Can you get rich or make money doing this?

Hawaiian BamBam

Veteran
133
4.80 star(s)
Hey guys, i have been wondering about this.(i am not business smart at all, thats why im asking you guys) is it as easy as this when it comes to selling cards on ebay. a friend of mine and i were talking and we both have different opinions on this. i think you can make some money doing this, he thinks you cant. the scenario is:

Lets say you decide to sell sports cards on ebay and you buy them for $1.00 a piece and sell them for $2.00 each(to me you are doubling your money) if you charge $2.00 for shipping and it costs $1.00 to ship, you use the other $1.00 to cover listing fees and fvf, with all of this, (doubling your money on each sale and the cost of shipping covering actual shipping costs, listing and fvf fees) wouldnt you stand to make a lot of money this way9considering you sell a bunch of items per day0 i say yes, because all your fees are covered with the shipping charge and you are doubling your money on each sale(ex: buy a card for $1, sell the card for $2) your thoughts on this please. thanks
 

mrmopar

All-Star
621
5.00 star(s)
If you can buy at the right price to sell fast and still make money, then sure you can. The trick is to buy right and sell right and not have too much tied up in unsold inventory. Turn and burn!! Or you can be like a Burbank Sports type seller if you have free cash and tie up $1000S waiting (and waiting and waiting) for the desperate or frustrated collector to finally bite at your price.

Your time (sorting, listing, packaging, mailing, etc), your materials (mailers, cardboard, toploaders, sleeves, team bags, etc), postage, your equipment (computer, scanner, camera, price guides, etc), etc all cost you money. Do you factor that in or do you just consider your out of pocket costs only?

There are plenty of dealers who have made a living out of the trading card industry and been doing it for a long time (Mr. Mint, Kit Young, Mike Wheat, Bill Henderson, Larry Fritsch & Family, etc) plus a number of internet sellers and even some stores. Are they dime a dozen? no. Is there risk? yes. Can it be done? Certainly.
 

Meliah

MVP
1,792
5.00 star(s)
I'll assume the cards you are buying end up being $1 delivered, which means you would have to buy lots and then break them up. If it only costs you a $1 to ship then that means you are using a PWE, otherwise it would run $1.64 when using shipping through Paypal.

Here are the problems, you need to find lots of GU cards that will average out to $1 or less delivered when bought. To get them at that price you are either finding a really good steal or you are finding a lot of cards that contains many scrub players. So now if you try and turn them around to sell at $2 many will not sell by themselves because they are either super common or a not heavily collected player. So if you buy a lot of 50 cards but only half sell then you only break even and are stuck with 25 junky GU cards.

Even if you sold all 50 cards would it really be worth it? While the profit margin would be nice the actual amount of money rolling in is nothing that substantial considering the amount of work you are putting in--finding cheap lots of GU cards, listing out the auctions, shipping multiple auctions, buying supplies and so on.

So yes, I agree with you in the fact that you could make money doing this if you got lucky in finding the right cards to flip, otherwise it's a break even or worse scenerio in my opinion.

If you want to make some money you need to have the ready cash to spend, I've seen many high end lots that were so tasty to flip but I do not have 2 grand to spend on that.
 
Last edited:

mrmopar

All-Star
621
5.00 star(s)
That is key, either having the inventory already to get started or having cash to buy big collections and lots. The majority of collectors want specific items and when people are selling large collections, even theme collections, most buyers don't want it all, so they can't/won't pay for it. I'd be willing to bet most of those "huge collection" lots you always see on ebay are bought by entrepreneurial dealers and not collectors. Smart dealers with the money to spend can get excellent deals to piece out from guys leaving the hobby, shop closures, lazy sellers who just want to dump and run, etc.

I think the potential is there when you can buy $500, $1000 or even more expensive lots and have the time and energy to break it up and resell it.
 

jaderock

Prospect
12
There are alot of variables - most of which are AGAINST you.

How many buyers would consistently buy a $2 card and pay $2 s/h ? You may get one here or there, but not most. Remember, that a $2 card with shipping is a $4 card...so when they buy it, it has to be WORTH at least $4 to them.

In addition, what if I bought 10 of your $2 cards? Do I pay $2 s/h EACH? or is it FREE after the 1st or a discounted rate. Margins SHRINK! REGARDLESS, any amount of s/h charged can AND will result in dinged star ratings AND lower ratings MAY affect sales.

Your formula is too simple. As mentioned above other cost need to be considered. Package materials, returns, non reciepts, possible taxes (over $20K in sales).

Furthermore, what $1 card can be easily obtained that can be flipped for $2?!? Where/what source would you use for your inventory?

What about your time? If I'm not mistaken, that's why you personally love COMC so much, right?!? No work involved.
---
Let's not even think about .99 BLEED ME RED auctions. Another story for another time.
---
NOTHING is easy. As a small time seller, you CAN survive and profit on ebay, but you need to know what you are doing inventory, margins and strategy wise.
 

Jeffo65

MVP
1,541
5.00 star(s)
After all costs are figured in, and the costs are less than what it cost for you to initially purchase/produce the item, then you made money.

Can you get rich? Yes it can be done, people everyday do it.



.
 

Droubaysports

Pro
64
5.00 star(s)
I do sell stuff as a side supplement to working and yes, it can be done you just need to know what you are doing. The rationale of buying ofr a dollar and sellign for two does not happen.. but buying for a couple bucks and making money does and there is no need to do it with GU or autos.
 

dadandsoncards

Veteran
110
4.90 star(s)
There are ways if you can part with them. Sometimes you have to hit yard sales and ask people if they have old cards. I literally by asking at work have gained tons of cards by asking and wives wanting them gone. My hardest thing is I love cards. If you can get them cheap you can make money.
 

valediction

Pro
71
5.00 star(s)
Hey guys, i have been wondering about this.(i am not business smart at all, thats why im asking you guys) is it as easy as this when it comes to selling cards on ebay. a friend of mine and i were talking and we both have different opinions on this. i think you can make some money doing this, he thinks you cant. the scenario is:

Lets say you decide to sell sports cards on ebay and you buy them for $1.00 a piece and sell them for $2.00 each(to me you are doubling your money) if you charge $2.00 for shipping and it costs $1.00 to ship, you use the other $1.00 to cover listing fees and fvf, with all of this, (doubling your money on each sale and the cost of shipping covering actual shipping costs, listing and fvf fees) wouldnt you stand to make a lot of money this way9considering you sell a bunch of items per day0 i say yes, because all your fees are covered with the shipping charge and you are doubling your money on each sale(ex: buy a card for $1, sell the card for $2) your thoughts on this please. thanks

The concept is sound, but I agree with the others, it is a bit oversimplified. At $1 per card you'll need to do heavy volume to make enough to 'get rich' if that's your only line of income. You'd have to send out 1,000 packages a week to clear over $50,000 a year. Is that going to be enough to 'get rich'? anyone buying multiples is going to want a discount on the cards AND the shipping, are you factoring in returns, getting scammed, cards just not arriving? If you're doing it on ebay, you're setting yourself up if you're paying $1 to ship, you'll obviously have NO proof of delivery, so anyone who says they didn't get the card is pretty much getting an automatic refund. Where are you going to get these cards for $1 that people will be lining up 1,000+ a week to buy for $2 that they or some other seller can't get it themselves? It can't be GU/autos, because you'd have to send those in a bubble mailer, which as others mentioned, will add another .63 cents or so to your shipping cost at $2 s/h? You'll also have to accept you are going to get burned by the market from time to time, you can't hem and haw about what to do. As Curt said, turn and burn. Sell the cards as fast as you can, you can't worry and stress and drive yourself nuts when those Josh Reddick rookies you've been blowing out for $2 blow up to $10 or $20 and you already got rid of 1000 of them, and you can't hang on to them because they MIGHT go up if you've got people waiting to buy them at $2 each. You need to act, act NOW, and not look back.
 

Dilferules

MVP
1,197
5.00 star(s)
I don't think you can "get rich" using the method you've described. You need to deal in higher dollar cards and maybe increase the value with grading in order to make enough per card to get anywhere near rich. Can you make a living with your method? Maybe, if everything goes your way and you have amazing access to thousands of cards you can double your money on...like Jaderock said, you would be paying $1 for a card, then selling it to somebody where they would be paying $4 dlvd. Do people find cards they can flip like that in lots and bargain bins? Sure. But a thousand a week? No. There's more money to be made in "prospecting" or breaking cases and selling stuff in a smart manner, but with more profit opportunity comes a lot more risk.

Oh, plus in your example if you charge $2 to ship and send it in a PWE your seller ratings are going to be killed and it'll cost you in eBay fees. PLUS, if you are sending GU or other thick cards like that, get ready to issue a full refund (purchase price plus shipping) on over half your auctions because the cards are damaged. And some people won't even bother with that, they'll just drop negatives on you, which will affect your rating and sales prices.

Richard
 

Hawaiian BamBam

Veteran
133
4.80 star(s)
thanks guys for your responses. i appreciate each and everyone of them. the scenario does necessarily have to be sports cards. i think i was maybe thinking selling anything overall in general. i dont necessary have to sell sports cards. i was only using the $1.00 figure to make it easy but it can be any amount (ex buy an item for $5, sell it for $10) if i take the cost of supplies and just eat the cost9not factoring that into profit or not) and i charge $2.00 for shipping $1.00 to cover listing and fvf fees and $1.00 to cover shipping(lets say i can in fact ship an item for $1.00 in a pwe and that is acceptable to customers) maybe like selling something small and flat like postcards or stickers, etc do you think i can still make money doing it that way? to me at least it seems like of shipping charges will cove my ebay fees and if i dont factor into tape, envelopes, supplies etc, that if i buy something for $1.00 and sell it for $2.00 or buy an item for $5.00 and sell for $10.00, if i do that consistently then maybe i can make some money doing it this way.
 

dadandsoncards

Veteran
110
4.90 star(s)
I did know a woman whose soul accupation was selling on ebay. She would buy used ladies shoes and sell them and then she also made her own clothes and sold them online. SHe was doing quite well last I knew of her. Her husband had a good job and held the insurance, but she did really well.
 

Meliah

MVP
1,792
5.00 star(s)
thanks guys for your responses. i appreciate each and everyone of them. the scenario does necessarily have to be sports cards. i think i was maybe thinking selling anything overall in general. i dont necessary have to sell sports cards. i was only using the $1.00 figure to make it easy but it can be any amount (ex buy an item for $5, sell it for $10) if i take the cost of supplies and just eat the cost9not factoring that into profit or not) and i charge $2.00 for shipping $1.00 to cover listing and fvf fees and $1.00 to cover shipping(lets say i can in fact ship an item for $1.00 in a pwe and that is acceptable to customers) maybe like selling something small and flat like postcards or stickers, etc do you think i can still make money doing it that way? to me at least it seems like of shipping charges will cove my ebay fees and if i dont factor into tape, envelopes, supplies etc, that if i buy something for $1.00 and sell it for $2.00 or buy an item for $5.00 and sell for $10.00, if i do that consistently then maybe i can make some money doing it this way.

Again, it would come down to what you are buying to flip and volume I think.

Here is a lot that, if you were the only bidder, works out to be around $1 per card delivered--

http://www.ebay.com/itm/27-G-U-RELI...1107951126?pt=US_Baseball&hash=item3a77334216

Overall, not that bad of names in there but it would still be tough to make a profit on this lot.

Here is one that is more money but looks to be much more promising.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/800-Huge-Sp...0700282946?pt=US_Baseball&hash=item1e6e580c42
 

Hawaiian BamBam

Veteran
133
4.80 star(s)
thanks guys for your responses. im not sure what i am missing(i know, i know im not the sharpest tool in the shed!) but if you buy an item for $1.00 and sell it for $2.00 to me you doubled your money. if you buy an item for $20.00 and sell it for $40.00 you doubles your money. If all my fees are covered by the shipping and handling charges and im NOT factoring into this, the cost of supplies, envelopes, etc..and you "double" your money consistently, how can you NOT make alot of money quickly? just wondering what im missing or if my thinking is off on this :) again, im not the sharpest person here on the bench, thats why im asking you guys for your opinions/thoughts.thanks guys
 

valediction

Pro
71
5.00 star(s)
The way you just described it, it's a fine line. Eating costs is eating away at profit. If you don't factor in those supplies, they HAVE to be factored in somewhere. You're not really clearing $1 an item if you're eating 20 cents in associated costs. You need to figure out what you are selling, how much you are clearing after ALL expenses, and how much you need to clear a week to be happy with the money coming in. As I mentioned earlier, if you are looking to make $50,000 a year, and you are making $1 per item, can you get 1,000 units a week packaged and shipped, or is that a pipe dream? If you are making $5 an item free and clear, can you get 200 units sent out every week? Are you sure you will have that much demand? Again, you are not giving volume discounts or combining shipping? because if you do, you aren't clearing that $1 or $5 an item. It ALL adds up a lot faster than you think. Look at the threads we get when COMC or the Post Office raises prices, that will apply to you. Again, use our $1 profit and 1000 units a week example, if the post office prices go up one penny, you need to sell 10 more items a week just to make the same profit you did last week. Now, if by chance you have to drive the packages to the post office, those 10 packages could end up costing you more in gas, or making your printer ink run out sooner. What if envelope prices go up? None of these by themselves are a big deal, but together, they can work to undermine your bottom line.


The part you're missing, is you are NOT doubling your money. You paid $1 for the item, $1 to ship the item, $1 to cover fees, you paid $3 in costs and recieved $4 in return. You are not taking into account misc costs associated with doing business, and without knowing what item you are selling, you don't know the market. Is there enough market on ebay for you to SELL 4000 sheets of stickers or postcards a month, or is it like listing 1988 Topps commons where you MIGHT sell 25 a month? that is a huge difference in monthly profit. Are you the only one selling these items or are 15 other people including the manufacturer having an ebay presence? That leads to competition, which leads to cutting prices so they pick the guy selling at $3.75 dlvd instead of $4.
 
Last edited:

Hawaiian BamBam

Veteran
133
4.80 star(s)
thank you so much, so far for the items im looking at selling (not sports cards, even though im looking at those too) the only supplies i would need is PWE which i can get a box of 100 at the .99 cents store.
 

JamesNevans

All-Star
935
5.00 star(s)
I haven't sold on eBay for years. It's a buyer's market for bargains, the stuff that doesn't sell just costs fee for sellers. I think because of places like eBay there is a route that collectors can cut out the middle man of the business owner in going directly to the other consumers, and unless you are dealing in huge volume there is just not a market for a profit venture since you can't get the product you want at the price you need it.

I equate the purchase of lots and busting of boxes of buying the whole side of beef. You only make profit if you can sell the prime rib, steak, and acceptable lessor cuts and get out of the red there, but if all you have left is hamburger and tripe there isn't a lot of interest in that unless the price is cheap and you sell in bulk.
 

mintman2

Veteran
133
5.00 star(s)
I think what you're missing is something already stated. You're looking to buy items for $1 and flip them for 3-$4. You might score a deal like that here and there but certainly not even close to often enough to make a living.
 

Hawaiian BamBam

Veteran
133
4.80 star(s)
yes, i forgot to mention (really i did) i have secured a source where i can consistently get my product for $1.00 each if i chose this item to sell. so ive already verified with my source that i can get the item for $1.00 each and checking ebay completed listings they are selling very consistent at $2-3 each with $2.00 shipping the norm in that particular niche. so getting the item for $1.00 is not a problem for me. to me it just seems to easy to buy an item for $1.00 and "double" your money for $2.00. just by listing. maybe it is that easy.
 
Top