DCP Pricing Secrets Revealed

The conversation of price, greed and models comes up on Facebook and a couple message boards I participate in about every three month. Just 30 days or so ago it happened again on Facebook. A person expressed outrage at the high cost of DCP trucks, a brand known for great detail that hobbiests enjoy buying. It did not take long for others to chime in with the same passion blaming greedy dealers, China and a variety of other culprits for the prices.

While I too look at prices and squirm from time to time I understand well why items cost what they do and the motivation to charge…well….what the market will bear. I will use DCP trucks in this example but the idea applies to a variety of models. As I write, a cab, just the semi tractor, can be bought about anywhere on the web for $50+/-. That is $50 for just a 1/64 scale cab, no trailer.  Complete semis can average in the $70 – $80 range pretty easy. This causes outrage for some buyers. But on closer examination there is much more to it.

For example, a dealer buys a case of six trucks at $300.00 or $50.00 each. The manufacturer suggests a markup of 38% or a retail price of $69.00.  So, the dealer will get a $19.00 profit, not too bad. But! We have not accounted for, shipping, sales tax, self employment tax, social security and a variety of other taxes that goes with owning a business.

Then, then there are the expenses of going to toy shows that includes fuel to get there, hotel expenses, table rent, save the date cards and advertising. If digital, there is the cost of an internet connection, website maintenance, host expenses, packing peanuts, bubble wrap, Ebay fees (if used), Paypal, and or credit card fees. With all the services and fees the $19.00 profit can shrink to $14 or less in seconds. In order to make enough to live on a dealer must sell a lot of models.

I am not here to garner sympathy for dealers. Business is business. What I do think is appropriate is to point out that there is more to the cost story. Add to that, if a dealer is going to give me great service, I expect to pay more. I normally work with 5 different dealers (I am not a dealer at this time, I usually pay whatever the market price is. I do get breaks from time to time). If I need a specific item I start on my call/email/text list until I find a dealer that has what I want. They are all competitive within a few dollars on price and are exceptional with shipping and timeliness. That is worth its weight in gold as I keep no inventory.

To add a variation to this conversation, there are several people, and I used to be one of them, that try/tried hard to buy bargains, then, flip those bargains hoping to make a profit. So what I did was buy a case lot of some model from a dealer or a close out item. I would usually get a 10 to 15% break for buying a case. If I bought a case of six trucks and get a 15% discount on a truck that retails for $65 I basically pay $55 per truck before shipping. If want to flip them and make money, I have to ask a premium to not lose money (remember all the fees?). This puts me at the top end of the market and I make $0 on my time. Plus, some bargains were bargains for a reason, no one wanted to buy them.

What now? The models I used in this example and other types of models will probably not get any cheaper. Sure patient buyers will sniff out bargains but overall I expect the prices to remain as they are and inch up over time. Does this mean that any average collector or enthusiast will be out of the market? I don’t think so, there will be some folks that are not price sensitive and buy what they want. But it will cause some enthusiasts to be selective and patient, which is not a bad thing.

Love to hear from, please leave a comment about this article. If you liked it, share it.

Thanks so much, Eric


  1. John Nomax on July 24, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Though I don’t do any brand of truck runs,some buyers do need to educate themselves on what it takes financially to be a (dealer) distributer.This article is a good start and a small fraction of the big picture.I’ve also seen irate posts in forums about increase pricings on various brands and pointing fingers at dealers.Bottom line is,buyers are not going to get items for the price they “think” its worth.Items are sold at market value (SRP) along with fees that are costly to the seller for reasons stated in your article.

    My advice to buyers is look for a dealer that’s consistent in pricing and gives good service and a price you feel you can live with.They are out there.I deal with a few specific dealers myself for that reason.There accessible and reasonable.Purchase items (trucks) that you really want that would compliment your collection.It would most likely make your buying experience alot better when spending that $75 to $80.
    So those that gripe about pricing?
    “It aint goin away”
    Search for a deal you’re comfortable with.
    Service and accessibility with a dealer is no# priority for me.
    Informative article Eric,hope it sheds some light on this ongoing issue.
    Thanks for posting it.

    • Eric Haselhorst on July 24, 2013 at 1:15 pm

      Thanks for commenting John and I agree with you. Honestly I used to be in the griping camp until I started building and helped a company produce a run of high end models. That was eye opening and showed me much about this whole business. It is quite interesting.


  2. John Ham on July 24, 2013 at 2:07 pm


    Well said and I completely agree. In addition, this holds true in other hobbies as well.


    • Eric Haselhorst on July 24, 2013 at 2:20 pm

      Thanks for commenting John. Yes you speak truth. It does not matter if it is farm models, classic cars, scrapbooking, hunting or fishing. There are entry level type pieces and high end. Enthusiasts are all over the map when it comes to supporting their interests.