Thursday, October 06, 2011

Rehab Equipment Exchange

Photo of Dear Son's Gait Trainer

I am excited to share with you today a wonderful resource for parents of special needs children. For many years, when Dear Son was younger, I often wanted an extra walker (gait trainer) to help Dear Son learn to walk. While the insurance company was able to assist us in purchasing a walker, it was sent to school where the therapists worked with Dear Son to help him walk. Dear Son was transported to school in a wheelchair and it was too difficult to send the walker to and from school every day on the bus so we ended up leaving the walker at school all the time. While this was great for school, it didn't give us the opportunity to work on walking at home. With the price of the walkers, we weren't able to purchase a second walker for home use. We would have been open to a used walker but with all of the customizations on his equipment, we were hard pressed to even find a walker similar to what he used let alone one with all of the customizations.

From time to time, we would hear of someone that "may" have some equipment we needed but more often than not, it was never a match. But that was then.

This is now....enter Rehab Equipment Exchange. This is a brilliant website devoted to facilitating the exchange of used rehabilitation equipment. On this website, you can buy, sell or donate used equipment, anything from wheelchairs to walkers, assistive technology and just about anything that is used to assist people with disabilities. Think of it as a Craigslist for used equipment.

It works like this. You go to the website and select the type of equipment you are interested in, whether it's pediatric or adult. On the site, you can browse equipment for sale, or place an ad of equipment you are looking for. When you spot an ad that you are interested in, you jot the ad number down and contact the site which is managed by a physical therapist. They send you an email with the other person's contact information and then you can proceed from there.

I had an opportunity to use this site earlier this summer. Prior to moving, I had Dear Son's old gait trainer in my garage. I had a hard time parting with it when I learned he could no longer walk a few years ago. At the time, I wasn't ready to donate it to the school system because it meant that I had to accept the fact that Dear Son would never walk again. You can read about that here. It's been several years since that time and prior to moving, I had checked with school and the Easter Seals to see if they had a need for this gait trainer and they did not. Once I started googling equipment, I came across the Rehab Equipment Exchange website. On the site, I found a lady who was looking for this exact gait trainer for her son. She lived in another state so I got an estimate on the shipping charges and she purchased the gait trainer for a fee and paid for the shipping. It was an exciting time for both of us. I was able to use the money to cover some of our moving expenses for the new apartment and she was able to purchase a walker to help her son walk. What a wonderful feeling to know that Dear Son's gait trainer was going to another young man who had a dream to walk. I cleaned the gait trainer up and shined it as nice as I could. After all, I remember how excited I was when Dear Son began to walk and the gait trainer wasn't just about walking it was about giving hope to another family, hope that their son would be able to walk one day on his own.

After having used this service, I have a few tips:

1) Once you have decided what you want to sell, check your invoice to determine the size and the features for your equipment. In your ad, you'll need to specify the size of the equipment and the features and your invoice is a good place to start.

2) If you don't have your original invoice, go out to other therapy vendors and check out their ads for that equipment. Once you are there, you will see the different sizes, measurements and options for that piece of equipment. Take measurements of your equipment and match it up to the site so you know exactly what size you have and accessories you have so you can place that in your ad. Sometimes, after many years, it may be hard to remember if you purchased the medium, large or extra large of a certain piece of equipment. It's also hard to remember what comes standard and what pieces are additional.

3) Once you have the item, the size and the accessories for your sale item, go to the Rehab Equipment Exchange website and peruse the sale ads. This will give you an idea of the price range for your equipment so you can price it accordingly. I think it's helpful to browse the ads for, "equipment wanted" to see what price people are willing to pay.

4) After you've decided on a price, it would be helpful to get a shipping quote. Make sure to go to Fed Ex or UPS and have your item boxed and weighed so you have an accurate number. For example, I paid $80 to have the gait trainer boxed by UPS. While I could have boxed it myself, I really wasn't certain how to box it properly to keep it from getting damaged in shipment so it was worth it for me to let them box it, even for $80. From there, I had them take exact measurements and weigh the item. Originally, prior to boxing the item, they estimated the shipping charge to be around $100. After they had it boxed, the actual shipping estimate was $200! We had the shipping charges done at Fed Ex and the price was similar. You want to know what your shipping charge will be so you can include it in your ad.

5) Be sure to list the price for the equipment and then the shipping price. In my case, I charged for the item and the shipping but did not charge the customer for the box. You want to make sure that you list both the price and mention that shipping is extra otherwise, you will can take a big hit just on the shipping. When I was on the site, I noticed that most of the equipment and buyers were out of state so that appears to be the norm and not the exception. As a result, shipping charges are important.

6) Don't forget to insure your package.

7) Use Paypal for security purposes. I accepted payment via Paypal and then shipped the item to the customer.

Overall, it was a great experience. I was happy that I was able to sell this item and thrilled that another young man was able to use it. The mother who purchased the item also stated that she would be interested in any other equipment we had for sale. It had been many years since he used this walker and I didn't have any other equipment for sale however you can see that once you have a buyer, they may have an interest in purchasing other equipment from you.


deb said...

Hi Dream Mom- First let me say how relieved I was when I saw your last post. It had been so long that I was hesitant to email/post. So glad to hear that you and Dear Son are still hanging in there.
We have used this Rehab Equipment Exchange. Our Amy has a very jazzy power wheelchair- if you had to pay cash for it, it would be more costly than most cars! She doesn't often need a manual chair-except when her power chair is in for service. We needed an inexpensive (relatively) chair for those times, as insurance would not cover a push chair. Got a wonderful chair for a great price.
All the best to you and Dear Son, and I hope you can catch up on some sleep!

Michelle said...

i worked with a client that made their own tube feeds. with some persuasion they even got insurance to cover the blender! worth a shot.

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