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If you shop on Craigslist, eBay, Mercari, or even Facebook Marketplace you’ll find that each platform has its own lingo. Figuring out the abbreviations and phrases for eBay, for example, took us months once we started selling there full-time. However, there are some pretty obvious ones.
For example, people include the phrase “Firm On Price” for listings on every platform. What does it mean? Should you include it as a seller? Should it affect what you do as a buyer?
In general, “Firm On Price” means that the seller is not open to offers. Typically this is because the buyer has set the price at the lowest amount they will take for their item and does not want to negotiate. If the item has been available for sale for a long time you, as a buyer, may still have some room to negotiate.
Many people feel that sending an offer if someone states that the price is firm. However, we have gotten great deals by sending respectful offers and being open to rejection.
Why Do People Include “Firm On Price” In Their Listings?
If you have ever listed a highly desirable item (hyped-up shoe brands, an iPhone, a gaming system, etc.) you’ll start getting lowball offers within minutes.
Some of these lowballers are genuine people who can afford the item in question. Others are cheapos who don’t want to spend a penny more than they have to and still others are resellers who are trying to get your item cheap and resell it.
Getting offers that aren’t realistic (or even close to your asking price) can be frustrating and even offensive. Sometimes people simply like their item and don’t want to accept anything less for it.
For example, I recently found a really nice Patagonia fleece jacket at a thrift store. It was my size and I was very tempted to keep it. I priced it at $50 because that’s what it was worth to me. For any smaller amount of money, I’d rather just keep it. I received and refused several offers in the $30-$40 range because I’d rather keep it than let it go for less than what I was asking.
I added a “Firm On Price” label to my listing and didn’t have to waste more time fielding messaging asking for a deal or declining offers.
Should You Make An Offer Anyway?
If there’s something that you’re interested in but you feel is overpriced, don’t worry, there might still be a possibility of you negotiating.
If you want an item that states “Firm On Price” the best tactic is to wait. If it sells for the listed price, it turns out that it wasn’t overpriced after all. If, however, it sits for a while unsold then you have some extra bargaining power.
Most people would prefer to sell their item for a smaller amount of money than not at all. Typically people include the woods “firm on price” when they think they’re offering something at a good deal. Unfortunately, they’re often wrong.
I have found used items for sale for more than they cost new.
In cases such as that, I wait a couple of weeks for the person to realize that it isn’t going to sell. I then make them a respectful offer that goes something like this,
“Hey, I noticed that your item is still for sale. I know that you wrote “Firm On Price” but I just wanted to let you know that Costco is selling the same model for $20 less. I am interested in your item if you want to negotiate. Thanks!”
Letting the person know that you saw that they didn’t want to negotiate is typically enough to make them feel like you actually read the listing and aren’t just trying to lowball them.
While I can’t say that this will work every time, most reasonable people will accept that their item isn’t worth quite what they thought and it will open a dialogue.
If you’re trying to sell something, adding “Firm On Price” can be a valuable tool to keep time-wasters from messaging you. Just be aware that including it can reduce the interest and the possibility of you making a sale.
If you’re a buyer I would recommend that you typically pass these items by. If there’s something you just can’t resist, take your time so they can see that it isn’t going to sell and then you can craft the perfect message.