Thursday, July 7, 2011

All aboard for Brio train tables!

A consistent and well paying garage sale find for me has been Brio train tables. I come across them on average of one every six weeks or so. There are a few different versions out there. Brio is the "Cadillac" of all the train tables, but you'll also come across tables by "Imaginarium" and others that are basically good, solid knock-offs of the Brio table. Although the best one to buy and re-sell is Brio, you'll make money with most any train table no matter who makes it.

When buying train tables, you'll notice some people sell the trains separate from the tables. Obviously the best deal is when you can get both the table and the train sets for one low price. Like anything else at a yard sale, prices can range from practically giving them away to asking full blown retail. Some folks get financially attached to their kid's Brio Tables, remembering what they forked out at the store and expecting you to do the same. But I find most tables range in price from $25 to $50. After I bring a Brio table home, my routine is to haul it into my back yard for picture taking. If the table came without a layout, I maintain a small stockpile of Brio trains, houses and track purchased at previous garage sales. Before I start snapping pictures, I grab my box of Brio pieces and lay out just enough track, trains and buildings for a kid to get started. I don't go crazy adding pieces though, I figure their Mom and Dad can always buy more later. (Plus I don't want to use up my inventory!)

Once I have a basic train layout made, I take some pictures then the train table goes up on Craigslist. I find that just under a hundred dollars is a good listing price. However if your selling around the Holiday season, you may be able to go even higher due to increased demand. But no matter what the price is, this I know for sure: almost as soon as you post a train table parents will start e-mailing you looking to buy!

Above is a nice example. I paid a just ten bucks for this table....I kid you not! To make the deal all the sweeter, the train pieces were anchored down onto the table. While some buyers may look at this as a disadvantage, I pointed out in my ad that you would never lose a track piece or have the hassle of re-building the layout when the kids go all freaky on it! This seemed to hit a cord with buyers because I received a bunch of e-mails looking to buy. I ended up selling the table for $85 dollars! An excellent return on a ten dollar investment and I didn't even have to use my surplus pieces!

So when I see a train table at the right price, it's going in the back of the truckster and heading home with me. Check out the Brio train tables for yourself !

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  1. Great tip, Dude! Buying kids gear at garage sale prices & selling for Craigslist prices is the best! :)

  2. Thanks Anonymous. Craigslist is the best for that stuff...and no eBay hassle like high fees and shipping costs. Keep checking back in when you can! : )

  3. I'm still new to eBay (I have a bunch of cool things to list eventually - once I get my feedback up.. Just sold my first item last week!) and the shipping piece baffles me a bit (packaging & pricing... Um, what!?). I love Craigslist for saving me from that. As long as the flakey CL people show up, that is! Your blog is the first I check! Have a great weekend & happy hunting.. -Alexis, aka Anonymous :)

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  5. Alexis-Sounds like your off to a good start! One way to deal with shipping is to look up similar items on eBay and see what other people are charging for the same thing. Also, I keep a small postage scale (Garage sale find) so I can weigh an item and get a rough estimate of shipping costs using USPS.Com.

    eBay is discouraging high shipping rates now by taking a percentage of your shipping fee. It's ridiculous but they have done a string of dumb moves recently. Bottom line is you should try to keep your shipping fee as close to the actual costs as you can. Plus, buyers can now ding you in the rating system if they think your shipping fee was too high!

    Your exactly right about Craiglist buyers, they can be very flaky and inconsistent. But when you can get them to commit to buying, all the profits go directly to you and not "Big Brother" eBay!

    Keep on selling and lets us know how you do. Thanks for checking in!...Dude

  6. Brio Train Tablesare a great choice for the littlest train fans. They offer wooden train tables that work very well with their train tracks and trains. In fact, you can even use these with the Thomas brand tracks and trains.

  7. I have had a Brio train table like the one pictured in storage for 2 years waiting for me to fix it up. I got one at a garage sale for $5 with the intention of using it in my kindergarten classroom. It's in pretty good shape except that the trim is cracked and has some rough edges so it needs to be replaced in order for my students to play with it safely. Have you ever had to replace the trim? Any idea how to do it? Thanks! Otherwise how much do you think I could ask for it on Craigslist as is?

    1. Wheel Tweaker- Given it has some problems, I would sell it rather then use it in the classroom. If it's the white trim that's cracking, I would try to glue it back into position. Either way, someone will buy it for their kid because the new tables go for well over $100.

      As they say, price depends on condition. But if you add track, buildings and trains, I'd start at $100. If it's just the table and it's not in the best shape, start at $50 and see what happens. You can always lower the price if you get no interest.

      Thanks for writing in and don't forget to "follow" me...Dude!