Skip to main content

"Sewing Machine Steve"

Highest Quality Restoration, Refurbishment, Custom Painting, Service & Repair...Nationwide via UPS, FedEx & USPS

Home
Contact Us
Goal & Testimonials
What is Refurbishing
Why Refurbish
Refurbishing Pictures
Service Pricing
Send it to Me
Gallery of Favorites
Sewing Machine Manuals
Pick Up & Delivery
House Calls
Custom Painting
Restoration
Treadle Machines
Tension Blues
Cracked Gears
Sewing Sunbrella
Video Gallery
Needle Chart
Buying on eBay
Warranty
Site Map
Member Login
eBay can be a Great Source for a Sewing Machine. Here are my Thoughts and a Few Things to Consider Before you Buy on eBay.

September 2009

I sell refurbished machines on eBay with a good deal of success.
I buy certain machines on eBay as well.

There are generally four types of sellers of used sewing machines on eBay.

1. Individuals - I consider individual sellers as folks that are selling machines that they own, inherited, were given etc. Typically these folks have likely used the machine. You are likely to get more accessories with the machine from this type of seller, such as specialty feet, extra bobbins, cases etc. Most individuals, unless they do their homework, don't know the market value of their machines. Many try to sell at a ridiculously high price, others sell at a price that is too low and a few get it right. Many of these sellers don't factor in service and repair costs that may be needed. Sewing machines have hundreds of parts that work together in an almost "magical" way. Some of the adjustments are to a couple of thousands of an inch. Wiring on Vintage and Antique electric machines almost always need replacemwnt...not just the harness..but the lamp and inside the motor too.

ALWAYS ASSUME THAT YOU WILL HAVE TO SERVICE, REPAIR, OR REFURBISH THE MACHINE...UNLESS THEY CAN SUPPLY YOU WITH AN INVOICE THAT YOU CAN VERIFY (and even then there is no certainty that you will get a good sewing machine.

Be careful of the seller who say's that they don't sew but when they plugged it in it RAN...THAT IS A RED FLAG!! It "Ran" means that the motor turns...nothing more. It needs to sew a good stitch on all built in stitches.

Some savy sellers bring their machines to a qualified professional and have it serviced before they sell it. These machines are worth more...IF they were really serviced. Ask for a copy of the service invoice. Call the servicing technician (if you can)...most will be straight up with you...I always have been and so were the techs that used to work with me.

2. Estate/Storage Room/Yard Sale Resellers - Stuff Resellers - These folks sell stuff, including sewing machines. They find them at estate sales, yard sales, thrift stores, storage room auctions, foreclosure auctions, etc.

ALWAYS ASSUME THAT YOU WILL HAVE TO SERVICE, REPAIR, OR REFURBISH THE MACHINE

3. Consignment Operations- These buisnesses simply supply a sales venue for the owner of the machine. Again,

ALWAYS ASSUME THAT YOU WILL HAVE TO SERVICE, REPAIR, OR REFURBISH THE MACHINE

4. Sewing Machine Techs, Sewing Machine Businesses etc. - These are professionals where you should get exactly what is described and what you expect. Typically you will find the prices are higher. That is understandable as the machine has likely gone through some...even a minimal service process. These operations usually sell sewing machines, parts, and notions. They should have 99%+ Feedback or greater.  If you are a couple of hours from the seller consider asking for a "local pick-up". I provide that service regularly. Some sellers, like me, who charge a Flat Rate for shipping to 48 states may reduce the shipping charge if you are fairly close by. Example: I sold a machine to a customer in Washington DC (about 4 1/2 hours by car), it was a 35 lb. cast iron machine and I charged $36.50 Flat Rate. My actual shipping cost (excluding the box, the packing, tape etc..$8) was $15.50. So I refunded the customer $13.00 as a "Good Will" gesture...it paid off, withing two months he sent me another buyer... a friend of his!
Sorry to say, like all businesses and people, there ARE bad apples. So check their feedback.

eBay Advertising - Ridiculous Claims

The most ridiculous claims that I see every day on eBay is the term:
 
"Industrial Strength" being applied to domestic machines.
 
My opinion is simple and logical...I think (let me know if you disagree)!

There are basically two types of machines. INDUSTRIAL & DOMESTIC

INDUSTRIAL MACHINES, without exception use a remotely installed motor (usually under what is called a power stand. Typically these are 1/2 to 3/4 horsepower 120 - 240 VAC and continuous run rated (24 X 7) or DC Servo Motors

DOMESTIC MACHINES are designed to be used in the home or small business, such as a tailor shop or a seamstress. Domestic machines, particularly the ones manufactured prior to the late '60s can be quite heavily built compared to today's domestic machines but have motors substantially less powerful that an industrial machine. The maximum motor size that you will likely see is 1.5 Amp, which is about 1/10 horsepower. The Singer 15-91, perhaps the finest domestic straight stitcher ever, usually has a .5 or .6 Amp motor (1/30 horsepower). I SEE THESE LISTED ALL THE TIME ON eBay as "INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH".... NO WAY! Even though they are made from cast iron, the casting thickness and drive components are a fraction of the size/strength of a true Industrial Machine. I've even seen new Chinese made plastic machines listed as "Industrial Strength"

 

Leather Claims

Most all sewing machines will sew leather, even the newer plastic ones.  All the pictures and claims in the world do not tell the real story. The reals story is simple:  Apparel leather is soft and very easy to sew, Upholstery leather is usually thicker and more dense thus a little harder to sew.  Most cast aluminum or cast iron machines that are in good working order will easily sew upholstery leather.  Tack (belt/harness) leather is thicker yet, even denser and harder. This is best sewn on a "True Industrial" machine.

INDUSTRIAL MACHINE ARE INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH
DOMESTIC MACHINE RANGE FROM STRONG TO PATHETIC


DON'T GET CONNED BY THESE GUYS!

"It runs great"...
 
But does it sew?  That is the real question.

 
High Shipping Costs?

PayPal charges a fee of 2.7 percent of the shipping cost on your ebay transaction. eBay charges the seller a Final Value Fee (their commision) on the Shipping cost as well!!!  It is not cheap to ship a sewing machine. Some domestic machines can weigh up to 45 lbs. not including a case, accessories, or packaging materials. To pack it properly and to minimize shipping damage I use a H.D. box which cost about $2.00 each. To render the machine immovable within the box, I use about $6.00 worth of styrofoam board packing which I custom cut for every machine. The machine is put inside a plastic bag so that no styrofoam pieces get inside of it. HD tape is about $3.00 per roll. Insurance cost (no mark-up) is typically $3-$4 per machine. Add this to the charge from UPS, FedEX, USPS

Shipping Insurance

eBay, as of September 22, 2009, does not allow sellers to offer optional shipping insurance to buyers. It has to be included in S&H charges or not...it is entirely up to the seller. Read the listing carefully. You should ask for shipping insurance.


PayPal?

Is a pretty good program for the buyer and seller. You are well protected. They have an industry best resolution process. The Seller has to be straight with you or risk penalties that are unusually harsh.

Getting the best deal!

I usually end my auctions on Saturday or Sunday evenings...most other premium sellers like to as well. So if you are looking for a super low priced bargain special that you can have refurbished, then look during the week including Friday and Saturday nights.

Remember look at listings that have many pictures!!! A good picture is worth a thousand words! Pictures of stitched material really is not an indication of the quality of the machine, as there is no absolute assurance that the stitching was do on the depicted machine.

ONCE YOU BUY YOUR MACHINE BE SURE TO TELL THE SELLER THAT A WELL PACKED, PROMPTLY SHIPPED MACHINE, THAT IS DESCRIBED ACCURATELY, AND ARRIVES IN ONE PIECE  = POSITIVE FEEDBACK AND A FIVE STAR RATING!

Hope this helps!
 
 
 
 
Accept Credit Cards Visa MasterCard American Express Discover

 

 Copyright 2005-2016 All Rights Reserved