(Written by Skyward)
I was strolling through my local department store and saw two #70803 The LEGO Movie Cloud Cuckoo Palace sets. Aware that this set was becoming hard to find, I decided to purchase them for resale. Knowing that buying LEGO sets for the purpose of reselling (either as a sealed set or by parting it out) is something that many LEGO fans would like to know more about, I decided to write an article based on my personal experience. (The original, longer version of this article was published at BrickPicker, so if you are interested to learn more details just follow the link.) Reselling LEGO sets, minifigures, or loose elements can be a great way to support your LEGO hobby, or at least mitigate the cost. So let’s get started! 🙂
➡ TIP 1: WHICH LEGO SET TO GET FOR RESALE? – Before you buy a LEGO set for resale, you must know the availability and value of the set. For example if you buy a $20 LEGO set and you can resell the minifigs alone for $20-$30, then you own the rest of the set free and clear. This is one of the easiest ways to build up the bulk of your LEGO collection and have plenty of parts to build with without spending a whole lot of money.
And if locate a set that is hard to find and there is great demand for it, you can just resell it as it is, even without opening. If you like the set, you can keep yourself a copy, and sell extra ones to cover your own expenses – thus owning your set free and clear. Or if you don’t want it for yourself, but you know there is demand for it, you can sell them all, and use the money to buy something that you really want.
To know when to open set to part out or when to sell it still sealed requires some considerations, but the bottom line is that you always have several choices; sell sets sealed, sell the minifigures from a set and keep the rest for yourself, sell the parts and keep the minifigs, or sell everything individually.
arrow: TIP 2 – SHOULD YOU BREAK THE SEALS? – So how do you know when to sell a set sealed and when to part it out? First of all, you can do some research on eBay and BrickLink and see how much sealed sets, minifigs and parts are selling for from a particular set on the secondary market. Please keep in mind that prices on minifigs, parts and sets can fluctuate quite a bit, so use BrickLink’s great feature that shows you all the sales that happened in the last six months, along with all the current listings.
For the two #70803 The LEGO Movie Cloud Cuckoo Palace sets I decided to part them out completely because I wanted to gain more experience with the process. Please keep in mind that parting out LEGO sets may not work for everyone. It takes quite a bit of work, storage-space, packing, shipping, organizing, etc. Also, some of the parts may sell quickly, while others may sit in your eBay or BrickLink store for months, or even years.
If you want to sell for a quick but smaller profit relatively hassle-free, the best thing is to sell the sets as a whole. You only have to list the item one time, and pack and ship one time. If you want to get more profit and you are willing to do more work, you can sell the minifigs, as those are the ones that usually bring in the most profit, and you can either keep or sell the rest of the set. You will likely have to pack and ship several times to several customers, but it is still much easier than listing and selling every single part individually.
However parting out fully is what usually brings in the most profit, especially on large, adult oriented sets with the most useful and/or unique parts. BrickLink has a handy tool that allows you to enter the set number and automatically part out the set for you into your store, so you don’t have to enter each part manually, but it is still a lot of work to sort, pack and ship so many elements. So you just have to do your research and decide which way you want to go with each set you consider reselling.
➡ TIP 3: WHERE TO SELL YOUR LEGO? – In general if you want to sell full sets, eBay is your best option, as it brings in the most profit. Keep in mind that eBay has very high selling fees (10% of your final price + about 3% for PayPal fees), however they also have a huge number of buyers, so set your prices accordingly. Minifigs you can sell either on eBay or BrickLink with equal success, but again keep the fees in mind (BrickLink has a 3% selling fee – and of course you still have to pay 3% PayPal fees to accept payments). For individual parts BrickLink has a much better market and it is much easier to list your items (no need to take pictures of each individual part), so I would recommend them over eBay.
➡ TIP 4: HOW TO GET PAID? – Most people will want to pay with PayPal, and this is the best and most reliable payment method that pretty much everyone is familiar with. You can also offer the option of money orders, bank-transfers, etc., but in general it is best to just stay with PayPal. If your buyers request it you might add other payment methods in the future. Do not deal in cash as that can easily get lost in the mail.
arrow: TIP 5: HOW TO PACK & SHIP? – It is a very important part of the process to assure that the items you sell arrive to your buyer safely and securely. At the same time you also want to make sure you are not overpaying for packaging materials and shipping, as this can really cut into any profit that you make. It is best to calculate shipping prices before you list your item for sale, so you know how much to charge and there are no surprises at the end. For small items like minifigs and parts you can use bubble-mailers, and for larger items like unopened LEGO sets, you can Priority Mail boxes that you can get at the post office for free.
Also, don’t forget about shipping-tape and packaging materials to keep the items in their original new condition. You don’t want to send a brand new LEGO set wrapped in newspaper only to have it crushed on the way to the buyer and having to refund the full amount. So pack everything securely. Also, familiarize yourself with shipping prices at the post office’s website. If you get into reselling more seriously, you can even get a scale and download shipping tables so you know exactly how much shipping is going to cost.
And that’s about it. The process is quite simple to begin with, and the great thing is that you can scale it up or down depending on your needs. For example right now you may just have one set you are thinking about selling, so you can try out the process with that just to get your feet wet. As you gain more experience, you can start selling more, trying out selling just minifigs, parting out LEGO sets, etc. Then one day you find 20 LEGO sets at half price or less, and you decide to go big and run a full-fledged store!
One additional thing; make sure you keep good records on every purchase and every sale. A simple spreadsheet can work, where you list how much you bought a set for, how much you sold it for, how much packaging and shipping cost, what were the selling fees, etc. This will not only show you exactly your profit, but if you star to run a regular store it will help when tax time comes around and you have to give the taxman their share.
So what do you think? Have you ever sold any of your LEGO sets or minifigs to support your hobby? Do you already run an established eBay or BrickLink store? Is there any other tips and tricks you would like to add? Or have you considered selling, but didn’t know where to start? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, feel free to share and discuss in the comment section below! 😉
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