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Tool Liquidation Suggestions?


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Currently I am visiting my girlfriend in Clearwater Florida.  Her husband was a backyard mechanic and was quite good as witnessed by his many customers.  Unfortunately he passed away 6 years ago.  She was left with 3 roll always with assorted tools. No snap on stuff but lots of Craftsman stuff. He also has a motorcycle jack and AC charging equipment.  There are also lots of other equipment like a 30 gallon compressor.  He was a diesel mechanic by training in the service so he also has repair manuals.  I am helping her sort through it all but there is a lot.  What’s the best way to get rid of this stuff?  She doesn’t have much money so I’d like to see her get something for the trouble of going through it all.  I don’t want her to have strangers come to her house to buy piecemeal. I’m thinking a garage sale might be the best way to move most if not all of it.  Any other ideas?  The easier, the better.  Thanks!  I am here for the next 2 months so she’d like to get this done before I head back to the PNW in May.

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List each roll away as an individual item with all tools in the drawers included.    Take a bunch of pictures of the open drawers and post to Craig's list.    The pictures will tell the story and keep the visits to a minimum.

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If the intent is to maximize return, selling items individually will bring more money, but will require more investment of time. I suspect that there are more people who want individual pieces than a complete, turn-key rollaway full of tools. I see ads regularly for huge rollaways full of tools, with asking prices in the $10K and up range. I don't know if they sell that way. I suspect that most buyers for a package deal like that are looking for a bargain so they can break it up and sell the pieces individually. FYI, there are Craftsman tool collector forums on Facebook where you may find a more receptive market.

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In my experience Craftsman tools are definitely becoming a hard sell.  And a big set as a lump sum sale an even harder sell. Craftsman tools appeal much more to the do it your self group. And few are going to buy a substantial collection in one shot. At least 50 % of a professional range tool set are going to be tools a home mechanic will never use.

 Big sets need to be either very good quality ; Snap on and equivalent , or pennies on the dollar to sell.  Every swap meet I go to these days has tables full of Craftsman tools, often $1.00 - $2.00 an item. There seems to be no end to the supply. 

I would definitely break up the tools into logical groups.  

Standard everyday tools -  logical groups , all the 1/2 inch drive stuff in one lot, all the screwdrivers in one lot, all the combo wrenches in one lot, up to 1 in, all the big wrenches in one lot, and so on. Specality tools as individual items.  Boxes as a top bottom pair, each pair a separate item  It will take a fair bit of time even at what seems to be quite low prices. 

There are lots of tools on the market these days.

I have a rule of thumb when buying Snap On , anything more than 10 tools in one lot must be $5.00 - $8.00 a tool, general use hand tools.  Pullers and specialty tools all require separate consideration, no one size fits all formulas.

When I was employed as a mechanic I got hooked on Snap On. My set was limited by my apprentice wages. These days I am buying the less commonly used stuff to round out my collection and any duplicates that I see going for say 1/2 of the going piece rate. Those I sell at swap meets to help offset the cost of my growing puller collection.

 

 

Greg in Canada

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Garage sale.

You might even let people open up the drawers and make bundle deals.

You will end up with a bunch of valuable but worthless stuff that nobody wants.

You will have to really swallow hard to get that last pile sold.

Be sure to first put together a select set that will be kept.

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Years ago, I did a job and got paid with a garage full of tools. After hauling them home, dad had a sale a couple of weeks later. He was in good with the local Napa. Anyone could draw a number ball from the container on the counter. They would write the name down for dad. On Friday he picked up the list for Saturday morning. The sale started at 8 am with number 1. 10 minutes intervals after that. Only 1 rule, cash only, no checks. There were 200 balls to start with. About 125, the guy walked up and yelled he would buy the rest at marked price. Dad told him to show him the money, them dad closed the door and started adding everything up. I made enough for college for a year. Dad took some tools that he wanted for his time and effort. 

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I have been collecting, trading and using tools for decades. I belong to a tool collector forum online, at www.garagejournal.com. You can go there and select the tab marked "Forums," and beneath that you'll find several individual forums, including folks who love Craftsman. 

 

But in my experience, tool-loving people tend to pay too much for tools at auctions. IF you can find an auctioneer who has an auction coming up, and find a way to get your friend's stuff included as a separate group within it, you may do very well. Just be sure and check out how well the auctioneer advertises each sale, and watch to see how carefully they guard the items before the bidding begins (oddly enough, many guys who would swear to their own total honesty seem to see nothing wrong with slipping small items into their pockets at auctions). 

 

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 The only that I would but tools is in matching sets.

 It is difficult to keep order in your tool box or wall with different brands of tools.

 Make up sets of wrenches, screw drivers hammers etc.

 Sell them for less than 25% of retail. Have all sets marked with the price.

 Take odd tools of different sizes and sell them as a package

 Sell the tool boxes separate.  (Snap on tool boxes are priced new in exorbitant prices) set a low price for them to sell.

 Sell expensive specialty tools individually.

 Mark the prices on everything, I will not ask prices at a tag sale!

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Ordinary combination wrenches, open end and box, if craftsman are only worth about $1 each. My local pawn shop has a huge supply and cannot move them. People going through them try to see if there are any Snap-on or similar. The rest, like Husky, Kobalt, Craftsman get left to sit there.

 

A drawer full of wrenches will likely have several over-lapping, same wrenches of the same size. Several 9/16's wrenches, and several 5/8's. It's a waste. Maybe 2 of each could be useful.

 

I bought 5 metric wrenches from the pawn shop that I had a need for, and the guy said $3. Next time I went they wanted $10 for 3 wrenches. Huh? So I put them back in the bin.

 

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If it were me I would contact some local auctioneers. Around here auctioneers do all (most) of the work, charge no sellers premium on items like yours, everything is computer logged, after the sale they give you the print out and write you a check on the spot, and everything is GONE...Your results may vary.......Bob

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When we sold the big house and my garage went from 3.5 bays with an extra 6 foot deep extension I had to get rid of a lot of tools. Many like your list plus engine lift and welding equipment. I organized it then took a box, yes literally a box and put “Tool Sale” on two sides. Drove the tractor down the 700 foot drive and dropped the box over the mail box. I wanted it easy to take down if a bunch of looky lues show up and drove me nuts. As I drove back to the house I was followed by two pickups and a car. 
it took 4 hours and I was down to a small amount of left overs. All cash no problem and I made enough to pay about 80% of our move. A little under four grand. 
organize it, be fair in the pricing, be willing to negotiate a little on the high dollar stuff. Do it as cash and carry - don’t say you will hold it until they come back as they won’t. Have a bunch of stuff you can add to some items to make it a sweeter deal. When I sold the compressor I had hoses marked with a price that I threw in when a guy was negotiating to buy it. When I said that a second guy said he would buy it and I ended up getting full price. 
Hope it works as well as mine did. 

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4 hours ago, lump said:

I have been collecting, trading and using tools for decades. I belong to a tool collector forum online, at www.garagejournal.com. You can go there and select the tab marked "Forums," and beneath that you'll find several individual forums, including folks who love Craftsman. 

 

But in my experience, tool-loving people tend to pay too much for tools at auctions. IF you can find an auctioneer who has an auction coming up, and find a way to get your friend's stuff included as a separate group within it, you may do very well. Just be sure and check out how well the auctioneer advertises each sale, and watch to see how carefully they guard the items before the bidding begins (oddly enough, many guys who would swear to their own total honesty seem to see nothing wrong with slipping small items into their pockets at auctions). 

 

 

In my experience it is only the quite old ; say about 1965 and back, Craftsman tools that have any collector value. And even that seems to be a very limited market. Most Craftsman stuff I have seen sells for peanuts these days.

They represent very good value for money these days. Very good quality tools at a low price. Some of the older box ends etc are at least as good as Blue Point at about 25 cents on the dollar.  Most Craftsman body tools were quite good.

The regular ratchets just OK.

All great value for the buyer , but a slim pay day for the seller. 

I will have to have a look at that tool forum. I have a number of quite old Craftsman tools that came from my wife's Grandfather. Probably 1950's and back. 

 

Greg 

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6 hours ago, mike6024 said:

Several 9/16's wrenches, and several 5/8's. It's a waste. Maybe 2 of each could be useful.

 

???

You need at least two of each size to turn a nut and hold the bolt (or vice versa). So you need two standard length combination wrenches, then one short and one long handle of each size, etc. etc. etc. Then the not so good wrenches for hitting with hammers, don't want to mangle the Snap-On, and more wrenches to cut and weld into the shape needed for the job at hand. 😉

 

Then the travel tool bag for trips. 

 

Of course, I USE my tools all the time.....👍

 

Then there are the extras needed for when friends stop by to work on their cars....   And the cheap wrenches for them to loose.....😁

Edited by Frank DuVal (see edit history)
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Great ideas. Just a clarification, she is not looking to make a ton of money. She’d rather just have it gone.  I’d like for her to see some money as her financial situation could use some help. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll sort through and organize and price (cheap) everything. I’ll also see if there are any reputable auctioneers here in or around Clearwater. I’m leaning towards a big garage sale but if someone would come and organize and sell it, that would be great too. 

 

Thank you!

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Be careful with small-time auctioneers. I've seen/heard of situations where they charge a 20%-30% fee, plus all their expenses, and wind up taking 50%-70% of all proceeds. I had a friend who passed away 9 years ago and he had a large shop (about 30x60) full of gear, many chests fine small tools, power tools, lathes, valve grinder hoist, etc, you name it. I arranged for an appraiser to visit his wife as she had no idea what to do. He recommended against an auction company. He after an hour of gauging what was there said he stuff was likely worth $100K-$150K retail (but some of it was very old), but if she got 15% of its value she should just take it. She put a notice around the community that the whole works was to go in one deal, put a price of $20K OBO, and sold everything 2 days later. The purchaser had his own shop and wanted about 1/3rd of the stuff, and planned to re-sell the rest. 

 

So my suggestion is to put a fire sale price (10%-15% of retail) on the whole lot, perhaps $1000, and a note around the community, and first guy who shows up with the cash takes it. Then he can worry about how to turn it into more money. Not worth anything just sitting there taking up space.

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Garage sale.

 

SINCE YOU WILL BE THERE FOR TWO MONTHS, START WITH A SALE THIS SATURDAY. YOU CAN HANDLE THIS FOR HER AND REALIZE A DECENT PRICE.

 

YOU HAVE EIGHT WEEKENDS............... THE BEST STUFF WILL SELL FIRST AND THEN YOU CAN GROUP IT NEAR THE END FOR A BLOWOUT.

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If there is a car swap meet or even a regular swap meet nearby, just take the tools there. Post a sign in your space saying "All must go today!"

 

You won't get the best prices but you will get rid of everything. What's left, donate to Salvation Army.

 

 

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43 minutes ago, RansomEli said:

If there is a car swap meet or even a regular swap meet nearby, just take the tools there. Post a sign in your space saying "All must go today!"

 

You won't get the best prices but you will get rid of everything. What's left, donate to Salvation Army.

 

 

I'd do this if it was at my home but I have no way to transport all this stuff to a Swap Meet.  I'll admit that it was my first inclination.

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1 hour ago, mercer09 said:

Garage sale.

 

SINCE YOU WILL BE THERE FOR TWO MONTHS, START WITH A SALE THIS SATURDAY. YOU CAN HANDLE THIS FOR HER AND REALIZE A DECENT PRICE.

 

YOU HAVE EIGHT WEEKENDS............... THE BEST STUFF WILL SELL FIRST AND THEN YOU CAN GROUP IT NEAR THE END FOR A BLOWOUT.

It's going to take at least 3 weekends to organize and just figure out what is there and price it to move.  I will be handling it for her as I don't want the "Great Unwashed" coming to her house when I'm not there.

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Not really related but as for tools.

A guy needs a bucket for at least one set of cheapo duplicates.

Just yesterday I went to mine as I needed to grind a 9/16 into a thin wall end wrench.

I always want to remember just why I bent this one like this or why did I shorten this one so far, or the thin wall just mentioned above.

And its not just end wrenches, I may need a  thin wall socket sometime. If it splits "Oh Well".

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One problem is that the attraction of Craftsman tools was that if they broke, there was a lifetime guarantee. Took advantage a few times for ratchet and torque wrenches that broke.Turned out it meant their lifetime and not mine.

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The problem selling tools is not the tools but the lack of people that know how to use them so they don’t spend much for something they think they’ll only occasionally use. I’ve turned wrenches since I was a kid but started on industrial equipment and now restore cars. I personally own three Snap on tools, two wrench’s and a DA sander. All the rest are Craftsman or SK.  I also own a three piece roll away that’s snap on too. When I was working in an equipment shop, I’d see guys I work with go broke, and stay broke buying the next greatest snap-on or Mac tool, always owing the “truck” guy. I used Craftsman and SK tools preferring the SK ratchets over the Craftsman. Yup, I broke some tools mostly because I used them for something more than what they were intended for. My fellow workers never did anymore work than I did, never worked any faster, and didn’t get paid any more than me but they were a hell of a lot more in debt than me. Never understood the allure or the need to have the biggest, baddest, most expensive tool box in the garage just to not be able to afford a sandwich off the lunch truck at break time. But some had their snap on mechanics gloves too!

      Getting back to selling the tools. I sold a bunch of stuff simply by doing yard sales and then Face Book Marketplace. I’ve been selling a ton of stuff using that. Much better than CL and no sales tax like Fleabay. Specialty tools can be either easy or hard to sell depending on the knowledge required. I know down the road getting rid of my vertical mill and lathe will be a chore. We no longer teach the trades in any school other than vocational schools. Big mistake on our educational system. 

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4 minutes ago, mercer09 said:

not true Padgett. Lowes and whoever now carries Craftsman honors the lifetime warranty.

My local Ace hardware also sells Craftsman. Just swapped out two ratchets for new ones.

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My experience with Craftsman/Snap On goes like this; the Snap On regional manager was riding the route with the regular tool man when not one of the guys in the shop had money for their weekly payment. When I pulled out my billfold and handed the cash over the regional guy said "the man with all the money". I replied "it's because I use Craftsman Tools".

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