Seller Tips

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Take Note of Maturity Before Cutting

Noting the maturity of your hay before you cut will help you better describe the maturity of your forage when you list it.  For instance, for grasses, how much have they headed out.  For legumes like alfalfa, how far into the bloom stage is it?  Are the plants fine-stemmed or coarse-stemmed?

Track Your Inventory Using "My Hay Barn"

By posting the details, pictures and test results of your forage using your "Hay Barn", as it comes in you will be less likely to forget.  When you are ready, you can move all or some of the bales to a Fixed Price Listing or Auction to sell whenever you want.  Once entered into TruBid, you can track your inventory and storage location throughout the year.  Bale quantities will automatically be updated as bales are sold.

Document Storage Locations

If you are a grower that brings in multiple crops of hay throughout the year, you know how quickly bales stack up and how easy it is to forget what is what when it comes time to sell.  We encourage sellers to document and mark off which bales are which, so when it comes time to sell, you can confidently give an accurate description.

Choose Optimal Listing Type

TruBid offers you the ability to sell your forage as either a fixed price or auction item.  The advantages for each listing type are described below.

  • Auction - Posting your forage on an auction allows you to take advantage of high demand, or move products quickly when needed. 
     
  • Fixed Price (with Volume Discount Option) - By selling your forage with Fixed Price listings you are able to keep your products listed until they are all sold.  You can adjust prices at anytime.  With Fixed Price listings you can customize your own volume discount schemes to offer incentives for buying larger volumes.  You also have the option to post any unsold items on an auction anytime you wish.

Build a Wide Customer Base

Continuing to post your forages for sale even when you may have other buyers will build your customer base.  You can let your other buyers know they can simply do a search by your name to find and purchase any forages you have for sale.  This not only grows your customer base but also will increase the demand for your product.  Being able to help load or provide delivery will also help broaden your customer base.  As your customer base grows, you may want to use volume pricing to get more income when selling smaller quantities.

Strive for Seller Tier Ranking Status

We are planning to implement a Seller Tier Ranking system in the future once a significant number of sales have been processed.  Any issues with a sale are tracked internally. The idea behind this will be to assign a tier-type ranking status to sellers who achieve a specified number of 'issue free' sales.  Sellers with a higher tier ranking status will have the highest level of trust from buyers which will increase the demand for their products and expand their customer base.

Choose the Best Time to Sell

As with any market, prices are always driven by supply and demand.  For example, in the northern states, first crop, small bale prices are often low due to the abundant supply early in the season and typically lower quality.  However, if you have the ability to store your first crop until winter, when supply is lower and demand is high, you may likely be able to get 50 percent more.

Get Your Hay Tested

If you have medium to high quality hay, getting it tested will usually be well worth the small cost as there are many people who want to know exactly what they are getting.  Sampling and testing hay is the only way to get an accurate nutritive value of the forage.

Choose Appropriate Lot Size

When selling via Auction, the lot size you choose can be important.  To accommodate different buyers, you may want to sell your product by breaking it down into different lot sizes since not all buyers are looking to buy a semi load of bales.  You will want to consider the following questions when choosing your lot size(s):

  • Are you able to deliver?  What is your hauling capacity?
  • What would be a convenient size load for various types of trailers?
  • Are the typical buyers in your area large or small operations?
  • Do you have a need to move hay quickly?

Know Your Estimated Bale Weight

Bale weights can vary greatly due to baler tension, bale size, and moisture.  It is critical for buyers to know approximate bale weight, when possible, in order for them to make price comparisons.  Offering a Tru-Weight Guarantee on your listing will likely increase the price buyers are willing to pay for your forage.  Keep in mind, as bales dry out they may weigh less than they did when baled. 

  • Small Squares - If you are selling small squares, we suggest you purchase a fish scale to get an average weight on your bales.  Inexpensive digital scales can be purchased on Amazon for as little as $9. 
     
  • Big Square & Rounds - Estimating the bale weights of big square and rounds is not as simple.  Unless your baler has a built in scale, we suggest either bringing a few bales in to get weighed.

Get Good Pictures

Listed below are things to consider when taking pictures of your forage (especially hay). 

  • Capture Color - When purchasing dry hay, many people want to see its color.  The ideal time to take a picture is right after baling before any bleaching occurs.  If your hay is already bleached out, take a close-up picture while pulling some hay back to expose its color under the surface.
     
  • Get a Close-up - Get a close-up picture in order to illustrate the texture or consistency of your hay. 
     
  • Show How Stored - Take a picture that shows how the bales are stacked and stored.  Many buyers may be interested in seeing what kind of storage/stacking method is used as that can often make a difference in how the quality is upheld.

Be Honest & Transparent

If you don't know how to answer a specific question prompt when you post an item for sale, just check "Not sure" and enter in why you are unsure in the comment section below.  It's OK if you don't know, but people will want to know why, otherwise it may raise suspicion in their mind why you didn't answer a question.

Treat Your Customers Well

Treating your customers well pays off!  Finding buyers is one thing, keeping them coming back to you is another.  When you have a broad customer base seeking your product, it creates demand.  Demand drives up prices and your products sell faster. 

Things you can do to increase the odds of them coming back to you is by showing them:

  • Courtesy & Respect - Being friendly, courteous and respectful goes a long way.  Nothing drives a customer away faster than being gruff or short with them.
     
  • Responsiveness - Give timely responses to texts, emails, phone calls and reimbursements.
     
  • Flexibility - The more flexible you can be for pickup times and dates will provide more convenience to your customers.
     
  • Accommodation - Assisting in loading or tying down loads is a great way to go the extra mile with your customers.
     
  • Appreciation - Show appreciation to your customers.  Thank them for their business and maybe even throw in an extra bale once in a while to your long term, repeat customers.