Interview with Ian Buzer

Ian Buzer was the founder and first Managing Director of Preloved. He answers some of the most common questions about the site.

When and why was Preloved created?

I originally started Preloved back in 1998. It started off as a hobby to supplement my addiction to visiting junk shops, car boot sales and buying all things second hand. I set out to make the site small and friendly, not intending to compete directly with sites run by large established companies such as Loot and Exchange and Mart. However, it seems people loved this friendly atmosphere and Preloved has grown, largely by word of mouth, to become one of the three largest classifieds sites in the country.

What's so great about second hand?

The reason I love second hand is that you get to own something more interesting and unusual. It might be a little worn and it might not always work quite as well as its modern equivalent but it will have a character of its own, something that is often missing in today's age of cheap disposable plastics. Of course buying second hand is also a great way of protecting the environment, cutting out unnecessary manufacturing and saving landfill.

What kind of savings can be made?

It varies depending on what you are buying but you can save many many thousands of pounds by buying second hand. For example, we all know that a new car loses thousands of pounds the moment it leaves the showroom. Buying the same car "nearly new" turns that cost into a saving. You still have all the safety and economy benefits of a new car, plus you could still have several years manufacturer's warranty remaining.

What makes Preloved different to auction sites such as eBay?

Firstly, it is completely free to sell on Preloved - there are no listing fees, no selling fees and no catches. Secondly, we prioritise adverts in your local area, bringing together local buyers and sellers. This means you can see an item in the flesh before handing over the cash.

What sells well on Preloved?

The local nature of Preloved means that items that sell the best on Preloved are those you want to see, touch and try out before buying, for example a musical instrument or a wedding dress. Also, larger items that could not be delivered are also popular on the site, for example cars, motorbikes, caravans etc.

As a seller, how can I get the best price for my items?

Well, it's really important to have a good photo, and to have a good honest description of the item, pointing out its bad points but really emphasising the good points. However, the most successful sellers are those that let their own character shine though and are looking to make a friend as well as a sale. Tell people a little about yourself in your profile and tell people about why you bought this item and what it was like to own. If this item was for a hobby you may well meet a like minded person with similar interests as your own.

Any tips for buyers?

Try to buy locally if you can - being able to inspect the item before buying and to meet the seller saves all kinds of hassles with delivery. Remember, if you do go to meet someone do not go alone and do not take large amounts of cash with you. We've got lots more tips on buying and selling safely in the "Safe Second Hand" section of our web site.

Have you bought anything from the site?

One of the first things I bought was a great little sailing boat in a fabulous 70s pedalo blue colour which took us sailing up and down the rivers of the east coast where we live. I also play the trumpet and I recently bought a 1959 Conn Constellation - it has a beautiful warm sound that you don't get in modern trumpets.

What are your plans for the future?

We want to keep growing, increasing the selection of items for sale on the site as well as the number of potential buyers. However, we are really focussed on maintaining the warm friendly atmosphere that has made Preloved the success it is today.