The Numbers: October 2-8, 2022

The Numbers: October 2-8, 2022

I know you started sending thousands? of cards to that consignment company.

I hit 12,000 items in my consignment port maybe a month ago. A lot of that was from sending them boxes almost every week earlier this year. My most recent submission, in September, was maybe 1500 cards, basically the majority of my purchases in July and August. It helps that some/most of my COMC cards get cross-posted to eBay, with a price increase that I don’t benefit from to cover COMC’s eBay fees. I get at least a few sales to my COMC account every day from random eBay buyers, occasionally 10+.

–How much are you averaging a week/month in sales there?

I know you love numbers so here are my consignment sales for the year. Remarkably consistent numbers once I got the hang of things. I am excited to see how high the numbers go over the next few months. COMC runs a Black Friday promo every year which sees a lot of buying and selling activity and I plan on running a strong sale. There is a lot of overpricing on the platform, and “75% off” sales which bring prices down to a more normal level. So someone like me who prices normally and then runs discounts does quite well.

COMC’s processing fees are high (50 cents up to $5 to add the card to my account, plus a small percentage when it sells) so I always try and keep a few hundred in my account to cover the next submission that’s in the processing queue. Because of that, it took me until around June to make a consistent profit. Much like how it goes building up an eBay store. But since mid-summer I’ve been able to request at least a $500 check every week with occasional $1000 checks, all on top of my regular eBay sales. It’s not what I envisioned a year ago when I started doing eBay full-time, but it’s basically my version of having an employee and it’s helped me a lot.

  • January 2022: 388 items sold for $2546.70
  • February 2022: 526 items for $4019.04
  • March 2022: 596 items for $5683.09
  • April 2022: 788 items for $7539.30
  • May 2022: 870 items for $6949.67
  • June 2022: 803 items for $6937.08
  • July 2022: 661 items for $5477.18
  • August 2022: 698 items for $6751.24
  • September 2022: 641 items for $6475.94
  • October 2022 (so far): 347 items for $3177.28

–Your time is spent looking for inventory, but how much do you list on eBay now that you have that consignment route?

I am still consistently selling 25-40 listings on eBay each week from BIN/best offer listings, and I list just enough to replace those sold listings. Usually I shoot for 2-3 items a dayand 10-15 if I really want to knock out a bunch of listings. I have templates for everything and it’s all price research and change a few things. I’m sure I will spend more time on new listings once the weather gets truly ugly. I’d like to clear out a few boxes worth of low-value items, probably by selling in bulk at a steep discount. But sometimes the extra space can be more valuable than maximizing profit.

I have become much more selective about what I list on ebay. I’ve been thinking a lot more about sell-through rate with my newly listed items. It’s more fun to list when all your new listings are ones which you think will sell quickly, or have a nice high price, or are unique and interesting items. I always had a hard time getting myself motivated to list $10 or $20 items which were also long-tail. Probably because I’ve never had a ton of inventory space and also like you, I worked a lot of $10 and under low-paying hard-work jobs. Those low dollar items bring me back to those long days and everything feels like a slog. So I don’t really list items like that anymore. Especially now that I can send them to consignment and have someone else handle all the “dirty work” and I just price everything.

–Can you see a time when all you do is have fun buying and sending it all to consignment? Or is eBay still a valuable use of your time?

I am sure there are trading card dealers who make their living just buying and selling on consignment because when I underprice a card on there, it sells in minutes and sometimes seconds. And my port is tiny compared to the biggest sellers. But the platform has a lot of flaws. For one thing, you don’t create the listing, the company (really their algorithm) creates it. All you do is price. So sometimes the title isn’t optimized to reach the perfect buyer. This creates opportunities to purchase on COMC, have the items shipped to me and then list on eBay with a better title. I get a nice box from them every few weeks. It’s a little extra work (more stuff to list) versus cashing a check but their cash out fee is 10% so it’s often worth it.

COMC only allows for single trading card listings. So no groups of cards, no sets, no sports-adjacent stuff like signed memorabilia. It’s a great platform for $1 to $20 sales and it’s interesting where they drew the line on what to sell and what to exclude. In a way, their rules for what they sell have helped me rethink what my eBay store could be.

For the last few years, my inventory has been 90% trading cards and 10% other stuff, mostly obscure music CDs and DVDs and books since that’s the other area I have some knowledge in. I’ve been buying up those items over the last year when I find them at local thrifts and library sales, and occasionally from the online auctions I browse, but I haven’t been in a huge rush to list them as my focus has been on building up my consignment port. There will be plenty of time this winter, and next year, as I continue to figure out the right balance for me between the different platforms and how I want to spend my time.

I would like to take at least a full month off eBay next year to travel and pursue some creative interests. I think the consignment sales would allow me the opportunity to do that without a lot of changes to my day to day life, and if I find a compelling reason, maybe I liquidate everything in my consignment port or eBay store. It’s not as if there won’t be more things to buy and sell, after all. It’s exciting to see the possibilities that selling online can create. It’s far beyond what I would have imagined 10 years ago when I started selling a few obscure CDs that I found for $5 or less at my local record store.

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