Selling lights to friends / coworkers?

What have been your experiences selling lights to friends and coworkers?

I have multiples of several lights like S2/+, C8, B158, etc. I showed one of the B158 to a friend and he said, “How much”? So I sold it to him for cost because he’s a friend, I wasn’t looking to make money, and I had another B158 in the mail to me already.

Recently at work I’ve talked with people about their flashlight and showed them mine, and several have asked, “If I wanted a light like that, how much does it cost?” I’ve sold a few of my personal stock of lights this way (and then replaced them afterwards).

So I’ve thought about buying and keeping on hand a small stock of a few lights, maybe 3 of each:

  • Convoy S-series, for general purpose use.
  • C8 or VG10, for general purpose use with some throw capability, in a pocketable size.
  • B158, always makes people say “wow” when they see it outside at night.
  • Supfire A2, I don’t have one yet but the feature set (USB recharging and zoom) is very enticing to non-flashaholics I’ve noticed. (People at work especially are just in love with their angry blue, next-mode SK98s. So I’m thinking instead of trying SOOOO hard to convince them that an S2+ really is a better light in general, maybe it’s just easier to have a better version of what they already know and are familiar with.)

I would not be doing this to make anything more than beer money, say $5-$10 “mark-up” per light. For good friends, I might even do it for cost plus the next round of beers when we go out next time.

I already have two extra S-series, one extra C8, 3 extra VG10, and 2 extra B158. So to get 3 units of each “in stock” would cost me about $125, which isn’t that bad if I thought it could enable me to sell a couple lights a month.

Thoughts? Have you ever sold lights just for beer money, or to help spread the disease hobby of flashaholism?

Do you all have friends and colleagues who “ask” for lights? Because I don’t. My flashlight hobby doesn’t even come up in conversations, I believe I am alone with this hobby in my circle. Weird. Nobody I know carries a light or is remotely interested in electronics.

If these are real friends I wouldn’t mark anything up but sent them an affiliate link to the product and explain how the purchase process works. I wouldn’t go through the trouble of paying, waiting, (+potential trouble with shipping), maybe customs, depending on profit and how many you sell you’d have to declare income to IRS, selling and if something happens to the light they may come back with issues. All of this for 5-10 bucks? Depending on product you might make more profit on auction platforms (with fees, hassle, shipping, …).

the tax point is only relevant if you sell a lot of lights, I guess. not sure where the limit is for this.
edit: depending on stock you would also have the cost of capital (only relevant if you stock a lot of lights though)

I am thinking of selling an H03 to a friend. He knows how to deal with Li Ion batteries (just opened up his first laptop battery.) and I just lend him my spare H03R, if he likes it I’ll probably sell it to him at same price as I bought it. He’s been very generous with his beers so I allready got my rounds.

I’ve sold quite a few to friends, family, and co-workers. Family and close friends get stuff at cost, I just chalk it up to gaining experience and having fun.

For co-workers or others, I’ll up the price $10 or so to cover some of my time. Nothing huge, but if I sell 10-20 lights, I net enough to fund my own lights. If I think about it that way, I’ve probably broken even with my flashlight hobby.

Absolute most popular light I get asked for is a Convoy S2 (I use a smooth reflector) with a Nichia 219C 5000K and 2.8A 105C driver. Nothing special to a flashaholic, but still blows most people away. It’s a good quality light. I’ll sell it for $35 including a battery (NCR18650B) and charger (Lii-100). For that price, everyone that sees one wants one.

I also have sold a bunch of C8’s and several B158’s, sometimes with both white and red pills for hunters.

For me, those three cover most of what people are looking for. I’m not out to make a business of it, but just fund the hobby a bit.

I sold one Flashlight and two Petroleum lanterns to friends so far, all at a little less than what I paid for them, since they are friends. I figured that I got to use and test them, and I’ve been brought up to “never make business with friends” (German proverb), but I think it all depends on the exact circumstances.

Mostly I give them as gifts on birthdays etc., though so far with flashlights I have the problem that a) I can only give flashlights that are USB-chargable to most people, because most muggles prefer it as simple as possible
and b) I don’t buy “shelf-queens” (though I love the name, honestly, so descriptive!), I use every light that I buy extensively, and they usually show it after a couple of weeks, which makes them unsuitable for presents.

b) is not a problem with petroleum lanterns since I only buy used 30-80 years old lamps which don’t look factory-new anyway (I usually clean and repair them a bit, but I don’t even try to get them to a “perfect, factory-new” state, because the traces of use are part of the charm for me).

MILSPEC - my friends usually poke a little fun at “flashlights” as a hobby, then I do one of two things:

  • illuminate their left hand with a cool white low CRI (possibly latticebright) LED, and their right hand with a 90+ CRI Nichia. Left hand looks sickly green and like it belongs to a near-death patient at a hospital, and right hand looks beautiful and healthy. Almost always makes them say, “huh. I had no idea…”
  • Light up the treeline a few hundred yards away with a B158 that’s up around 300kcd. Almost always makes them say, “Wow.”

They still continue to poke fun (because I am obsessed, no denying), but in a different more understanding way. And maybe 1 in 5 of them will say, “Hey, can you sell me one of those?”

At work, we all need lights (manufacturing). But despite the fact we are QC engineers, everyone carries crappy $0.99 3xAA 9-LED junk. This is the group that I’ve started talking to a little more with the intent of education, and maybe selling them a $20 S2 here and there.

dekozn - one thing I didn’t mention in the OP is that most of these potential sales are to (reasonable) competent and technical people (engineers) so with the proper warnings/education, I don’t see too much issue with selling them a Li-Ion battery (probably protected).

gchart - your attitude/outlook/experience sounds like exactly what I had in mind. Even your $35 package price for 90+ CRI S2 + batt + charger sounds spot on.

PLG - I’ve given a couple gift lights, but only new lights that I built specifically for the recipient in mind. I consider my lights to be a “tool, not a jewel” so they show evidence of use and I’m just fine with that.

ah - thanks for clarifying.
That makes sense to offer them lights. Most of my friends have different hobbies (watching sports/tailgate, BBQ, how big their TV set is or what car mod to do next. Flashlights never come up and I guess I don’t “promote” this hobby enough.

On the job I only push powerpoint :smiley: also no longer carry an EDC at the office.

I like to have something to fiddle with at work, so I usually have a light even though I don’t need it. Once a person or two sees a light, word travels. I’m surrounded by farmers (I work at an Ag company), auto techs, and hunters… everyone of them has a use for a decent light. Pretty “convenient” for me :slight_smile:

As my family and friends get lights it is not long before their friends are asking for lights. So I’ve done some lights as you guys have done. Now I have a fire ranger asking about lights to show to the chief. This kind of makes me a bit nervous. I would love to supply some lights that would blow their current gear away. But… I’m thinking, what if something happens? You know, a battery vents in the light and burns someone. Or… you can imagine some crazy thing happening. Could this come back to me? Could I be robbed of all I own because someone messes up and gets hurt and then sues me for everything I have? Anyway, I was wondering what are the legal implications of selling lights? Anyone know?