Selling 99 Cent Cards on Ebay: Is It Worth It?

How to sell baseball cards on eBay

The most common question I am asked regarding the One Million Cubs Project is, “do you count duplicates?” The answer is, yes. Fun fact: there are only around 200,000 unique Cubs cards produced since the 1870’s.

When it comes to my eBay Store, I often get asked if selling cheap cards is worth my time. Short answer is, yes it is. Otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it. The long answer is a little bit longer, but keep reading and I’ll explain my process and how and why it’s worth the time.

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Time Is Of the Essence

It takes a lot of time to organize and sort baseball cards. It also takes a lot of time to list those baseball cards to sell on eBay. A silver lining to the whole pandemic quarantine is that I have all the time in the world. When people say, “I just don’t have the time,” it usually means they are not willing to make the time. Sure, there are extenuating circumstances in everybody’s lives, but for the most part we can all set aside a little extra time for things we are passionate about.

Hear me out. One thing I really took for granted was how much tedious parts of the day took, and how we can utilize that extra time even if it’s 10 minutes here and there. My office is roughly 10 minutes from my house. Ten minutes to work, 10 minutes home for lunch, 10 minutes back to work, and another 10 minute drive at the end of the day. That is 40 minutes per day that has been freed up because I now work from home. Not only that, I get to the office early so that’s an additional 10 minutes. Trash day? Another five minutes that is subtracted from my morning routine when working from home I can just step away from my desk and take it to the curb.

It all seems silly, but that equates to about five hours per week of extra time. But it all comes down to how you manage, or better yet, prioritize your time.

Also…I don’t have kids. That’s a huge time saver. So, if you have a kid or kids you automatically have a lot less time than I have to devote to eBay baseball card sales.

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Is It Worth That Time?

Allow me to crunch the numbers and give you better insight into how my eBay Store works. Many people ask how I make money on 99 cent listings with free shipping. First, I’ll break down the fee structure. With my store subscription I receive 51,000 free buy it now listings per month and my final value fee through eBay Managed Payments is 11.5% plus $0.30 per transaction.

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If someone buys a single 99 cent card with free shipping my net eBay payment after fees is $0.58. You might be scratching your head now because after postage, envelopes, and supplies that’s a net loss. But…it is not. I purchase old, unused postage that is pre-stamped on the envelope at a cost of just $0.38 per envelope. Now, I am sitting on $0.20. The cost of top loaders has increased drastically and for the most part I am buying new or used for between $0.08 and $0.10 per top loader shipped. My net profit on a single 99 cent card is about a dime. Is it worth all that work for a measly dime? Yes, read on…

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Volume Discounts

Consider the 99 cent singles sales as a loss leader in my eBay Store. And even though it’s a “loss leader,” I am still making a net profit. Profit is profit. Before you say, “but time is money,” all I have right now is time and the time I am spending on my eBay Store would only be spent watching TV.

The goal here is volume sales and to promote buyers to shop my store and buy more than a single card. I offer two volume discounts. The first is a simple 10% three or more cards. This is a very popular option that rewards volume by not breaking the bank. A customer needs only buy three cards to capture a 10% discount. It’s a win-win for both the buyer and seller. For example, a three-card purchase at $2.97 becomes $2.67 after the 10% discount (which is automatic at checkout). The postage cost remains fixed at $0.38 for the three cards and one additional top loader is used for three cards. After fees, postage, and supplies the net profit on a three card purchase at 99 cents each is $1.48, or $0.49 profit per card sold. That 10% volume discount brings in 5x the profit.

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Is My Method Sustainable?

No. Eventually, and hopefully soon, the world will return to normal. My spare time will be spent traveling, visiting friends, going to baseball games, etc. This is the main reason why my One Million Cubs Project goal shifted at the end of 2020, and why I am focusing on my eBay sales for quarter one of 2021. I am taking advantage of the time afforded and will have to adjust my sales strategy by summer. But for now, yes it’s worth my time selling 99 cent cards on eBay.

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