There are just some things that you in general should not buy used - carseat, underwear, yeah, no. But when it comes to getting what you want on a budget, the used stroller is the way to go. Higher end strollers are often feature-packed, durable, great quality, and let's face it they're just plain pretty! However they are often out of reach for us "common folk." By buying used the unattainable can become very affordable. If you are smart, patient and know where to look, you can get the stroller of your dreams (if you don't know what this phrase means then this post is probably not for you) for a fraction of the MRSP.
I've found that many owners of expensive, fancy-smancy strollers tend to take very good care of their strollers. Often they are bought and then only used once or twice (think jogging stroller, think bassinet) and this translate into a great opportunity for you. Now there are some negatives to buying used, the big one being that most companies will not stand behind the warranty on a used stroller. So keep this in mind when making your short list of strollers you're stalking. Look for strollers that have an excellent reputation for durability or for companies that have excellent customer service (Britax! They're awesome!).
Having bought and sold the odd stroller here and there I have learnt a few things that I am going to pass on to you.
1. Make a List (and check it twice)
Make a short list of what it is you want. Are you looking for an All Terrain stroller? Want to Jog? Need something to travel with? Identify your needs then narrow it down to a few specific options. To help you with your list ask yourself these questions:
- Who are/is my rider(s)? Double? Single? Triple (gulp!)?
- How long will they be riding? Example, if you have a 2 year old and don't plan for more then a bassinet is not a feature you really need (trust me, you do not want to be the crazy pram lady pushing her dollies around...)
- Where do I plan to use this stroller? (Mall? Everest? Sahara?)
- How will it be transported ? This is an important question! Buying a Bob Duallie and trying to fit it into a Mini Cooper? It kind of looks like this...
Not happening! So make sure your car and you stroller are compatible.
- Now write down the three most important features it MUST have. You only get three because no stroller can do EVERYTHING (though some come petty close) hence the "need" for multiple. ;) Don't know what you need? Here are a few options..
- Basket (Big, small, don't care?)
- Tires (foam, plastic or air?)
- Push (Want to push it with one finger or do you expect to get a workout pushing it?)
- Size (Is compactness important or do you want something so big crowds will part when you're working the sale at the outlets?)
- Customization (Do you want accessories, the ability to make the stroller match your outfit?)
- Do you want it to make you a latte? (I lie, none can do this yet but there are some that will fold all on its own AND can charge you phone as you walk. True dat.)
Ok, list, done.
2. Start Stalking
You cannot get the stroller of your dreams the day you dream of it. It takes time and patience while you wait for the gods of the stroller universe to send it to you (if you must, go and make you an Oprah dream board). There a few places you need to keep your eye on.
- Your Local Craigslist (and the one your Mother In-Law lives in!)
- The best way to keep an eye out of deals it to set up a Craigslist alert. Go HERE. By having an alert set up you can avoid having to check it 3000 times a day because when it comes to scoring a major deal on CL you have to move fast.
- Make sure you ask lots of questions and get lots of pictures before closing on an Ebay deal. Also check ratings and feedback.
- Stroller Buy Sell and Trade Groups on Facebook
- Yup, there are Facebook Groups dedicated to buying and selling strollers. This is one of my favorite ways to buy and sell. The ones I belong to have members who love and care for their strollers like children (no, seriously) and take exceptional care of them. These people are the best people to score a deal from. They love to
enablehelp you fulfill your every stroller fantasy.
3. Make sure you're getting a deal.
Having a fancy, smancy brand name on it (Bug-a-who?) does not always make it a good deal. If you live in an area of the country like I do, stroller deals do not come by often so don't get caught up in the excitement of spotting a potential deal. When you find the potential newest member of your stroller family there are a few things to check:
- Price. Look on Ebay, check other Craiglist listings, ask on Facebook stroller forums. Know what a good price is. Know what a great price it. Don't get so excited in finding something pretty and shiny that you end up over paying for it.
- Condition. There are some things you can fix when it comes to strollers and some things that are just a no-go. Things you can fix/overlook if the deal is good enough are:
- Fading of the fabrics (maybe you can replace them)
- Scratches to the frame (you'd be surprised what a Magic Eraser can do)
- Basic cosmetic flaws
- Dirt. You'd be amazed at what a hose and dish soap can do.
Things that CANNOT be overlooked are (in my book):
- Deep rust to the frame
- Widespread Mold
- Bent frame
- Non-working brakes
4. Check it, then double check it.
If you're buying locally make sure you check it out thoroughly.
- Check online for recalls. Make sure those have been repaired or that you can still get a repair kit for them.
- Open the stroller (does it stay open?)
- Push it (does it roll smoothly? Straight?)
- Check the harness works (put a child in it if you can)
- Set the brake (does it work?)
- Close the stroller (does it fit in your car?)
- Open the canopy (check for mold in the folds, seams, etc)
- Operate the foot rest
- Recline it (if it reclines)
- Check the fabric for tears, wearing, etc.
- Examine the frame. Make sure there is no bending, warping or deep rust.
If you're buying from someone who loves their strollers then don't insult them by low-balling them. Those people generally know what their stroller is worth and you're probably already getting a good deal or a great stroller. However, buying from your local Craigslist will probably allow you the most wiggle room in negotiating. Any flaws or problems you find that are not disclosed on the ad can be used as negotiating points. At the end of the day, know what price you're wanting to pay and it you can't close the deal, walk away. There will be other deals to have.
So there you have it! Happy Stroller Hunting!
PS: Have you scored a fabulous deal on a stroller? Brag about it in the comments section!