People missed me, I must be doing something right


If you suddenly found yourself unable to continue running your blog or podcast, would anyone notice?

Would they call or email to inquire about your health?

Would they come by and check up on you or send someone else to do so?

They will if you are building real relationships. And in this post I’m going to share a recent experience to prove it.

This morning I was awakened by someone from the sherif’s department. They asked if I was Maxwell Ivey, and I said yes. The deputy then told me that my business partner had called them because he was worried about me.

I had to ask him who had called it in. I didn’t admit this to them because I didn’t want to get someone in trouble for trying to do something nice. But I don’t have a business partner. That is unless we count my brother Patrick.

They told me it was Sherry from Florida. I thanked the gentleman for checking on me and told him I would call in and let them know I was okay.

I went and checked my phone and found I had a missed call and a voice mail from Pat in Florida. I have known him for a couple of years now since he first listed his beautiful stage trailer for sale on my website.

Pro stage 01

When I got Pat on the phone, he told me that the reason he had called was that my website was down, my emails were being returned, and neither of the numbers he had for me were being answered. I tried clicking on my website, and got the message saying that the site was expired and available. I told Pat that I would call him back after I got it sorted out. Pat said fine he just wanted to make sure his friend was okay.

Pro stage 02

I called my brother Michael to ask him if the site had been renewed or not. He told me that he thought I was handling the dot com site. I told him I thought he was. He told me to call my hosting company and find out.

So, I called tech support at host gator and they verified that the domain name was still registered with him. I texted him from my phone as I was on the way to a follow up with my gastric surgeon Dr. Scarborough. Michael would text me later saying the site was back online.

It was a classic case of you got it, no I got it; and then no one had it. 🙂 Thank goodness, I didn’t lose my domain name. I am sure there are people out there who would have loved to take advantage of all my hard work. And there are others who live to buy sites and then sell them back to their owners for a big profit.

I was a bit disappointed that more people hadn’t noticed that the site was down. That, or if they did notice; no one bothered to tell me about it. It makes me wonder about the importance or value of my site. It made me wonder about the quality of my service or the strength of the relationships I thought I had built.

Pat was the first to prove that there are people who care. And I’m thankful to have such great friends.

After I got home from my doctor’s visit, I got another call. This time it was from Susan. She is the owner of the train in San Diego California. She too had been having trouble getting a hold of me. Her emails to me were also being returned as undeliverable. And she wanted me to know that a potential buyer had actually showed up to look at the train. As I’m sure you can imagine I get a lot of inquiries from people who don’t have the ability or the financing to actually buy what they are asking about. So, its an accomplishment when one actually shows up in person.

2011 11  november wedding 154

The gentleman didn’t buy the train, but he did confirm for us that it is in emaculant condition. And I can now add a video so you can see and hear it run. You won’t believe how smooth that engine sounds.

Train pictures 011

Susie was happy to hear I was okay. And I was pleased to hear that she was concerned about me. It gave me a warm feeling.

It may have taken ten days before anyone got nervous enough to call and ask after my health, but eventually two amazing people did just that. They had decided that I wasn’t just a broker but a friend and someone they could count on. And I’m sure that any time one of their friends needs help with buying or selling midway type rides, games, inflatables, etc; they will tell them to get in touch with Max. 😀

I have managed to create this kind of loyalty because of how I treat people. I do my best to return emails promptly. And when the phone rings, I answer it. I don’t rush people off of the phone, and I never complain about what some might call tire kickers.

My dad taught me that you can never tell who will spend money on a midway just by looking at them. I try to follow this advice when talking with or exchanging emails with someone new. I honestly believe that each one is an opportunity and I treat them all as if they might be ready to spend a million dollars or list equipment valued at that amount.

I don’t have a lot of clients. Its partly because I am still unknown to many people in the various areas of the amusement industry. Its also because of my business model. Instead of free listings with advertising, I run the site on commission sales.

Often, I am the last person they ask. Its not unusual to get asked to help sell something after the owner has been trying on their own for over a year. Yet, knowing this doesn’t make me bitter. It just makes me even more determined to show people the kinds of results that convince them of the value of using me and my site.

For example I’m the most active of anyone selling amusement equipment when it comes to using face book, linked in, twitter, and other social media sites.

I not only encourage multiple photos, slide shows, and videos; I will do most of the work to get them added to my site.

And I’ll put my mailing lists up against anyone else in the business.

I follow the Japanese example of running a business for the long term. I want to get to know people and truly understand their problems. I want them to trust me and to ask my help. The more I treat people like they are precious and not just worry about what can I make off of them, the more I am building relationships.

I am slowly gaining a client list of good people who have good used equipment, who have surplus items for sale on a regular basis, and who will come back to me time after time when they need help. I’m not always going to be successful. Selling rides isn’t easy. Its all about finding someone who is looking for what you have when you have it and who is looking on the site where it can be seen. But when you have one of those moments where you can help make a sale that benefits both buyer and seller, then its an amazing feeling.

Helping people sell equipment they need to sell is one of the reasons why I started doing this. Yes, I want to support my family and make a name for myself, but I never forget when we had our own small carnival and couldn’t replace old equipment unless we could sell it at a good price.

So, I want to thank Pat and Susie for becoming my friends and for staying with me. They have other choices, but they found me, liked me, and think I’m the best hope for selling their items. Now, I need to reward them by finding good homes for their stage and train respectively.

Since no one has been able to send me emails, I will have to send out a mass mailing letting people know I’m still here and better than ever. I’ve been woken up by the possibility of losing the site I spent so much time, sweat, energy, and passion building. Even as I continue to build up myself as a coach, author, and public speaker; I will be rededicating myself to making the midway marketplace an amazing powerful site for helping people who want or need to sell these unusual items.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends, family, coworkers, and social media communities. The field of amusement equipment brokering is very competitive, and I will be surprised if some people aren’t already wondering if I am out of business. So, I really need you to help me get the word out.

And if you have been thinking about starting a business such as a family entertainment center, party rental company, food concessions business, etc; then please call or text me at 979-215-1770 or drop me an email.

I’ll be happy to advise you as best as I can. And I am open to being hired as a coach to walk you through starting a new amusement based business.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read these posts. I know you are very busy and have many demands on your time. I appreciate your deciding to spend some of it with me.

Thanks again, God bless you, and take care out there; Max

the midway marketplace is more than just carnival rides

Hello again;

One of the biggest problems I have with my business is the continuing misconception that the midway marketplace only sells rides. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, and I hope today’s post will go a long way towards clearing this up.

ZipLine slide

Lets start with the happy news that I have sold the Extreme Engineering Zip Line in Maryland. I’ve learned my lesson, so I won’t mention the selling price, who bought it, or where it is headed to. 🙂 I will say that the owners were happy enough with my work that they wrote me an amazing recommendation for my linked in profile.

They had the unit listed on other sites for over a year before I started working on it. They found my site while googling used amusement equipment. And they told me after the sale that I was one of only a couple sites that would list their equipment without requiring an exclusive arrangement or cash up front.

This is pretty common with me. People will try selling an item on their own for a long time. They will try craigs list, ebay, the local newspapers along with other free online classified sites. And after all else has failed, or when they are desperate to sell; then they come to me. Sometimes they find me on face book or google, and other times I reach out to them. But the point is too many people are trying hard to sell equipment in the wrong places or with the wrong people.

What you can list and why you should

Now, I’m not going to go into a long detailed post about why you should list your equipment with me. The point of this post is to let people know just how varied the listings are and can be on my site. But you should know that I can offer a site with few enough listings that your equipment will actually get seen; one of the largest international mailing lists going; an active and varied group of social media networks; text and video blogs media permitting; the ability to include multiple full sized photos and videos along with detailed descriptions in listings; etc.

Basically whatever I can do to help sell an item within the bounds of the law and my personal code of ethics will be done to find your items a new home.

As for what is acceptable on my site its anything that can be used in the amusement and entertainment industries. That includes but is not limited to the following list.

  • amusement park and carnival rides
  • game booths, trailers, stock, and supplies
  • food trailers and concessions machines
  • generators, wire, and electrical boxes
  • fence and fence feet
  • ticket boxes or trailers
  • stages, lighting and sound systems
  • circus tents and rigging
  • bunkhouses, motorhomes, and recreational vehicles
  • inflatable rides and games
  • interactive attractions
  • miniature golf courses
  • coin operated rides
  • arcade and redemption games
  • vending machines and prize cabinets
  • ride parts
  • trackless trains
  • go karts and bumper boats
  • cranes, fork lifts, and hand trucks
  • generators and power transformers
  • anything related to the items mentioned above

I also list products, supplies, and services. And I now accept banner ads in addition to straight commission based listings. Of course, any items advertised would have to relate to the focus of my site.

Examples of the variety of items listed

Now, just to show how flexible I can be here on the midway I’d like to mention a few of the items I currently have for sale.

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Calliope Corner episode 4 a malcolm cummings park train

Hello again; I hope you and your family are all well. I also hope that you got to enjoy some valuable quality time with your families during the holiday season. And now its time for us all to get back to work me included.

Malcolm  Cummings train engine 01

Today, I’m writing to share my latest video in my podcast series titled Calliope Corner. This time I have a completely restored 1960’s Malcom Cummings park train for $175,000 or best reasonable offer. And I have some awesome videos of it to show you.

Naturally, I hope you will watch the entire show. But if you would like to skip ahead to the video of the train in operation or to the owner’s walk around of the ride; then just scan down through the headings until you see the one you want. With all three videos there are two links. The first one is an embedded file that plays directly on this page. The second is a direct link to the video on youtube. Please let me know if you have any trouble with either of them.

Malcolm Cummings train engine front

A Little background

This beautiful train belongs to a gentleman from Prince Edward Island Canada who restores classic automobiles for a living. He bought this train from someone who bought it after the amusement park called Fairy Land went out of business. It was a family style amusement park in the same city where the train is located now.

He told me that when he first purchased it his plan was to refurbish it and then set it up for family and neighborhood events. He had no plans to operate it for profit. However, it turned out that the city has rules against him operating this train there. So, after he restored it; he decided he would have to put it up for sale.

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Six steps to a safe bounce house party

Hello again; Today, I want to address the recent story about three kids in New York who were injured when the bounce house they were playing in took flight. I want to use this occasion to instruct people on the safe operation of a bounce house. A children’s party should be a happy event.

Some facts

The bounce house in question was a little tyke’s toy model purchased by one of the parents living in the apartment complex where it had ben set up. They had used the unit several times with no incidents. However, the unit appears to have ben staked down with six inch plastic stakes that were insufficient for the weather conditions they had on that day. Th stakes generally used for a commercial inflatable are 18 inches long and made out of strong metal. They are routinely driven at least half way into the ground, but the freak winds experienced on that day may have still resulted in the moonwalk becoming airborne.

Types of rental companies

There are two basic types of inflatable rental companies. There are full service and self service. In general the self service bounce house rentals are operated out of a party planning store and offer only bounce houses. They will let you pick up the inflatable and trust you to operate it safely and then return it when you are through. The other full service party rental companies will generally offer all kinds of inflatables such as obstacle courses, competitive games, and slides both wet and dry. They will insist on delivering the units to your location or an approved park location, setting them up, and instructing you on the proper use of their equipment. They may even insist on leaving at least one person to supervise the party. Obviously having the items delivered to your home means they will be more expensive to rent. I know in this tight economy everyone is trying to save money wherever they can, but I would strongly encourage you to rent from professionals who will know how to avoid most potential problems.

Should you own a bounce house

Many of you have probably thought about how you could save a lot of money if you just bought your own bounce house. I’m sure that often families or groups of neighbors have thought about pooling their money and buying one to share. I’m not going to tell you not to. I’m just going to give you a few things to think about. And later I’ll give you a safety check list. If you are going to buy one, then first check with your home owner’s association or land lord to make sure that it will not violate any contractual agreements. Next, check to see what your insurance policy says about injuries that occur on your property or at your residence. Then, be sure to purchase a commercial grade inflatable to provide the maximum level of safety and enjoyment. You can often purchase these from local bounce house companies who are often eager to sell older units as they are under constant pressure to have the latest themed bouncers. You may also purchase a new one from any of the many inflatable manufacturers. But be sure to purchase items made or sold by companies in your state or province. Companies that sell in your hom country will be more able to insure that your item conforms with all the latest safety regulations. I would be happy to consult with you on the purchase of new or used inflatables.

Safety check list

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weekly meet up may 28 2014 new rides, indiegogo rewards and a special guest

Hello again; Last night we had another of my weekly video chats concerning the amusement industry and topics related to my efforts to help people sell their equipment. We discussed new additions to the website along with my plans for the upcoming Indiegogo campaign to fund taking the youtube show out on the road. And thanks to my friend Adrienne Smith stopping by, it was one of our best events so far.

Where to find the hangout videos

If you want to see last night’s show, then you can click either of the links below.

I want to remember to thank Mitchell Walker for continuing to help out by moderating the hangouts. And I want to include a link to his crowd sourcing campaign. He is raising money to start an internet radio station. You can get the details by going to his site or to the campaign page at Mitchell is one of the good guys. I’m not going to say I couldn’t do the hangouts without him, but I know I wouldn’t want to.

Indiegogo rewards for contributions

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