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Pricing on Demos – Am I missing something?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Towards the end of the season, as shops put their demos up for sale, I started looking for a second pair of skis. I ski 20-25 days a year, mostly in the East, and was looking for a pair of fat skis that might get 5 or 6 days on average. As such, I didn’t want to spend all that much and figured demos would be a good place to find a bargain, yet that wasn’t the case at all. Typical scenario:

The skis with bindings sold for $850 during the season, the demo is priced at $425, but I can buy the same ski/binding combo brand new for $550 in several places. I try to bargain them down; something in the $350 to $375 range seems fair to me, but they won’t budge. This was not just at a single shop, but several different shops at or near different ski areas. In each case they were sold out of the ski in question, so that couldn't have been the issue. Why do they think that anyone would buy a ski that probably has 30 or more days on it when for $125 more, they can get them brand new? With the cost of demos at $35 to $50 per day, they’ve already gotten full retail or more, so anything on top of that should be gravy.

Even now, as I look online, I see shops offering demos for close to (sometimes even more) than one could buy new. This puzzles me. Maybe someone can explain this.
post #2 of 15
A rental fee of $50 times half a dozen uses doesn't begin to cover the cost of the skis and bindings.

Demo programs have additional costs besides the hardware. They need extra insurance, they have ski maintenance expenses, they have employee costs, etc. Those have to be amortized over the entire fleet of demo skis.

Besides, they sold the skis you were interested in for the rate they were charging. What better reason to decline to bargain lower?
post #3 of 15
I agree with you observation, Garylk.

The only reason the seller is insisting on these higher prices is that many skiers still buy and the gear will be sold eventually. Its a bit like buying a used car from a new car dealer, the buyer assumes a brick & mortar seller is safer purchase than buying from eBay. Not every buyer knows about the deals found here, for example.

I have had good luck with some demo purchases. My fattest ski was a 3 year demo that was never used. It came with demo bindings that function perfectly and allow me to share the skis with friends and family. Often its the very long or very short demo skis are are the best value. These often see fewer days than mid length skis.

In any event, a demo ski is worth half of a new close out ski or less.

Cheers,

Michael
post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post
...They need extra insurance, they have ski maintenance expenses, they have employee costs, etc. Those have to be amortized over the entire fleet of demo skis.
...
Flawed reasoning. The demos exist to facilitate sales of all skis in the shop. So all demo related costs are more correctly amortized across all the skis sold for the season (or maybe, if you want to be more conservative, all skis of demo type sold to anyone who demo-ed --- but you get the idea).

As for the demo "fees". I suspect they cover a decent bit of the cost. If you assume cost is half of MAP (just a reasonable guess), then 3 hundred-ish bucks pretty much recoups it. I also suspect they get to write off a fair bit of depreciation on the demos.

Bottom line - I've been puzzled about this phenomenon as well. My usual reaction to demo "sales" is that they'd be more fairly priced at half of what they are offered at. OTOH, if someone is willing to pay...
post #5 of 15
Demo pricing seems pretty in line with what skis are going for here used in the classified. Especially if the ski has been well taken care of, has a fresh tune, and the local snow year was good. Nobody is on the forum selling a 2008 model, skied 10 days pair of AC40's for $300. More likely they are asking $475, if not more.

Someone is usually willing to pay that price for demos. I price my demos at around 20% less (sometimes 15% less) than what new skis are going for at the end of the season. They are always snapped up. $350 sounds better than $450 to alot of people (who care only about the price usually), even if the skis have 15 days on them. Bikes are different, as margins are much lower. Demo bikes in good shape at the end of 1 season go for 25-30% off retail, as you will rarely see an in-demand model selling for more than 15% off retail. Plus, they retain their value much better: a 5 year old road bike that hasn't been crashed is probably still worth 60% of it's retail value.

Keep in mind that if a shop is carrying over a model unchanged for the following year, they have no incentive to sell it super cheap. A ski that sells fo $800 probably cost the shop $400-450 to put into the demo fleet. If it is a carryover model, and they sell it for only $250, then what did they have to gain? $450 will still be required to replace it the following year. So, they sell it for what it will cost to replace it, and failing that, just use it another year. Don't forget that shop demos come with factory warranty, while second-hand skis don't. You might find a better deal on discontinued items when the shop as a reason to get rid of product.


One more thing: at the end of the year, if a model was a hot seller, the demo model will likely be the only ski available (unlike your example, where both new and used skis were available). So, the shop can pretty much charge any reasonable rate, and if the buyer can't find a new one, they will purchase the demo model for a bit of a discount.
post #6 of 15
The shop will charge what it can get. They have to make their money somewhere, if they want to stay in business.

It's just like buying a car. You and I see a demo ski or car as a used ski or car, and are willing to pay for it accordingly. Dealers would like us to think it is almost the same as a new ski or car, and charge accordingly. Don't forget, these are the same shops that will have a "Great Sale" and give you the new ski for 10% off (90 percent of) MSRP.
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post
Nobody is on the forum selling a 2008 model, skied 10 days pair of AC40's for $300. More likely they are asking $475, if not more.

And they're mostly not finding any buyers. I've noticed the days of the good used ski deal on Epic seem to be gone. Don't know if it's the new rules or what but $500 used skis in May seem to be the norm.
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevesmith7 View Post
And they're mostly not finding any buyers. I've noticed the days of the good used ski deal on Epic seem to be gone. Don't know if it's the new rules or what but $500 used skis in May seem to be the norm.
Skis in general won't sell this time of year. Even current model skis are, arguably, worth more next fall. Not many people are looking to buy skis in May, unless they live in Australia. I might only sell 5 pair of 2008 skis this month, but if I had them available at the same price this coming October, I could sell 50.
post #9 of 15
I paid $250 for this year's K2 Lotta Luv, in good shape, with demo bindings, at Keystone about a month ago.

One of the shops at Aspen was selling their demos (don't know what they had or what shape they were in, but since Aspen had a great year they were probably decent) for 70% off retail when we went back to ski Highlands on the 2 weekends they reopened.

So there are bargains to be had. You gotta shop around. . .
post #10 of 15
I should add that all Demo deals are not the same.

Too often I see a well worn Rossignol B2 offered for about the same money as Dawgcatching, Ptex or Sierra Jim is closing out a new current year ski from Fischer, Head or Dynastar.

I've also benefited from lightly used demo skis at 25% off end-of-season prices on new gear.

Michael
post #11 of 15
Ski areas often sell their demos really cheap. However, they are often heavily used because a number of people every year just want better rentals. We don't use our demos as rentals and we always wait until the fall to sell them. As a result, we often get more for them. Also, if a ski is only getting a graphic change, we will keep it a second year if we can.

SJ
post #12 of 15
This comes down to a question of what exactly IS a 'Demo' ski?

Is it a tool to help customers differentiate between ski models and/or sizes, so that they can make an educated ski purchase?

Or

Is it "a good way to save a few bucks" on a ski purchase?
post #13 of 15
There is nothing like new skis. If you can get the same skis for $100 more, fork over the extra cash . . .

~(<-<//
post #14 of 15
I am always surprised at the price of demo skis. Most of the time, I can find the same model brand new for almost the same price as many shops are asking for their demos. Plus, how is the buyer to know how many days are actually on the ski that they are interested in, unless the shop keeps track and is honest in their count? Also, I am even more surprised at the poor condition that most shops allow their demos to go out in. On one occasion this season, I had to ask the shop guy to deburr the edges on a pair of demos I had just taken out. I was going to do it myself when I noticed it, but when I got my stone out and started at it, I realized that they were so bad that I decided to take them back into the shop, and even then, the shop guy acted like he was annoyed that I asked him to clean them up. And all he did then was whip out a file and start hacking away at them, which is not the way to deal with a badly burred edge. On another occasion, I had to ask for the tech to put a coat of wax on them, as it was obvious that they hadn't been touched in a long time, and even after that, they skied so poorly that I only spent part of the morning on them. On another trip, a friend I was with demoed a pair he was interested in, took one run, and brought them back to the car, as they were so bad he couldn't even ski them. He later returned them to the shop he got them from, and they refunded his money when the shop guy confirmed that the skis were badly railed. My friend ended up buying a pair somewhere else. And unfortunately, this seems to be the norm these days and not the exception. How can these shops be so indifferent about the condition of their demos when their sales rely so much on their customers liking what they demo, as most people today want to demo before they buy? I don't get it. The only pair I demoed this year that didn't have a tune issue was a pair of Elan Magfire 12's, and that was because that they were brand new with the original factory tune. Doesn't exactly make me want to run out and pay top dollar for demo skis.
post #15 of 15
Because the truth is that many shops do not rely on demo skis for sales. The rental giants call a current model, higher perfomance ski a demo and charge more for the rental, they are not expecting to generate sales of new skis at the big rental shops. Therefore, the big rental factories are more concerned with skier days than the condition of the skis. Why take the ski out of rotation for a few days to tune when they are renting 1000 skis a day. On the hand the smaller ski shop is trying to generate sales from the demos but they seee what some shops are charging and people are buying them so they charge the same price but they tend to care for their skis better so that the renters have a great experience. The big shops paid for their skis quickly because they rented out the AC40 100 times during the season, the smaller shop not so much use
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Pricing on Demos – Am I missing something?