TECH CORNER The Swap Meet: Make Friends and Get Rich Quick By Jim Urquhart One of the most glorious aspects of snowmobiling is the swap meet. It’s where sellers go to make some quick cash by culling their pile of stuff and where buyers go to find hidden gems or that hard-to-find part. Part garage sale and part social event, it’s also where snowmobilers gather in anticipation of the coming winter. PICK A SWAP, GET YOUR SPOT Good swaps tend to be bigger ones such as Haydays in North Branch, Minn., or the Outlaw Grass Drags in Princeton, Minn., and swap spots at these events cost money and have to be reserved beforehand. Pay attention to the size of the swap spots at bigger events to make sure your setup will fit. Cost too much? Find a buddy to split the costs (and work). Big swaps are good, but don’t overlook smaller swaps because sometimes they’re less expensive or support trails in your area. Got a lot of stuff? You may want to buy two swap spots or swap at multiple events. ORGANIZE, EDUCATE AND EVALUATE Make sure all your stuff is organized, and that means knowing where it came from and what it fits. The more you know about your stuff the better the salesman you will be. Label your stuff with a decent price that invites an offer. If your price is too high, you’ll scare people away; too low, you cheat yourself. This may require some research online or at other swaps. And remember, it’s a snowmobile swap, so leave the sinks and furniture at home - no one wants that junk. However, it’s not a bad idea to bring tools or other stuff with engines. Clean parts neatly organized on a clean white table. That’s how it’s done. PLAN YOUR LAYOUT Parking your van and opening the side door might be the easy way to swap, but it’s not the best way. A table, a pop-up tent (for shade or rain protection) and maybe even some old carpet laid out on the ground can make your swap spot pretty inviting. Some guys even bring a lawn mower and mow the field grass down around their area. Make sure your spot is inviting, organized and accessible. Group parts together, take them out of boxes and wipe down any sleds you might have to make them look good. Think up some nice gimmicks that will spur sales, such as a sled that can be torn down on the site, or dollar bins of stuff. READY, SET, SWAP! If you’ve ever worked retail you know customers tend to come in waves. Your swap spot will seem like a beehive of activity at some points and at others you will have tumbleweeds blowing through. Arrive early and be ready to sell the second you park, because you will. Sales will depend on quick negotiations and quick decisions. Know your bottom dollar on stuff and know that a guy with cash in hand who is offering a little less than you want for something is sometimes better than loading that stuff up at the end of the day. Be prepared to barter! Remember, people come to swap meets to get deals, so work with them (but don’t cheat yourself in the process). Be prepared to stay there all day, so bring a cooler full of drinks and food - a small camp grill is a great idea. Get to know the swappers around you too, as they can send people your way if they know you have something good. Swap meets are a great place to interact with people who share your same interests and that, along with the chess game of negotiating sales and making some quick cash, is what makes them so much fun. Swap meets are typically great social events as well as money-making and parts-finding ventures. 24 Minnesota Snowmobiling