Used Pool Tables Buyers Guide Part 1
Used Pool tables are everywhere on Ebay, Craigs List, and Local Classifieds. "Buyer Beware" tags should be posted on each of them. What does it really cost to buy a used pool table? What are the risks? How can a buyer protect themselves from the unscrupulous seller?
Would you buy a used car without a car fax history report? How about without looking under the hood or having a certified mechanic inspect the vehicle? Buying a used pool table presents some similar challenges. Unless the seller will allow you to take the table apart, even a certified table technician can not tell the true condition of the table from a visual inspection.
You must also consider that there are no manufacturers guarantees on a used tables. If you buy a used table from a reputable local dealer they will usually give an installation guarantee or offer to warranty the table through the dealership, like Certified Pre-Owned Warranty at a car dealership.
You must factor in the cost of the tear down, move, and reset of the used table as well. Three piece slate tables are easily damaged when moved in one piece or by untrained individuals. The charge for a reputable local dealer to tear down, move, and reset the table will range from $300 to $600, depending on the make, model, age of the table, and part of the country. If the pool table cloth needs to be replace (which it usually does on a used table), be prepared to spend an additional $200 to $400 on a re-cover. Be careful using contractors who work out of the trunk of their car. They charge less but are not certified or insured, and will not usually guarantee thier work in writing.
You need to research the used table to make sure the manufacturer is still in business and builds quality tables. Particle board tables with 3/4" slate are next to impossible to keep level and don't last long unless they were built by quality engineers (Major Manufacturers like Brunswick, Olhousen, Connelly)
How old is the table? We recently had an inquiry about a used Brunswick. The seller represented that the table was only 3 years old. We identified that the model had been discontinued 10 years earlier and sold new for around $1200.. The seller was asking $1000.. Buyer beware. Even new tables are regularly misrepresented as quality wood when in reality they are a wood product such as MDF. A gentleman proudly stated that he purchased a solid hard rock maple table for $895. delivered. When it arrived I pointed out to him that it was a maple finish and not solid maple. He continued to insist it was solid maple until I pointed out that the box stated solid maple finish not solid maple wood, it was MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard or Particleboard).
Quality used tables range in price from $1,000. to over $100,000 for a true antique. Remember, if the table was truly a good deal, wouldn't the sellers friends, co-workers, or Family buy it before it had to be put in a classified ad? The fact is, 90% of used tables "for sale" are in such bad condition or so out-dated in style, the seller is usually looking to get rid of it before it costs them any more money.
Remember these rules when looking for a used Table:
1: Look for Major Manufacturer Tables less than 5 Years Old. Check the Manufacturers Web Site or email them to confirm that the table was in production during the time frame the seller claims. Avoid E-Tailers Tables Used (pooltablesusa, billiardsdirect, BilliardEX, ec.), you will not be able to get parts and they do not hold up well after the first few years of use.
2: Inspect the Table in Person, Take Digital Pictures, Look under the Table for Damage, Play on the Table a Little, and Look for tables with relativly new billiard cloth (not worn or over 5 years old)
3: Verify that the seller is the original owner, ask them where they bought it, and call that dealer to find out what they really paid for it!
4: Always try to get the original dealer to Tear Down/Move/Reset/Recover the Table if possible, they prefer to work on tables they originally setup and might cut you a break on the price!
5: Finally, Check your total investment against buying a new table from a local dealer, most of the time you will be within a few hundred dollars of getting a new table with a warranty!