Twice a year I pack up my instruments and sell them. The two places I go to sell is a "RocknRoll Flea Market" in the Spring and a "Ukulele Festival in the Fall".
My booth always has a great turn out but I only end up selling two or three.
I always have a mix of 3 strings, 4 strings, Ukuleles and a couple of 6 strings and some novelty instruments that draw folks in.
3 strings sell at $125
4 String CBG $200
Six strings $400
All the instruments are in great shape, play well and are in tune. Visitor love playing them and chatting about them, but I'm not making sales.
What am I doing wrong?
Good point. Also, not many folks walk around with $200-400 in their pockets. Mobile debit/credit card units are an option, but the fees can be prohibitive.
Festivals and markets are great for local exposure, but lots of tire kickers, comments like "oh that looks great, but I dont play", etc. Some may disagree, but I have had great success selling on eBay. I only ship within N. America (Canada and U.S.), which gives a very large audience of potential buyers. The small percentage taken by eBay and Paypal are nominal, compared to the fact that listing is free until tthe item sells. Bottom line, the more people that see your work, the better chance at a sale. On a related note, your prices seem in line with other sellers. Now if you build something extraordinary, a higher price is commanded, of course. Good luck
In a video by Shane specifically on this topic, he says that he dials the reverb up to maximum when playing demo at his booth, which seems to be very good at attracting attention, and really enhances the sound of the guitars he plays.
Makes sense: Location, Location, Location... It also comes down to price... Given what I have invested in tools and time, I can't see myself selling a fretted 3 string w/ exotic wood fretboard and piezo pickup for less than $200. My recent fretting jig makes slotting fretboards a 5 minute activity, but I have to figure the cost of the tooling in the price of the guitar..
(I also live in one the most expensive cities in the USA...)
I think your price is low. Take labor out of the picture, for a minute, depending on the cost of lumber, cigar box, components, screws, fret wire, strings, glue, tools, etc. you probably have $75 to $100 in costs. A rule of thumb, in retail, is to double the cost, when setting your price. So, now you're at $200, leaving $100 to cover labor, your hard-earned expertise, trial and error, rent, time spent sourcing boxes and other parts, conceptualization time (that's the time you spend visualizing, perseverating, imaginating...). You get the picture.
Still, the market decides price. If your guitars aren't selling at $200, you can either, find a different market (art versus musical instrument) or find a way to lower production costs (turn your hobby into a manufacturing process---think "production line"). Or, sell at, or close to break-even, and be happy your addiction isn't costing you too much money.