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I've quickly given up on the idea of parting out only 1 or 2 of a set (unless it's a very big one). 5 or 6 is becoming the norm, and I'd like to push that up to 10+.
Funny thing is, no orders came in the the last handful of days, and right when I have the sitting room covered in LEGO for a part out... 2 orders!
I've often gotten slammed with much order filling and much sorting at the same time, including last night. I ended up finishing just the big order I had already started, little orders that would be easy by themselves had to wait until tonight.
Many of my recent additions were [email protected] deals even before promo value.
I've contained the mess to the LEGO warehouse I sleep in, also known as my bedroom. :)
Heck yes! I thought so even before checking the numbers (Half off in general, many minifigures, and 10 of them!)
Half off would be $40, and I got $116.67 for part value.
Also, 10249 has high items per lot, 3.6 versus an average of 2.4 for the sets I've looked at, which is a quantity advantage in addition to getting so many copies of the set)
got 6x #75091 and 4 #75141 at 50% sealed :) parting out! with this, the store rises to 65k :) very happy with the brick count, considering I have lots of sorted bricks that I have to go through and put in the system :)
So far things are going better then expected, I've averaged close to an order a day which I'm really happy with.
It's been interesting reading about how a lot of you are doing things (I'm all about efficiency and maximising my time because as those who have stores know, it's a very time consuming endeavour, but enjoyable).
Below is some info about how I do things. (I'm sure many people do things differently, as there is no one right way to run a store).
I sell at the 6 months sales average (selling below the average just helps lower the average).
I have a $15 minimum buy, as for me it's not really worth going through the motions of invoicing, pulling the order, packaging, posting and notifying when it's a small order. Apart from pulling the order everything takes a similar amount of time, no matter if it's a $1 or a $200 order.
I use storage draws mostly (Stack-on etc) and try to keep to one lot per draw (I do use the dividers so it's technically 2 lots per draw), plus a bunch of 1 & 2 litre containers. I find this the most efficient way or putting parts away and pulling orders.
Parting out is a big time consumer which is why I prefer to do at least 10 copies of a set (although I do 5 sometimes, such as the recent Lego Batman Movie Batcave). Parting 50 x a 100 piece set is much much quicker then doing 5 x 1000 piece sets, obviously you don't get the variety doing this though.
I use Brickstock to mange my inventory, it makes the process of uploading parts much easier. I wouldn't do it without it.
I pack orders in ziplock bags, and excluding single item lots (which I'll mix 4 or 5 lots together) it's one lot per bag.
I buy bubble mailers in bulk, brings the cost down to about 5c - 15c per mailer. Much cheaper then the .95c - $1.35 the post office charges here.
I try to invoice within an hour or so unless I'm asleep (I have email notifications on my phone, and luckily my real job allows me to action orders when the come through).
The only fee I have is $1 P&H on all orders.
I ship orders the next business day after payment is made. I try to leave feedback after the buyer has payed for their order.
I think that's about it.
I'm impressed at your average of close to 1 order a day. I have a similar sized store (88k now) and I'm at 2-3 orders a week only.
And I sell at below average. I know it hurts the overall market for sellers, but I'm trying to grow the store, and for that I need sales. The plan is to raise prices later. Maybe when I get to the point where I'm getting too many orders raising the prices will be an effective way to slow the orders down without hurting the bottom line...
I guess there are fewer sellers in Australia than in Europe, and that's why you're able to sell at average prices and still get many orders.
I've just finished doing my "Terms" page. Could anyone comment? I try to keep it light and as short as possible.
in less boring news, I got 10 new sealed sets today :) all 50% off!!!
I think noone will be parted out but kept for sale later :)
PayPal fee: 5% <--- I see PayPal and BL fees as a cost of doing business, personally I try to avoid stores with additional fees, it should be, in my opinion, priced into your sales price.
Not sure of the two points where you say that you will blame LEGO, what's the point of that to the customer?
Missing items in received order: If only a few items are missing, resending items is usually out of question, only refund using PayPal ONLY is possible. <--- not much use to a customer trying to complete a set or build a MOC, plus they will be exposed to additional postage costs sourcing the parts you didn't include at their expense.
Seems strange telling your buyers never to contact you by email or reply to your emails - other sellers insist on email not BL messaging, I would suggest monitoring both.
Finally I would suggest that you don't require your customer to do the calculations on the weight of packing materials - adjust your postage bands to account for it already, then customers can shop up to that limit and not worry how much your packaging is going to weigh.
These are just my humble thoughts as a buyer and a seller, you asked. No offence made, each store sets it's own terms.
5 40156, 1 40165
2 hood, head, quiver and bow from S16 Rogue, and lowered those prices (I army build with the torso and legs, and components from other figures)
3 more each Vacation and Lobster Batman, 1st Glam Metal
Ridiculously busy evening 7th and morning 8th. Mostly small orders, but 10 of them. I was busy with a big order the day before, which delayed some of the small orders I mailed on the 8th. I'd already started the big one; one at a time takes less workspace and is easier to focus on. I often do tiny orders first to get something done. Not much left, but home Internet was down from evening 8th to morning 10th. Either it's good that I packed so many, or bad that I didn't rush to finish.
I did sort inventory, but even when doing that, I'd rather look at BL to find out part info, check count, etc.
I used public internet for some business, but you better believe I got a lot done at home on the 10th.
@Basta I've had a lot of similar thoughts except for minimum buy. Handling fee means I don't lose money on tiny orders, and they're easy enough to deal with that it doesn't bother me unless I'm extraordinarily busy. Invoicing is very easy, particularly with Shipping Cost Suggestion, except for a few odd circumstances.
Added 2 Babysitter, hadn't found any of those in awhile, also some more Rogue parts
I usually address missing pieces refunds, but don't say that ahead of time as the only option. The refund includes part of S&H, proportional by value (for example, if I'm missing a 14c part on a $14 order with $5 S&H, I offer a 19c refund)
I usually notice before shipping, and also offer other pieces of comparable value, perhaps suggesting similar parts I do have (for example, 'I have some in white instead of light bluish gray, is that OK?')
With many jobs, little urgent business is a chance to catch up on other tasks.
@the1whitetiger I often use my proceeds to buy more LEGO, whether personal use or store inventory. Reinvesting profits can be a wise business decision. Okay, I'm dealing to support my habit. :P
Generally my feedback mentions how quickly the buyer paid*; times like these, I add something like 'large and simple order'.
played a bit of tetris to get them into a medium flatrate box.
DUPLO is easy to handle for toddlers, but also for BL sellers, and it seems like a more thinly traded market with room for people like me.
*in this case a few hours, that or a couple days is rather understandable. maybe they're not online at the same time I invoice, perhaps they have to deposit into the bank account/debit card they use (I'm like that a lot). those who pay nearly instantly do get acknowledged for it. a few or several days? sometimes stuff happens, but I let people know in case it's a pattern.
@KingAlanl that is a terrible policy, you first through should always to ship missing pieces. If I am missing a 14c, you want ME to pay for the $3-$4 to have ship so I can finish my MOC... black listed your store now...
There are a lot of BL buyers on this forum, that might be why you got no orders this month, that is the kind of seller attitude many people stay away from.
It usually goes over well. I have gotten another of the piece when someone insisted. You're the one who seems unreasonable.
I've gotten several orders this month, my slow comment was about today in particular.
Can login to bricklink on my phone no problem but on Mac when i enter name/password and click blue 'Log In' button nothing happens.
Usually use Chrome so tried Safari, then Firefox, Opera and Tor but same on all of them.
Cleared cookies and restarted computer but still the same. Checked forums and no problem their end. Tried to log in again on phone and straight in no problem.
There have been a few changes to log in, allowing you to stay logged in etc and it seems to be causing some problems. It's working for me on desktop, laptop and phone thankfully. Have you seen this thread and there are a few others.
It's a pain as i don't have a WiFi printer so I'm having to get invoices on phone then send to computer to print, pita
Big order that included 7 minifigures - a Babysitter which I just listed, 4 common CMFs, and 2 First Order crew (leftovers from #75132 which also had Stormtroopers)
I went on tangents of sorting and other inventory management. I often get like that, a nice part of not being in a rush to pack an order, but I still took too long.
As for @Kevin_Hyatt technical difficulties
Glad I don't have to login every time on my usual desktop or phone. the worst problem I had was sometimes having to log in again, but that would still be an improvement
I can't print from my phone either, most things I can do on my phone even if it's a pain in the butt. The thing I need to print is the shipping label.
I'm still on Windows XP and probably won't switch until I need a new computer anyway. Hardware couldn't handle later Windows and I find Linux too different (current system is dual boot with Fedora)
@uriel local as in your hometown or within Croatia? what makes them different? I rarely get orders in my city (and ended up mailing rather than a local pickup - often paying postage is easier than making such arrangements)
within Croatia:) its different because I can send by post and get cash in hand :)
I price to include PayPal fees because that nearly always happens but it's a nice bonus to avoid them
Edit: In the US you can't directly pass the fees to buyers (that might be credit card issuers' as well as PayPal's fault)
3 #30351 at $3.99 (I just got 2, and BL hadn't added it to the catalog when I got the 1st one)
10 #40156 and 4 #40165 parted out
As for resolving missing piece problems: With large stores and busy sellers, mistakes are bound to happen occasionally, no matter how detailed we are. If a buyer purchases all I have, they might be stockpiling (thus not need an exact amount) or still need more (so they'd be placing other orders anyway). If they don't buy the whole lot, usually I'd have enough to fill the order, and counting the remainder is one way to catch inventory errors.
If a store has a policy of not putting it right but just partial refunding, then I'd also avoid them even if I hadn't bought from them. Again a note or dislike helps, since you get a reminder and if two stores are otherwise equal in everything else, you know which to avoid.
I was talking about the rest of the post. "I'd blacklist your store immediately!" "That attitude is why your store isn't doing well!" "In your face!"
Listed a few parts from 75149 I didn't want (already listed the minifigs and extra parts)
I do offer to send the right parts, but usually that's not necessary, given the other options. Also, I usually notice before mailing.
Recent uploads are multiples of:
and 1 x #9496
There store is at it largest since I started, almost 270,000 parts in 5,000 lots - all new.
I never guessed when I started a Bricklink store it would be such hard work, but thankfully I am still enjoying it.
For those that prefer Brickowl, the same stock is available there at http://xsbricks.brickowl.com/
Sorted most of it as I was going through the part out page - got on clearance at WalMart with a damaged box, looked like everything was there, but I wanted to make sure
Recently passed $8,000 in inventory and close to 50,000 pieces
Would you share what's the distribution of sales between BrickLink and BrickOwl?
And are the tools available to sync inventories good enough nowadays that you don't have to be correcting errors manually?
Some large DUPLO plates are going home to Denmark. Actually, they were probably made in Mexico like most of the North American supply, so that's what I put for country of origin on the customs form. I haven't gotten orders from Mexico, Hungary or the Czech Republic, but I've had similar thoughts about orders from Mainland China.
Sorted the large bags of 40165 on Saturday - having loose bags around is a pain, because they take up space, crinkle and piles fall over. Dumping them into a gripseal bag to sort later takes more time overall. Also, there were some parts of each minifigure in each bag.
Been meaning to slash prices on sticker sheets and list some used, and did so
Stickers just aren't selling. It's like instruction books, except those are harder to store and can be recycled. I went for low when I usually go for slightly below average. Average price cut was about 60%.
From my pre-dark age stockpile - Finished red and blue bricks. Those were sorted/bagged by size and counted, but I needed to separate the bags and verify count.
From a job lot - Listed the rest of the light bley, and the dark bley tile and jumper, all that's left is dark bley besides brick and slope, but I've had enough of job lot work for now.
Listed used dark bley plate - once I dumped them on my desk and sorted them, I figured that I should list them to clear the work space.
Small quantities of low value pieces can get frustrating. Yet that isn't true of all items, the job lot already paid for itself a few times over with minifigures and other parts, and it can only help drive traffic to my store.
Sometimes buyers accidentally select Priority, so I contact them with the 1st Class price, today one said he meant it. Either way, I appreciate a clear answer, and I'll do what they want and pay for.
Sometimes an order is slightly over a weight threshhold which makes postage much more expensive, so I ask the buyer about what if anything to remove. This requires actually packing the order rather than relying on estimates. I had one of those tonight as well. It included all of a part from the small bags of 25 40156. SO I sorted most of those, and it would be unfeasible to sweep them back into a gripseal bag even if I felt like that shortcut.
@CaptainPirateMan I usually wait for an inventory, which can be frustrating, but makes my listing more precise. Sometimes I inventory myself, also frustrating, but I do want to contribute to the site as well as help myself.