the u s. There are similar milestone dates in the season regardless of where you live and work.
However, for inflatables and inter actives this is effected by two key issues. One is the fact that most party rental companies want to turn their equipment over every two to three seasons to keep their inventory fresh. The other factor is the timing of the IAAPA, International Association of Amusement Parks And Attractions trade show. This event happens every year on the week before Thanksgiving.
Despite the association’s name most of the manufacturers of inflatables will be represented there. And quite often these representatives will offer prices on their new equipment that are equal to if not substantially less than what a similar used item would sell for. Also, experienced rental company owners will try to use the threat of the IAAPA prices to push for an even better price on your used items. So, I would advise you to try to sell earlier in the year or waiting until well after this show is over.
Now, let’s go on to some of the things potential buyers will want to know or see about your units. I’m sure you realize that with inflatables there is a much shorter life span of the equipment. And this life is severely effected by the quality of the people who operate it and how your customers are allowed to use it. The buyer is going to try to determine how many years, months, weeks, events, etc the item has left in it and whether or not they should purchase used or just wait until they can buy a new unit.
questions buyers will ask
So, here are some of the questions you should be prepared to answer. Buyers want to know the name of the manufacturer, year made, dimensions, weight, and number of blowers and whether or not they will be included in the sale. They need to know if the unit has passed or will pass their state’s inspections. Here, they may want to see proof that it meets current standards for fire safety. They need to know if there have been any repairs or alterations and if so who were they done by. They need to know if the accessories are included and where they can buy replacements from when needed.
what condition is it in?
Condition is key, so they will ask about the tightness of the stitching or how tightly the unit blows up when inflated. They will want to know if there has been any fading or staining of the vinyl or if the unit has or has ever had any mildew. They may even want to know how and where it was stored when not in use.
How hard is it?
Since many of the companies in this field are small family operations, you should give people an honest evaluation of how difficult your ride or attraction is to use. Tell the buyers how many people it takes to have your item ready to operate. Also tell them how strong these people have to be. If the unit really requires a vehicle with a lift gate or a truck with a winch, then they should know this. And if you have a dolly that will be included or could be included; then you should definitely mention that especially if your item is one of the larger slide or multi piece obstacle courses.
Next, let’s talk about photos and videos. Again, the goal is to convince the buyer that your unit has lots of life left in it. This is true whether we are talking about inter actives like rock climbing walls, mechanical bulls, power trampolines, wax hand machines, trackless trains or inflatables like bouncers, slides, obstacle courses, etc. So, you want pictures or video that will address any fears that a potential buyer may have.
taking effective photos
So, start by taking the photos on a bright clear sunny day. Good lighting sends a positive message and makes it easier for the buyer to get a good look at what you have for sale. Then, start by showing them photos of it set up and in use. Follow this up with photos taken during the set up process. Then finish with some pictures of it on the truck or trailer. Be sure to include some shots of it from all sides. If the unit has any problems, then include a photo that spotlights that issue. Including your item from all angles and pointing out the unit’s flaws will build trust in you and your offerings. And trust is crucial in the sale of any item but even more so when we are talking about inflatables.
videos tell the whole story
This is also where video can come in handy. One of the best videos I ever received was of a used inflatable multi game unit made by World of Games. They rolled out the unit and hooked up the blower. Then they turned on the camera so you could watch the unit being inflated. You could watch the clock on the video to see how long it took. You could hear the blower to know how loud it would be. And then he and his kids pushed on it from all sides so people could really see how solid the unit was.
And while I don’t represent them or have anything to do with the Inflatable Depot, I have been impressed by the fact that they will include 360 degree walk throughs of their larger obstacle courses, combination units, and bounce climb and slide units. Just picture what you would find on a real estate broker’s site but done for amusement equipment.
show your item in use
Finally, don’t forget to include photos and videos of your item or items in use. This allows people to see how popular your unit is. They can also get an idea of the age range of users. They may spot an issue that concerns them. If they do, then they can ask in advance rather than finding out after the purchase. But the main reason is something my dad taught me. He said no ride, game, inflatable, etc ever looks better than when it has a crowd of happy laughing or screaming people and more waiting in line.
reminders for posting ads
I know this sounds like a lot to include, but you have to remember that your items will have to compete with a lot of other used equipment out there. You need to make your items stand apart from the rest. This is where my site can be more helpful than some others. I will include up to 25 photos per ad listing. And I not only allow videos, I encourage them. If you have multiple items, or if one of your pieces of equipment is unique; then it will also be featured in a blog post like this one.
using the midway marketplace
If you have equipment for sale, or if you have some items that you have been thinking about selling; then I sincerely hope you will give my site a try. I do charge a commission, but I only receive payment when I am responsible for a sale. Also, I don’t insist that you stop your own efforts to sell your items. I only ask that you notify me if you do so I can keep the site current. Nothing is worse than having to tell someone the item they had their heart set on has already been sold.
To discuss listing your equipment for sale you can either send me an email or you can use the submission form. The only real difference is the submission form only allows for five photos. The other difference is the submission form requires you to click agreement with my commission. So, for those who decide to email me, I will need to get your agreement in written form before I can proceed. I’m sure you will understand.
next post in series
Next time we will continue with a discussion about issues specific to food and game concession trailers. I will also speak about canvas game booths as well as individual game props and concessions machines. I hope you have enjoyed this post. If you have, then why not help me out by sharing this article with your friends, family, and coworkers.
importance of leaving a comment
I also encourage you to leave a comment. This is mainly because I love hearing from my readers and enjoy talking with them about the industry I love. Its also a good way for you to promote your website or blog with back links. And now thanks to comment love premium you also get a link to your twitter profile and most recent blog post. Another thing that happens is I love visiting the sites of people who are nice enough to leave a comment. And if I like your work, then you could get a new subscriber and someone who loves sharing his friend’s work with the net.
I hope to hear from you soon. Thanks and take care, Max