Pricing advice?

Pricing Questions:

New kayaks: Are there typically end of season sales on new kayaks? If so, when and about how much discount is typical?

Used kayaks: When selling a used boat, how do you determine a fair price?

Thanks for your advice.

there is usually an end-of-season sale. When the season ends depends on where you live. Basically it coincides with when the return of bad weather. In California it’s later than in the Northwest. New boats are discounted such-and-such a percentage. Used boats could go for as low as 50% off. But there is no national standard. It depends on the business. They’ve got to make a living too.

"Whatever the market will bear"
is the answer to both of your questions.

New: 10% off is typical in season. Maybe 20% end of season. 30% would be unusual.

Resale depends on the condition and desirability of the kayak. Some kayks keep their value well, others less well. Some kayaks are desirable but hard to find on the used market, so their value would be higher—thermoformed for example. Depends on the season also—it’s harder to sell a kayak in the cold seasons.

some variables, new and used
I used to work in the outdoor sports industry and sold kayaks. Have also bought and sold a couple of dozen through Craigslist and kayaker board classifieds over the years so here’s my experience.

You will often find end of season sales beginning in August. Discounts will tend to be steeper in the northern states where there will be fewer people buying boats in the winter season, also more negotiable in smaller independent shops that have less room to inventory bulky stock and may need to clear space for other inventory, like cross country skis. As Fall progresses, there is also an imperative before the end of the fiscal year to sell off both rental equipment and high ticket items in stock for tax purposes. Don’t expect too much below 30% off for a new boat as that is getting close to or below retail margins. Kayaks don’t have a high markup from wholesale to begin with, unlike a lot of other outdoor gear.

BUt don’t be afraid to ask for a lower discount on a kayak in stock at a smaller dealer late in the year. The worst they can say is “no” yet they may be able to cut you a better deal, especially if you are a loyal customer and/or buy the rest of the gear for the boat from them too.

Also, small shops may know customers looking to “trade up” who may have a boat they want to sell. My local indie outfitter has a bulletin board for customers to post “for sale” ads – another good source for deals. You can also post your own ad, on boards or Craigslist, stating what kind of kayak you are “in search of”. Sometimes an ad like that will remind people that a boat they never use in the garage could be something to sell.

For used boats, the local market drives some of the resale pricing so I can only report the area I’ve bought and sold in (Great Lakes to New England). Based on my own purchases and sales and nearly daily monitoring of what is available locally here is what I have noticed: Generally, if a boat is less than two years old, is a model with wide appeal and in excellent condition, 20% off retail will attract a little attention. 30% off retail would be a great deal. Discount store rec boats and low end kayaks under $600 new generally won’t move in our mid-Atlantic market for more than half price, no matter how new they are.

Most popular brand name mid-range plastic boats in decent but obviously used condition from 2 to 10 years old will tend to sell for 50 to 60% of new cost. Anything in that age range that is a kind of oddball or high end model (fiberglass, wood, folding, uncommon brand, etc.) or is worn looking will need to be priced less than 50% off to attract any offers. (i don’t think that is true in regions with a higher population of dedicated paddlers like the coastal states.)

Older boats (10 years plus) in serviceable condition (no oilcanning or UV damage) will go for about 65-70% off the new price for the most similar current models. For example I just sold 2 fully outfitted 15’ and 16’ sea/touring kayaks (long discontinued models close to 20 years old) in good condition for $380 and $450 each – they were equivalent to new models that would go from betwen $1200 and $1600.

YOu can judge your market by checking Craiglist every day or two for a few minutes, sort on “kayak” and note what is posted for what prices. You will soon see a pattern of some boats dissappearing quickly from the listings (due to being priced right) and others hanging on there for weeks, often with their prices being reduced over time.

Anyway, hope this info helps and happy hunting!

Used boat Pricing
If I bought it used I usually knock $100 off and sell it. Often they sell quickly like that.

Local Paddling Clubs
Check your local paddling clubs for ““insider info””

Yahoo Groups is used extensively in Michigan area.

Facebook has gained popularity for Paddling Clubs also.

Kayaks get sold/swapped/bartered without ever hitting

the general media outlets like Craigs List.

People are highly individualized and feel of a kayak

is unique to the person paddling it. What one person

finds squirrly/tippy another may actually enjoy.

Kayaks are always “up-for-sale” as people advance

their skill sets and want different boats.