Get More for Your Old Treadmill by Bartering

Photo: The Sharpteam

It’s the New Year, and people across the U.S. are refocusing on ways to lose weight and get in shape. This means a sharp increase in the number of treadmills and exercise equipment products at retailers. Those who don’t have the cash or credit to buy new might be looking to obtain a used piece of equipment as part of a barter agreement; if you happen to have one you don’t want, you could be looking at a sweet deal! (See also: Why It's Wise to Barter)

A Look at the Exercise Equipment Market

A quick glance at my local Craigslist ads in the Barter section shows an uptick in activity for those looking to trade items. Yes, there are those folks who received gift cards for Christmas and who are desperately trying to unload them for what they truly asked Santa to bring them. The majority of the ads, however, are pleas for excellent-used-condition treadmills and elliptical machines, and these people are willing to offer some pretty neat stuff to get what they want.

One ad, for example, offers to give hunting equipment, power tools, and a gun in exchange for a used treadmill. Another offers to hand over three antique sewing machines for that coveted exercise staple. The ads are varied, but one thing is certain — treadmills are hot this time of year.

How You Can Profit

What does this mean for you, the treadmill owner? If you are willing to part with a well-functioning, albeit dusty machine, you may be able to make more than a buck. In fact, many of the trades seem to be coming from people who are cash-strapped, may not have credit, and aren’t resourceful enough to snag free exercise equipment from a home realtor. This means that they are offering much more than the value of the treadmill, because the perceived value of that treadmill is higher in their minds. If you’ve wanted something unique, you may find that it will cost you nothing to get it — and you can free up some space in your garage.

Since the value of the dollar has been going down, you may even be able to get much more through a barter situation than you could shopping retail. Take the example of a trade of $700 of hunting equipment for a treadmill you paid $1,300 for last year. Sure, you could try to sell it, but many people are short on cash this time of year (meaning it could be difficult to liquidate), and the used fitness equipment outlets will likely give you ½ of what they hope to sell it for. You are like to get a much better deal with bartering.

Don’t Forget Uncle Sam

There is a tax to consider. While I can’t give specific advice for making sure your tax reporting is on the up and up, you can give the IRS guide for barters and exchanges a look before you go ahead with your deal. While it’s doubtful that the amount of tax owed would negate the high value of the exchange, it is something to think about if you do it often enough.

Do you have a piece of neglected-yet-functioning exercise equipment that you’ve been reluctant to let go of? Imagine the value of it plummeting as 2012 gets underway — you may find it best to trade it away now for something your heart truly desires.

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