Trading Gear on Reverb: Is it Worth it?

One of the most common questions we get on Reverb is: "How do I trade gear?" Sellers often mention trade requests in their descriptions, and buyers hurl trade proposals through messages and offers like rockstars tossing picks into a crowd.

Most of you reading this have probably pulled off a gear trade at some point and are likely quick to take mental inventory of your current collection when considering what gear you want next. We see it all the time and totally recognize that trading is a long-standing part of the gearhead lifestyle.

But does it have to be?

On Reverb where your audience of buyers spans the world, gear trading is rapidly growing obsolete.

Reverb's Policy on Trades

Let's take a minute to get some of the fine print out of the way. While we take pride in assessing each situation individually, we do not officially condone straight up trades on the Reverb platform. We remove trade language on listings when we see it and request that you do not solicit trades with other members when using the site.

When this comes up, many are quick to assume that our motivation is strictly financial and that we just want to collect fees through multiple sales. Our policy is straightforward: when there's no money involved in a transaction, we cannot offer protection for buyers and sellers.

There's nothing we take more seriously than ensuring that everyone who transacts on the site has a positive experience and gets the gear they expect in the condition they expect it. With trades, there are so many variables and moving parts that this commitment becomes significantly more difficult to uphold.

Extra Gear? Just Sell It

Of course, the policy outlined above doesn't address the main point of trades: it's a mechanism for musicians who don't have extra cash on hand to acquire something new. We get that, and believe me, we live to help musicians to get their hands on fresh, inspiring gear.

The false assumption is that finding a trade partner is somehow quicker and easier than just selling your gear.

For one thing, matchmaking is hard: it's unlikely that a seller you're messaging happens to want exactly what you have to offer compared to the wide world of Reverb buyers that stalk new listings on the site every day. Additionally, we do not charge any fee whatsoever until an item sells, so there's no risk or expense to testing the waters of selling before vying for a trade.

For these reasons, we ask you to make a listing for your gear, get fair value out of it, and then use that money to buy the item you want. Best of all, when you do this, your options for the piece you pick up next will not be limited to what's offered by a small batch of willing trade partners. Instead, you'll have the rich galaxy of all Reverb listings to explore.


Establishing Value and Selling Gear Quickly

Many assume that trading helps avoid waiting around to find a buyer for a particular item. In most cases, however, the perception that trading is somehow quicker is based on how willing many musicians are to take less value on an item for the sake of a quick trade. If you're willing to take a slightly lower price on your item to get out from under it and move onto something else, simply selling it is clearly the better bet.

There are a lot of insider tips and tricks we offer to help sellers move their gear quickly. But without a doubt, the easiest way to sell gear fast is to offer a competitive price. You can utilize the Reverb Price Guide or ask our support team for help establishing the value of a particular item. If you're motivated to move it quickly so you can buy something new, just drop your price around 10% below the going rate. If that doesn't find you a buyer, let us know and we can help connect you to someone who will offer a fair deal.

We can help connect you to someone who will offer a fair deal.

Selling something for less than it’s worth seems counterintuitive, but it's no different than what's happening when you trade. When two parties enter into a straight gear trade, someone gets the short end of the stick. If you go to a guitar store and do a trade-in, the staff is usually very upfront in telling you that they're offering a wholesale price, which can be as low as 50% of what they'll eventually sell it for. If you're trading with another individual, your terms might be a little better, but in most cases someone ends up getting less value out of their item for the sake of a quick deal.

Much of the trading that occurs on Reverb is carried out by semi-pro flippers who are always excited to shift inventory around. Keep in mind though, that their enthusiasm rightfully comes from the knowledge that they're going to turn your gear for more value than they put into it as soon as it arrives at their door. More often than not, this next sale will occur right here on Reverb – why not go for that higher dollar sale yourself and cut out the middleman?

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