gun shop=don't want my business?


February 25, 2003, 10:10 AM
I went yesterday to a shop here and looked at an AR-15. Just was in the mood for one. Took my less than a month old Marlin 1895g, never fired to try to work a trade deal. 29 days ago they were willing to charge me $480 for the 1895. Today only $270 on trade. IT HAS NEVER BEEN LOADED!!!! I understand they must make something and sell it as used but that little? Give me a break!!!! I was hoping for $400 on a trade is that so bad?

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February 25, 2003, 10:47 AM
Just like a car dealer, many gun shops (assuming they accept trades) like to own the merchandise they are buying at low prices. One of the dealer's I go to flat out said once "you might as well try and sell it privately because we are going to rob you" (at least he was being honest). :o

Did you counter their number with something higher?

Badger Arms
February 25, 2003, 10:50 AM
Yes, that is too much to ask. You want about wholesale for a used gun that they have to turn around and sell. I think that $280 is reasonable for a shop that has to handle two transactions... two sets of paperwork and all of this with no warranty from you or guarantee that there isn't something wrong with it. Beyond that, they aren't getting any cash for the gun you want in return. $480 is retail, $280 is reasonable for trade value. These people have to make a living. If you don't like it, take your business elsewhere but don't expect any sympahty. Sure, you can go through the work and probably sell it for $400... so go ahead.

February 25, 2003, 10:55 AM
Ouch, that's a pretty big hit to take. But, you were able to trade it for something you preferred. Try and focus on the new AR rather than the trade ;)

February 25, 2003, 10:59 AM
Turning stuff in for trade is never going to net you the value of the piece. The shop has to have the room to mark it up enough that their time in dealing with it, including examining the piece and dealing with warranty or customer issues down the road, is not a waste of time. That margin, which is not a scientific formula, means you will never get what it's worth. What you get with the trade-in route is convienience, not cash.

- Gabe

February 25, 2003, 11:00 AM
If I couldn't get $380 for it anywhere, including the private market, I know that I wouldn't be selling it.

Sometimes it just isn't worth it to sell.

February 25, 2003, 11:05 AM
Sorry Ed, but once you walk that gun out of the shop, it's used. The dealer is not going to pay you his wholesale cost for a new gun to buy a used gun from you, no matter how cherry it is.

February 25, 2003, 11:06 AM
I don't know what dealer price is on the Marlin, but chances are it is less than the $400 you were expecting on a trade. So... the dealer isn't gonna give you more for a used gun than what a new one would cost him. Regardless of whether or not you loaded or shot it - it is still now a "used" firearm. In general, I'd say expect to get around 50-60% of the price on a new firearm for any trade in - the $270 you got back is pretty much in that range.

I never much saw the sense in trading in a gun myself - I've never needed to buy another gun now so much that I'd be willing to take that much of a hit on it. You'll always make out much better selling it yourself or even putting it on consignment at a shop.


February 25, 2003, 11:29 AM
Buy (or do anything) in a hurry, repent at leisure.

February 25, 2003, 11:36 AM
Goes back to the lesson on getting what you REALLY want the first time.

Yup--I've taken beatings on trades too----Now I don't buy anything unless I REALLY want it or have the slightest feeling I'll dump it in the future.

Double Naught Spy
February 25, 2003, 01:10 PM
Bottom line is that if you want the best money for your stuff, YOU sell it to a 3rd party. If you sell to the gun shop, then they assume a lot of risk for the item (as it may be stolen) and have to then hold it inventory until cleared by the cops, then have it on the shelf for X amount of time until sold. So you aren't going to get nearly as much value out of the gun. The fact that you have never loaded it sounds great, but it also still counts as a used gun and unless it is rare or special, used but never loaded doesn't make that much difference.

Contrary to what was said, you aren't being 'robbed' is you trade in the gun to the gun shop (or car to the dealer). Being robbed suggests that it is against your will. It isn't as you have to agree to the transaction for it to happen.

If you have the time, inclination, and want the risk, sell the gun yourself as the car dealer mentioned about used cars. Then all you have to worry about over the next few years is whether or not the guy to whom you sold the gun doesn't go on a murderous rampage or leave the gun unsecured so some teenager doesn't take it on a murderous rampage. You will end up with 'some 'spainin' todo, Lucy!' if that happens, lots of hassles, and then hopefully will be cleared of any wrong doing.

February 25, 2003, 01:23 PM
You only gave us half of the situation. How much would he charge you for the AR15 you were looking at? Since he is making money on the Marlin, he might give you a better than average price on the AR15.

There are two sides to the deal, tell him that if he is making so much from your Marlin, he owes you a price reduction on the AR15.

Or he can give you a deal on ammo or accessories. Maybe he has something lying around his store he wants to dump that you just happen to want.

Talk to him and see what he says. If he is trying to make too much from the deal, he doesn't deserve your loyalty. If so, start doing your business at gun shows.

February 25, 2003, 01:35 PM
Why not consign the 1895G or sell it on gunbroker?

February 25, 2003, 01:46 PM
Ed, are you saying you bought a perfectly fine Marlin a month ago and now you no longer want it? What makes you think that you won't want it back in another month? You must have wanted it when you bought it.

I've gotten rid of 2 firearms in my life and I deeply regret both. One was a single shot lever action 22 that was my first firearm, and the other was a S&W model 19 that I got in a trade from a friend.:banghead:

I will never get rid of another. :(

February 25, 2003, 01:47 PM
When I lived in the PRK, the CPA firm I worked for did the accounting and tax work for one of the largest gun shops in town. They were barely making it. The owner took a salary that was pretty sorry. With the overhead, rent, utilities, employees, inventory, and Govt. regulations, they were having a tough time. Now this was before the "recession" started. I moved away so I don't know if they are making it now. So, I can see why they will not offer you as much as the gun is really worth. Put an ad in the paper and sell it yourself.

You get the same screw job when you try to trade in a car for the most part. I had one of the old Grand Wagoneer Jeeps. I went to trade it in and they insulted me by their trade in offer. I sold it privately and made an additional $2,500 over what they would give me on a trade in.

That's a nice rifle from what I have seen and you should be able to private sell it for alot more than $270.

I like the way they look and if I were in the market for one, I would pay $400 for an unfired one. Good luck.

February 25, 2003, 01:49 PM
I don't think the price he quoted you was really all that bad for a gunshop. When I was reading your post I was expecting something much worse. They are a business and they are going to make a profit or they will go under.

The problem I have with gunshops is, most likely, they will sell this gun as new. I have seen them do it many times. I have seen just about every underhanded low down slimey act that you could imagine from a gun dealer. They are for the most part SCUM. I know a few that are really good guys and they get almost all of my business.

You must be new to guns if this experience surprised you in any way. Buyer beware is most apt when you are dealing with a gun store. You better know your stuff before you enter or you are going to be taken on a long painful ride.

Brad Johnson
February 25, 2003, 03:11 PM
Dealer cost on an 1895G is about $410 (plus freight). Most of the dealers I do business will will normally pay you about 75% of wholesale value on a used-but-still-"new" gun. This would come to about $305 on your Marlin.

Regardless of what you are "paying" for the AR and getting "in trade" for the Marlin, the important number is the cash difference. In addition to the gun how much boot were they asking?


February 25, 2003, 03:16 PM
Keep the Marlin and get a RockRiver AR...That shouldnt hurt the pocket book AS much.

February 25, 2003, 04:12 PM
Ok, I see where everyone is coming from, I was told that for $600 plus my gun I could get the AR. It was a basic Bushmaster with 20" barrel. I'll blame the want on everyone in the rifle forum who keeps me thinking about getting one! JK I did a lot of gun buying and trading about 6 or 7 years ago in Mississippi in College and with one dealer who would give me about 85% of what I had paid. So I guess I am spoiled. I guess since I work in sales and deal with selling all the time I'm under the impression that making money is better than making none. To answer another post, They know it wasn't stolen, I bought it from them. I guess I really do need to keep it. I'll end up missing it later and I'd hate to own a gun I never shot. Guess I just needed a reality check. Oh and when I bought it they told me their cost was $470 so I couldn't get it cheaper. Guess I'll live and learn. Thanks for the replies.

February 25, 2003, 06:34 PM
I'll buy the "used, but never used" gun

I end up getting maybe 15-25% off for a still new gun.

J Miller
February 25, 2003, 06:44 PM

Some years ago I was sitting in a gunshop bullshooting with the owner. I had bought and traded and even sold some guns there so we were fairly familiar with each other.
I asked him what formula he used to calculate his offer when someone wanted to trade or sell a used gun.
He told me, "I figure out what I can sell the gun for, then I offer half of that in trade value or cash. By doing that I can make some profit."
The fact that someone may or may not have bought the gun from him was irrelivant. Once out the door, it was used. He admitted that from a customers standpoint it wasn't a great deal, but he was in the business to make money. By the time you add up all the paperwork, and other business expenses, it doesn't come out to much profit at all.

I'd suggest keeping the rifle. In my experiance, I've regretted almost, every trade I ever did.

February 25, 2003, 06:54 PM
...29 days ago they were willing to charge me $480 for the 1895. Today only $270 on trade. IT HAS NEVER BEEN LOADED!!!! I understand they must make something and sell it as used but that little? Give me a break!!!! I was hoping for $400 on a trade is that so bad?

Yes. If you think you could sell it for $400, go sell it. Better yet, try running your own business. I think you'll be very tired of you coming in and being that unresonable.

February 25, 2003, 07:14 PM
I seem to have offended som epeople it seems. I just posed wanting to know if I was mistaken, and learned that I was. I am keeping the gun. I do not run my own business and have no want to so I don't know the particulars. That is why I asked. I now know. I will still frequent the shop. I will keep my guns though:) Thanks again for the helpful responses.

February 25, 2003, 07:20 PM
Good enough for us Ed. Happy shooting.

February 25, 2003, 08:40 PM
I would hang on to that Marlin 1895g rifle Ed. Its a good hunting rifle.

Put in some overtime and save for that AR-15, then you will have both. :)

February 25, 2003, 08:47 PM
I am keeping the gun.Good choice. Selling guns is against my religion and I hear those Marlins are pretty nice rifles.

February 25, 2003, 10:56 PM
Just one more perspective.

I'm pretty good friend with a guy who owns a local gunshop. He and I talk about the business and he is frank with me about his costs.

He frequently makes the comment that it's nearly impossible for him to make money on new guns.

One example he gives is that the "pistolwhores", as he calls them (his shop is really oriented towards rifle sales), at the gun shows are selling new Glock pistols for less than his cost from the wholesaler.

But that's just one example. In general, a small volume shop like his makes very little on new guns due to the competition with huge entities like Bass Pro Shops and Wal-Mart who buy in vast quantities at huge volume discounts.

To stay in business, he has to make his money where he has a little room to negotiate--used gun sales and trade-ins.

February 26, 2003, 12:26 AM
Ed, I am on your side. He wanted your rifle +$600 for a Basic Bushmaster 20" ?!? Do you know he only paid $679 for that Bushmaster? He's trying to make about $350 off you in one transaction, and that's not right. All this is why I deal with a small-time private FFL who orders for $20 over cost. I spread the word about him everywhere I go, and his business continues to grow. He is putting the local gun shops out of business.

February 26, 2003, 01:09 AM
All this is why I deal with a small-time private FFL who orders for $20 over cost. I spread the word about him everywhere I go, and his business continues to grow. He is putting the local gun shops out of business.
And this is something you're proud of? Helping some guy with no overhead to run neighborhood gun shops out of business?

February 26, 2003, 01:16 AM
I think he should have offered you a slightly better deal considering that you did purchase the weapon from his shop and want to buy another weapon from his shop. It would be a different story if a customer had bought the weapon from another shop.

Sure, he wouldn't have made as much of a profit off of both weapons, but in the interest of customer relations he would benefit more in the future.

Good Shooting

February 26, 2003, 01:18 AM
generally business take it trades at 1/3 to 1/2 of what they would sell the item for, they're not interested in even trades. sometimes you can get someone to do an even trade by offering some cash with it, I just got a new guitar that way, it was on sale for $800 and I traded two guitars worth about $1150 (the retail price of the guitar I wanted) plus $100, lucked out big time.

February 26, 2003, 01:36 AM
And this is something you're proud of? Helping some guy with no overhead to run neighborhood gun shops out of business?

So paying $350 over cost is something to be proud of?

Being taken for a sucker to ensure that I can continue to get suckered is sure something I'd prefer to keep to myself.

Truth be told, if a gun shop doesn't have a range, I don't think they can generate enough traffic to stay afloat.

February 26, 2003, 09:20 AM
Hi everybody, There are 3 gunshops within 45 miles that I buy from as well as Wally world and Dick's sporting goods.
I don't think I owe any thing to the store owners. They will take me for every cent they can "it's just business". Well it's just business that I can buy S+B ammo a buck a box cheaper including shipping. It's just business that I will buy a safe from Dick's -cheaper-targets from Wal Mart-cheaper.
My several hundred bucks a year may be small potatoes to the owner, but it is large enough to me. I don't like to pay a premium and then have the feeling of being worked over. To compete against the kitchen table FFL the store has to offer something extra for the money not just some sense of entitlement. Maybe the difference between being a customer and a mark?

February 26, 2003, 10:56 AM

Reread "Midnight" and "Firestar"s posts. I'm of the opinion that they're more to the mark on most gun dealers. There are a few out there that actually are deserving of an "honest reputation", but even considering that it's a tough hustle with all the liabilities, I've only dealt with one dealer out of about 15 that I trust, and he's a personal friend of a friend.

I'll be in Mississippi soon; what's the names of those gunshops you mentioned, and where are they?

February 26, 2003, 11:02 AM
Keep the MArlin and save for the AR. When you get up the money buy from another dealer...

February 26, 2003, 11:34 AM
sad but "most" consumers expect
to be ripped off or rather accept it, most
products are poor quality or over
priced (not all) my feeling is work
at your purchases just like any other
job, it's your money.!!!!

February 26, 2003, 12:51 PM
I am the Internet Sales Manager for a Honda dealership...I see "mistakes" made by customers ALL the time on cars. What hurts is when they come to the realization that to "undo" their error, costs A LOT of money.

February 26, 2003, 01:29 PM
"Caveat emptor" and "a fool and his money are soon parted," apply to most of us when we first get into buying big ticket items. I found it better to sell my mistakes myself. There's always somebody out there who wants it and will give you a lot more than a dealer. The difference is you got to put out the effort so it's work, and if you count your time as money it may be better off for you to take the $280 because you will spend time selling your stuff. :evil: Just two more pennies in the kitty. :D

George Hill
February 26, 2003, 05:43 PM
Ed, your near Big Foot country. Load the Marlin up with some heavy jacketed softpoints and keep it handy "Just In Case."
Never know when you might run into Big Foot. Oh, and make sure your camera has an Auto Focus so you can post some clear pics of the critter once you put it down.

February 26, 2003, 07:06 PM
About 20 years ago I had a dealer that would give a pretty good trade, he tried to make a little money on your gun and full price for what you were trading for. Ok thats reasonable and myself and others just swarmed to his place on Saturdays. Often the trade-in was sold before he concluded the deal with the current owner! That ended due to his greed, and so did his customer flow. I drop in every 2 years or so to see if his target audience are still first time buyers, they are and he seldom has more than 1 customer in his store at one time. :barf:

February 26, 2003, 09:01 PM
I traded my Millenium for my Kimber Ultra CDP. Had paid $349 for the Taurus, he wanted $949 for the Kimber. Gave me $260 for the Taurus, what he said he pays for new ones. Yeah, not good business for me, but at least I'm happy now.

February 26, 2003, 09:42 PM
Do you know he only paid $679 for that Bushmaster? He's trying to make about $350 off you in one transaction, and that's not right.

The fact that so many people don't understand how capitalism works astounds (and frightens) me, whats worse is how people expect small businessmen to sell their products at break even.

He paid $679 to Bushmaster for the rifle, he pays $X a month for rent on the store, the rifle takes up a part of that space so a percentage of that rent also goes into the rifle. He also pays for insurance, taxes, licenses, maybe an employee ... that also gets added to what the Bushmaster cost him.

I wonder how long the particular AR15 sat there in the store. I've seen decent rifles that are not over priced sit on the shelf at a gun shop for close to a year (there was a particular Armalite I used to drool over at a gun shop I used to frequent) ... so that $679 is tied up in that rifle and not making him any money (if money sits, it shrinks because of inflation).

Everyone needs to go get this book : Basic Economics ( by Thomas Sowell

February 26, 2003, 09:46 PM
Shops have gotta know and trust their customers and vice versa. I lived in SE Wisconsin for two years, and accidentally found probably the best gun shop/dealer I've ever dealt with. Dam Road Gun Shop, in Delavan. Priced their guns, new and used, fairly.

They were NEVER the cheapest on new guns. Used gun prices were fair, and reflected what he had in them. They stood behind every gun they sold, new and used, shared great knowledge, and were the nicest folks in the world to deal with.

I got some fair, good, and amazing deals at that shop. I bought about 8 guns from them, had about 4 transferred in ($25 to process) and sold 4 on consignment (10%). I think I was a good customer, but I was probably average for them. They are a small shop in a small farming community, but everytime I went in there, there were 4-10 customers buying, trying, ordering, picking up.

I bought a new stainless T/C Encore muzzleloader at the end of deer season in 2001. I kept it in original box in guest room closet. In April, found I was being transferred to PA (muzzleloading is flintlock only). They took the Encore in on trade at full value, knowing I would be moving away in a few months.

That's the kind of shop and people that will get my business every time, every day. They treat their customers as long term investments, not just a quick transaction.

4 eyed six shooter
February 26, 2003, 11:31 PM
One other thing to add, the dealer is paying you money out of his pocket. There is no telling how long the gun will sit in the rack until it is sold. This plus the other things mentioned by others is why the low offer is made. I am a gunsmith and buy and sell used firearms on a limited basis. A lot of time is spent showing the firearm or if it's an internet deal, taking pictures, e-mailing and then shipping the firearm to the other dealer. Every man has a right to make a fair profit for time and investment spent. Please don't be put off by your dealers offer, he is only trying to survive a in a very tough business. Prior to going into the business myself, I bought and sold alot of firearms from one dealer. After the first few sales he started giving me better prices due to the fact that he valued my business. If I had a problem with a firearm bought from him, he took care of it for me. Sometimes good service is worth a few extra bucks.
Best wishes, John K

February 26, 2003, 11:32 PM
The fact that so many people don't understand how capitalism works astounds (and frightens) me, whats worse is how people expect small businessmen to sell their products at break even.

I understand that market forces mean that I don't care. I'm not going to spend more than an extra hundred dollars so that this guy can cover his overhead. He doesn't have a "right" to my money, which I can find better uses for than providing artificial support for the gun dealer. Welfare for gun dealers doesn't play well with me. Maybe he should ask for a government grant or TIFs instead.

That I'd be willing to pay something more than I would pay to do a transfer with a "kitchen table" FFL for the benefits of customer service and convenience certainly figure into the equation, but those benefits certainly aren't price-inflexible.

Who really doesn't understand economics?

February 27, 2003, 12:42 AM
Trade ins will seldom net you the money you expect. I don't do business with fly by nights who undercut legit shops. My .02 cents.

February 27, 2003, 11:24 AM
It's a fact.

Dealers make their profit from buying low
not from selling high.

February 27, 2003, 11:53 AM
I guess I'll ad my 2 cents to this discussion.

I am passionate about my guns. Some people are passionate about tools, furniture, appliances, and mattresses.

I lump gun stores in with that same croud of retailers. There are a few good ones, and many bad ones. The good ones compete agianst the bads one and the bads ones should go out of bussiness if they don't adjust. Unfortunaley, most people only buy a gun, sofa, or carpet every ten years or so. These people are usually uninformed and go into bad deals with the bad retailers and they stay in business.

If there were no "complainers" there would be no change. The system would continue as is (low trade in values, high retail prices). But, thanks to people like this thread starter, I can get stuff cheaper elsewhere.

There is a market for lower cost guns via gun shows, internet, and big box stores. Gun shops will soon go the way of hardware, office supply and grocery stores for good reason (somewlse beat them to it).

Capitalism at its best!


2nd Amendment
February 27, 2003, 02:30 PM
Speaking for older used cars I can tell you this: If you aren't giving me your old car for my mark-up or less then I probably don't want it. I'm getting rid of a piece of inventory I know and have a known amount in and a known amount of mark-up on for something that may die as soon as you leave. I expect to therefore have nothing, or virtually nothing, in it. At worst then I simply don't make any money. At best I have to move two cars to make roughly the same money.

There's obviously exceptions to this but as a general rule that's the way it works. I'd guess that a gun dealer would work along the same lines, if he's smart. That's why I never trade. The old saying about how you're giving away your item is no joke. You are.

February 27, 2003, 03:47 PM
Maybe to give an example that we can all agree on - I would venture to say that everybody here expects to get paid when he works. A person engaged in buying and selling is no different than the rest of us. A laborer is worthy of his hire and all that. The brick and mortar gun store has a tremendous amount of overhead and risk that the kitchen table gun dealer does not. Not only that, but the gunstore owner has to eat, too. The gunstore owner has to be there and deal with people face to face about factual things - guns that people can see and put up with all the niggling about condition and price breaks, etc. The kitchen table guy pulls out a catalog where the buyer chooses what he wants sight unseen. The dealer adds his markup, shipping, etc. and the buyer is on the hook for the package. I would rather deal with a face to face gun dealer anytime myself. YMMV. They are not ravenous wolves trying to eat out your substance for the most part.

February 27, 2003, 03:51 PM is your friend. People there will pay anything.

February 27, 2003, 06:53 PM
No u didnt offend me in the least,We can all be short tempered ,rude,or hateful at any givin time then add mis understanding as well. I been jipped so has every body but then turn around at the same place & come out smelling like a rose. Took me a while to figure some of this out ,most will deal with u honestly never be in a hurry to buy or part w/a firearm,espcially in a climate w/govt regs & lawsuits these folks here have helped me over&over with out even knowing it. Always listen &learn then act.

February 28, 2003, 12:08 AM
So you're gonna lecture me on economics, are ya John Nash? Let me refer YOU to a book: Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. The best result comes when everyone does what is best for themselves. As has been mentioned before, gun shop welfare should not exist. Brand/shop loyalty does not foster competition, and does not drive prices toward true equilibirum. It is the responsibility of the gun shop to offer me services that the kitchen table dealer cannot in order to win my business. If there is one thing we can agree on, it is that business is constantly changing. Dealers have to find ways to adapt to the changing climate, which includes laws, local regulations, and even the kitchen table dealer.

Bottom line: I do what's best for me by patroning the kitchen table dealer who sells for $20 over cost. Other businesses can adapt to earn (no welfare here) my business, or they can go by the wayside.

Kahr carrier
February 28, 2003, 06:50 AM
Good idea on keeping the Marlin .Happy shooting.:)

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