There is a question I want you to ask yourself before you go any farther: How much time and effort do I want to put into this?
Do you have 10-20 hours a week to make this a legit side hustle? Or do you need to fit your buying and selling efforts into just an hour or two a week? The answer to that question is critical in developing a strategy that you will both enjoy and find success with!
Over the next few months, I will share some ideas you can explore based on how much time you have to spend on your card activities.
Q: How much time do you have?
A: I’ve got a lot of time!
If you’ve got 10-20 hours a week to commit to this, and you enjoy sorting, packing, and shipping cards, then this article is for you. If you are willing to put in the work, then if done correctly, this approach can provide relatively consistent, low risk profits.
If you’re going to try and sell cards to help fund your hobby, then you need to have cards to sell.
You may be saying, “Thanks Captain Obvious”. But “Where do you find your inventory?” is one of the most frequent questions I get when discussing the business side of the hobby.
I love buying large collections of base and insert cards and then putting in the time to sort and organize these collections for resale. There a few sources I continually use to find these opportunities. Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and local card shops have been absolute goldmines for me.
As you can imagine, Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist listings can be interesting. Sometimes, the listings are way overpriced, but sometimes they can be absolute money makers. There will be a lot of eyeballs on these collections, but sometimes the photos and description don’t do a good job of painting a picture of what is in the collection. I’ve found that by simply going the extra step to contact the seller for more info, you can uncover some great collections that others scrolled by because the value wasn’t front and center in the photos.
Local Card Shops can be another great source. My LCS primarily focuses on selling mid-high end singles. So when I expressed an interest in buying collections of base and insert cards, it
was a perfect fit. He could buy entire collections from customers who walked in, and he knew that he had a way to move all the lower end bulk. It was a win-win situation!
Where to Sell
Sportlots.com and eBay are the two primary sites I’ve used to sell base, inserts, and other items from these collections. They can both be quite time consuming, but there is no better way to turn pennies into quarters and quarters into dollars.
I use Sportlots for the vast majority of my base and insert listings. Set builders are a huge customer base on the site, so having your inventory in number order by set is critical for efficiency in listing, pulling, and shipping. Since the minimum price for a card on Sportlots is .18, this can be a way to make a bunch of money. Buying a base card for a penny or less in a collection and then selling it for a minimum of .18 leads to hundreds of dollars a month of profit for me.
Typically, I use eBay for selling complete sets and other pieces of memorabilia as well as cards valued at $20 or more.
That being said, I know other collectors/dealers who only use eBay for all their listings. They have had success listing base and insert stars for $1-$2 each and are generating thousands of sales per month.
Wrapping it Up
Buying bulk collections of base and inserts definitely takes the most time (and space) to work through. But if you are willing to put in the work, it is a great low risk way to create a self-sustaining hobby. It can take some time to get comfortable with whichever site you choose to sell on, but after you gain a bit of experience you will develop a rhythm and a process that works best for you.
Come back next month when I’ll discuss a couple approaches you can use if you free time is a bit more limited!