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John Gibson
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Urtoolshop.com

John Gibson, Founder of Urtoolshop.com

Spotlight on Urtoolshop.com

Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing John Gibson, an enthusiastic Terapeak user who runs a very unique consignment store specializing in quality used and vintage tools.  Right from the start, he knew pricing research would be integral to his operation, so much so that he built Terapeak right into his original business plan five years ago.  Terapeak is used daily by his team for pricing evaluation purposes and once in a while they discover items of incredible value.

If you are going to run a consignment service, it really helps to have pricing data to compare against. Being able to show a client real sales data in Terapeak that confirms current market value makes the consignment process run much more smoothly.

John remembers how he first discovered Terapeak, "I searched online for a resource to use in our pricing evaluations. I was thrilled when I stumbled upon eBay research tools from Terapeak. Sometimes clients ask us to list very unique and challenging items.  Without Terapeak we would have to guess at what everything is worth and we wouldn't always be right."

I ask John to explain how he became interested in selling tools specifically and he replies, "I used to run a saw mill.  In my spare time I would get together with friends and do shed sittings.  We would sit around a workshop, share stories and show off new and exciting tool purchases.  It was a fun way to pass the time.   At the time my cousin was running a consignment store for kids clothing and it occurred to me that a similar model might work for tools. I did some investigation and found only one other consignment business focused on tools and it was based in Connecticut. With no major competition in the New Jersey area, I took steps to set up urtoolshop.com.

John continues, "I was working part-time when I first opened the store, but sales grew quickly and within the first 12 months I quit my other job to run urtoolshop.com full-time. As of this year we have three full-time employees plus part-time assistants.  I couldn't be more pleased with how things are going."


I ask John why clients might choose consignment over options like Craigslist.  He explains, "We take care of the whole selling process, start to finish.  From finding the right asking price, to taking great product photography and figuring out how to ship heavy equipment overseas.  We even check government recalls to make sure the tools are ok to resell and each item receives a thorough 15 point inspection before we list it."

I mention to John that my most recent webinar session for Terapeak was on the topic of auction strategies, and John relates one of his favorite auction stories.  He tells me, "A fellow once walked into the store looking to sell a velocipede scroll saw. He was hoping to get around $400. Pricing research in Terapeak helped us determine it was potentially more valuable than that but we couldn’t be sure until it sold. By the end of the first day of the auction we knew we were onto something exciting because someone tried to convince us to cancel the listing and sell it privately for $900. We politely declined and let the auction run its course. It eventually sold for $2500 and when the client came in to pick up his check, he couldn't believe how much money we were able to earn for him."

"We never say no to strange tools. It doesn't matter how obscure it is--someone is probably looking for it somewhere."  John says, "That's the power of the internet–we attract shoppers from all over the world and we will ship to anyone, anywhere."

Urtoolshop.com offers clients the option to leave a wish list.  Whenever new items are introduced into inventory, John's team consults the database of requests and helps connect buyers with hard-to-find tools.

John tells me about another impressive sale involved a Bell & Howe Filmo 70 camera. The client figured he might be able to sell the camera for about $50. Urtoolshop.com put the item up for auction and it sold for $1800 to someone in the Czech Republic. John later inquired what made the camera so valuable to the buyer and discovered that the lenses in such a model were irradiated during manufacturing (a process that helps to reduce glare). Lenses are no longer produced with this method which makes the earlier models that much more collectible.

According to John, 90% of his inventory is sourced from residents living within 5 miles. Word of mouth referrals brings all manner of drop-in traffic through the store from homeowners to contractors. The store also does pickups about 3-4 times a week.   John confesses, "Every now and again I consider paying for advertising, but we can hardly keep up with the demand as it is. To think I was worried at first that we might not be able to maintain inventory levels through consignment alone.

From what John tells me about the upcoming year, things are only going to get busier for the team at urtoolshop.com.  "Sales are up 67% this year and our inventory has grown so large that we had to expand to a second warehouse. Amazon isn't a great fit for our product category, so we'll stay focused on eBay for a while to come however I'm projecting a lot of growth and I may be opening additional brick and mortar retail locations."

Find out more about consignment services for tools at urtoolshop.com

Visit the Urtoolshop store on eBay.

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