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Old 11-21-2012, 05:35 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Back In The Hobby, A Few Questions

First off, greetings everyone. I've recently gotten back in the hobby and having a blast so far. So much that I'm thinking of eventually opening a hobby shop in 6 months or so. The wife and I are moving back to our home town and there's not a hobby shop in many miles.

So... with that. The hobby has changed. Dominated by relics, autographs, and numbered cards... We didn't have this when I was collecting. So I have a few questions I'm hoping you guys can help with. I posted it in this subforum since most my questions have to do with selling. Hopefully I'm not breaking any rules....

So I'm not really sentimental when it comes to cards. I'd like to sell off the extras. Looks like Ebay is the way to go when the cards are more than a few bucks. My question is, what do you guys do with your commons and base? Ebay also or something else?

Speaking of my last question.... I keep seeing Check Out My Cards. What's that all about? Yes, I've checked the forums and even checked out the site, I just don't really understand the best way to utilize it. Is it best for commons or should I be sending them the big guys? Would I get more for them than Ebay? Can someone give me the quick run down?

I've participated in a few Box Breaks... (something else we didn't have back in the day). A few sellers have sent me the commons/base in a Team Bag. No really protection, etc. Is this normal business? Should I be mad? Also, what's the general consensus on Box Breaks? Worth it?

I've seen a few ebay videos and even a few sites dedicated to it..... Pack Searching. Obviously this is scum material and just freaking immoral.... My question is... is this a rampant thing I need to worry about? Should I avoid Target/Walmart and even Ebay auctions packs because of this?

I think that's it for now. Thanks so much guys. I appreciate all the feedback and help. I'll be frequenting the forums from now on, so it's a pleasure meeting everyone!

-mike
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Old 11-21-2012, 07:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to the forum!

I don't own a card shop myself, but some others on here do. I sell online, I'm a sole proprietorship in Illinois. But I know that opening a card shop is financially risky, extremely so. If you don't have an existing customer base, then it's likely to bomb quickly. I'd work on establishing a customer base on eBay and COMC, and see how you feel about it in a year. I would also try to establish an online store of your own, so you avoid eBay and COMC fees.

This business is tough, profits can be razor thin and competition is everywhere.
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:20 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I owned a successful comic / card / collectibles store in the 1990's. I tried to open another collectibles store in 2010, but it was disastrous. The market has completely changed. Because of the internet, people only want to buy the specific items they are interested in buying, at a price which is competitive with an online price. They will not buy anything else.

20 years ago, a person would have walked into my shop with $20. They would look around, ooh and ah, and then they would put together a pile of stuff that they would buy for $20.

Today, a person will walk into a shop with $20. The $20 is earmarked for a specific item that they can purchase online for $20. If you have that exact item for $20 right there in front of their face, they will buy it from you. If not, it does not matter if you have 10,000 similar items. They will not buy it. At all.

It's about the same with buying. If a person has an item they want to sell, they will sell it to you - for the same price they think they could get if they posted it online. Maybe they'll offer it to you for a slight discount for the convenience of cash in hand, but that's it. So if they think they can sell it on eBay for $100, and that they'll clear $80 after eBay / Paypal fees, they'll offer it to you for maybe $75 to $80. Or, they'll want to do some consignment deal.

That is, if they're tuned in enough to the market to know that the item will fetch $100. Most of the time, they have no idea that their item would be lucky to get $10, and in order for them to find out, they'll make you do all the research.

Hence, I am now content to sell on Checkoutmycards. In general, I would recommend COMC for individual cards with a market value (not book value) in the $1 to $20 range to start. As you become more comfortable, might send in higher dollar cards. Individual cards above that range, you might still sell on eBay. Below that range, I'd recommend putting into bulk lots and selling online as a bulk lot, or as a grab bag at a card show. Or giving them to a kid. Or dumping them in the ocean.
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Old 11-21-2012, 05:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Wow, insightful, and kind of disappointing in a way. I know this is a high risk venture, more-so than other things I could open but hey, they say a happy career is a good career right? I do agree that this needs to be taken slow. Build a customer base first and then maybe hit retail. I'm fairly certain the local shop will lose money for ATLEAST the first year, so the online business would be needed to sustain that.

I was also thinking of using the shop for a gaming type of thing. Perhaps either sell new/used games or open one of those shops where a kid can come in for a few hours and play any game he wants for a certain dollar amount. I figure that could help keep us afloat. We have a place like that here (not where I'm opening a shop) in the mall that does well.

So you guys are big on COMC... Leads me to one or two more questions..

a) Ebay is obviously the quick answer. Sold in 3 days in most cases. Do you typically get more money for COMC or Ebay after it's all said and done?

b) How long does it typically take for cards to sell on COMC? My fear is that I'll send my cards in, they take long to get processed, and then they sit in the COMC inventory for months and months. What has your experiences been in this regard?

I appreciate all the info so far!
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Old 11-21-2012, 10:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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COMC does all the work. Selling stuff there is sometimes like watching paint dry (unless you blow it out for very low prices), but it sells steady. It really depends on how much you enjoy scanning, describing, sorting, posting, answering customer questions, collecting payment, packing, shipping, leaving feedback and doing follow-up. I hate doing all that stuff, so I'm happy to let COMC have all that fun for 25 cents a card, plus some rent money, plus the occasional cash-out fee.

But it's not for every card. If you have something that will sell fast on eBay for $25 or $50 or $100, sell it on eBay. If you have 1,000 cards that have some value, but would be too tedious to list on eBay one at a time, consider listing them on COMC. If you have 100 similar cards, like they're from the same set, or they're all jerseys or they're all autos, or they're all of the same player, and they would sell on COMC for $1 each, then consider listing the whole thing as a bulk lot on eBay for $100 Buy It Now with Best Offer. It just depends on how much work you want to put into it.

If you want to be a gaming venue, you might be able to make a store work. But I would recommend having a very strong online presence first. Work things up to the point where you're selling a few hundred dollars a day online. Then, maybe open a store, and use it as a base of operations. Use the physical store to get stuff you can sell online, and use your online presence to get people into your store.

At least, that's the theory. In actual practice, I found that the physical store distracted from the online presence, and the online presence distracted from the physical store. When the internet first started, there was a synergy between the real world and the virtual world, but that doesn't seem to be the case anymore. What's worse, in order to make the same profit in the store that I was making online, the store needed to generate at least 6 times as much in sales. Instead, most of my sales were actually online, and most of my time was spent on the store.

One thing you could do is set up a separate bank account, sell a bunch of stuff online, and put half your profits into the bank account. When the bank account reaches a certain amount - say, 6 months worth of fixed store expenses, then consider what you're going to do with that money - use it to open a store, or use it to expand your online presence, or put it into savings, or go on a lavish vacation.
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Old 11-22-2012, 06:26 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Wow, thanks for the info. I think I'll do exactly as you suggest. I'll start by sending them a few hundred cards and see what happens.

And thanks for the business info. I may do exactly what you said and be slow about it. Afterall, why be in a hurry to lose all my money?
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