About Me

Monday, January 18, 2010

So you want to run a group break

Many Moons ago, I saw other sites running group breaks and wanted to be cool like them and put one on myself. Then I had the not so brilliant idea of the 2009 Finest Case Break (something I will do this year too with 2010). Although this post may seem negative, trust me, if you ever do a group break this is probably how you will see it.

First, The key is to find a product that people want to open and at a price that makes it worth their while. That's why UD Black doesn' work. 4 cards for $160 bucks makes each slot $45 or so. Takes a lot of people to do a break of Black. You also have to pick a product that balances price with likelihood of good cards. 2007 Ultimate Football is a waste because of no hits. 2007 Exquisite Baseball has lots of potential.

Second, you have to correctly price the thing. Paypal fees, shipping, the product. I don't know how many times I have had the price shift on me after I have opened a break and started taking money. Paypal and shipping fees can set you back $5 a slot.

Third, you have to fill the damn thing up. With as many hits as I get on my site (200+ these days, but at the time 100 on a good day) I didn't think I would have a problem filling the break up. I mean come on, its Finest and for less than the cost of a mini box the participants had a shot at a couple mini boxes worth of hits and a handful of refractors. For some reason, the break filled up slowly and then went off like gang busters with a couple days to go.

Fourth, you have to actually get the product. Ugh! I have been left scrambling when a certain seller didn't actually ship me a product, or the availability goes to shit on you and you have to acquire the boxes from multiple sources. Oh, and product delays.

Fifth, opening the stuff on camera. Seems simple, but trust me, its a pain in the ass. The focus doesn't work quite right, the computer stops recording in the middle of the break. The lighting isn't right for some reason.

Sixth, processing and uploading the videos. Can be 2 hours

Seventh, sorting the cards. The Jumbo boxes of 09 Topps were a pain. Way too many cards to be efficient. Sometimes it takes an hour or two to get them sorted. I stopped keeping track because I enjoy doing it and if I don't want to do it then I need to either shut up about it or end the breaks. Hence my highend/mid mix approach. Some months it works better than others.

Eighth, Packaging. I have had 1 complaint of damaged cards and I arrived at my current method of toploaders for some cards, penny sleeves, blanks, team bags and Bubble mailers. Usually takes me an hour to get the cards packaged for shipping, sometimes more with doing 2 baseball and 1 football.

Ninth, shipping the cards. If you count the number of participants I currently have, that's the number of packages I have to ship. I figured out that if I go to the Post Office at night, I get the APC all to myself, it prints the labels for me and I have to fill out the address. You guessed it, another hour or so. The sorting and shipping are often daunting. With the Finest break, I was freaked out thinking I was going to screw the whole thing up. I don't think I have ever shipped the wrong cards, but my day will come.

Tenth, complaints. The complaints I get are usually having to do with "I didn't get a hit" "Why do the Yankees and BoSox cost the same as the Rockies?" "You need to pick better Products". I read each an every comment and email I get on anything related to the blog. I appreciate the good with the bad and I think some of the complaints are just people venting when they know I don't have any control over the outcome. Take this month for example. Twins, BrewCrew, O's, Fish, etc got the hits. Frankly, the Yanks do get a lot of cards, but they haven't gotten any big dollar hits. The best hits we have had have been White Sox, Dodgers, and Tigers. It's funny, if you get a chance to, look back at the hits we have pulled. Rockies, Dbacks, A's, Indians, etc.

With as many months as I have been doing the Baseball breaks I think they have gone pretty well. I'm not sure how much longer I will continue with them and I do see the break going back down to a single break in a month or two. I really do enjoy doing them and as always if anyone has any ideas or products they want to see done then let me know.

Look for a monthly 08-09-10 High end football break coming as soon as Sp Authentic, exquisite and and Ultimate are released.


gcrl said...

thanks for taking the time!

AdamE said...

I'm glad you do these breaks. If not for your posts I probably woulnd't even get to see what the high end cards looked like.

Motherscratcher said...

I think you do a phenominal job. I have thought about the amount of time that you must put into doing these things. I knew it must be a lot because it takes me forever just to put together a few random packages and then find time to go to the post office. I'm not sure what keeps you going but I'm glad you do and I'll ride that wave to the end.

I've been with you from the begining and I've been in just about every baseball break you've done. I can't think of a single complaint. Not one.

Todd said...

I love being in a group break. It let's me get products I probably wouldn't buy for myself. I may complain, mostly to myself, about the lack of hits but i really blame my team(s) for having crappy players! Thanks again for all your work!

Anonymous said...

I am in the process of doing my first group break on a forum I've belonged to for years. I've been in a lot of breaks on that forum (and elsewhere) so I've seen the do and do nots, as well as the upsides and downsides. it helps if you have a mentor or two to help you with it, as well. Reading posts like this is very helpful.

FanOfReds said...

I don't do much in the way of group breaks (it seems the Reds are always snapped up before I see the post) but I think you also do a great job running them! I know that sending out a trade can be a lot of work, especially if you have double digit packages...group breaks must even be worse!

The Mojo Hand said...

If it says anything I NEVER DO GROUP BREAKS.

Yet I did one of yours, because I know your are a genuine collector. Thanks for the time, and effort you put into the last football break.

You gotta do a case of 08 Donruss Threads Baseball Or Donruss Legends. Now that would be a blast.


The Mojo Hand said...


For a hundred bucks a person 8 slots. EVERYONE would get more then their fair share of hits.