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Getting Money

Page 2: Advertising and Selling.

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An often overlooked way of getting a little extra money is to sell the things you don't need. As long as you don't pay for the advertisement, the delivery of the goods, even the telephone call or postage, you can't lose. Just make sure that you won't miss the item you are selling. We particularly advise against selling your old CD's or records. Many patients at the Surgery report a yearning for that old Black Sabbath album or that old Kim Wilde single.
Not TOO many though.

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Local Trader type papers cost about £1 to buy but all the non-business adverts are free. You can advertise anything legal, from cars to homes, clothes to games. Take a look in the attic or the spare bedroom and ask yourself if there's anything you don't need because you'll sell it in these papers. Car accessories that clog up the garage go well, as does old furniture, however tasteful the item. The key is in the wording of the advert. Look at the text of other adverts and see what catches your eye. Here are our Money Surgery advertising tips:

  • How many words will they let you use? Try to make your advert bigger by using most of the words that are allowed.
  • Always use the limited size of the advert to state the good points of the item you are selling.
  • Does the make have kudos? "Habitat sofa", "Sony trinitron television". Try to include this in the first line as this may be printed in "bold" or capital letters and should also serve to sum-up the item entirely.
  • Look at the item from the buyers perspective and ask what would they like to have? Tell them what they want to hear. If its excellent quality, say so. If it hasn't been used, say so. If the colour is attractive, don't say "cycle, red...", say "cycle in gorgeous metallic red...". But don't misrepresent the item as something it isn't because that's illegal.
  • Be mean with the truth. No seller points out the bad points, let the prospective purchaser do that when he/she comes to view.
  • Get them to turn up and you are nearly there. Many a sale has been made purely through the arrival of the purchaser who otherwise wouldn't bother. Getting them there is the first priority, but anything that has been misrepresented will be instantly dismissed so try not to be too exagerrating.
  • Don't have lots of change handy. If the buyer has only got £20 and you're selling the item for £16, tell him you'll send the £4 on. They will nearly always offer the full £20.
    WHAT? I know its sly but thats what happens! (We advise prospective purchasers to go with the right cash)
  • Most deals are done over the 'phone, at least to begin with. Are you sure you want to use your telephone in this way? Also, please be absolutely certain that you are prepared to meet strangers at home. If not, don't take the risk. Try car boot sales or if you really are wary, get someone you trust, preferably male, preferably quite large, to do the selling on your behalf.

Please read on.

The great beauty of selling in this way is that, as its free, if the intial offerred price was too high, you can keep resending your advert with a slightly lower price until it's sold. You shouldn't ever undersell yourself. Not by much anyway.

Be prepared for lots of replies. A patient at the Surgery often recounts the time, in 1995, that she sold her secondhand torn pink vinyl three piece suite, bought for £20 plus £10 delivery which couldn't fit properly into her apartment. She offerred it in her local free advertiser for £40ono, to cover her costs. She got 54 replies and it was sold the same night that the paper was issued to the first caller. It could happen to you!

Remember, people will buy anything, however small, provided its marketed well. Use 30 words to describe your car, use 30 words to describe your £5 toaster! Good luck!

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Vinyl Options

(Monday 28th February 2005 news story)

If you've got an old record collection that's gathering dust, we've got a few ideas from Patients for what to do with them.

Some say that hanging-on to your old records is a must, but keep the dust off by storing them in DJ record cases. They're available from most record shops, and will last for years. Why not play a few of them for a change?

Another option is to use record fairs, see for more details, or to use e-Bay. One person, e-mailed a list to second-hand record shops and delivered the ones that they were interested in, whilst he took the rest to a record fair, costing £30 for the stall, marked-up each record and made a few hundred pounds. On eBay, registering will take just a few minutes, while listing each record title and condition might take a little longer, and we are led to believe that a 10-day auction spanning two Sundays might bring best results.

For those of you thinking of giving your collection to Oxfam, one Patient reminds us that charity shops can't afford to have space for stuff they can't sell and aren't skips for unwanted items.

Some people, though would love to get their hands on more vinyl - there's a distinct niche market for the groovy stuff instead of CDs, with some preferring the sound generated by the turntable needle over those from digital sources.

One Patient emphasises how important research is, to value each record realistically, before the records are put up for sale. You might have a rarity lurking in the sleeves.

You could use an intermediary like, who can value them and sell them on, but you will have to pay them commission.

Our favourite suggestion is to transfer them to your computer. Just use a simple cable between the amplifier and the sound card, and use software like Audio Cleaner Deluxe. You can then save the albums and singles onto CDs if you want, or keep them as MP3s and play them on an iPod. Other MP3 players are available.

We can't promise that the companies and web sites suggested by our Patients will be suitable for everyone or that their performance will be perfect, but there is obviously a range of options for those of us with vinyl in the attic. It's worth remembering that once sold, they're gone permanently, and a few old memories are associated with our old records.

Before I go, how many grooves are on the average album? Is it 33 1/3, 45 or 78?
Answers on a postcard e-mail.

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How a house, open a bank account...
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