The Ultimate Guide to Selling Your Used DJ Equipment in 2019 (And Are Trade-Ins Ever Worth It?)

April 2, 2019 by alexpyatetsky

This article originally posted by The DJ Hookup here.

A big part of being a financially intelligent DJ and getting the equipment you need is being able to sell your used DJ gear at a good price, quickly. The internet has evolved and there are more options than eBay & Craigslist.

In this guide, we go deep on various channels available, what you need to know about each and how to offload your gear at the best price possible.

In this Guide

  • Setting Expectations – What’s Your Used DJ Equipment Worth?
  • Value Hacking – Maximizing the Perceived Value of Your Gear
  • Where to Sell Your Used DJ Equipment in 2019
  • Trading In Your Used DJ Equipment – Is It Ever Worth It?
  • Final Thoughts: Closing the Sale

SETTING EXPECTATIONS – WHAT’S YOUR USED DJ EQUIPMENT WORTH?

 

Modern DJ gear is a consumer electronic and depreciates accordingly. Unlike guitars or cars that may have collectible/aesthetic value or can be restored to improve resale value, the value of DJ gear, like TVs and cell phones, tends to only go down.

This shouldn’t scare you off from investing in DJ equipment because models from reputable brands tend to last 2-5+ years and the value of the gigs you’ll play with them should far exceed their cost. That said, it’s important to have a realistic expectation of what your gear is worth. Price too high and you won’t sell. Price too low and you’ll get taken advantage of.

Below is a guide for what your gear may be worth based on its age/condition. It’s not the end-all, be-all, just a rule of thumb you can use to value your gear. Want to move it quickly? Price towards the bottom of the range. Willing to wait for value? Price towards the top. For a more detailed sense of what your item may be worth, search Ebay or Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade Groups (explained below) to see what others have sold similar models for. That said, make sure not to confuse what an item was listedat for what it was sold for (hence searching completed listings, not pending ones).

Approximate Value of Used Gear Based on Age/Condition

 

Age/Condition Value as % of Purchase Price*
Like New/Open Box (0-2 Months) 80-90%
Lightly Used (3 Months – 1 Year) 65-80%
Used (1-2 Years) 50-65%
Substantially Used (2+ Years) <50%

*All ranges are approximate. Actual market value will vary based on model, location & condition

 

VALUE HACKING – MAXIMIZING THE PERCEIVED VALUE OF YOUR GEAR

 

There’s no magic to make your 15 year-old CDJ-1000s worth $1,000 a pop, but there are some things you can optimize to capture maximum value from your used dj gear.

  • Basic Cleanup Just like you’d clean up your apartment before renting a room, you want to perform basic hygiene on the gear you’re selling. Take off knobs and fader caps, wipe down any surfaces and screens with an electronic wipe (or lightly Windexed paper towel) and put the knobs and caps back on. You can’t make your used gear new, but you can make it clean.
  • Good Photos If you’re selling online, seeing is believing. Low-res, poorly lit photos make your gear look like its in worse condition than it is. Try to take well lit photos from at least top, front and back angles, plus any others that may help your buyer make an informed decision. If possible, make your photos look good enough for your buyer to post on his/her Instagram after buying. A word of caution – while dark, nightclub-style photos may look cool and show off the lights on your gear, they can be perceived as trying to hide something. If you include such photos, they should be towards the end of your listing and should never be the only ones.
  • Included Software Licenses If your gear came with a software license, contact the manufacturer and ask if you can unregister it so you can transfer to another computer. Once confirmed, make sure to include this information in your listing as these licenses are easily worth $100+ to the buyer.
  • Original Packaging and Accessories While you shouldn’t hoard things you don’t need, if you ever intend to sell your gear, try to keep the original packaging and accessories. Getting the item in its original display packaging is one step closer to New than Used and communicates that you’ve cared for it. As for accessories, if any are missing, especially ones that are necessary to use the product, don’t be stingy and price accordingly. All else equal, your buyer is going to buy the product with all needed accessories, so your price needs to be lower to compete.
  • Transferable Manufacturer/Extended Warranties Not all warranties are transferable, so contact your manufacturer or 3rd party warranty company to make sure yours is. If so, include this selling point in your listing with warranty end date. If you’re selling a 3rd party extended/accidental-damage protection warranty, you can price it proportional to the time left on it*. That said, keep in mind that only a fraction of your prospective buyers will be willing to pay a premium for the item, even with a better warranty, so be careful not to price yourself out of selling. The used market will be less likely to pay the premiums that you were when you bought new.*E.g. 3 years left on 4 year warranty purchased for $200 = $150 remaining.

Online, seeing is believing. Take Instagram-ready photos that’ll make people excited to buy.

 

WHERE TO SELL YOUR USED DJ EQUIPMENT IN 2019

Your gear is clean and ready for a new owner! Now where do you find him/her?

#1. Facebook Groups

Facebook Groups have become one of the largest platforms for interest-based online communication, taking the place of forums of a decade ago. If you’re not already participating in DJ industry FB Groups, you’re likely missing out.

Before we get into which groups you should be posting your gear in, here are some of the reasons Facebook Groups are our favorite way to sell used gear in 2019.

  • Highly Targeted Audience With FB Groups you’ll exclusively show your gear to DJs, not the general public or people generally interested in music equipment. No other platform this large offers this level of targeting.
  • Easy Posting Posting in a Facebook Group is as easy as posting on your wall (which you should also do). Snap a few pics, write the content, press submit, done. No accounts to create, no bank accounts to link, no email verification, no listing fees, etc. If nothing else, you should list on FB Groups because it’s so fast and easy.
  • Easy Crossposting Facebook realizes that their groups are used for selling, so they make it easier for you to list in as many qualifying groups as possible. Upon creating your For Sale post, Facebook will ask you if you want to crosspost to any other groups, including its own Marketplace (a Craigslist alternative). Within seconds, you can be reaching 10,000s more DJs, each one maximizing your chance of selling.
  • Photo-Timeline Browsing Since Groups have timelines, like Profiles & Pages, if you’re selling a less popular model, you have as much chance of being seen as someone selling a blockbuster. By contrast, search-based platforms will only show your item if someone is searching for it by name.
  • Free Transparency One of the biggest challenges of selling online is establishing credibility and trust. On Facebook, you can check your buyer out and make sure you’re comfortable selling to him/her before committing anything, without paying the platform to mediate the transaction.
  • FREE FREE FREE No listing fees. No commissions/success fees. With all of the benefits above, FB Groups is a better outlet than many of the paid platforms and it’s 100% free.

Sold? So which FB Groups should you list your equipment on?

Buy/Sell/Trade (BST) Groups Like the name suggests, these are groups 100% dedicated to buying and selling DJ gear. You can post in them immediately & shamelessly. Plus, you can crosspost between them with a single click.

  • National Buy/Sell/Trade Groups If you type “DJ Equipment” into the Facebook search bar and navigate to the Groups tab, you’ll find a number of groups with names like “DJ Equipment Exchange,” “DJ Equipment Buy/Sell/Trade,” etc. Join them all, just make sure your country qualifies by verifying the currency of existing listings. As of this writing, here are some of largest US-focussed BST groups on Facebook: Buying & Selling DJ EquipmentDJ Equipment Exchange, DJ Equipment for SaleThe DJ Equipment Exchange.
  • Local Buy/Sell/Trade Groups Similar to the above, many major cities and states have their own DJ Equipment Buy/Sell/Trade groups. To find them search terms like “DJ Equipment [City/State].”
  • FB Marketplace Not exactly a BST group, Facebook’s native alternative to Craigslist is growing in popularity and can be crossposted to like other BST groups, so why not?
  • Special Mention Your Own Wall Hey, we’re being thorough here.

User Groups & General Industry Groups Besides BST groups, there are many more groups where you can reach an even more targeted audience, but they’re not specifically dedicated to buying and selling gear. With these groups you want to 1) read the rules upon joining 2) check if anyone is listing their gear for sale and 3) most importantly, be cool, respectful and don’t spam. If in doubt, message a moderator to make sure it’s OK to post your listing first. What’s great about these groups is that you won’t be competing with nearly as many listings and likely reaching many DJs who wouldn’t participate in BST groups.

  • Specific Model User Groups Many top products/product lines (e.g. Pioneer DJ DJM-S9, Rane Seventy-Two, Pioneer DJ DDJ-1000 and many more) have dedicated groups for users who may be ideal buyers for you.
  • Platform/Brand User Groups Whether its Rekordbox, Serato, Traktor, Virtual DJ or Ableton, they all have user groups, most more than one. Here again, you’ll find a pretty obvious audience for your product.

 

#2. Craigslist

CL is still the giant of local commerce. From apartments, to furniture, to musical instruments & electronics, this is where America posts and looks for its stuff.

Why we like Craigslist –

  • Huge Local Audience Your local market may vary, but most major cities will have a thriving community of buyers and sellers
  • Stupendously Simple Craiglist is simple by design. No fancy quirks or modern design trend. It’s barebones. Photos + text. People respond to you by email or text message.
  • Free We believe in exhausting the convenient, free options before pursuing the more complicated, paid ones.

Pitfalls of Craigslist & How to Navigate Them –

  • Local Limitation If you’re in a small market or the only DJ in town, your post probably won’t reach your target audience.
    • What to Do About It While you can’t grow more DJs, you can list your item in the largest nearby market and offer to deliver/ship. Additionally, if Craigslist isn’t popular in your market, check if Kijiji, OLX or similar alternative are.
  • Search-First Navigation While CL has a Musical Instruments category local DJs can browse, it’s really intended for buyers to search for what they’re looking for. This means that if you have have the less popular Denon SC5000, as opposed to the more popular Pioneer CDJ-2000 NXS2, you’re going to get less visibility for your listing.
    • What to Do About It At the end of your post included a “Related Terms” section and list all the competing and complimentary products and brands your potential buyers may be searching for to increase your chances of showing up in those search results. Also, make sure you have good pictures & titles to maximize your chance of winning them over from the product they were originally searching for.
  • Buyer Anonymity You don’t actually know who you’re dealing with on this platform since there are no public profiles. Make sure to practice safe selling.
    • What to do About It Don’t send anything before you’ve been paid. Meet in a coffee shop or similar public place with outlets so buyer can plug in and test your gear. Hopefully you’re selling to someone you’ve established trust with, but the safest way to get paid is cash. Digital payments may be subject to chargeback fraud where the buyer contacts their bank/credit card and claims they never received their item. For more tips on safe selling, see Final Thoughts: Closing the Sale below.

 

#3. Reverb.com

Reverb is building the Ebay of musical equipment, only charging ~3.5% success fees, compared to Ebay’s ~10%*. While it certainly has a smaller audience than Ebay (a smaller subset of whom are DJs), it’s global, secure, more targeted than Ebay and has been growing steadily since its inception in 2013.

*Actual success fees vary based on various factors.

Why we like Reverb –

  • Lower Success Fees 3.5% is way better than Ebay’s standard 10% and Amazon’s 15%.
  • Easy Listings With its mobile app, Reverb’s engineers have created a listing experience that’s easy and streamlined, even for first time sellers.
  • Affirm Financing Reverb partnered with Affirm consumer financing service to allow qualifying sellers to offer financing to their buyers. This means that buyers who may not be able to afford your item outright become valid prospects as they can split their purchase into multiple payments.
  • Seller Protection Reverb essentially accepts all fraud/chargeback risk, so you can confidently accept payment and ship to anyone in the world. These protections come with a little bit of extra work in the account setup stage.
  • Helpful, Responsive Support Unlike Ebay, who offers the definitive phone tree to unhelpful, outsourced, corporate support experience, Reverb’s support is surprisingly reliable, quick and competent.

 

#4. Ebay

Ebay is the original website for selling your stuff online and may still be the first one you think of to sell yours. Today, in exchange for access to their huge platform and buyer/seller protections, you should expect high fees (~10% success fee + 2-3% transaction fees), bulky sign up and listing processes, mediocre messaging tools and painful, corporate support.

In addition, due to its size, Ebay’s seller standards are designed to standardize buyer experience. This adds a layer of bureaucracy that you may not want to deal with in a simple transaction.

All in all, we’re not saying you should count Ebay out, but unless you’re in an all-out sprint to offload your used gear, hold off until you’ve exhausted the free/lower cost options above.

 

#5. OfferUp/LetGo

OfferUp, LetGo and similar platforms exist to help people sell their stuff to the people around them as easily as possible (think Craiglist, but with more tech). Like Reverb, they’ve streamlined the listing process. That said, we’re not so much recommending these platforms as acknowledging them. While some have found success, most report flakey buyers and an overwhelming tendency towards lowballing/wanting something for nothing.

If you have the time, it can’t hurt, but this probably isn’t your #1.

 

Special Mentions: Other Forums

 

  • DJForums.com Equipment for Sale Forum – A blast from the past, DJForums.com used to be the largest DJ forum online. It still has a regular user base, just not as active as Facebook Groups or Reddit these days. They also have an Equipment Wanted Forum that may help you move your gear.
  • r/GearForSale – A buy/sell/trade friendly island in the spam hating waters of Reddit. Not 100% DJ gear, but mostly.
  • Other forums such as Serato’s Off-Topic Forum can be a good place to get in front of potential buyers, just make sure they allow sales threads (the one linked here does) and respect each forum’s rules.

TRADING IN YOUR USED DJ EQUIPMENT – IS IT EVER WORTH IT?

If you’ve ever sold used cars or flipped anything, you know a secret that 99% of sellers don’t – you make money when you buy, not when you sell. The entire business of buying used gear and reselling it rests on buying it substantially below market value and reselling it at market value, not the other way around.

If you understand this, you understand that when you trade in or have your gear bought back, you’re effectively selling it at pawn-shop price. Their job is to buy it for a fraction of the price they can resell it at and to (generously) price in  any imperfections, risk associated with it sitting on their shelves or anything else they can think of to justify a lower price. They are not in the business of paying fair market value and finding a way to resell it for more. Not because they’re bad guys, but because selling above market isn’t a viable business model.

 

Pay attention to all the reasons the Pawn Stars can’t pay full price. This is basically the same business model as your trade-in dealer. If you’re bringing your gear in for trade in, set your expectations accordingly. 

How Low is Low Ball?

We decided to see how much we could get at trade-in for a Pioneer DJ XDJ-RX2, <1 year old, excellent condition. If you use our valuation chart above, assuming we bought the mixer on huge sale and we’re willing to value it at the bottom of the range, it should fetch a minimum of $900. Realistically though, $900 XDJ-RX2s are usually in rough shape and an excellent condition one should easily be worth >$1,000+.

We contacted 1 of the leading DJ equipment retailers that offers trade-ins (others refused to offer even a ballpark estimate by phone). To their credit, they told us outright, “you’ll definitely get a better value for this on the street. We couldn’t give you more than ~$700 for it.”

We asked another industry colleague who does trade ins. He targets 25-40% of retail price for buy-back/trade of a 1-year old product. He explained that he’s terrified of being stuck with a product that sits on the shelves, so he has to buy it a ~0 risk price.

In short, you’re almost never going to get your gear’s worth at trade in. By a huge margin, too. If you’re selling your gear for the best financial outcome, it’s simply not going to happen at trade-in.

Beware Trade-In Math

Unlike the honest company above, many less honest professional buyers will try to convince you that the value of your trade-in is some kind of discount off your next item. It is not. You are giving them something of value and should be credited accordingly. The discount on the product should be exactly that and in no way tied to your trade-in.

Make sure to keep your numbers straight so that you’re not taken advantage of with “after trade-in pricing” that obscures the value of the gear you’re trading in and the discount on your new items.

Below is an example of how tricky trade-in math can be used against you. In this example, we’re selling the XDJ-RX2  mentioned above and buying a new mixer that’s normally $2,199. On the left, we see the financial impact if we sell our old mixer for a decent value on Facebook and get a good discount from an online dealer on the new one. On the right is an example of trade-in math that looks like we’re getting an insane price on the $2,199 mixer, but we’re actually getting terrible value for our outgoing mixer and close to no discount on the new one, plus paying sales tax.

 

Separate Transaction Scenario $Value Trade In Scenario $Value
Cost of New Mixer -2,199 Cost of Mixer after Trade In -1,299
Retailer Discount +400 Local Sales Tax (8%) -103.92
XDJ-RX2 Sale on Facebook +1,000
Online Sales Tax 0
Total Financial Impact -$799 Total Financial Impact -$1,402.9

Despite the seemingly attractive “after trade-in price” of the new mixer, the trade in scenario costs us $600 more than selling our mixer independently and finding the best price online. Even if you think you can get a better trade-in value or a better discount with your trade-in, make sure to count all 4 components of the trade-in transaction: new product base price, new product discount, value of trade in, sales tax. Once you add those together, compare the sum against a likely separate sale/separate purchase scenario and make the best decision.

 

So, Never Trade In?

Never say never. If your time is worth a ton and the ~$600 difference above is less important than moving on with the old and in with the new, then a trade in may be right for you. But chances are, if you’ve read this far, those $600 matter to you.

The other case when trading in might make sense is if your item is extremely unpopular and you haven’t been able to find a buyer online. A trade in might be your only choice to get rid of it. However, keep in mind that professional buyers aren’t altruists. They’re not required to buy your gear that nobody wants and frequently won’t touch something they feel there’s insufficient market for. Additionally, if you’re trying to salvage $50-200 from a piece of gear, do your online research and find the best price you can get on the new item you’re buying. Make sure the discount you can get doesn’t exceed the trade-in value of the gear you’re trying to get rid of. Perform the math above (base price, discount, trade in value + tax) and figure out which option will get you the best financial outcome.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS: CLOSING THE SALE

You’ve cleaned up your gear, taken your pics & taken 30 minutes to make some online posts. You’re starting to get leads. What now?

Here are some tips to help you close the sale and get the best value.

  • Act Fast This is not the time to take it easy or be chill. The person who hit you up has money in their pocket now. They may get a huge speeding ticket tomorrow. Another seller they’ve been waiting on may get back to them with a better deal. Problems at work may arise and cause them to get fold feet. In short, act immediately and close the transaction as soon as you can leaving as little room for these predictable “unexpected” events to interfere.
  • Do Not Entertain Wishy-Washiness “Do you think you’ll still have this this weekend?” “Can I hit you up in a few days?” “I’m probably interested…” Despite however chill or kind you may be, realize that a lead and a sale are miles apart. There are few things as motivating as time-pressure and few things as demotivating as the lack of it. As far as your buyers are concerned, it’s listed now, people are making offers now, you’re looking to sell now and if they want it, they should act now. At the very least, if someone wants you to hold the item for them, ask for a small deposit. Otherwise, you don’t owe them anything and should be looking for the next serious buyer.
  • Practice Safe Selling In 2019, fraud is a real thing. If you’re selling offline, your best bet is to get cash. If you’re selling online, use a secure payment method like PayPal and get paid for “Merchandise and Services,” which has Seller Protection, not as “Friends and Family” which doesn’t. If you’re selling on a paid platform like Reverb or Ebay, check their requirements for Seller Protections and follow them to a T. As a rule of thumb, use a reliable shipping method with tracking number and purchase signature confirmation on items >$750, shipping to an apartment or major city where package theft may be prevalent. These precautions will decrease your chance of being defrauded and protect you if anyone tries to.

 

LET US KNOW WHAT’S WORKING FOR YOU!

Tell us if you tried any of the methods above and how they worked for you in the comments below.

Have other tips or channels to recommend to fellow DJs? Leave them in the comments and we may add them to future versions of this guide.

alexpyatetsky alexpyatetsky (1 Posts)

Alex Pyatetsky is the co-founder of TheDJHookup.com, highest rated DJ equipment dealer online for 2016, 2017 and 2018. Starting as a mobile DJ roadie at 15, he has 2 decades of experience, from producing events, performing at them and building businesses in the music/digital industries.


Filed Under: Mobile DJ Equipment