Updated: Jun 18, 2020
"I see these selling for more money from online retailers like "pinball palace.com, or pinball surgeon.com or Dino-mite Amusements.com. So, why is your offer is less? Are you low balling me?"
This is a very valid question and if I were a buyer, I would ask this, too. So let me give you some answers. When retailers like brick and mortar establishments sell a game, they have to sell it at a higher price in order to cover costs. Unfortunately, these costs do not equate to the pinball machine value. The best way to illustrate this is to consider an actual pinball machine - the Williams F14.
The Williams F14 was a widely produced model and there are many in existence today. In the collector market, this game ranges from $450 up to $2,000 for the nicest examples. However, when I look on websites like Dino-mite pinball.com, it's listed for $3,495 and up. Why? Well, let's consider what Dino-mite has to do the following:
They typically buy the machine for the collector value or less;
They refurbish or restore the machine. Shop rates for pinball typically run $65-90 per hour. This involves stripping the playfield, cleaning all mechanisms, going over the circuit boards, replacing components and essentially, making the game bullet proof for the end consumer;
They have to pay employees to do this work;
They have over head such as the building, parts, employees, insurance, and advertising; and,
They almost always provide a warranty.
All of these reasons costs money. Retail establishments cater to buyers who want reliable machines that have been completely refurbished; they do not sell un-refurbished machines, because if they did, the service calls would be unimaginable.
Now, when I or other collectors go looking at games, 90% of the time, they have not been refurbished. They have been in your basement for years being played and taken care of. Most of the time, they are very dirty from flipper dust, there are broken plastic pieces or components, bad rubber bands, etc, All of this needs to be addressed.
So when I offer $800 for an F14, keep in mind I am offering the value based on condition. If the game was completely refurbished then I wouldn't be offering 800, I would be offering more. So the lesson here is just because a retailer has it listed for a higher price, doesn't mean yours is worth that amount.
Think of all the time and money they put into that game.
One of the things we pride ourselves on is offering more than the local pinball business. If you aren't convinced of this, call them and then call us after you speak with them - we are confident that we will offer you more for your machine!