As a gear junkie, I go through a ton of camera bodies and lenses. I buy a fair mixture of new and used gear from various sources and tend to sell them once the collection gets too large or if they collect dust for too many months; almost always to make room for more gear to play with. Over the years, I have dealt with several camera shops, websites, and auction-style sites for selling my used equipment, but today I only use one: KEH. Honesty and ease of use is what sold me.
When I first started out selling gear, I mainly used that large auction website. It was often hit or miss for me, sometimes making back everything I put into the lens or body, and sometimes only taking in the starting bid at a slight loss. There are a slew of headaches I would run into with them, the major pest being the buyer that wouldn’t pay. This would have my gear tied up until a set numbers of days passed for the auction house to resolve the case and free up the item for resale. And when items did sell, the payment system and the website itself would each take a little slice of the action leaving a less than exciting deposit in my bank account. The whole process became just too cumbersome.
From there, I began dealing with a handful of small camera shops to take away the headaches of the auction game and the extra fees. I did OK with this, but as they were small shops, they often couldn’t give what I considered a fair price. Much of the discussion was handled over email or phone calls and they really couldn’t give me a price range until I sent the gear in for inspection. I had an instance where the gear was tied up almost a month and an offer came back that was frankly insulting. This small camera shop relationship also wasn’t giving the results I wanted.
But then I gave KEH a shot.
My experience with them has been exquisite over the past several years. The process is really straightforward and there are no surprises. For a typical scenario, I hit the KEH “Sell your camera gear” page and search for my item then enter the condition and any accessories that I have with it that aren’t lost behind the couch. I try to keep all my original gear and boxes which makes shipping easy and organized. It also helps KEH when quoting to have all the original pieces together.
For a note on condition, it’s best to be honest with what it is. Read their description provided by the little info icon to the right (see image above). If you have ever purchased gear from KEH, you know the item you receive is almost always in much better condition than listed. An “excellent plus” on their site would be listed as a “like new minus” on most of their competitors sites. But whatever condition you put in, when they receive the gear, they will give you an honest quote. If it doesn’t match your estimation, they’ll tell you why. I have had some quotes come in with a bigger offer, and some with a lesser. They are really honest about the value and I have always agreed with their analysis.
You can add as many items as you like to your quote and continue adding them to the cart. When satisfied, enter your customer information and get an instant quote. They will give you a ballpark of value, and if you agree, can print off a prepaid shipping label to send the gear in for review.
When packing, you just need to carefully wrap each item to ensure it gets to them safe. I like to bubble wrap each individual item and label them. I make my box so it could fall off a truck on the highway and not damage anything inside. Another thing that’s nice is when you pack your box to send off, you can toss in items you forgot or just aren’t in their system. I sometimes have random gear lying around (things like bags, filters, speedlights), and I put them in a bag inside the box, labeled “extras” for them to add to my quote. Once they receive your box, they go through an inspection fairly quick (a day or two turnaround in my experience) and contact you with your official value and an explanation of why it was higher or lower than you expected. If you’ve been honest about the condition with yourself, then the quote is right on with your expectations. Don’t click “like new” if you know it’s full of dings and scratches.
If you don’t like the number, they’ll ship it straight back, no problem. If you like the number, you have a variety of ways to get paid. I like to use store credit, as it gets a bonus percentage on the offer and 9 times out of 10 I am trading in gear to try something new. If not doing store credit, I’ll opt for the physical check, or if in a hurry, PayPal is a nice quick turnaround.
Watch their social media for coupons too. There are times where they’ll offer bonus percentages to certain gear they are buying. You can enter this code during your quote process and get a little extra. If I am sending in gear in the thousands, I always wait for a code to come by. Every little bit helps!
All in all, my experience with KEH’s buying process has been phenomenal. I know up front what to expect before I part with my gear and turn around is days, not weeks. I love the peace of mind that I know who I am dealing with and do not have to bargain with flakey buyers or fees. They take all the stress out of the process and give you a completely fair deal in the end. And it also gives me a good understanding of the used gear I want to buy from them. If it’s listed “like new minus” I know it’s an exceptional piece of gear that was scrutinized by their team – and it’s always a win for me.