Category Archives: Articles & Updates

Ticket “Short selling”: Good strategy or recipe for disaster

One the strategies that came to light while researching successful ticket broker strategies is "selling short".    A broker will sell tickets without actually possessing those tickets after a big event is just announced – for example, a match up for a playoff game.   When it comes time to deliver those tickets, a broker will buy those tickets shortly before the event, and then deliver them  to the buyer.  

This strategy rests upon the dynamics of ticket supply and demand of an event.  A typical pricing pattern for a hot event is that demand (and therefore prices) are highest within the 24-48 hour period immediately following an event announcement.   This is usually the best time to sell tickets for the highest return.  As the the event approaches, demand with decline along with ticket prices. 

Experienced ticket brokers see the opportunity in this pricing pattern by selling tickets immediately after the event announcement for the highest prices, and then buying and delivering those tickets right before the actual event at the lowest prices – thus profiting from the difference in the high/low ticket pricing.

According to several ticket brokers, most established brokers use this strategy regularly.  But, as relatively new, low volume ticket broker, should you?

The unwritten rule of ticket brokering is that only big, established brokers – or ticket brokers with deep pockets – should short sell tickets.   While most of the time, prices start high and drop, sometimes prices will just keep going higher. 

So for example, if you sell the "rights for a ticket" for $100, then that price drops to $50 before the event, you're going to make $50 per ticket just from timing the market (just like timing is everything in the stock market). 

On the other hand, if you sell ticket rights for $100 per ticket, then the event gets hot and the ticket price increases to $200 when it's time to deliver those tickets, you're going to lose money.  If you short sell a lot of tickets, you're going to lose A LOT of money.

There are horror stories of small time ticket brokers shorting tickets, then burning customers.  After the price goes up, those brokers refund money and skip town.   That's not good customer service.

Anyone who is considering shorting tickets should have the capital to buy those tickets when the price goes up – not down – when its time to buy.  Not delivering on promised tickets is bad for the industry, and bad karma.  Keeping your word and delivering what  you promise is a huge key to success in this business.

How to Become a Ticket Broker: Part 2

How much money can you expect to make as a new ticket broker?

Not surprisingly, individuals that are thinking of entering the field want to know how much they can expect to make as a ticket broker.  Several questions come to mind:

  • What does it take to succeed in this business?
  • How much can I expect to make?
  • Can you hope to quit your job and do this full-time?

The answer to all these questions depends…..several brokers decided to start doing this while in college and have continued ticket brokering instead getting a "real job".    One broker suggested that he can make more money buying and selling tickets than anything else he might be qualified for.

All of the brokers that have written books seem to making a full-time living buying and selling tickets, but as one broker put it, it can be a grind because of the volume, and built in loses.

One broker, who disclosed quite a bit about his business practices and profits, provided some actual numbers for 2010.  He says that he had sales of around $300,000, with profits between $60K and $70K.     This represents a profit rate of about 20 – 25%. 

The common element of success in each of the brokers seems to be a love of the sports and concerts, and a willingness to be disciplined while also take some risks. 

Full-time ticket brokers: What does it take?

So it's definitely possible to make a full-time living as a ticket broker if you have good strategies and techniques, and your disciplined,  But how many people are making a full-time living as a ticket broker.  It's hard to say since none of the ebooks commented on this subject, but the same broker mentioned earlier noted that while he is making a good lviing as a broker,  he thinks only about 10% of the brokers he knows is doing this work full-time.

If you do the math, if on average you make 20 – 30% per transaction, and you wanted or needed to make $40,000 to $50,000 per year, you would need to buy and sell between $200,000 and $300,000 worth of tickets each year.   If the average ticket cost is $50 ( assuming you buy and sell a combination of concert tickets and sports tickets) you will have to buy and sell close to 4,000  tickets per year, or 335 tickets per month.  Of course, these are averages,  but you get the idea…..

For someone just starting in the business, this might be a lot of pressure.  And you might be tempted to buy tickets that don't meet the criteria you've set for yourself.

Part-time ticket brokering

On the other hand, if you decide you would like to make extra money for travel or paying off bills, or whatever, becoming a ticket broker on a part-time basis may be an excellent option. 

If you would like to make an extra $500-$1,000 per month, at a profit rate of about 25%, you will need to buy around 40 and 80 tickets per month.  This seems much reasonable for a noobie.

If you're highly motivated and can become an avid student of the profession, a full-time business may be possible.  But if you want to ease your way in and find out it's really right for you, it may be wise to lower your expectations, and be content with a nice chunk of extra money. 

How to Become a Ticket Broker: Part 1

This is the first of a 3 part series on becoming a ticket broker.  The purpose is to help you decide whether buying and selling tickets for a living is a good choice for you.  So many people are looking for ways to work at home or make extra money.  But before you jump on the "ticket broker bandwagon", it's important to make sure it's a good fit.

The five part series will cover the following topics:

1. Is this the right business opportunity for YOU?  Based on your personality, your skills, and your willingness to take risks?

2.  What does it take to succeed in this business? How much can I expect to make? Can you hope to quit your job and do this full-time?
 
3.  How do I get started? What do I need to invest for resources to be successful?

Sooooooooooooo………..Here we go!


Is this the Ticket Broker Profession the right career choice for you?

As with many "work at home" opportunities that promise great money, we are tempted by the dream of waking up when we want, grabbing a cup of coffee, and rolling on over to our computer in our PJ's! ….Yep, that's my dream too.

But before deciding that becoming a ticket broker is the best way to get there, it's important to explore ourselves and the profession a little further. We all have different strenghths and skill sets.  If you can combine your natural and acquired skill sets with your interests and passions, you're really onto something! 

So let's see if this profession is for you….

Here are the top 5 most important qualities that will help determine whether you'll be able to a fulfilled, successful Ticket Broker.

1. You're a big fan of sports and/or concerts

I keep hearing that if you do what you love, the money will follow.  No doubt it's true for ticket broker's too.  It seems one the most important qualities you need is a love of the events you'll be buying and selling tickets for. To pick the best events, it's important to be well-read and up to speed on what groups are hot (or teams), when are events going onsale, what venues and cities will sell out quickly, etc.  YOu have to enjoy learning about what's going and staying current.  Ideally, you'll be in the cutting edge of all this stuff.

2. Fast, accurate typing and computer navigation skills, ability to multi-task and make quick decisions

This one may sound strange, but one broker claimed that because he could navigate the Ticketmaster screens faster than anyone else, this gave him a huge advantage and allowed him to consistently score the best tickets.  If there's a concert or event that is just super hot, and everyone and there brother is lining up to buy tickets at the Tickmaster internet gates, the only way to get to get those coveted tickets is to get through the ticketmaster screens faster than most everybody else.  If you can do this, manage multiple browsers screens, and amke snap decisions about the best tickets, you'll be way ahead of the pack.

3. Organized and detailed oriented

This one could be challenging for me.  If you're managing a decent size ticket inventory, you need to make sure you can keep track of all your tickets, and make sure you can put your hands on the tickets you just sold quickly.  There's no faster way to lose money shirt than by forgetting about tickets you bought, sending out the wrong tickets, or selling tickets you already sold!  All very bad….You've got to be able to keep track of your tickets, and your profits.

4.  You need to have some risk tolerance

Yes, there are ways to minimize it, but you're not going to make money on every transaction.  The key is be disciplined with your purchases, and smart with your pricing and resale choices.  The Ticket Broker Guide  has an excellent checklist to ensure you're making a smart decision when selecting tickets to purchase.   The author of the book claims the she makes a profit 95% of the time when she follows her checklist and does her research.  Speaking of which…..

5. You have to enjoy research!

To make sound decisions about what shows or events to invest in, you need to do the background work.  What bands are hot, what bands are up and coming, which venues are likely to sell out, how much money have previous shows gone for, what seats are best for a particular venue, and what are the chances of a second show (this will kill sales).  There are tools out there to get this information.

If you think that all these apply to you, or you have a desire to do this work and want to learn the skills you need to do it well,  this could be right for you.  So read on!

 

Where to sell tickets: Stubhub or Ebay?

Ebay or Stubhub…what do the experts use?

So now that you've got these great tickets, where should you sell them?  If you look around the web, you'll see lots of possible options.  But I haven't found one broker who uses any service  other than Ebay, Stubhub, and, very occasionally, craigslist.  And everyone uses some combination of both, though some rely much more heavily on one than the other.  There's an excellent comparison of the Ebay versus Stubhub debate, and why you might use one versus the other in the Lazy Way to Buy and Sell Tickets for a Profit.

In a nutshell, for 15% of the final sale price, StubHub will do everything for you, including providing fedex shipping labels.  There are listing fees with Ebay, as well as final transaction fees that equal about 7- 10% of the total sales price.  And you are the customer service
provider. 

Stubhub advantages:

  • no listing fees
     
  • No customer interaction
     
  • Good information to help determine ticket prices
     
  • Has a feature that allows for electronic printing of tickets, which allows tickets to be sold he day of the event.
     
  • For buyers, it's easier to find the tickets you want on Stubhub.
     
  • Has an excellent reputation for customer service and provides guarantees to buyers.

Ebay advantages:

  • lower overall transaction cost as percentage of sales (7 – 10%)
     
  • gives you a chance to market your tickets with your Ebay presentation if you enjoy the marketing aspect of selling tickets.
     
  • Choice of "buy now" or auction style sale.

 

The big question is…..which one commands higher ticket prices?

It's a split decision.  Half say Stubhub gets higher prices, half say Ebay does….I guess it all depends.  In the end, you need to figure out what works best for you by experimenting and deciding what mixture of stubhub and ebay you want to use. 

As I mentioned, every broker uses a combination of both.   The next question is….when using ebay, do you use the auction style or "buy now".   Most of them prefer the buy now, but there are times when the auction might be right.  The Ticket Broker Blueprint does an excellent job making the case for the "buy now" option. The trend definitely seems to be in this direction.

So what should you use?

Perhaps for those higher priced tickets, Ebay could be a good choice if there's a significant profit to be made.  But for the vast majority of tickets, in my opinion and other ticket brokers, Stubhub might be the best overall choice, especially for someone new in the business.  If you sell in a high enough volume, the Stubhub commission drops to 10%. 

But as one person put it, it may largely depend on your selling style.  For me, Stubhub is it.  I had a great experience with it, so I'm sold. Unless I get Superbowl tickets, it's Stubhub. 

Are there any other good options?

Several brokers noted noted that craigslist can be a good way to unload tickets if there's no demand on Stubhub or EBay, and the sale is a local one.  People are looking for a deal on craigslist, so you won't be getting big returns there.  So this would only be used rarely.

There are a couple other options for higher volume brokers or "9 to 5" brokers.  Some options include Ticketnetwork, EventInventory, and Ticket Liquidator.  If you take your business to higher level, these might be options.  All require annual fees and merchant accounts or software fees.  In essence, you're paying upfront fees in exchange for lower overall fees per transaction. 

So if you're just starting out in the business, Stubhub is overal best bet, while ebay and craigslist might play a limited role on your sales approach.  If you take your business to the next level, one broker mentioned having a very good experience with Ticketnetwork.