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Questions about Bricklink usage and vending

Hello everybody!
getting right to the point here, Its summer time now and Im getting ready to write an investigative paper for a business class that I hope to get in. Seeing as how its preferable really to write it on something that I enjoy, I went straight to the hobby we all love best and thought of legos. Specifically I went towards Bricklink.

Now Iv been watching youtube videos by Bricks on the Dollar (Clutch), Brickstackers and multiple other Bricklink AFOL and it looks very complicated. Just buying sets in bulk and parting out for profit and all that jazz.

Specifically I would really like to attempt a certain period of time in which I actually partake in trying my hand at being a Bricklink vendor. I make a decent income for a student which really helps and if advice is right I might actually be able to make a profit. On a scale difficulty sale, what are the challenges to being a bricklink vendor? would it be possible to make a job out of it? (seriously doubting it) and more importantly WHERE DO I START?

Any other tips and tricks would be really helpful! This is a very big undertaking and it would be really great to have some more experienced output

(will also be posing another question about starting a lego blog for an IT/Journalism class)


  • akunthitaakunthita USAMember Posts: 1,038
    Selling on BrickLink is actually not difficult at all. It is not any more difficult than selling on eBay. In fact it is actually easier because you don't have to take a picture of the item you are selling, plus you don't have to pay listing fees, so it is cheaper too (final value fees are also cheaper).

    What Clutch and others are talking about is running a full on business. You don't have to do that. You could just list a handful of parts or a couple of sets and you are in business. Most people in fact sell on BrickLink to fund their hobby, or at least offset the cost of the hobby, not to run a full-scale business. Pretty much like eBay; you have some unused stuff lying around, so might as well sell them to someone else who wants them and use the cash for something else.

    So I would say, just start there; get a few sets that you no longer want and list them. Then see if this is a business you want to get in. Making it into a full-time business is a whole other matter though. Running a full on BL store is in fact full-time, and likely not something you want to get into while still in college. It is very hard work that requires significant investment of time and money. For the first two years you would be lucky if you break even; any profits would be going right back to purchasing inventory, shipping supplies, etc. You would also need significant storage space. So in that sense it is not any different than starting up any other business.

    So to answer your question; where to start? Just go to BL, register as a seller and start listing some sets/parts. If you have questions ask on the BL forum. After the first couple of orders you will have the dynamics down and you can consider if you want to go bigger. At that point you can start going through Clutch's information and follow his tips. But even at that point it is not that difficult; the bottom line is to buy low and sell high, find the good sellers, etc. - just like with any other business.

    One issue you are going to run into as a new seller is feedback. It is best to have at least a handful of positive feedback as a buyer before you start selling. BL members are very weary of fraudulent sellers. You can make a few purchases (this will also help you understand the buyer's side), then announce your new store on the forum, ask some questions, get feedback, and you will be ready to roll.

    I have been a BL buyer and seller since 2008. I use BL to fund my hobby. Hope this helps some. ;)
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,083
    I had a store for about 6 months, and what @akunthita‌ says is basically correct. However, what you have to realise is that most people will want a lot of different elements, so if you only have a few to offer, they're unlikely to order from you because it's easier to get the whole lot from one seller (saves on postage, even if the individual elements are a bit more expensive).

    Therefore you can imagine that the more elements you have, the more likely you are to get sales. However, getting more elements obviously costs more money, and takes more time sorting it all out. To get noticed when you only have a few thousand bricks, you'll need to be cheap on almost everything you sell (if not the absolute cheapest). Once you start building your inventory and have a serious number of bricks, the amount of different elements you have starts to take over from how cheap you are as the most important consideration for buyers.

    The amount of bricks needed isn't why I stopped though. The main reason I stopped was because I got tired of doing orders for 50 - 100 bricks which came to a total of about £1.24 - yes I could have put a higher minimum limit on order size, but doing that can stiffle sales. I didn't mind doing sales for 1 minifig at £1.50 or so, as they were quick to do, and putting a higher minimum order on my shop would have stopped those kind of sales.

    Also, do not underestimate the time it takes to pick 200 or so bricks. Even if you have them completely sorted and labelled, it will take you a while to pick them all.

    I do still have a shop, but I just sell minifigs from it. As I don't have many left now from my original inventory, I only get about one order a month.

    In summary, I think that once you get over a certain amount of bricks in your store (say, 50,000 - 100,000), you can probably afford to have your minimum amount quite high (say, £5 or £6), without it impacting on sales, and it then becomes a viable proposition. As mine was far below that though, I just didn't find it to be worth the time.
  • AleyditaAleydita BelgiumMember Posts: 931
    Selling off on BL/BO what you already own is different, but if you buy sets specifically to sell or part-out, then you're engaging in a trade which means registering with the authorities and paying income tax on your profits, and perhaps plenty of other stuff too depending on where you're based.
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