Trade Ins. Guys, you really need to watch your trade-ins very closely. This is an area where a lot of shops can lose money for a few reasons, or you can do your customer a great disservice.
You can lose money if: You do not know just what you are taking in on trade. You can’t, don’t or wont appraise the condition properly. You can’t identify the gun properly. The Make and Model are one thing, but what about Edition? You have to be able to identify correctly, and appraise it correctly so you can make an accurate determination on value.
One time I was dealing with an older gentleman, who brought in a Winchester 94. A very old one, in a not so usual caliber. Looking up the serial number to help verify, and matched description, the book value placed it between 3,000 and 6,000 dollars depending on condition. The condition was very good for the vintage and I estimated the gun’s value at about $5,000.
What happened next, I find both comical and unfortunate. Even though I showed the old guy the book, showed him the value scale, and went over the condition, the old guy did not believe that he had a rifle of such value.
So he went to another shop. This other shop looked at it, and basically said that it’s just an old beater Model 94 and Winchester made so many, they really were not worth all that much. To make the old guy feel better, they offered to take it off his hands for more than they would usually give… 600 bucks.
This shop either didn’t know what they had, or they really did know and just stuck it to the old guy that didn’t. Considering that rifle went up on Gun Broker for the full book value a few weeks later, I think I know what happened.
Another example. Norinco made a very close clone of the Browning Auto-22 rifle. It looks just like the Browning… if you do not look really close at it. Browning made parts will even fit and function in it. Well, I witnessed a Norinco being traded in. At the Browning value, which was about 4 times the value of the Norinco. The Gun Clerk did not check the gun close enough to read “NORINCO” clearly stamped on the barrel. Nor did he pay attention to the different pattern of engraving. That gun was sold at a loss. You can actually see this a lot in Winchesters and imported guns, and old Colts. But this Browning/Norinco example just always stands out in my mind.
Another thing to watch out for is a Clerk who over values a trade in for a “buddy”. That’s an area for Loss that’s hard to catch.
You might only lose 50 to 100 bucks here or there, but it adds up. Mistakes happen, and can happen easily, but watch out for patterns, or mistakes that do not get corrected. Biggest clue, they are not using the Books or they are giving too much for a trade in gun of the same make and model that you have in stock BNIB.
Best way to deal with Trade In’s is to have only a few employees handle the trade ins. Either management or employees trained or experienced in appraisals.