Group Breaks 101 - After the Break

Group Breaks 101 – After the Break

A couple of weeks ago I shared with you the trials and tribulations of putting together a group case break for the first time. As I mentioned, the "work" of filling the break was a little more time-consuming than I initially thought it would be. But picking a great product like 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball ended up selling itself once release week arrived. Initially, I thought filling the break would be the most stressful part of the process. If a few spots did not sell, I was on the hook for more money.

In retrospect, it was much easier than the second half of the process.

Early, on the day of the break, I tested out my entire video and audio setup. I wanted to make sure that everything was in working order. With all of the technology working properly the next step was to setup a sorting table. I used 200- and 300-count card boxes labeled by teams for this process, which leads me to my first piece of advice.

Get Someone to Help You Sort

My buddy Ben, who is a local guy, wanted to come over and actually watch the break because it was the first he had participated in. I asked him if he wanted to sort cards by teams as I opened, which he agreed to do. Since I was shipping out all of the cards from the case, not just the hits, this ended up saving me a huge amount of time. I don’t know exactly how much, but with all the time that I did spend sorting cards into team sets later, I am sure it can be measured in hours.

In the future, when a break consists of this many cards, I am going to make sure that I have someone there to sort as I open, even if it means giving them a discount or free spot in the break. It is worth it.

Time Is of the Essence

Time was the biggest aspect of this process that I miscalculated. I thought I would have the case opened in a little over two hours. It took almost four-and-a-half.

I thought I would have all the cards sorted into team sets and inventoried Monday evening. I wasn't done until the early morning hours on Wednesday.

I was hoping to have all cards shipped off on Thursday morning. The last package was dropped off at the post office Saturday morning.

My advice here: think of a realistic deadline and then add 24 hours to it. Unless this is your job, which it probably isn't if you are reading this for advice, sorting, packaging, and mailing will probably take a backseat to life’s more important responsibilities. It all takes more time than you think.

The Cost of Postage and Supplies

If you read my first article in regards to group breaking a case, one of my "rules" was be prepared to lose money. When I wrote that rule, though, I wasn't intending it to apply to items like bubble wrap and postage. I thought I had figured these aspects pretty accurately. I was wrong.

I still haven't sat down to figure out how I went wrong on the postage estimate, but I think the answer is in the weight of each package sent. It ended up being cheaper to send most teams in flat-rate priority boxes, which cost more than I had budgeted for both shipping and supplies.

Then there are the supplies. I budgeted for 50 thick top loaders to safely package the hits of the break. This would have been enough for the 36 hits and one rip card. There would still be a few left over to safely double up sketch cards in. To my pleasant surprise, six of the 12 boxes had at least four hits and two of the boxes contained six. This put me over my estimated 50 top loaders.

Once all the cards were put safely in team bags and top loaders I ran into another problem: the bubble envelopes I bought weren't big enough. I always add cardboard to further protect cards. This may be overkill but I don’t want anything to turn up damaged because of neglect on my end. Like I mentioned, I ended up sending most sets in flat rate boxes, which meant I lost money on the envelopes and had to buy bubble wrap to use in the flat rate boxes.

I realize when you look at the price of top loaders, bubble envelopes, and bubble wrap itself, it is not that much. But those little expenses do add up. In the future, I am going to be a little more diligent on figuring my supply cost instead of just blindly estimating.

There was a greater learning curve in what happened after the cards were opened than everything that happened before the first pack was ripped. I now realize that everything that occurs before the break almost takes care of itself compared to what happens after the packs are open.

Even with all the extra time, and a little extra money  out of my pocket, I am still going to do additional breaks. I hope that every time I go through the process I learn a little more. Just knowing what I am getting myself into the next time around will make it a little easier.

Click here to read the first part of Nate Springfield's series on hosting a successful case break.

Group Breaks 101 - After the Break 1

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Nate Springfield
Nate recently got back into the hobby after buying a couple blaster boxes of 2012 Topps Series 1. Since then he has tried to open as many packs of various products that his bank account will allow. His passion for baseball is not limited to cards. He is an avid fantasy baseball player as well as contributing at Baseball Press as a writer and host of the site’s podcast. Nate is working on building a reputable personal collection of cards featuring players from his favorite team, the Chicago Cubs. He has also decided to go after rookie and/or autograph cards of any current and future Hall-of-Famer born during his lifetime. Nate can be found on Twitter at @NateSpringfield.

User Comments

  1. I am about to embark on my first case break. I have a ton of supples and ideas and financial backing. I have an assistant. What do I need to do next? I want to do full and half case breaks and with quality. Any suggestions on what to do next? What kind of av equipment do I need and what kind of exposure and marketing? I’ve goine through a ton of breaks on eBay and said hey I can do that. I have the drive and motivation. I love this hobby and want to push it farther. Any suggestions?

  2. Hey i am new to case breaking itself i always wanted to do it way before it became big….now im actually looking to start breaking and way u no of a site that sends a step on step of what u actually need or do to start the breaking process as to what to do thanks Mike

  3. I just wanted to thank you for this article. It was extremely detailed and highly informative. Did you ever think of running a case break class on YouTube? Your advice is highly appreciated. I feel like and understandably so that most people who know how to do breaks do NOT want to really break down the process and they may feel it will threaten their card business by gaining competition. However after recently getting back into the card hobby I have found the community in general to be extremely nice and helpful for the most part and have become friendly with others in the community. I would even be willing to give you a % of my profits or work something out to learn from someone like yourself who is experienced in this. Have to learn to crawl before you walk and like you said like any business you’re going to have a few hitches in the business before you become profitable. With that said learning to avoid any pitfalls along the way is worth its weight in gold. Thanks for this article would love to talk more in depth about getting this process started.


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