Graded Cards & Lower Processing Fees

We have two huge announcements.

  1. We are slashing our processing fee in half!
  2. You can now send us graded cards!

Graded Card Support
We are glad to announce that we are now officially accepting graded, encased, and jumbo cards.

  • Graded card support
  • Processing fees for graded, encased, and jumbo cards
  • Shipping fees for graded, encased, and jumbo cards

Updated Fees
In order to support graded cards, we had to revisit our fee structure. In doing so we took a close look at how the business is generating revenue and what we we can do to help the site grow.

Over the last couple months we have offered some great promotions and discounts to new and existing sellers. This has generated a spike in the number of cards added to the site, but due to all of the promotions our total revenue due to processing fees was actually down. In spite of that, our overall revenue was significantly up because of the tremendous growth we have seen in sales. Even though the economy around the world is way down, we are still seeing sales on our site skyrocket. Check out our blog about growth in a down economy.

It looks like the #1 indicator for growth is the number of new cards we can add to the site. So we are introducing a new, lower processing fee that should make it easier for people to flood us with more cards. Our team can currently process about 5,000 cards a day, and I would love it if we needed to hire more people or invest in better infrastructure to keep up with the demand.

November Growth Goal
Our goal is to add 100,000 new cards to the site during the month of November. This should give people a nice selection for the holidays. Last year our sales tripled in December. Let’s see what happens this year.

For those of you that are taking the time to read this post, here is a sneak peek at some data that we will be adding to the site to help you know what cards to send us.
Hottest players, decades, years, sets, cards, sellers

Standard Processing
As of 6:30 PM PST November 1st, our standard processing fee has been dropped from 20¢ per card to 10¢ per card. This service is basically identical to our previous processing service. It should take 2-4 weeks for the first 1,000 cards and 1-2 more weeks for each additional 1,000 cards.
More about our processing service

Express Processing
Based on popular demand, we have also introduced a new express processing service. This is only slightly more expensive than our previous processing service, but with this service you can have up to 5,000 cards added to your account in 1 week. It will take 1 more week for each additional 5,000 cards. The fee for this service is only 25¢ per card.

Storage Fee
Now that we expect people to send in a lot more cards without doing as much weeding out of the junk, we are not going to be able to let cards sit in our warehouse forever. In order to encourage people to set fair asking prices and to help subsidize the cost of insurance, warehouse rent, website hosting, and other expenses, we are introducing a nominal 1¢ per card storage fee that is charged to your account at 12:01 AM on the first day of each month.
More about our storage policy

  • All cards mailed to us prior to November 1st, 2008 are exempt from the storage fee until January 1st, 2011. That is 14 months of free storage.
  • Cards that are added to the site will be exempt from the storage fee for the first 90 days they are in the original owner’s account.
  • Cards purchased on the site are exempt from storage fees unless they are put back up for sale.
  • Cards with an asking price of $0.25 or less are exempt from storage fees.

Updated on November 10th, 2008 based on user recommended improvements.

Inventory Management Features
Here are some of the features we are planning to add over the next few months to help people manage their inventory more easily.

  • Inventory Analysis
    • You will be able to see what are the hottest & coldest cards, players, years, sets in your inventory
  • Improved Inventory Searching
    • Search your inventory for cards that have been on the site a long time and that aren’t selling
  • Bulk Price changes
    • Set some or all of your inventory to a certain percentage of book value
    • Drop your prices on some or all of your inventory by a certain percentage
  • Automatically Decreasing Prices
    • Set a percentage that you would like a card’s asking price to automatically decrease by each week.
  • Bulk Add to Shipment
    • Easily add large portions of your inventory into a big shipment ($25 max shipping fee) so they can be removed from your account.
  • Donate to charity
    • If you don’t want the cards back, we will also be adding the ability for you to donate your cards to charity.
    • We will be providing detailed receipts so that you can maximize the tax write-off as well.

Our goal is that these tools will help you keep your storage fee at an acceptable level. This may be significantly lower than the full $0.20 we had been previously charging.

Shipping Fee
I am impressed that we were able to last so long with our original shipping fee. I came up with that fee structure more than a year ago when we were running the business out of my garage and when we had no employees. Now we have a warehouse with more than 10 employees. Over the last couple weeks we did a thorough analysis of our shipping expenses, and I feel very good that we can continue to maintain very high quality service with our new rates. They are also more easy to remember. $3 for the first card and 25¢ for each additional card. Graded, encased, and jumbo cards are $1 extra per card. Once shipping reaches $25, all additional items are shipped for free.

As many people are learning, the beauty of our site is that you can create a free account and receive combined shipping from all of our sellers over any time period. There is no rush to place an order. You can build up as many cards in our account as you want, and then request a shipment whenever you like.
More about our shipping policy

Cashing-Out
Nothing changes when requesting a PayPal deposit, however we are adding a $3 fee when requesting a check mailed inside the US and a $10 fee for a check mailed outside the US.
More about our cashing-out

Feedback
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or comments about our new fees. We love to hear what our customers think. Customer satisfaction is our #1 priority.

20 thoughts on “Graded Cards & Lower Processing Fees

  1. I was sad to hear that you are now charging storage fees. You should consider a designated fees (i.e. 1-100 $1, 101-300 $2, 301-600 $3).

  2. I like most of the new changes and adjustments made to the site… However, I dislike, the .01 cent storage fee. I understand about having it limit the amount of junk on the site, however I feel a better way of doing that would be to ship back the “crap” cards as you would a damaged or un-sellable card prior to posting.
    I know from fellows collectors on sites such as Groupcasebreaks, and blowoutcards, many feel the same as I do regarding this. It will end up hurting the site in the sense of growth, which you stated you wanted more of. Collectors I have spoken to, as well as myself will now hold off on sending in larger, or multiple shipments of cards, because of the fee’s we would be charged at the end of each month.
    I just sent 500 cards before the fee change, and will now wait till all those are sold before sending another shipment. Before I read the announcement, I was already putting together my next shipment of 500-1000 for the site, but instead of chancing loosing $5-10 a month, I will have to wait.
    When collectors such as myself price my cards to only profit .10-1.00 per card, this fee comes at a big toll.
    Dont get me wrong, I still think your site is a step above others, and will continue to use and sell on it, however, I feel this was a step in the wrong direction.

    Clinton
    (Texansfan)

  3. Clinton, Thank you for the feedback! It is very important that our fees not discourage people from sending use cards. Our goal is to give people the right tools so that is it easy to manage your inventory and help keep the whole system cost-effective. I added the Inventory Management Features section to the blog post to give you some ideas about what we plan to build.

  4. It’s great to see the site grow, however I feel the storage fee is a discouraging move. I understand about growth and the need to grow revenue to support the operation, but as mentioned in a previous post, I feel the storage fee will stunt growth, not encouage it. The seller also has fee’s to think about. There is the cost of shipping cards, then the processing fee and of course the commission paid upon any cash out. The more it costs to utilize the site, the less attractive it will become. The common comment I see from sellers is how it’s great to be able to have somewhere to sell their cards, but if the cost of selling keeps rising, the more sellers will look for alternatives. I’d rather keep the processing fee at 0.20 and not pay a storage fee, rather than pay a lower processing fee and then have a recurring monthly fee for storage. Thanks for the opportunity to share my view and I look forward to reading other comments.

  5. or you could give 3 to 6 months fee free to any new card so that price decreases have a chance to work without storage penalties, then you have the chance to donate the card to charity which may be as good as a sale if you are in the right tax situation and a large seller. the fee is a negative but there are too many new high end cards that are hardly being discounted off high book when the same cards are sellng for less elsewhere. the shipping increase is even worse news but the post office has always penalized the card collector so i can understand it was a deal all along but with the increase from .20 to .25 on shipping and the 33 % increase on 2 to 3.00, 6 months fee free should be a layup shot eh tim?

  6. Tim, this is a great, informative post. It’s good feedback too.

    I was thinking similar thoughts as I read through the price changes, that charging for storage could be a discouragement – even though the users would be paying less because of the decreased processing cost.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think everyone runs the numbers all the way through and does the detailed analysis that you are so great at! (Really, you are excellent at that.) So, the perception still may come across that there is a higher cost – when in fact it is almost always going to be a lower cost – even for the person who mentioned selling cards for minimal $.10 to $1 markup.

    Most significantly, it’s really great to hear about more positive business growth! Nice work, Tim and the rest of the COMC staff!!!

  7. I believe that the implementation of a storage fee in exchange for a reduction to $.10 insertion feel is a fair deal. It will encourage me to send in more “sellable” cards and keep track of them so they don’t get stale and cost me monthly storage fees.

    I am much more concerned with the increase of the per card postage fee to $.25 each. I can understand the need to increase the cost of the first card to $3.00 due to the true cost of the bubble mailer, postage, etc, I would actually like to see the additional card fee be reduced so we can encourage people to buy more cards..

  8. I am also a little discouraged about the storage fee. I’d rather pay the .20 per card than .10 because for new users who want to jump right in the mix and send 5000+ cards, he’s going to have to pay $50 a month?!?! Or it would be like giving away a free $50 card a month?! I’m already having to compete with other dealers on this site lowering my prices so they can sell because there are already 30 people who have triples of the card. Don’t give me wrong, I love your site and check it daily. I’ve explained the process probably 60 times to friends and family interested in moving their cards. Their main focus now will be, if you don’t get rid of your cards ASAP at a low price, it’s going to cost ya. That is very discouraging to what could/would be new clients of yours. Is there not another way to go about this??? Upgrades to anything in life are always good, but “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

  9. They way I look at it is this: with the new structure, if, on average, you sell your cards within 11 months of listing them, you pay the same if not less than you did before as you’d get the first 30 days fee-free and then one cent for the next 10 months which gets you to the original 20 cent fee.

    Now that is on average, and you are going to sell a bunch of cards much, much sooner than 11 months, which means for those other cards that don’t sell right away, they can sit in your account longer than 11 months without your average going up past the old 20 cents.

    Obviously this favors sellers who list cards that, well, sell. And if you’re not listing cards that sell, then that really isn’t COMC’s problem – they give you the tools to do so. Now obviously I’m biased since I’m sending in 95% jersey/auto cards and not 30 cent insert cards that tend to sit around longer.

    Now having said that, in a perfect world, I’d like to see some options. Maybe give sellers a choice of 2 plans: the current 10 cents + 1 cent per month plan and a “traditional” plan of maybe 25 cents per card. Yes this is higher than the old 20 cents per card, but obviously the old plan wasn’t working financially for COMC, and like it or not, without COMC doing well enough financially, this site doesn’t exist and there is nothing to spend on advertising to get more buyers for your cards, helping them sell quicker.

  10. Well, this is certainly generating debate. As far as “running numbers”, the main number I’m concerned with as a seller is “bottom line cost”. As I see it, while a drop in the processing fee makes the initial cost lower, the long term cost is to the seller is higher. I love this site and how it’s gotten me interested in cards again, but it seems that the direction things are heading is away from the “casual” collector/seller like me and more toward the high volume seller who views this more as a business than a hobby. Here’s what I see, and we view things as individual members of the site. This change will cost more in the long term – eg: If I list 500 cards at 0.10, that’s $50 processing plus the $2 shipment fee +$52.
    That’s $50 less in initial cost. However, if those 500 cards don’t move (which can happen), after a month, and extra $5, now it’s cost me $57 to list the cards. After two months, another $5, and so on. Of course $0.01 per card sounds like a steal, but when you start multiplying times 100’s of cards over several months, it adds up to a simple bottom line – more cost to the seller. We don’t know what cards will sell and what will sit for months. Once a card sits in inventory for 10 months or more, the cost of having the card on the site will surpass the $0.20 per card fee that you just reduced. I’ve got cards that have been on the site since I joined about 10 months ago, so cards can be there that long. I follow the site closely, and there are other sellers who’ve had cards listed long term as well. Of course we would like them to sell sooner rather than later, but now the later will cost more. I’m not sure that the comment “Unfortunately, I don’t think everyone runs the numbers all the way through and does the detailed analysis” from a previos post is fair or accurate. I’ve run the numbers that matter to me as a seller, and as of now, I am delaying sending any more cards until I see where this is going.
    Thanks again for the forum to share this opinion.

  11. As a buyer, one of the great advantages COMC is the ability to pick up cards from multiple dealers, queue them up, and then make one shipment. Right now I’m only collecting cards from one player, so I would consider my self a small volume collector, and the $.01/mo storage fee isn’t going to change my buying habits much. But how about the higher volume buyer? While the sellers get a break if they sell a card with in the first 11 months under the new fee structure, the buyers do not. I can see how storage is storage whether the card is for sale or not, but you surely don’t want to turn off too many buyers.

    Of the 351k cards listed on the site, what percentage have sold more that 30 days ago AND are marked “Not For Sale”? I’m guessing it’s pretty small. If it is a small percentage maybe you can offer 3-6 months free storage on purchases?

  12. @habsfan24: I hope you reconsider delaying sending cards. I didn’t mean to make any comment that was negative or directed at anyone in particular. Sorry, if it came across that way. My bad. You made some good points and you did run the 10 month numbers that matter to you. Thanks for spelling it out.

    (Disclaimer: Tim is my brother. However, I have not communicated with him about any of this and I have no other knowledge of this topic other than me reading the blog post and announcement here myself. And, I’m not employed by or having any stock or anything like that w/ COMC. I do wish them well and I am a big fan! 🙂 Just thought I’d throw that out there in this open, communicative, blog world.)

  13. Hey Toby Getsch…no worries and it’s pretty cool that you took the time to reply. Hey, we all have opinions and views and it’s great that we can share them. One thing is, we’re all pretty passionate about COMC. I really enjoy the site and it’s the best one I’ve found for cards. Tim and his team do a great job, and while a recurring monthly storage fee isn’t my favourite idea (Canadian spelling of favourite…haha), at the end of the day, I believe in the site and The COMC team. I’m confident Tim will review all the comments and suggestions and do what he feels is best for the COMC team and it’s loyal followers 🙂

    Thanks

  14. Habsfan24: I agree with what you are saying, but this site has multiplied each month enormously with new interested buyers who want to use COMC for their services and obviously agree with the terms. Now that the site has taken a turn in favor of the major dealers, how well do you think that will interest the common dealer who just wants to pop off a few hundred cards while collecting a few of his favorites in the process??? It grows by word of mouth whether is be on a message board at another site or anywhere imaginable. I understand the shortage of space, but a friend of the family had a card shop back in the early 90’s with over a million cards in storage, and they were stored in one BIG storage compound. (A pain in the ass I know, but there are always other real estate options) I’d rather pay .25 a card then pay the storage fee, because that would weed out all of the less valued cards processed into the site. COMC is the BEST site I have ran into so far (I have sold a lot of cards at shows and on the net, so I’ve done my homework) and there are several sites with very close smilarities, but not the same features. How long do you think it will be before someone steals their idea and creates their own site? Tim, Steve, and every other member on the COMC team do a wonderful job, but need to make sure they dominate this all the way to the top and become the EBAY of the card collecting world!

  15. I took advantage of your 100 Free last month because I was buying a lot of cards from your site and I figured I might as well fund my spending by selling cards on your site as well. However if I had to pay a $1 storage fee per month on those 100 cards I probably would not have sent them in. It already cost me over $10 to ship the cards to you from the East Coast, and if I want my 100 cards back it would cost me $25. So I am already in the hole $35.

    I have roughly 75k cards in about 20 boxes, they do not take up a lot of space. I do not know how big your warehouse is, but I cannot see how 350k cards are taking so much space that you require a storage fee.

    My advise to you is do not become like eBay… giving your core group of sellers some breaks then raising fees elsewhere. If you are trying to grow the site with more cards by only charging .10 cents a card, turning right around by charging .1 cent a month is not the way to do it.

  16. I’m not a fan of the storage fee either, though I think it would be easier to swallow if it didn’t kick in until the cards had been on the site for 3-6 months. Also, I think there should be some sort of bargain auction where people can quickly unload cards that they don’t want sitting around costing them money. Set it up like sportlots auctions where they all start at one cent.

  17. Thank you all for the productive feedback. I have started a new blog post just regarding the $0.01/month fee. Please give it a read and let us know what you think.

    Bruce: Thank you for the tip about the auctions and for the 3-6 month suggestion.

    Bounty13: I appreciate the advice about not giving breaks to special sellers. We look forward to posting your first batch of cards so that you can see how our site works. I am pretty sure you won’t have to pay $25 to have your cards returned.

    olsonnet: Love the feedback. Minor note… We aren’t changing the fees because they weren’t working financially. We actually expect that $0.10 + $0.01 could be a big price break for most users and we want people to be able to send us more cards.

    Tigers1984WS: Your concern about shipping has been noted. Looks like we shipped a record number of orders today, but we will continue to monitor the satisfaction with our shipping fees.

    habsfan24: Thank you for the vote of confidence! We will continue to work hard to create the best site and offer the best service we can.

    JohnnyBenchCards: I love the idea of giving buyers a few months free storage.

    Texansfan: I saw that your first batch of 200 cards sold in about a week. I can’t wait to see what your second batch does. If you keep that up, your fees will be way better at $0.10 + $0.01/month than they would be at $0.20.

    Dave Warren: Love the 3-6 month free idea, and you are right on with the donation comment.

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