Parting out on Bricklink

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sadowsk1
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Parting out on Bricklink

Post by sadowsk1 » Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:18 pm

I have never done this before as I've only really sold sets. Is parting out sets very profitable? Is it much work? It seems time consuming to me with little pay back, but like I said, I've never really considered parting out a set before. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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crazybirdman
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Re: Parting out on Bricklink

Post by crazybirdman » Sun Jun 03, 2012 3:08 pm

it's not very profitable if it's just a few sets you're parting out, but I good way get some money, while getting rid of parts or minifigures that you don't need.

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Re: Parting out on Bricklink

Post by ImmortalShark » Mon Jun 04, 2012 6:43 am

I started a store with my kids a few months back to teach them about money and responsibility. Their store is exclusively new sets that are parted out. It is a lot of work and very time consuming. That could be due to my kids doing a lot of the work. They are not the fastest sorters and they get "bored" quickly. (It's much more fun to play with their own Lego then sort for the store.)

However, you can see how much you will approximately get for a set based on current selling prices and the last 6 month average on Bricklink. The purchasing rule I've made for my kids is that they have to be able to get at lease double their cost before they can buy a set for their store. We just parted out 13 Magikus sets that they got from Walmart at $2 a piece. That took two evenings to sort, store and inventory on Bricklink. I'm sure an AFOL can do it much faster.

Crazybirdman is right about having just a few sets. The bigger your store the faster you will move parts. My kid's store has just over 6000 parts (which is small) and they have had 8 orders since February. For me though, this is more about learning then making a big profit. It's also very rewarding seeing them get excited when a new order comes in.

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Re: Parting out on Bricklink

Post by King » Mon Jun 04, 2012 5:13 pm

Hi All-

We are a top 50 BL store and parting out sets can be quite profitable (especially if you buy them right), but as others have mentioned it can be time consuming. Once you get a system down the sorting can be relatively quick, but once you are a large, busy store it is the shipping that can take a ton of time. We have an incredibly efficient system for shipping, but on the days where we have to ship more than 5,000 parts, it can take a great deal of time to pack and ship.

If you plan on growing your BL store much, you have to set up a plan before you get to that sort of point...otherwise it can spiral quickly out of control. (Our last day without an order was last October)

King

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Re: Parting out on Bricklink

Post by brickarmor » Tue Jun 05, 2012 7:56 am

I half-dread half-anticipate setting up a BL store. At first the interface seems rather user unfriendly, but once a few tricks are disclosed the method behind the madness makes sense. And I mention this purely as a buyer, so I can't imagine what awaits me on the seller end. Maybe some charitable folks could set up a BL Apprentice Workshop! But just thinking about inputting thousands of pieces one or ten or a hundred at a time gives me carpal tunnel...

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Re: Parting out on Bricklink

Post by ImmortalShark » Wed Jun 06, 2012 6:52 am

There is a part out function that makes life much easier. You enter the set number that you are parting out and BL will bring up the entire set for you. Then you only have to verify the parts that your set contained (including any extras), set your prices and upload. It's pretty straight forward.

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Re: Parting out on Bricklink

Post by brickarmor » Wed Jun 06, 2012 8:28 am

That part sounds great, but what about when it comes to uploading a 20 lb lot you painstakingly sort by piece and color?! Then again that doesn't really count as "parting out a set," does it?
(Should we continue this on BL?)

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Re: Parting out on Bricklink

Post by SpaceNinjaDino » Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:03 am

Hi King,

May I ask: is the BL store your full-time job? Or do you have to manage a career with BL on the side? Could BL alone be enough to support a family? Do you also hold on to sets and wait for them to be discontinued to get an appreciated price? How much sqft in your home do you need for your store? Thanks.

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Re: Parting out on Bricklink

Post by crazybirdman » Thu Jun 07, 2012 8:30 am

there was a great article where they interviewed a few BL store owners, definitely worth a read

http://www.brothers-brick.com/2011/01/3 ... k-sellers/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Parting out on Bricklink

Post by King » Thu Jun 07, 2012 11:34 am

SpaceNinjaDino wrote:Hi King,

May I ask: is the BL store your full-time job? Or do you have to manage a career with BL on the side? Could BL alone be enough to support a family? Do you also hold on to sets and wait for them to be discontinued to get an appreciated price? How much sqft in your home do you need for your store? Thanks.
The BL store is not my full time job, but I work in a field (higher education) where I have a flexible schedule that only consumes about 20 hours a week. I did leave my full time faculty position about 6 months ago...the BL income was not a major factor in that move. That said, the BL income is high enough that it could probably support some families with an average lifestyle. Running the store as it is (About 400K parts) takes a "full time like" commitment. (About 50-60 hrs a week for me, 20-30 for my wife, and maybe 10-15 from others)

We do not sell sets, so there is no deliberate "investment" in discontinued items, but in some rare cases we end up with sets that have value in the secondary market. This happens because our current backstock is large and sometimes they just do not get parted out in a timely fashion. Often we just sit on those in the short term. (This happens because we often do not target many newer sets, so much of what we buy may be close to EOL)

We do not invest in sets because the potential multiplier we get in the short term is far larger than anything we might make on speculating. (e.g. Buy Town Hall for $200, part out for $450 in one month. Buy two more Town Halls for $400, part out for $900 in one month, Buy five more Town Halls for $1000, part out for $2500 in one month etc...) That is hugely oversimplified but you get the idea. We can turn the $1000 we might "invest" into 5 Town Halls into $15000 in the time it would take for those Town Halls to be worth $2000. Sure there are the rare cases (UCS Falcon) where hindsight says that we should have invested, but that it impossible to predict on the front end.

We are fortune to live in an area where we have the space to run the business. We have a work area that is about 300 sq ft. (Two large work tables, bin storage wall with about 240 individual bins, shipping area, materials storage, etc.) In addition, we have an overflow parts storage area that also houses the backstock and that is probably another 200 sq ft about 15 steps away, around the corner.

Hope that helps!

King

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Re: Parting out on Bricklink

Post by bantar1000 » Wed Aug 20, 2014 6:32 am

Thanks so much for this thread! It's really helpful! I'm a new lego freak and am trying to learn how to make some money (enough to support my habit).

After reading something King said about how long it would take to sell. I'm sure a lot of it is experience. But are there any rules you can tell us about as far as how long it takes to sell items? I found 16 sets at target 50% off at $10 a piece. The Brick Link info for the price guide is "Average of last 6 months Sales:US $41.94 Including 259 Items in 67 Lots." What type of idea can I give myself for how long things take to sell? thanks so much!

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Re: Parting out on Bricklink

Post by brickarmor » Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:01 am

Bottom line: selling parts is slooooooow. The biggest difference between hobbyists and businesses on BL is that hobbyists tend to only buy sets that have something they want, so they take that out and put the rest in their store at super low prices so that they will perhaps sell faster and recoup some of the cost. Selling cheaply is the only way to compete when you don't have a massive selection.

Truthfully, if you buy $160 worth of small sets to part out, even though the part out value seems fantastically high, you might break even in 6 months or so. Maybe. Then there's shipping supplies and fees to consider. If you want something for yourself from the sets, go for it, but I would not expect to make anything on the venture by itself.

Edit: Wow. I didn't read the older posts before making this one. In the two years since I made my previous posts I've grown my BL store to about 270k mostly new parts and a good stock of sealed sets to hold. I work at it almost constantly by myself and have made very, very little thus far, reinvesting everything. So if you have superabundant free time and can spend it not making money, and you have plenty of space and a merciless organizing neurosis, a parts store is for you!

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Re: Parting out on Bricklink

Post by Luciant » Sun Aug 24, 2014 12:15 am

I tried part selling with a few sets, and what I saw was that the only parts that really moved were the non-common ones. The special parts that you would like to nab out. Then you sit on common parts that you are begging to get rid of at $0.05 or even less.

I since have switched to Sets and Minifigures only. I have been collecting which has done a good job of paying off my Lego debt that I accumulated when I came out of my dark age, while also paring down my overall investment.

Like brickarmor said, the most successful stores are the ones who do it full time as a job, and parts is a very time consuming business just because your constantly sifting through parts to complete orders. $5 here, $7 there.
I have mixed feelings about new releases: I can't wait to see and get the new sets... but I can't figure out where I'm gonna put them or store them.

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