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    How to Part Out a LEGO Set: 70803 Cloud Cuckoo Palace


    I was strolling through my local Walmart and saw two Cloud Cuckoo Palaces.  Aware that this set was becoming hard to find, I decided to purchase one to part out.  I knew that parting out a set is something that many Brickpickers would like to know more about; therefore, I decided to write an article based on my personal experience. This article is for members who would like to have more knowledge on this subject. Without further ado, let's get started!

    Part I: Know Your Set

    DSCN9211

    Before you buy a set to part out, you must know the set you are purchasing.  I bought this set knowing that I would probably be able to sell the minifigures for about $30 to $35 dollars.  After that, I still had the rest of the set to sell.  If the rest of the set sells for $10 to $15 dollars, then I would make $20 to $30 dollars.  I consider that a successful endeavor.

    Part II: Should I Break the Seals?

    DSCN9219

    I spent quite a bit of time wondering if I should break the seals of this set.  I did some research on eBay and found out that the sealed set was selling for $30 to $40 dollars.  I figured that it would be good to get more experience in parting a set out, so I decided to break the seals.  For people looking for convenience, parting out might not be for you.  One thing that I was surprised by was the amount of time that it took to part this set out.

    Part III: Shipping Costs/Creating Your Lots

    This part does not take a whole lot of work, but with just a little bit of planning you can cut your overall shipping cost by a decent amount and make more money at the same time.  Even though the shipping cost will only be a few dollars, it is good to keep thinking about ways to save money.

    The shipping cost is approximately one dollar for each padded envelope, and each envelope costs about fifty cents.  The rest of the set can go in a small box and the cost will be approximately $2.50.  I combined the cost of the envelope and the shipping cost to simplify the table.

     

    Lot Name Shipping Cost
    Emmet $1.50
    Wyldstyle $1.50
    Unikitty $1.50
    Executron $1.50
    The rest of the set $2.50

    The total expenses are $8.50. This one way to part the set out, and it is an effective way to accomplish the process - but is there a better way?

     

    Lot Name Shipping Cost
    Emmet and Wyldstyle $1.50
    Unikitty and Snail $1.50
    Executron $1.50
    The rest of the set $2.50

     

    The total expenses are $8.50.  This one way to part the set out, and it is an effective way to accomplish the process - but is there a better way?

     

     

    Lot Name Shipping Cost
    Emmet and Wyldstyle $1.50
    Unikitty and Snail $1.50
    Executron $1.50
    The rest of the set $2.50

    I would say that this is a better way.  By combining Emmet and Wyldstyle, we can subtract $1.50 from our expenses, bringing the estimated shipping cost down to $7.00 dollars.

    You may have noticed that I added the snail to the Unikitty lot.  The snail is not nearly as popular as Unikitty, but when combined, the snail can make the lot sell a bit faster.

    Part IV: Taking Pictures and Lighting

    This part is optional.  Some people use official images in their eBay listings, but I like to show buyers exactly what they are buying.  The main problem with taking pictures is lighting.

    I like to use an Ott-Lite that looks similar to this.  It gives a white light instead of a yellow light that most ceiling lights tend to give.  The second thing that I use when taking pictures is paper.  It can reflect light very well and can also soften it if you wrap it around the light.  Do not get paper near the light if it tends to get hot, as this could start a fire.

    If possible, do not let light directly hit the object you are trying to photograph.  My favorite method to light a picture is to open the Ott-Lite just enough to turn it on and then slide a piece of paper in between the light and the bottom support to reflect the light indirectly onto the object I am lighting.

    DSCN9242

    This way, there is not a nasty glare that hinders buyers from seeing the object you are photographing.  After you get your lighting system rigged up, you can place your minifigure on another sheet of paper and take a picture.  This is the result I got:

    DSCN9227

    This is one of the simplest ways to light a minifigure.  It does cast a shadow at the bottom, but buyers can still see what they are buying, and that is the most important part.

    Part V: Selling Your Items on eBay/Pricing Your Lots

    After you have taken your pictures, you can just load them onto your listing.  I chose to use a padded envelope to ship the small things and a small box to ship the rest of the set.  I decided to list with free shipping.

    Because I was familiar with this set, I had an idea of what the lots had been selling for, but it is always good to double check by looking up the sold listings on eBay.  After I researched trending prices, I decided on my prices, which you can see in the table below.

     

    Lot Name Shipping Cost My Price on eBay Minus the Shipping Cost
    Five Lots $7.00 $52.38 $45.38
    Emmet and Wyldstyle $1.50 $17.97 $16.47
    Unikitty and Snail $1.50 $15.97 $14.47
    Executron $1.50 $7.47 $5.97
    The rest of the set $2.50 $10.97 $8.47

     

    All this minus the $20 dollar retail price equals $25.38 profit!  That is approximately 127% profit!  I would say that this has been a success.  *Note* If you do use eBay to sell your items, they will automatically take away 10% of your profits.  I did not calculate that on my table.

    Part VI: Packaging the Lots

    Before I put my items in the padded envelope, I placed them in plastic bags to give the minifigures an extra layer of cushion to prevent scratching.  Here are a few of the minifigures in plastic bags:

    DSCN9236

    After I dealt with the minifigures, I taped up the original bags with clear packaging tape so that the pieces would not fall out.  Now everything is ready to be shipped.

    Summing it Up

    I hope that you have found this article helpful and useful in your own investing experience.  Please leave a comment on what you thought about this article.  Your feedback is appreciated!  Once I finish selling all my lots, I will leave an update in the comments sharing the rest of my experience.  Thanks for reading!

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    Thanks for the blog. As an experienced parter-outer (I've gone thru 8 of this set already), I felt like I should mention a few things. This set is definitely not representative of the usual set for part-out - this is the only set I've found lately that you can feasibly double your money by parting out. I'm usually happy with 125% of retail, 150% is great. CCP is both out of stock and in high demand, and it also basically has 5 unique minifigs, which you won't find in any other $20 set. Also, this set is already coming back in stock, so the window for profits will be closing soon. And it's hard to estimate value of a set without actually selling it first. I've seen individual items sell for your prices, but at the same time, I have a pile of $4 Executrons and $7 broken-down sets that nobody's touching. You always have to consider how long you're willing to sit on something, or if you'll need to discount it to move it out the door.

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    A couple of other quick things: How are you getting a total shipping cost of $1.50 including a .50 envelope? USPS First Class is a minimum of $1.93. Are you strapping your minifigs to trained homing pigeons? I also saw you were using ziplock sandwich bags to ship your minifigs. You can get a 100 count package of 2"x3" plastic zipper bags for $1 at Wal-Mart or $1.50 at a Hobby Lobby/Jo-Ann's type store. They're in the craft section, usually with the beading stuff. They're easier to work with and will be about 80% cheaper than using the big ziplocks.

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    Great article, I'm new to doing this (parting and selling on ebay), I would recommend the small plastic bags, 2x3 found at craft stores; the price of each would be like $0.03 or $0.08 depending on where you buy them. I cannot get shipping for less than $1.93 and I use the USPS. I would leave the zip lock bags for the rest of the items, the original bags seem to tear so easy once they have been opened.

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    Sets coming back into stock is a double edged sword. We can get 'em to resell, but resale prices will start do drop and sales will slow as soon as folks realized they can get the set in store. If you find them, grab them (I got four at Target yesterday), but them listed quickly because the window's already closing.

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    I had called the USPS and asked about how expensive it would be to ship a padded envelope. I think there had been a misunderstanding, as the guy said that I could get it shipped for under a dollar. When I took these to the Post Office, I got charged $2.38 for each envelope. I know that smaller zipper bags work better, but I was in a time crunch and had to use something I had available. I will give an update later on how well everything sold.

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    I did not factor in eBay fees, as I said in the article. I did not include time spent, because this was done in my free time, and it is hard to put a price on something you cannot buy. I bought the set while doing errands, so I was going to be at Walmart anyway. If I did factor in eBay fees, I would have about $23.00 dollars profit.

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    Well, I think the Ebay fees and Paypal fees are being under-estimated in this article. From my experience, you lose 13% of your total sales in fees. $52.38 * .13% = $6.81. Then $7.00 for shipping and $20 for the set leaves you with $18.57. Still a nice profit but not over 100%.

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    Another thing to remember is that some people wouldn't be happy with what you have done with the minifigs. Putting the minifig together as per the pictures in some people's minds makes that minifig used and not new. If you are talking parting out, then Bricklink is the better option; however parting out one set will not work that well for Bricklink. The more stock you have in a Bricklink store, the more you will sell, but it's a viscious circle and lots of stock won't move that fast at all.

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    Thanks! Sorry I missed the part where you said about eBay fees. I asked because I was thinking about doing exactly the same thing with the same set.

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    I have never sold any Lego online, much less parted any out, however this article does give me a lot of information to think about when I do begin to sell. Thank you for the well written article. Seeing the comments the others made also allows me to gain more insight as different people sell/ship things differently. So all in all, I would take a little bit of information from everyone and see what works for me. Thank Again

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    I recently parted out 3 of these sets about a week and a half ago. I listed Wyldstyle and unikitty by themselves for 11.99 each free shipping. They all sold out in under 1 hour after they were posted. Listed Emmet and the robot for 5 bucks each and only sold 2 Emmets. The rest of the set I listed for 9.99 with no sells at all. These were all listed on Ebay and I had picked them up for 20% off previously so I was pleased to make what I did and it's a good way to work up to top seller on Ebay. I should note that when I was selling there were very few on ebay parted out. I think this set will blow up again after the movie is released on DVD.

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    I luckily got onto this set early, though I only bought 4. I sold my unikitties from $11.99 to $13.99. Sold my emmets for ~$7. Wyldstyle for $10.99. I charge shipping for all of my Legos. Still no takers on the snails, executrons, or cuckoo palace.

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    Thanks to everyone who commented on my article. I wanted to wait a bit longer until I had sold the rest of the set to give the update, but decided to give it now because it will answer some of your questions and comments. The Unikitty and Snail lot sold very quickly. Someone offered me a small amount for just Wyldstyle. Thankfully I did not have to deal with this because someone bought what I had actually listed. The set with no minifigures has not been sold yet, but I had quite a few views and some watchers before the time ran out. Executron only got views in the single digits. I think I will end up keeping him for my own collection. I have already commented on this but decided to comment on it again because of people that apparently have not seen it. I had called the post office to check the price once and apparently there had been a misunderstanding. Shipping was $2.38 cents for each envelope. Thanks again for all of your comments. I hope this update was helpful.

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    I wonder how much you will make at the end since all the shipping cost went up and the paypal and ebay fees were not accounted for... In any case great article to show its a lot more work than people think they sell or part out Lego is a piece of cake...

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    Hi, Thanks for the great information. I am experienced with shipping small items, and just wanted to give everyone a little more shipping information. There are 3 different classes of First Class Mail (henceforth FC); letters, large envelopes (also called "flats") and parcels. When you called the post office for a price, the person who quoted you probably did not realize that you would be shipping a parcel, or, they were just plain clueless. For someone that is selling on eBay, or on any site for that matter, I would HIGHLY recommend using USPS Tracking (previously known as Delivery Confirmation). If you don't, the buyer could (although this doesn't mean *would*, but you never know) receive your item but say that they didn't, and you would have no proof otherwise, and would be forced to refund them or send them a replacement. A First Class Parcel is the ONLY FC service that tracking is available for. Although it is technically possible to ship SOME Legos via one of the other FC methods, which cost SIGNIFICANTLY less that FC Parcels, since there can never be tracking on letters or large envelopes, I won't get into that. So regarding FC Parcels; If you go to the post office, the price for a parcel weighing between 1 and 3 ounces (most minifigures) will cost you $2.32. Then, if you want tracking, you have to pay another $1.05 on top of that! Especially since the last price increase that took effect just over a month ago, this is very expensive for small items. However, you may have noticed others that mentioned shipping for $1.93 (this is a 17.5% increase over the $1.64 it USED to be before the price increase in January). This is because you get a discount and FREE tracking when you print your label online. eBay makes it very easy to do this, in fact in the selling section next to the transaction, when shipping is the next step, eBay puts "print shipping label" at the top of the drop down options. So the moral of this very long comment is that you will ALWAYS save money by printing your shipping label online. FC & Priority Mail are the two services that receive discounts on the postage itself, plus the free tracking, but even other methods that don't have their postage discounted online, like Parcel Select (economy shipping) or Media Mail, will still receive tracking for only $0.23 more instead of the $1.05 that you'd have to pay at the counter. If your reason to not print labels online is because you don't know the weight of your package, you can always take it to the PO and have them weigh it for you, without having to buy the postage there. Or, you can get a free scale with a Stamps.com trial, which is what I did years ago. I still use that same scale - every day, in fact - even though I never did continue using Stamps.com (I just couldn't see how their monthly subscription price was worth it, when postage through them cost me the same or even more as it did on eBay). Anyway, sorry for the long post, but I hope this info helps :)

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    Thanks for the very helpful post! You should have written a blog article about that! I just recently sold the Cloud Cuckoo Palace with no minifigures for 10.97 with free shipping and tried out shipping my item through eBay. It is much easier than taking packages down to the post office every time I sell something. I do have a scales, but it is not that great. I think that I will get the Stamps.com free trial and use that scales. Thanks again for your insight.

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    I just sold a CCP w/ no minfigs for $7 +$3 s/h.... looks like you won. :) I think I have 11 of the set portion right now; it's probably gonna take a while to sell them all. A couple more shipping tips: cooking scales are a lot cheaper than postage scales and are usually accurate up to at least 5 pounds, so unless you're mailing Death Stars every day, it's a good way to save a bit. I stole mine from the wife. Easy calibration check- take an object you'll always have around, get an exact weight (either thru the PO or a different, calibrated scale), and use it to check your scale. For example, I know my box knife weighs 5 1/8 oz, so every now and then (or if something doesn't seem to be weighing right), i'll toss the knife on the scale; if it reads 5.125 oz, then I know it's doing its job. Related to above- if your scale's not level, it's wrong. So weigh your stuff on a flat surface, not while you're driving downhill. Last one, I promise. I've been parting out almost 6 months, and just a few days ago found out about FedEx SmartPost- shipping for large packages w/o paying extra to have it expedited. I just shipped a NISB Forest Police Station via USPS Priority for $14; SmartPost would've done it for $8.50. 2-8 days instead of the 1-3 for expedited. I'm in the process of checking shipping on my listings to see if I can save some cash and/or bring down some shipping rates.

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    Hi :) I love everyone's enthusiasm. Hope I can share some insight on Lego flipping on ebay. Like the above poster said, knowing the USPS inside and out is critical to your bottom line. To reiterate, anything less than 13 oz should be shipped First Class Parcel. Anything more than 2 pounds is best shipped priority flat rate, if you can fit it in one of those boxes. I routinely ship sets more than two pounds in padded flat rate envelopes or standard and/or legal flat rate envelopes and save significantly as opposed to shipping it in a box. If your package is between 13 oz and 2 pounds, you're stuck in USPS purgatory and won't get a really good deal on shipping. ALWAYS buy postage through ebay. A typical single minifig will weigh only one ounce. At the post office that would cost you $2.32. Ebay offers a shipping discount, and at that weight it's 17%, so your final shipping cost is $1.93. Recycle everything: I get reclaimed manila envelopes and bubble wrap from where ever I can. A typical manila envelope (8.5x11) can yield you two mailers by cutting them in half. A this strip of bubble wrap is all you need around the zip locked minifig. This article unfortunately inflates the profit margin by neglecting the fees and understating the shipping cost. My personal belief is that the minifigs can sell for as much as the blogger states, but on average, the final cost has been a few dollars less.

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    About your recycling of envelopes and supplies- it can be a good deal on paper, but you also have to consider the time it takes to source everything and then prepare it. This is basically what I've been doing (until today, actually). I didn't want to spring for expensive mailers, so I made a cheaper set up- minifig in bag on 8"x5" cardboard, covered w/ 8"x5" bubble wrap and taped all four sides, inside $0.10 manila catalog envelope. It looked nice, my customers loved it, and it was super cheap. But, it took me about 5 minutes per item to package, plus the time to bulk prep my cardboard and bubble wrap sheets. Not a problem if you're low volume, but I've had weekends with 40 minifig orders that took me 3 hours to package. It gets old, as you can imagine. So I did what I should have done a few months ago- I got on Ebay and made a bulk order of supplies. I got 650 bubble mailers and 1000 adhesive address labels for $75; I'm happiest about 500 4"x6" bubble mailers at a unit cost of $0.045 each. Of course you get a better discount as you order more, but with quantities of 50 or 100 can still have a unit cost of $0.08-0.10. Just wanted to share, since I'm still amazed at how cheap it could be, especially compared to a local big-box. I'm also still giddy because my two huge boxes of envelopes and labels got delivered today. Yesterday, it took me $0.20 and 5 minutes to package an item; tomorrow it'll be $0.06 and 30 seconds.

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