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Are Card Shops Profitable?

are card shops profitable

If you are a fan of Magic, Yugioh, or Pokémon, you may have a large card collection and be thinking about buying more to start your own store. Of course, you need to know some really important information first, such as whether or not the business is profitable.

Unfortunately, most card shops are not very profitable. Especially for the first two years, you will probably make no profits. After that, you may be able to make some profit, but not enough to make a huge profit margin. Based on our research, it seems that most card shop owners make $40,000 a year and $200,000 in earnings.

To find out more about why card shops are not very profitable and ways that you can start a card shop that beats the odds, keep reading. In this article, we talk about how these shops make their money, how much the shops pay per card, and how much it costs to start.

With the right research and efforts, your card shop may defy the odds and be a profitable endeavor for you.

Card Shop Overview

Card shops are locally owned businesses that specifically sell a variety of cards. Many card shops will sell different types of cards including sports cards and game cards. Although sports cards are becoming less popular today, game cards are still popular among the right audience.

Three of the most popular game card types to sell at a card shop include Magic, Yugioh, and Pokémon. Your card shop can exclusively focus on these sorts of cards, but you can also sell other card types and merchandise related to the cards.

Most card shop owners do it for the love of the business and the industry, not for the money. Although you can make a living off the card shops, they are nowhere near as profitable as other businesses. For this reason, you should only open a card shop if you know you have the means to do it and are passionate about the game.

How Do Card Shops Make Money?

Card shops make their money by selling Magic, Yugioh, Pokémon, and other cards to interested players. The bulk of card shop money is made from individual cards that are rare or highly sought after, but you will have to pay a lot for bulk cards.

The reason why most shops make more money from singles is that most shops sell them at half value when people trade in their old cards. This allows people to sell a whole lot of cards at one time, leading to better profits, even though the costs are cut in half.

Average Earnings of a Card Shop

Because a card shop is such a niche profession, there are no records about the average income or earnings of a card shop. With that being said, we did find several blogs and websites where individual card owners talked about how much money they make and how they increase their profits.

From these sites, it seems that the vast majority of card shop owners make around $40,000 a year, which is the national salary average. A $40,000 salary can certainly pay the bills, but it may be a tough living if you live in very expensive areas.

Many of these people were nice enough to break down their income based on where they live. For most of these users, they lived in areas where a $40,000 salary is awarded based on earnings of around $200,000. In other words, it seems that most card shops make about $200,000, but this is purely based on people’s personal blogs online.

How Much Card Shops Pay by Card Type

As we are sure you figured, a large portion of a card shop’s income goes to paying for more merchandise, namely cards. The exact cost of the cards will depend on several factors, such as your location, the rarity of the cards, and the type of cards themselves. Let’s take a look at how much card shops will pay for cards based on the game type.

Magic the Gathering Cards

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Magic has been one of the most popular card games for many years. Most shops buy their cards in bulk. Most owners can get a new box of releases for about $80, which are typically marked up and sold for $100 to $110.

Buying in bulk for the cards is the most effective option, especially for Magic. If you find an incredibly rare card, you can buy the single, but it may be more difficult to get a high profit on it since you will likely have to pay a lot yourself.

As we will learn by looking at the other card prices, Magic seems to be the most profitable card type for card shops. It seems that this is the case because of the way Magic sells their cards, as well as the desirability of the cards.

Click here to check all the current booster box sets with prices on Amazon.

Yugioh Cards

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Unfortunately, Yugioh cards and Pokémon cards are a bit more difficult to sell at shops. The way that Yugioh cards are sold specifically makes them a risky venture. Unfortunately, there is very little information about how much boxes of Yugioh cards go for without the markup.

Most Yugioh cards are priced about the same as Magic and Pokémon, which leads us to believe that the price stores pay for them is about the same. With that being said, many card store owners site Yugioh as being a difficult card to cell since so many packs do not come with any cards of value.

This fact causes us to estimate that a card shop will buy Yugioh cards for around $60 and marking the box up $10 to $15. This makes the cards more similar to Pokémon in value, as you will learn next.

Click here to check all the current booster box sets with prices on Amazon.

Pokémon Cards

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Finally, the last popular cards sold at card shops are Pokémon cards. The price stores pay for these cards is similar to the other game types. Many stores pay about $50 to $60 for a box of boosters, and they mark the box up by $20. This may sound like a lot, but it typically results in about $0.50 to $0.70 more per card.

The profit margin for Pokemon cards are typically so low that many card shops just starting out decide to stop selling Pokémon cards. Even though Pokémon is one of the more mainstream of the games, they simply aren’t as profitable as the other options.

Click here to check all the current booster box sets with prices on Amazon.

Starting a Card Shop

If you are considering starting a card shop, there are a couple of things you need to know first, such as how much getting started will cost and the type of things you’ll need to pay for. Starting a card shop costs a lot of money, and you will likely not make enough to see a real profit ever, much less in the first couple of years.

How Much Does Starting a Card Shop Cost?

If you want to open a card shop that exclusively sells Magic, Yugioh, and Pokémon cards, you will likely only need between $10,000 and $20,000 to start the business. If you expect to sell other items related to the cards, startup costs will go up even more. These prices can easily go up to $50,000, depending on the merchandise you sell.

You might be thinking that this price is really high to get started, and it certainly is no joke. Still, these prices are very fair if you consider how much you have to pay. For example, you will have to pay for a business license, your merchandise, and other things you need before opening the business.

You also have to pay for the store location too. If you want to sell them at a physical location, you will need to be able to pay for rent and anything else you would need for the actual storefront. For those who want to sell online, you will need to pay for a domain or subscription to another service that will allow you to sell your products.

On top of these basic prices, you will also need to pay for other items, such as marketing campaigns and additional features to allow your business to take off and seem like a reputable marketplace for customers to shop at.

Other Things to Know Before Starting Your Card Shop Business

Unfortunately, starting a card shop is really expensive, and you cannot predict to make a whole lot of money within the first couple of years. However, there are instances when opening a card shop is a good idea, despite the lower profit margins.

For example, you want to check out the competition and need a card shop in your area. If you live somewhere remote with few players, opening up a store will be a bad idea, especially if it has a physical location. In contrast, it may be a great idea if many people are interested in card-playing but there are no stores open in your area.

Major metropolitan areas will have a large population of people interested, meaning opening a card shop is best if you live in a city. College towns are also a great location since many college-age students love playing with cards. At the same time, college towns are typically smaller and don’t always have these sorts of shops.

Lastly, you need to think critically about what you want to sell in your shop. As we learned, Magic is the most profitable, whereas Pokémon often leads to major losses. Adding additional merchandise may cost you more, but you may be able to make more earnings if you select the merchandise carefully.

Final Thoughts

If you love playing Magic or Yugioh, you may be interested in starting a card shop. Starting a card shop can be a lot of fun, but it certainly is a lot of hard work. As you expected, card shops are not the most profitable businesses around, but you can make a livable income.

Most card shop owners make around $40,000 a year based on $200,000 worth of earnings. This is not a high-profit margin, but it is enough to live on in many cities or if you have other people to help you pay for your bills.

Still, opening up a card shop is not the most lucrative or profitable business decision around. Since it is not very profitable, we certainly only recommend starting a card shop if you are very passionate about it, have the means to support yourself and the business, and live in an area that has a high need for the shop.

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