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Starting out selling on BrickLink, advice please!

Brickbuilds12Brickbuilds12 Surrey, United KingdomMember Posts: 11
Hi all,
I’m thinking of starting a BrickLink store to fund my lego collecting hobby. I don’t have much money though so am planning to buy a few lego creator 3 in 1 sets to part out. I was wondering if this is a good plan to start a small store? Also, is it worth parting out the lego classic sets? 
Many thanks, Freddie.

Comments

  • LobotLobot UKMember Posts: 857

    Have a look at this thread:

    http://bricksetforum.com/discussion/22384/how-to-get-started-selling-on-bricklink/p1

    Take a look at the price guides on Bricklink which should give you an idea of the potential returns.  That said, some parts won't sell quickly and you could be holding onto them for quite a while!  The key point is to understand your margins - the buy in/selling cost is critical...


    Brickbuilds12
  • FowlerBricksFowlerBricks USAMember Posts: 1,363
    Huge piece of advice: look at the buyer's feedback before sending them an invoice. You could be in for a world of trouble if you don't. I say this from experience.
    Brickbuilds12Crownie
  • Brickbuilds12Brickbuilds12 Surrey, United KingdomMember Posts: 11
    Thanks a lot for your answers everyone.
  • Mr_CrossMr_Cross East Anglia (UK)Member Posts: 695
    edited February 13
    Huge piece of advice: look at the buyer's feedback before sending them an invoice. You could be in for a world of trouble if you don't. I say this from experience.
    @FowlerBricks please expand on this statement, are you suggesting reviewing every customer or just those with limited feedback? I'm still in the process of setting up my shop and that's a concerning statement in terms of potential workload.

    ...and what can you do?
  • Brickbuilds12Brickbuilds12 Surrey, United KingdomMember Posts: 11
    One more thing guys, how big does my inventory need to be to start getting orders?
  • FowlerBricksFowlerBricks USAMember Posts: 1,363
    @Brickbuilds12: not large. My inventory is only around four or five items at any given time and I sell stuff.
  • FowlerBricksFowlerBricks USAMember Posts: 1,363
    @Mr_Cross: I've recently had a couple buyers who had horrible or no feedback, one of which was just a troll who didn't pay and the other was a email-gathering and selling scammer.  You should always check the buyer's feedback before sending an invoice or you may have your email sold. As for dealing with it, I just opened an NPB alert both times but the buyers didn't care. Just canceling the order would be quicker.
    Mr_Cross
  • ColoradoBricksColoradoBricks Denver, CO, USAMember Posts: 1,640
    @FowlerBricks as soon as someone buy something from you, they have your name, address and email in the confirmation email, not invoicing does not change that.

    Since I have instant checkout setup, it cut down the NPBs from 0 feedback by 80%.

    CCCMr_CrossBumblepants
  • FowlerBricksFowlerBricks USAMember Posts: 1,363
    @ColoradoBricks: they don't have the email hooked to whatever payment method you use. 
  • AleyditaAleydita BelgiumMember Posts: 695
    @FowlerBricks as soon as someone buy something from you, they have your name, address and email in the confirmation email, not invoicing does not change that.

    Since I have instant checkout setup, it cut down the NPBs from 0 feedback by 80%.


    UK law requires that online retailers provide that information by default, before a sale is made. That BL hides the information until a (laughable) "contract" is formed doesn't negate that requirement. Also, to the OP, if you're buying to sell you are engaging in a trade and need to register for tax purposes and consider a whole host of other legislation. Operating from your basement/garage/spare room doesn't give you a free pass.
  • Brickbuilds12Brickbuilds12 Surrey, United KingdomMember Posts: 11
    @Brickbuilds12: not large. My inventory is only around four or five items at any given time and I sell stuff.
    What do you mean by around four or five items? I’m planning on selling parts and minifigs...
  • FowlerBricksFowlerBricks USAMember Posts: 1,363
    @Brickbuilds12: I mean four or five minifigs/parts. I have a very very small inventory.
  • Brickbuilds12Brickbuilds12 Surrey, United KingdomMember Posts: 11
    @FowlerBricks oh! I heard from another guy that you need to have 5,000 parts minimum! But that’s probably a bit over the top... Also, how often do you get orders?
  • FowlerBricksFowlerBricks USAMember Posts: 1,363
    @Brickbuilds12: I usually sell out of anything of interest within a week of listing it. I don't sell there often, only when I have a minifigure or something I don't want. I try to be the lowest price for whatever item I sell.
    Brickbuilds12
  • ColoradoBricksColoradoBricks Denver, CO, USAMember Posts: 1,640
    @ColoradoBricks: they don't have the email hooked to whatever payment method you use. 
    They never have to know, even when you send an invoice, my payment link does not have to have an email address, you can generate a business ID in PayPal, the link will have "business=PNNY77GNYIKCG" and email address stays unknown.
  • Brickbuilds12Brickbuilds12 Surrey, United KingdomMember Posts: 11
    Can anyone give advice on parting out sets to sell?
  • alexwilalexwil UKMember Posts: 346
    @FowlerBricks oh! I heard from another guy that you need to have 5,000 parts minimum! But that’s probably a bit over the top... Also, how often do you get orders?
    If you have the right parts at the right price then you’ll get a sale!

    i started off with a few hundred pieces and was getting sales.

    at the moment I’m at approx 25000 parts and probably average at least 1 order per day. Some days 4 or 5 orders. Sometimes no orders for a day or 2. 
    FowlerBricks
  • Brickbuilds12Brickbuilds12 Surrey, United KingdomMember Posts: 11
    alexwil said:
    @FowlerBricks oh! I heard from another guy that you need to have 5,000 parts minimum! But that’s probably a bit over the top... Also, how often do you get orders?
    If you have the right parts at the right price then you’ll get a sale!

    i started off with a few hundred pieces and was getting sales.

    at the moment I’m at approx 25000 parts and probably average at least 1 order per day. Some days 4 or 5 orders. Sometimes no orders for a day or 2. 
    So if I part out a couple of set #31067 and sell all the parts at the lowest price New it would be a good plan to start out?
  • FowlerBricksFowlerBricks USAMember Posts: 1,363
    Probably. That's what I would do.
    Brickbuilds12
  • LobotLobot UKMember Posts: 857
    So if I part out a couple of set #31067 and sell all the parts at the lowest price New it would be a good plan to start out?


    It depends entirely on the buy-in cost....

    The Bricklink 'Average of last 6 months Sales' is £31.36 (and bear in mind that's the average, not lowest!!) so personally I wouldn't be interested unless you can source it at around 30%+ off the RRP.  That said, it looks like a decent set to look out for; with a decent variety of parts that are likely to sell reasonably well.

  • Brickbuilds12Brickbuilds12 Surrey, United KingdomMember Posts: 11
    Lobot said:
    So if I part out a couple of set #31067 and sell all the parts at the lowest price New it would be a good plan to start out?


    It depends entirely on the buy-in cost....

    The Bricklink 'Average of last 6 months Sales' is £31.36 (and bear in mind that's the average, not lowest!!) so personally I wouldn't be interested unless you can source it at around 30%+ off the RRP.  That said, it looks like a decent set to look out for; with a decent variety of parts that are likely to sell reasonably well.

    Ok, I can get it for £18, would it be worth it? The annoying thing is that creator never seems to be on offer :(
  • LobotLobot UKMember Posts: 857
    Ok, I can get it for £18, would it be worth it? The annoying thing is that creator never seems to be on offer :(

    I wouldn't touch it, just look at the maths:

    Average value of set £31.36 - £18 cost = possible gross profit of £13.36 assuming you sell 100% of it!  You'll also need to factor in Bricklink fees (3%), plus Payal (5% ish), plus packaging etc, which will eat into that initial margin...

    My suggestion would be to start looking around for decent sales (internet, supermarkets etc) and before you commit to anything check the part out value on Bricklink so you can make an informed decision.

    If you're lucky there are bargains to be had - in the last year I've grabbed a few sets at 50%+ off and that will give you the best chance of making a useful return.

    Brickbuilds12Mr_CrossstluxBumblepants
  • Mr_CrossMr_Cross East Anglia (UK)Member Posts: 695
    @Brickbuilds12 I asked a few questions last year in this thread, and I got some very frank and helpful answers from generous bricklink store owners like @Lobot amongst many others who were willing to share a wealth of their acquired knowledge.
    I've been planning, thinking and beginning to build stock to open a store sometime in the latter part of this year.
    My understanding is that if you want it to just fund your hobby a little, it really doesn't matter how big your inventory is, particularly if you're mainly selling minifigures. However, if you want regular orders, somewhere in excess of 30K parts is what I'm told you should be aiming for (potentially just to simply start with).
    5K parts isn't very many parts, if you look at some of the larger sets available from LEGO currently, modulars for example, many of them have well over 2000 parts in them anyway. Then there's the big boys, #10255, #10256, #75192 and #70620, to name a few, who all have over 4000 parts.
    Youtube is a good resource, I was advised to watch some videos. A couple of those nearly put me off, and I think there are some fairly eye-opening things anyone planning a LEGO selling endeavour needs to see; volume and complexity are still boggling my mind if I'm honest.
    Brickbuilds12Lobotsid3windrFizyxBumblepants
  • Brickbuilds12Brickbuilds12 Surrey, United KingdomMember Posts: 11
    Lobot said:
    Ok, I can get it for £18, would it be worth it? The annoying thing is that creator never seems to be on offer :(

    I wouldn't touch it, just look at the maths:

    Average value of set £31.36 - £18 cost = possible gross profit of £13.36 assuming you sell 100% of it!  You'll also need to factor in Bricklink fees (3%), plus Payal (5% ish), plus packaging etc, which will eat into that initial margin...

    My suggestion would be to start looking around for decent sales (internet, supermarkets etc) and before you commit to anything check the part out value on Bricklink so you can make an informed decision.

    If you're lucky there are bargains to be had - in the last year I've grabbed a few sets at 50%+ off and that will give you the best chance of making a useful return.

    Ok, thanks a lot. One last thing: how do you know which parts will sell well?
  • LobotLobot UKMember Posts: 857

    Bricklink has a price guide for each part/colour which might be of interest...

    I tend to focus my stock on Star Wars sets, so perhaps my own experience isn't reflective of others but I've found that 'standard' colours will be in greater demand to odd ones!  For example, I'd try to avoid the 'Friends' spectrum (Pinks, Purples, Lime etc) - that's why #31067 could be a good starting point at the right buy-in!

    The 'Classic' sets look like a good option on paper (e.g. often discounted with a reasonable part-out value) but once all of the standard colours are sold, there's a proportion of those others that will stick around....

    This follows for the parts as well; there's a decent market for standard parts but anything a bit unusual may be in your inventory for a year or two - it just depends if someone wants it.

    Mr_CrossBrickbuilds12
  • ColoradoBricksColoradoBricks Denver, CO, USAMember Posts: 1,640
    @Brickbuilds12 , if you want to open a store in bricklink, apply now... New seller verification seems to take several months right now.
  • Brickbuilds12Brickbuilds12 Surrey, United KingdomMember Posts: 11
    Is it best to avoid classic altogether even though they have really good part out value?
  • kendalbrickskendalbricks Member Posts: 45
    edited February 13
    One of the users on this site (sorry I can't recall his Brickset name!) - known as Brick Arena on BrickLink - has recently posted a very useful YouTube video on this subject, with some very sensible advice: 

    I've been a seller on BrickLink and BrickOwl for nearly five years now, and thoroughly enjoy it. The biggest piece of advice that I can give, emphasising some of what is already mentioned in this thread, is to not only pay attention to the average selling price for part outs, and the potential margin. By being solely guided by that you can quite quickly find yourself with a store stocked full of parts that you bought cheap, but very few buyers want. For example, I bought a lot of Chima sets at great discounts but I'm left with a lot of parts, many being the cheapest on sale in the UK, but they're just not in demand! I largely swerved that route with Nexo Knights. 

    Those type of sets are great for immediately boosting your part count; but recently I've been focussed on buying sets that contain parts that are going to sell well and are in high demand. I find the 'Price Guide' function on BrickLink is the best resource for this. Sometimes this means they're not as cheap per part to buy into, but I turn the stock around quicker and have more a more desirable part selection than previously - this seems to be bringing larger orders and more repeat customers. It also means that I don't have to compete at the lowest price, all the time.

    The more time and effort you can put into researching the parts that sell quickly, and for good margin, and the sets these come in - the more I've found you get sustainable success. I've had a consistent inventory of around 80,000-100,000 parts in the last three years and have had an ever increasing amount of orders. I struggle to restock quickly enough (time constraints!) to grow my inventory any larger than that.

    The other element I find is worth your time is investing in good quality packaging, and taking the time to pack orders well. I've found taking extra care in this area brings great feedback, and again - repeat business. Good luck with your store!
    Brickbuilds12LobotFizyxBumblepantselspankdog
  • Brickbuilds12Brickbuilds12 Surrey, United KingdomMember Posts: 11
    Thanks a lot everyone for all your help! Much appreciated.
  • FizyxFizyx ColoradoMember Posts: 561

    The other element I find is worth your time is investing in good quality packaging, and taking the time to pack orders well. I've found taking extra care in this area brings great feedback, and again - repeat business. Good luck with your store!

    I don't sell on BL, but I've bought a fair amount, and can absolutely back this up.  I am far more likely to pay at least 5-10% more on an order to a store that I know that takes care in their packing and presents a professional image of care and service vs. a cheaper store that was okay, but didn't take care on their packing and was more clearly amateurish.  If I have a large order with large sets, or thousands of pieces... that goes double.  Remember that the package your buyer is getting is presenting an image of how capable YOU are of providing a service that will make them happy, even if it really has little real bearing on how well you run your store.  This is a fact that I think far to many Bricklinkers forget about.
    DB361elspankdogFowlerBricksdutchlegofan50MegtheCat
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