If you are searching for specific LEGO parts, discontinued sets, or rare minifigures, there is no better place to shop than BrickLink! BrickLink is the biggest online marketplace for LEGO buyers and sellers from around the globe. Here I will give you an overview about LEGO shopping on BrickLink so you become familiar with the process. 🙂
BrickLink is very much like eBay; individual sellers set up shop, and you can browse their selections for the items you want. BrickLink however does not have an auction feature. All items are listed for a fixed price, until they are sold. For some sellers their BrickLink shop is their full-time business. They have huge selections of parts and sets, and employees to take care of every detail of the business. Others are small hobby stores, run by individuals who may sell extra LEGO sets, part and minifigures from their own collection. Their strength is often the unique and rare parts they offer, and the great personal attention they can give to your order. Below is the process to start shopping on BrickLink.
➡ REGISTRATION: To start LEGO shopping on BrickLink first you need to register. Although you can certainly browse around the site without registering, by becoming a member, you will be able to buy items, view orders you placed and add items you are looking for into your wanted list (an important feature!). Registration is easy and free. You can register here: REGISTER (Please note that you must be at least 18-ears-old to register.)
➡ FINDING ITEMS: The best way to find items is to look thru the BrickLink Catalog. Here you can find LEGO Sets, individual Parts, Minifigs, Books, Gear (this section includes LEGO related merchandise like T-shirts, keychains, pens, gift items, etc.), and LEGO Catalogs. You can also search for the newest items released and added to the Catalog, and much more. You can also find custom items like custom capes, stickers and special parts here: Custom Items for Sale
Once you click on a category, you can search by various subcategories like themes, year released, etc. You can also search for elements by color: BrickLink Color Guide. The BrickLink Catalog is incredibly robust and extensive, all done by the endless hard work of volunteers. It is really worth spending some time and studying how it is organized. Once you get a hang of it you will be amazed! It is truly a LEGO-fans dream!
Another nice feature of Bricklink is the Price Guide. It is available from each items page. It will list all the sellers who have that particular item for sale, as well as the prices, and also how many times and for how much the items has sold for in the past six months. You can learn a lot here about prices!
➡ NEW OR USED?: On Bricklink you can find both new and used parts, sets, etc. If you don’t mind a few scratches on a part or dings on a LEGO box, you would probably be happy with used. On used items sellers often make additional notes, like “excellent condition”, “light playwear”, “discolored”, etc. Always read these notes so you know what you are getting!
➡ WANTED LIST: If you are looking for more than one item, the best way to shop is to put all the items you want in your Wanted List. (Under each item’s page there is a link to add it to your wanted list.) You can create more than one Wanted List, if you are working on several projects.
Once you have all the items you want, you can check to see which shops have all of them. If the items you are looking for are fairly common, you should be able to find everything you want in one shop. If you have a more extensive wanted list, with rare items, you may need to shop at more than one store. In my experience you can find everything needed for a project in 1-5 shops.
➡ SELLER’S TERMS, POLICIES & FEEDBACK: Once you have found a store that has all the items you want, make sure you check their Store Terms. This will include their shipping and payment policies and any additional information that you would need to know before placing an order. It is also a good idea to check the seller’s feedback. This will give you an indication of the seller’s reputation and experience. I would recommend buying from a seller who has at least 50 positive transactions as a seller.
➡ QUESTIONS: If you have any questions about the seller’s terms, policies, products, etc., you should ask them before placing an order. As once your order is placed you are in a binding contract according to Bricklink’s policies. So just ask before to stay on the good side of sellers.
➡ CHECKOUT: If you are satisfied with everything, hit the Checkout button. You will be able to choose your preferred payment method from the choices the seller offers. You will also be able to choose your shipping preferences. I would recommend requesting a tracking number so that you can easily track your package (a lot of sellers will automatically include this with no charge, or for a small fee, depending on their policies.) If your order is larger, you may also request insurance in case something happens to your package en route.
➡ INVOICING: Once you check out, the seller will get a notification that you have placed an order. They will prepare your order, calculate your shipping fees and send you an invoice with details of how to send payment. You should receive an invoice within a couple of days (unless the seller stated otherwise in their terms).
➡ PAYMENT: Once you receive your invoice, check to make sure everything is okay. If all looks good send payment as soon as possible. (Most sellers will state in their policies how many days you have to paying.)
➡ SHIPPING: The seller will ship your order according to your specifications. The carrier’s website can give you an indication of how long should it take for your package to arrive. In my experience this is pretty reliable. If you have ordered from a seller outside of your country, expect some delays due to longer transit time and customs procedures.
➡ ARRIVAL: Once you receive your package, it is a good idea to look through it to make sure everything is there. (In the LEGO business seller’s have to deal with a lot of tiny pieces, so sometimes mistakes can happen.) If there is something wrong with your order contact the seller immediately to work out the problem.
➡ FEEDBACK: Leave feedback to your seller to let them know they did a good job! This will also help other buyers to feel comfortable shopping at a particular store. You can also put the seller on your favorite sellers list, so you can easily find them later when you are ready for some more LEGO shopping. And if you ran into any problems that you were not able to work out with the seller, you may leave neutral or negative feedback as well. This will alert other buyers to potential problems with a particular seller. The seller will also leave you feedback on your order. Honest feedback is the heart and soul of a great online community!
Talking about online community, another of BrickLink’s greatest asset is its members. If you ever run into any problems, have any questions, want to share your LEGO creations or make friends, check out the BrickLink Forum! It is an extremely lively gathering of very knowledgeable LEGO fans. And the chatter goes on 24/7! You are guaranteed to get a response fast. And you are also welcome to ask any questions here. I’m a Bricklink-junkie spending way too much time and money over there! And I also run a small shop you are welcome to visit: Sunshine State Bricks. Happy shoppin’! 😀
You may also want to check out these posts for further ideas: