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Old 11-01-2011, 03:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default About to switch over to COMC... a few questions...

Hey guys, I've recently decided I want to switch over to COMC to help me save time and $ and to help downsize the clutter of cards in my house. I do have a few questions I was hoping I could get some answers to...

First I'll start off with fees...

It costs $3 for every 500 cards in a shipment, plus an additional $.20 per card for 4 week processing. This would mean for every 500 cards, it costs $103 to list your cards for a total of 3 months correct? Then every month after that it costs 1 cent per card per month if the asking price is over 25 cents.


Next I have a questions about selling base cards...

Is it worth it? Do they move quickly if they are from newer sets? How much do you usually get per base card? Is it only superstars that move? Whats the lowest you can price a card to still make money? I see cards at $.18 but how is that possible with a processing fee of $.20 per card??


Lastly....

Are there any tips you have in general that would prevent any possible frustrations I might have with the site. Im mainly curious about anything monetary. I want to liquidate my collection while making a little bit of money. Any and all help is appreciated. and F U Feebay!!!!

-James
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Old 11-01-2011, 03:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi James!

COMC is definitely an excellent supplement to eBay. There are some things where eBay and other venues are useful. (For instance, selling bulk lots of cards that you wouldn't want to send in to COMC).

When you're just starting out, you might want to stick to just sending in cards that have a book value of at least $3 or so where the lowest COMC price is at least $1 or so, and where you'd be happy accepting 1/2 of that. After you get the hang of things, you can branch out into other cards.

Star players tend to sell faster than commons, but commons will sell, especially if they are active players or are local favorites or were heroes in college, if they were on a championship team (especially if the player is shown wearing that team's uniform) or if it's from a set that people are trying to complete (particularly tougher parallel cards of mainstream sets, like Finest Refractors or Stadium Club First Day Issues). Auto cards and Memorabilia cards sell better than base cards. Serially numbered cards sell better than base cards. Rookie cards sell better than non-rookie cards.

There are many reasons why a card might be offered for 18 cents. First, COMC sometimes has listing sales so it might have only cost 15 cents or 10 cents to process that card. (A while back, the standard processing fee was 15 cents, but it took 8 weeks instead of 4). Second, some people send piles of stuff into COMC and it turns out that some of the cards are only worth 18 cents. They'd rather take a 2 cent hit on a card here and there than have to sort through thousands of cards before submitting. Third, sometimes people buy an entire portfolio of cards and some of the cards are cheap. Fourth, sometimes people want cash now and are willing to take a loss, particularly around the beginning of the month when storage fees are due.

As for actual numbers, it depends on how aggressively you price the cards. You could sell the whole port the first day it's launched if you put an ad on the home page for a port sale at 10%. You could blow through a lot of your cards if you start them all out at 80% off guide (even then, you'll get plenty of offers from people for 90% off guide). Your cards will sell at a decent clip if you price them at 50% to 75% off guide. You'll be watching paint dry if you price them all at 100% of guide, though the thrill you get when you sell a Shawn Kemp insert for $15 might make it all worthwhile.

In terms of actual dollars, it's likely to be somewhere between "beats having all those cards sitting in the garage" and "don't give up your day job".
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Old 11-01-2011, 04:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for all the help. Thats pretty much what I expected to hear. Seems a lot cheaper then ebay and i'll actually have some more space around the house!

-James
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Old 11-01-2011, 05:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for all the help. Thats pretty much what I expected to hear. Seems a lot cheaper then ebay and i'll actually have some more space around the house!

-James


It is not a lot cheaper than eBay when you sell and "cash out" the money. If you use the money to buy cards then it is a great way to save the 20% fees. COMC is a much more seller freindly site than what eBay is and they do 90% of the work for you (scanning, shipping, etc.).
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Old 11-01-2011, 05:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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It is not a lot cheaper than eBay when you sell and "cash out" the money. If you use the money to buy cards then it is a great way to save the 20% fees. COMC is a much more seller freindly site than what eBay is and they do 90% of the work for you (scanning, shipping, etc.).
I would plan on buying cards with the $$ I get from COMC. Instead of cashing out, Im sure if I wanted $$ I could buy a few high end cards from the site, have them mailed to me and then sell them @ maybe a 5-10% loss on here or another site.

-James
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Old 11-01-2011, 05:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I agree it's not necessarily "cheaper" than eBay. At best, the cost is comparable. COMC does more work, and they earn higher fees.

The price you get for mid-level cards on COMC tends to be higher and they tend to be faster to sell. On eBay, there's no way to search the site for just cards which are being offered for 90% off Beckett or just cards that book for at least $10. So it's much easier to sell an $8 BV card on COMC for $2 to $4 than it would be to sell the same card on eBay.

Also, on eBay, if you're running fixed price, the fees could kill you. If you have no store, it would cost 50 cents per lot per 30 days. With a good size eBay store, you might pay $50 per month plus 5 cents per listing just for listing fees. For the same price as a premium eBay store with 1,000 listings, you could have a COMC account with 5,000 to 10,000 cards or more.

In the past 13 years, I've sold about 8,000 items on eBay, while in the past 18 months, I've sold about 11,000 items on COMC.

Nevertheless, eBay has its uses. If you have any high end graded cards, especially vintage PSA 10's, you could sell them on eBay faster for more money. If you have a hot pull from a recent pack, it would be easier to sell on eBay. If a player is hot this week or in the news, it's easier to sell on eBay. If you have an item with a raw autograph, you can sell it on eBay and not COMC. If you have a bulk lot of 1500 cards you want to sell all at once, it's easier to sell on eBay than COMC.
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Old 11-01-2011, 05:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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If you're selling on eBay and using the money to buy other cards on eBay, then it would be generally cheaper to sell on COMC and use the money to buy on COMC.
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Old 11-01-2011, 10:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
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While combing through the cards Im planning on sending in to COMC, I've come across two situations that I'm unsure of what to do...

1. I have base cards from a set that has almost 0 base cards currently FS on the site. Should I send all of these in since I'll have 0 competition? Or is it dumb to think I can get .50-.75 per common from this set (set in question is 2010-11 Zenith Hockey).

2. If there is a card that has a quantity of 50+, should I still send mine in? Take 2011 Bowman Finest Futures Stephen Strasburg for example. Lowest price is $.50 but there are 68 in stock. I'd gladly send mine in and list it for $.45 and take an offer of $.30. If I do that, am I likely to just get undercut by one of the other 68 sellers? Or do I have a shot of getting that sale?

-James
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Old 11-01-2011, 11:55 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pastmyshades View Post
While combing through the cards Im planning on sending in to COMC, I've come across two situations that I'm unsure of what to do...

1. I have base cards from a set that has almost 0 base cards currently FS on the site. Should I send all of these in since I'll have 0 competition? Or is it dumb to think I can get .50-.75 per common from this set (set in question is 2010-11 Zenith Hockey).

2. If there is a card that has a quantity of 50+, should I still send mine in? Take 2011 Bowman Finest Futures Stephen Strasburg for example. Lowest price is $.50 but there are 68 in stock. I'd gladly send mine in and list it for $.45 and take an offer of $.30. If I do that, am I likely to just get undercut by one of the other 68 sellers? Or do I have a shot of getting that sale?

-James
You would get undercut at some point in time but usually only by a .01 That's why you need to always be on your A game when it comes to updating prices. More so on your lower end cards & base.
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Old 11-02-2011, 12:50 AM   #10 (permalink)
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You would get undercut at some point in time but usually only by a .01 That's why you need to always be on your A game when it comes to updating prices. More so on your lower end cards & base.
Does it snowball to the point where the sellers go back and forth undercutting by a penny until its down to a quarter? I dont want to waste $80 on listing fees to get undercut on everything lol

-James
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Old 11-02-2011, 01:32 AM   #11 (permalink)
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If it's a popular player, what usually happens is some collector buys a bunch of the card at some price. For instance, there was a while back where someone bought every Alex Rodriguez card that was priced at 25 cents or less. At some point the market will come through, even on those cards where there's a ton on the site.

This is much more likely to happen if it's a rookie card or a card that would be worth getting autographed. But there is a lot of activity on some of those cards where there's a ton on the site. Like there might be 150 Shaq or Griffey Jr rookie cards at any given time, but if you've got one priced near the bottom and you're willing to take offers, you will see activity on that type of card.

Another thing to keep in mind is that an entire port will generally sell for 10% of book, so long as it's got a decent mix of cards, because some people would rather spend $100 at once to get $1,000 BV in cards than try to buy the cards individually. So you'll probably get your listing fees back at least on any card that books for $2.50 or more, though the net cash flow will be approximately the same as if you dumped the card in the ocean.

As far as commons, from recent sets put out in the past year or so, you're pretty safe, though Hockey tends to sell worse than Baseball, Basketball and Football. If you see a common on the site marked 50 cents or sometimes 75 cents and the seller's name is "commons", then that's actually a service of COMC. They don't want you submitting bulk commons from the 90's glut period.
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Old 11-02-2011, 08:38 AM   #12 (permalink)
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On the cards where there are a billion in stock on COMC, you might consider making bulk lots and offering them for sale on eBay at the lowest COMC price.

For example, when I first started out, I had hundreds of Jason Kidd rookie cards which were booking for around $3-$4 and which had a low COMC price of 30 to 40 cents. I put 100 of them into a bulk lot on eBay, listed it for $49.99 or best offer and got an offer of $35.

OTOH, there are plenty of cards which book for $3 to $4 that would actually sell for $3 to $4 if they were brought to market, and certainly plenty that would sell for $1 to $2.

In that sense, COMC is a more real price guide than Beckett, because it shows you what really is a $3 card and what really is quarter bin fodder.

For example, look at 2 different Alex Rodriguez rookie cards - 1994 Upper Deck #24 books for $15, but there are 38 in stock with a low asking price of $4.75.

1994 Sportflics Rookie Traded #148 books for $15 but there are 2 in stock and the lowest asking price is $15.

Those are the same player, same year, same book value. But one is relatively plentiful and cheap while the other is relatively scarce and expensive.

If Beckett actually cared to be an accurate reporter of market prices anymore, they would notice this and either raise the price of the Sportflics or lower the price of the Upper Deck, or both. Unfortunately, they've been phoning it in for years, but that's a rant for another day.
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Old 11-02-2011, 08:45 AM   #13 (permalink)
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With respect to the Hockey commons, some sellers will wait for a COMC listing sale before submitting that sort of stuff. Unfortunately, as COMC becomes more successful, they're less inclined to run listing sales. When they have run sales, they sometimes give preference to 550 count boxes filled with the same product (or no more than 4 different products).
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Old 11-02-2011, 01:08 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Hey guys. Don't mean to poke my nose where it hasn't been invited, but I wanted to say I really appreciate this thread. You've been giving great advice! A couple notes:
1) We will not be running any processing specials until we find a bigger warehouse to keep everything in. We hope to be relocating at the beginning of next year so it's likely we'll do something cool once we've settled in, but everything's still being worked out at the moment.
2) We offer $20 off for first-time sellers who are sending in their first batch of cards. Give us a call and we'll email you a printable coupon to send with your cards. =)

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Old 11-02-2011, 02:28 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I always appreciate any COMC guy poking his head around here. Good luck with the move!

Back to the OP, I can't stress how important it is to start off with cards that will have a lowest COMC price of $1 or so, or have a book value of at least $2-$3 or more. Unless you're having a fire sale, you're going to eventually be paying rent on those cards, and the rent is the same 1 cent per month for a card you have marked at 26 cents as a card you have marked at $26,000.

If you're asking 50 to 75 cents for common base cards, even recent commons, they probably aren't going to fly out the door. Say you sell 4% of your cards per month. That means, on average, it would take 25 months to sell a given card. If you're paying 1 cent rent per month, and get 2 months free, that means you're paying an average of 22 cents per card in rent, plus 20 cents per card for processing, plus about 2-3 cents per card for inbound shipping. Suddenly, the 50 cents you're asking yields about 5 or 6 cents in profit, and that's assuming you ultimately have 100% sell through without ever lowering your price or taking offers.

Suppose you decide to use the bulk listing tool to lower all of your prices on the last day of the month to 25 cents and then raise them back to normal on the 2nd day of the month to minimize rent (you can't use the bulk listing tool on the first day of the month).

The bulk listing tool won't let you cut the price below 25 cents. So now, when you go to bulk raise your prices, you don't know which cards were originally 25 cents and which cards were 50 cents and which cards were 75 cents. You'd have to reprice every card by hand in order to get them back to the 'correct' level.

OTOH, a larger seller might be subscribed to a higher level of COMC service where they pay $50 per month and they don't pay rent on cards that are marked 26 cents to $1. That seller has an advantage over you. They can let thousands of low value cards marinate for 50 cents, 75 cents, 99 cents without worrying about rent.

Now, suppose you decide that instead of paying rent, you're just going to sell your entire port to a flipper. COMC doesn't allow port sales below 10% of book, and most ports are offered and sell in that 10% of book range. But they don't generally sell for much more than that. Maybe you could squeeze as much as 15% of book out of someone, but it would have to be a pretty nice port.

If all of the cards you originally submitted had a book value of at least $2, then you'd get 20 cents for those cards by selling them for 10% of book at a port sale. So you'd be getting your listing fees back and the net effect would be the same as if you threw your cards in the trash. But if you submit cards with book values of 50 cents, then you'd be getting 5 cents for those in a port sale. Then the net effect would be like throwing all your cards in the trash and having your wallet stolen.
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Old 11-02-2011, 02:44 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Love all the points being brought out in this thread...

I just submitted my first order, was trying to get it all up before black friday, but procrastinated and then went with priority delivery, but I guess it didn't make it last week, so COMC got my cards on monday.

I wish I had brought my cards to the National, woulda saved me on the shipping, but I did get a $20 off coupon card there, so that helped make my decision to test COMC out and send some stuff in.

I sent in about 80 game used and autos from various sports and 100 inserts (all numbered)...figure after sgipping, each card is costing me about 13 cents to list...hopefully they will sell before the 3 months is up, but I plan on trying to adjust the prices here and there. and if need be, I can go as low as 18 cents or whatever

Most of the cards I sent in do not have a current card listed, but that can change in the next 4 months...we'll just see how this first go around is...kinda fun reading the posts, being a math and spreadsheet geek, hopefully I can keep my card sheets simple...

Not to hijack the thread but maybe the info can help the OP as well...

1) does COMC ever finish loading up your cards before the 4 weeks??
2) Is there a way to see what your competitors lowest prices are on a card, without going into each card 1 by 1
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Old 11-02-2011, 02:59 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Lots of good advice. I'm definitely going to call up COMC and get that $20 coupon for sure!

I guess i'm going to have to go through everything I've set aside and make sure everything I have has at least a BV of $3.

-James
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Old 11-07-2011, 05:05 AM   #18 (permalink)
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1) does COMC ever finish loading up your cards before the 4 weeks??

They used to give some priority to brand new submissions, but I don't know if they still do. Under normal circumstances, if a batch is processed early, it might be by a day or two.

2) Is there a way to see what your competitors lowest prices are on a card, without going into each card 1 by 1

Sort of, but it's not much easier. If you own a card, you will have a dashboard that shows all of the cards you have in stock. Each card has a COMC serial number. If you click on that number, you will see all of the copies of that card being offered and their prices.

You can also search your listings (or any seller's listings) and click the "text" tab. In text view, the card numbers appear as links, and if you hover the mouse over the link for a second or so, then you will see a thumbnail of the card along with the total number in stock (on the site), the lowest offer price, the percent off guide. So, if you cross reference that with the price of your card, you can see if yours is the lowest. (The comparison is easier when you sort your own cards by lowest price or by percent off guide).
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