If you’re a musician, producer, or engineer, you’re probably familiar with Reverb! Similar to Amazon or eBay, Reverb allows its users to both buy and sell products. Reverb was purchased by Etsy in 2019 for a whopping $275 million (that’ll buy a lot of guitars)! One thing that makes Reverb unique is the buyer’s ability to make an offer on an item. Sellers can opt to accept offers on a piece of gear, allowing them and the buyer to negotiate a final sale price.
I spoke with my friend Alex from A Flash Flood of Gear, about how you can negotiate with sellers and land a better deal on your dream gear! Alex’s shop is one of the biggest non-corporate stores on Reverb, and he’s sold over 2,000 items, so he’s very familiar with how deals go down! Anything you read in quotes is from Alex, and the rest is from me. Let’s go over the top tips for getting the best deal on Reverb!
#1: Be reasonable and realistic with your offers
“I think the best way to get a fair deal on Reverb is to just be straight up, and make realistic offers. For example, if you’re looking at a guitar priced at $995 and the seller is open to offers, you could send an offer of $900 with a message along the lines of ‘Hey, this looks awesome! I can do $900 plus shipping and pay right away. Would that work for you?’ It is very likely the seller will accept this offer. On the other hand, an offer of $750 on that same guitar with a message attacking the seller about something in their description/price/ect will likely be ignored or declined, and you’ve now significantly lessened your chances of getting any discount. Just be personable and reasonable and most people will be happy to work with you!”
I myself have dealt with would-be buyers who nitpick the items to try and get a discount, and I rarely end up selling to them. For example, I had a combo amp for sale with a non-original speaker, and the price reflected that. I received a low-ball offer from someone who said “this amp’s speaker isn’t original, so I’ll offer $300 to take it off your hands”. I declined, and then went on to sell the amp for the asking price a few days later.
“When considering how much of a discount is reasonable, you have to look at a lot of factors. Condition, brand, price, rarity, how long it has been listed, and plenty of other factors all play in.
From my perspective, here is what I find to be reasonable. On used gear that has been listed for more than a week, from one of the big brands such as Fender, Gibson, Universal Audio, Roland or Focusrite, I would say 5-10% off is realistic and reasonable. If it sits for a couple months, I think as high as 15% off can still be a reasonable and realistic offer. If the item was just listed, and it is priced right, I probably would not expect to save more than 5%.
For intermediate level guitars from some of the less popular brands, I’d say 10-20% off is reasonable. These tend to not be as collectable or appreciate in value as much, so it’s a bit more of a buyer’s market.
On new gear from any brand, 5-12% is realistic, especially through a big box retailer. Most items are bought for about 70% of MAP (minimum advertised price), so the big volume dealers can afford to cut a bit of slack while still making a profit. On rarer items such as custom shop instruments, or items that are often sold out, you may see little to no discounts available in the current market.
On any very expensive items, the percentage you can save will decrease a bit. It is not realistic to save 10% off of a $5000 Gibson Custom Shop guitar, but you may be able to haggle a couple hundred off if you are nice about it.”
#2: Do some research and be patient
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve added an item to my cart on Reverb because it seems like a good deal, only to do some digging and find out that the seller had over-priced their item. You can look at sold listings to make sure the price you’re paying is fair compared to previous sales.
I’d also suggest looking at other websites to make sure there aren’t better prices available. For example, I was looking for a Supro guitar a few years back, and I ended up finding the exact model I wanted on closeout via Sam Ash. The brand new guitars were selling for the same price as the used ones. Don’t forget to do some clicking around and see what kind of deals exist elsewhere!
#3: Avoid these red flags
“The two biggest red flags for me are
1. The three paragraph explanation of why you should get 30%+ off.
I’ll often receive these essay length messages about why they feel they should pay far under the list price for an item. Ironically, this happens most with items that are already priced super competitively and below what others are asking for their gear. There is nearly no reasoning or sales pitch that is going to convince a dealer to throw their well-researched price out the window because you said so, or paid less for a similar item 20 years ago. I don’t want to come off cold or anything as I do love talking to customers, and getting super in depth on the gear I sell, but the persuasive essay is just not it.
2. What is your ROCK BOTTOM price?
I know when people try to go this way they have good intentions, but what they’re asking is for the dealer to negotiate against themselves. I have done my research and set a price for my item, most dealers price things right where they expect them to sell, or very close to it. We all are trying to get the best deal, I totally get it, but making a fair offer is much better than just expecting a lower price because you asked.”
At the end of the day…
…we’re all trying to get a good deal, whether buying or selling. By making reasonable offers, doing research, and being patient with your purchases, you can ensure that you get the best possible deal on Reverb!
Thanks to Alex for the help with this article – make sure to check out his Reverb shop and his YouTube channel where he posts about gear!