How to Sell on DASH

Why sell on DASH?

How to Sell on DASH

Follow these simple steps to start selling on DASH


Tools, tips and tricks for sellers


 How to Sell an Item

To sell an item, click on the "Sell" link at the top of the DASH screen. You need to be registered and logged into your DASH account to list an item, so be sure to complete your full registration first.

The Sell Page (shown at right) is where you will build your listing. It includes various options to describe your listing. Although most fields are not required to list, we recommend using every available tool to improve your listing and get the attention of buyers. You can read more about each of the options below. 

ITEM NAME (required) - The Item Name is to help the buyer identify the item(s) you are selling. It is NOT intended to be where you "sell" the item, and "sales language" in the item name can turn off buyers. DASH uses the following formula in defining item names:

[Manufacturer] [Model Number] [Road Name] [Scale (if needed)] [Type of Car] [General Type of Car] [# Road Number] [- Variation (if needed)]

Items named with this formula do better in internet search results, in addition to being logical and easy to understand for buyers. Item names are limited to 200 characters, and we recommend that you DO NOT USE ALL UPPER CASE in your listing title.

DASH ID (not required) - All items in the DASH Catalog have a unique ID number, such as MT-0974543. If you look up the DASH ID of the item you are selling and enter it here, then your listing will automatically inherit the Catalog's item name, categorization and photos. Additionally, when your item is purchased, it will automatically be added to the buyer's online collection. This is an important feature for DASH users, and can make your listing stand out. 

CATEGORY (not required, but highly recommended) - To make it easier for interested buyers to find your listing, use the DASH Categories to help sort your item into the right area of interest. If you are selling a modern era HO Steam Locomotive, you should pick the HO Modern first-level category and the Steam Loco second category.

ITEM DESCRIPTION (not required, but highly recommended) - Here is your chance to really explain to someone all about the item you are selling. The more detail you put in the description, the better. Buyers are especially keen on the condition of the item you are selling. Where is it worn? How much has the item been used? What is the condition of the packaging? Are there any special considerations about this item, such as limited run, accessories missing, instruction manuals available, etc.

CONDITION (not required, but highly recommended) - This is a quick way for a buyer to know what you are selling. Your choices are New (never been used), Used (been run and/or handled), or Refurbished (been repaired or touched up).

ITEM GRADE (not required, but highly recommended) - DASH recommends the TCA Item Grading definitions. This provides buyers with a "short-hand" way of knowing the overall condition of the item.

BOX (not required, but highly recommended) - This is especially important to note, since some buyers are looking only for Boxed items. If you are including all of the original box with this item, check that your item is Boxed.

BOX GRADE (not required, but highly recommended) - DASH recommends the TCA Item Grading definitions. This provides buyers with a "short-hand" way of knowing the overall condition of the item's packaging.

MPN (Manufacturer's Part Number), SHORT DESCRIPTION, SKU (Stock Keeping Unit), PRODUCT ID, and UPC (Universal Product Code) are all optional fields and are generally only used by dealers. However, if you can fill in any of these fields, it may help search engines find your listing.

Below the Item Info, you will see the "Media" options where you will upload the photos of your item.

You can upload up to 12 photos of your item. The "Default Image" is the image that will be shown by default to all buyers. All listings are REQUIRED to have a default image.

All photos must be in either JPG or PNG format and each photo can be no more than 500Kb in size. Generally speaking, you should take your photos using a high-resolution digital camera or late-model smartphone (at least 4 megapixels).

Well-lit photos with a white or light gray background work the best. Showing all sides of the item you are selling is recommended. Additionally, if you are selling an item with a notable defect or blemish, we recommend that you zoom in on the blemish or scratch so that the buyer knows exactly what they are buying. Good photos are the #1 way to remove a buyer's questions about your item and encourage them to buy or bid on your item.


Now, you are ready to define which type of listing you want and set your price. There are two main ways to sell an item on DASH - auction or fixed price.

AUCTION - Auctions are great ways to engage buyers. If you want to sell your item quickly or don't know the expected value, consider auction format.

Start Price - For your auction, the Start Price is the bid amount that will first be accepted for your auction. The lower your Start Price, the more bidding action and attention your listing will receive. With the exception of the reserve (see below), as a seller, you are committing to sell the item to the highest bidder in an auction.  So, think carefully about your Start Price.  All DASH auctions carry a 15% Buyer's Premium which is paid to the seller, so you should calculate that into your starting price. For example, while you hope your item will sell for at least $50, you would accept a price of $40 for the item. In this case, you should set your Start Price at $35. In the event you get only one bidder, you will still receive more than $40 in total and you have minimized your Start Price which encourages bidding. If you are confident that your item will receive multiple bidders, you should consider an even lower Start Price (some multi-hundred dollar items have a starting price of $0.99 to signal to the buyers that you are serious about selling the item!).

Reserve Price - In some situations, while you might not know how much your item will fetch in an auction, under no circumstances are you willing to sell it below a certain amount. This amount is your reserve amount. If the final bid is below your reserve, you are under no obligation to sell your item at the close of your auction. During the auction, bidders see that the item for sale has a reserve amount and whether or not this minimum amount has been exceeded. Until your reserve amount is met, bidders will see "Reserve has not been met".  If you do not set a reserve, bidders see "No reserve" on your listing. Generally, auctions with reserves get less attention from bidders than auctions without a reserve. Therefore, consider using a higher Start Price and no reserve in most situations. However, with the exception of declaring a reserve, sellers commit to honoring the sale of their item to the highest bidder in the auction regardless of the final price.

Buy Now Price - Sellers can define a "Buy Now" price that any buyer can opt to pay, thereby ending the auction before the closing time and buying the item at that price. In the example above, you might have chosen to use a Start Price of $35, hoping for at least $50. However, if anyone is willing to pay $60, you would be willing to make the sale now at that price (and therefore eliminating the chance that bidding closes at $70) but shortening the selling process. 

FIXED PRICE - The simplest form of a listing is a Fixed Price listing. If you know the actual price of items like the one you are selling, you can simply list with that fixed price. The downside of fixed price listings is that they aren't "fun" and generally don't generate the buyer activity as fast as auctions. The upside is that there is no ambiguity on the final selling price of your item.

SCHEDULE - The default setting is to go "live" with your listing when you complete and publish it, but you can change the time to start your listing at a specific date and time in the future. 

DURATION - By default, auction listings run for 7 days. You can pick anywhere from 1 to 7 days, but leaving your auction live for a week gives buyers a chance to find your listing and consider bidding. Fixed price listings default to 30 days, though you can shorten this duration too.

RELISTING - As a convenience to sellers, DASH can automatically post your listing up to 4 additional times in the event it doesn't sell. 

QUANTITY - If you have more than 1 of the exact same item, you can create one listing with a quantity. When one of your items sells, DASH will automatically relist another of your items for sale using the exact same selling format and listing.

Sellers on DASH specify which regions of the world they want to ship to and the shipping fees charged to buyers in those regions. If a seller does not check off, for example, the "Canada" checkbox and fill in a shipping amount, then buyers in Canada will not be able to buy this item.

The PickUp option charges no shipping and is for buyers who will physically visit the seller to pick up the item sold.

The Shipping Terms area is for sellers to list any special notations or terms about their shipping. This area could includes things like: how the seller will package the item, postage insurance, return policies, etc.

Currently DASH only accepts PayPal as the mechanism for the transmission of money between buyer and seller, so that checkbox must be checked. Finally, the last step is to either Submit (publish your listing now) or Save as a Draft listing (it will remain available to you, but unseen by the public). Most sellers will choose to publish their listing right away, knowing that you can edit your listing later. (See Manage Your Listings for more info about that.)  To see your listing live in the Marketplace, go to your My Account section which lists your live listings.


How to Sell an Item from Your Collection

DASH has a great Catalog of model trains and a system to help you keep track of your collection (think of it like your inventory). For more on how to manage your collection, read this.

Once you're managing your collection on DASH, there may come a time when you want to sell an item from it. Because you have already identified the item and have likely described its condition and photographed it as part of your collection, listing it for sale is a breeze. Here are the steps.

Find the item you want to sell in your collection and click on the name of that item.

This opens the Item Details screen.

On this screen, you should describe the condition of your item completely. If you are an upgraded user on DASH, you can sync your collection to your mobile device using DASH's mobile apps, and that can make uploading photos of your specific item a snap. Be sure to consider DASH's upgrade options here.


When you are done with your item description and photo uploads in the item details of your Collection, scroll to the "For Selling Your Item" section and click "List this item for sale in the DASH Marketplace".

If you have not previously completed your Marketplace profile information, you will be prompted to fill in details such as your mailing address (necessary for determining shipping fees) and the email address you use when you log into PayPal (necessary in order for DASH to be sure buyers can pay you for your item.) This is a one-time setup step.

After that, the Listing screen will appear. The big advantage is that your listing is virtually complete. It has a good name and it is already in the correct category, making it easy for buyers to find your listing. It has your description and photos. For example, if you uploaded five of your own photos, these will be used first for your listing, but if there are more in the DASH Catalog, these will also be included with your listing to help buyers.

All of this pre-filled info is editable. To complete your listing, you just need to fill in the pricing, scheduling and shipping options for this item. For more info on those steps, click here.

When you are finished with your listing, click Submit to publish your live listing.

How to Sell Your Collection

When you contemplate selling your collection, there are several very common questions and options facing you. Of course you want to get the highest price for your items, but you also want to make sure you don't turn the task of selling the collection into a full-time job!

Your options have ranged from taking pictures of your collection and items and creating an eBay listing or calling one of a myriad of collection brokers. Each has its own set of effort vs. return tradeoffs. DASH offers collectors a third, better alternative.

The first challenge for many collectors is simply figuring out specifically which items are in a collection. Keeping track of a collection isn't the most fun part of model trains, so most enthusiasts have traditionally kept pretty poor records. Expert knowledge of the items is essential to get an accurate inventory, so it is far better for the enthusiast to keep track of things rather than rely on a family member or other disinterested party.

The ever-improving DASH Catalog is the most comprehensive online resource for model train enthusiasts. By finding the items in your collection in the DASH Catalog, you can simply click "Add to Collection" to start building out your inventory. If you have an item that is not in the Catalog, you can add it for the benefit of others in the hobby as well.

Once you find your items in the DASH Catalog or add them yourself, you have gone a long way toward minimizing your effort and maximizing the return! And if you're a DASH Premium user, you also get access to the DASH Values Guide. It's the most comprehensive online values guide with values for more than 50,000 model train items. The values are based on actual past sales of these items, so you know that the values shown are actual realized prices. They can help you determine the actual value of your collection. 

Next you'll need to put together a compelling listing and promote it to the best group of model train buyers. Using the DASH Sell My Collection process, DASH will help collectors optimize their listing and promote it to a very active base of model train buyers.

How to Sell on DASH as a Dealer

If you sell model trains professionally, DASH has some special tools for you to take your business to the next level. DASH members are the most dedicated group of people in the hobby, and they are eager to find great deals on both new and vintage items.

For dealers, DASH offers bulk listing tools, and several programmatic ways to streamline processes such as listing management, reporting, and buyer feedback. Dealers get their own store on DASH so they can maintain their own brand identity on DASH. In short, DASH is the easiest, fastest way to get online.

What To Do After You Make a Sale

First, congratulations! DASH is helping bring buyers and sellers together and making the hobby more enjoyable for everyone.

After you make a sale, DASH sends you an email that looks something like the one shown on the right.

The best thing to do is to drop a quick note to the buyer that acknowledges their purchase and gives them a sense of when you will send the item to them. Great communications with buyers is the best way to ensure a good feedback rating!

To send the buyer a message, click on the link in the email that was sent to your from the DASH Marketplace and send them a note.

At this point, the buyer will likely have paid you already, which leads to the next step.

To confirm that the buyer has paid you, you need to click on the drop-down menu at the top of the screen next to your username. Click My Account.

  On the My Account screen, click Selling and Sold Items:

On the Sold Items screen, you will see all of the sales you have made. Next to each one is a series of little icons, letting you know where you are in the selling process. If the buyer has paid you, the second icon will be colored GREEN. You can also check your PayPal account for receipt of the funds.

Now that the item is paid for by the buyer, you should ship it out!

To look up the shipping address for the buyer, click on View Order in the Sold Items screen.

On this next screen, you will see a full breakdown of this transaction, including the buyer's address in the upper left.

All About Shipping

About Timeliness

Before you sell an item, you should plan to allot the necessary time to ship it. After payment, most buyers expect that you have shipped the item to them in the next 1-2 business days, so if you are not prepared to do that, you should tell them up-front in the Shipping Terms of your listing. The better you communicate throughout the process with buyers, the better you will do as a seller.

About Quality

Your goal as a seller is to make sure you pack and ship your item well enough to know that it will arrive to your buyer in exactly the same condition as when it left you. The best way to do that is to pack your item so that there is no movement of your item in the package if you shake it. Your package will be knocked and thrown about in transit, and movement in the box introduces wear and the opportunity for damage.

Here are some tips on packing model trains for shipment:

  • Use bubble wrap for heavy items like power packs and transformers. Be sure to take the wrapping materials into consideration when you are picking a box size. You need to be sure to be able to wrap smaller items in bubble wrap or paper towels if you are shipping them in the same box.
  • If you wrap a freight car in bubble pack, do not tape it so tightly around the model that you break small parts (usually the corner steps). Be sure to cover the item from end-to-end.
  • If you are shipping an un-assembled kit, make sure the parts cannot bounce around inside the box. Wrap parts in paper towels or bubble wrap, wrap and/or secure weights, and generally make sure that when you shake the box nothing rattles.
  • If you are shipping painted items, use paper towels next to any painted surface to keep the bubble wrap from sticking to the paint.
  • For small items and accessories, you might find that a padded envelope can work well.

About Costs

Buyers generally underappreciate the time and expense of packing and shipping items. That being said, they're usually unhappy upon seeing a really high shipping and handling charge. Essentially, buyers don't expect the seller to take a loss for what they pay to the actual shipping company, but they don't allow for the expense of the box, packing materials and time taken to package your items. Consider this in the context of pricing your items for sale and allow a little extra in the price to account for some of these hidden expenses.

Free Shipping

It is generally understood that offering "Free Shipping" motivates buyers. Of course, free shipping isn't free, and both buyers and sellers know this, but nonetheless, buyers tend to prefer listings with this designation. It makes the listing simpler to comprehend, even though everyone knows that the seller is simply loading their shipping fees into the item price.

If you have a good handle on your shipping costs, consider pricing your item to include "free shipping."

How to Estimate Shipping Costs

There are a number of factors that affect the shipping costs of an item. Item size, weight, dimensions, destination, and shipment speed are all important factors. The absolute best way to estimate the shipping costs of the item you are selling is to package it up BEFORE YOU LIST IT and take it to the post office or shipping company store and have them estimate the shipping costs for several different destinations in your domestic country. There usually is not much variation in the cost of shipping a hundred miles versus a thousand miles, but it is good to get a range anyway.

Alternatively, you can use online resources from various postal services to estimate costs. 

In DASH, shipping is charged by region of the world, not by state or zip code or address. So, if you live in the U.S. and are selling to buyers in the U.S., learn the overall range of shipping charges for several U.S. destinations and charge the average. For some buyers you might lose a little money for the shipping, and for some buyers you might make a little money, but the overall simplicity of charging an average amount far outweighs the disadvantages of charging "actual shipping costs" which can only be known after the actual purchase.

About International Shipping

There are eight global regions defined for shipping charges in DASH. All buyers specify their home region during registration. When you are selling, you can specify what regions of the world you will support for shipment, and you define a cost for each. When making these decisions, be sure to consider the various customs forms and procedures necessary to ship internationally.

If you decline to ship to a region of the world, buyers from that region of the world will not be able to purchase your item, so the fewer regions you support, the smaller potential buyer base you receive for your items for sale.

Managing Your Listings & Sales

Sellers manage their listings from the consolidated "My Account" section. Click next to your name on the top of the screen to select My Account.

(Notice here how you are notified
when another user has sent you a message)

If you have not already filled in your address and PayPal information, you will be prompted to complete that info. The PayPal Email address is the one that you have on file with PayPal and is essential to ensure that buyers can pay you for your sales.

Once you have completed this one-time setup step, when you click on My Account, you will see a series of options (shown on the right).

The Message Center is where message from your buyers will show up. Just like your email system, you have an Inbox, Sent Items and can compose new messages and replies. When you have unread messages, you will be alerted graphically.

Buying and Favorites / Watched are sections very useful for buyers.

The Feedback section is where you can see all of the feedback that others have left for you, as well as where you can see all of the transactions (as either seller or buyer) for which you should leave feedback.

The Selling section is the main place that you manage all of your listings. For each of these subsections, you have options related to each.

For each item you have sold, you can see the current status through the process, as well as get a central dashboard for communicating with buyers. Each step in the sales process is illustrated by an icon. If this step is not complete, it will be shown in gray. When complete, each step will be shown in green. There is a drop-down menu of choices that change based on the current status of each item in the sales process.

Here is what your screen will show for a sale for which all steps have been completed.

Immediately following a sale, DASH prompts the buyer to pay right away, and most buyers will do so.  However, there are situations where you might want or need to send your buyer an invoice to prompt payment. In this situation, the Sold Item line for such a sale will have a "Send Invoice" option. This is how you can review and send your buyer an invoice to pay prior to your shipment. In some situations, you may want to adjust the shipping charges and/or make a manual adjustment to the invoice. To generate an invoice, click on "Send Invoice" and click the checkbox next to all of the items you want to include on this invoice. You can then adjust the Shipping and Adjustment fields per your arrangement with the buyer.

You will also see a choice under the options menu to "Mark as Sent". This is a handy option for you as a seller since it sends your buyer a message that you have mailed the item and shows as Sent in the buyer's console of purchases.

The next subsection is for your Active Listings. Here, you can see all of your active listings. If you have an unsold Fixed Price listing or an Auction listing without bids, you can click on the listing an click the End button to end that listing. Additionally, you can click on an Active Listing and click the Edit button to change or add to your listing.

The Closed Listings subsection shows you all of the listings that you have ever had on DASH, whether they sold or not. Here, you can choose to Relist an item or List a Similar item for sale.

In DASH, you can create listings and choose to save them as Draft Listings to publish and activate at a later time. The Draft Listings subsection shows you all of your Draft listings and enables you to continue editing them and publish them.

Sell (List an Item) is the exact same process as clicking the Sell link at the top of the screen. This is the manual way to create a listing.

DASH has a Bulk Load tool available as a part of the PowerSeller program. It enables you to automate the process of listing hundreds or thousands of listings at a time, as well as automated processes for ending specific listings programmatically.