CSG won't approve this message in the Ask CSG, so maybe it fits better here
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This is crazy, and I know I am not alone here, but hear me out. 

I was a faithful SGC submitter, and when I started they were $8 per card in a submission group bulk rate.

PSA was having turnaround time problems for over a year and SGC decided to up its game, hire more graders and improve turnaround times. They did, until the grading part of the hobby exploded to all-time high levels, exceeding the JUnk Era levels. SGC had egg on their face after bragging in their marketing about their turnaround times, while at same time poking fun at PSA. 

And they upped their bulk rates to $15 a card. That was fine. It was doable. But then it went to $20 per card for no reason. Then PSA shut down and it went to $75 per card or $35 for bulk rates. 

So, I decided to give CSG a shot. I was about to join at the second-tier level when I noticed the April 21 message that because they are seeing an influx of new submissions they, too, are increasing their prices. Mind you, this company is barely out of the box and its reputation is still to be determined. And the bright green labels ...

But for $8 per card bulk, I was ready to give it a solid shot and give them a full year. But the price is now $12 a card. And CSG isn't exactly bringing top 3 resale prices. I am not even sure they are above GMA. 

This is no knock on CSG; I have no experience with this company. But why is the response to increase fees? Because you hired more graders? Did you really?

If you are getting so many more cards, then that additional revenue and profit should be enough to hire more graders, right? Why are these grading companies alienating the small guys? 

If you're worried about adding to your turnaround times (they aren't great for bulk rates) well, this huge influx you mention means how many times are you increasing your profit margins? You had money to hire more graders. Increasing prices might make sense if you reduced the 4 month plus turnaround times for bulk. But you didn't. It's the same service, not guaranteed to get worse, with a 66% price increase. 66%! 

Does it make sense to send 100 mid-level cards at $12 a pop, or even worse, $20 a pop, when they are unlikely to bring in $30?

This is frustrating to watch. And I doubt I am going to sign up to your $149 plan. Good luck ya'll. 

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I think the main problem with these companies hiring graders is there is only 1 office for them to work out of, to work for CSG you HAVE to live in Sarasota, FL and a $2500 bonus is nowhere near enough for me to consider moving.  I think it would make more sense to have 3 offices, East coast, West Coast, and Central. It opens up the pool of possible graders, speeds up submission entry, and cuts down on mailing costs. 

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I'm not sure if you are genuinely asking a question or just ranting about the price increase. I will try to help explain why CSG did what it did, although I'm also in the dark like yourself and am just trying to decide what I would have done if I were in their shoes. 

First of all, CSG is not new. They've been around for years and many people who participate in their comic, coin, or gaming card sector also collect sports cards. Those are the people they were really trying to draw in. The ones who are already using their services and know their reputation. The bonus is any new people in the sports card community that they can peel off of some of the other grading companies.

Remember what happened to SGC when they said "Send us your cards. We're still open." They got flooded and couldn't handle the influx of cards and went from 20 days to 4-5 months to return cards. All the while they scrambled to hire more people and find a larger facility. CSG is dong the same thing but without bragging about themselves. They have stayed open and tried to keep prices at a reasonable level. They are still the cheapest grader out there, I think, but I could be wrong. SGC is forcing people to go with Group Submitters while at the same time raising their prices by about $10. I do not think they will change their business model from this point on. If they did in fact hire all these extra people then they should be equipped to handle the extra business. I think maybe they didn't do as much hiring as we thought. Remember, they eventually halted all Group Submissions around the holiday time frame. Now they've just done the opposite. Halted all personal submissions by raising the price to an astronomical level while making their job easier. Ship all cards to one person and let them do the work for you instead of shipping those same cards to 25 different people.

CSG is clearly trying to hire more. Heck they are even offering a $2500 sign on bonus for pretty much any position in the company. There is a delicate balance that they must maintain. Just because they have been flooded with cards doesn't mean they have the funds to hire more people. If you have 10 people who can grade 10 cards per day, your throughput is only 100 cards per day. If you have a backlog of 10,000 cards, that doesn't mean you have made any more money. You don't get paid until the cards get graded. The only way you make more money is by increasing your throughput. To do that, you either need more people or you will need to either compromise on the grading process so that those 10 people can now grade 15 cards per day instead of 10 or improve the process. I don't think they are compromising the grading process. I think they are taking a slow methodical approach to recruiting, vetting, hiring, and training people so that they ARE able to increase throughput. Also remember, once you are hired it's not like you get a desk and go to work grading on your own. There is most likely an extensive program that you have to go through to become some sort of interim or probationary grader and you stay that way for a period of time. After that time is up, they probably reevaluate you and decide whether you stay or go. So just because they have received more cards and raised their prices, doesn't mean they can just go out and buy more graders. Also, you have to realize that at some point PSA will open back up. That means that submissions might go down at CSG. What do they do with all those graders they hired then? They don't want to come out and terminate people because they don't have the business, they try to keep their head count at what they believe they will reasonably need in the future.

Also, part of the idea behind raising prices is to stop people from submitting those $30 mid-level cards. That was never the reason behind getting your cards graded. It was to authenticate and certify valuable cards in order to give a potential buyer a sort of warm and fuzzy that he was getting what he thought if he spent a ton of money on a card. We collectors are the ones who have ruined grading by sending in 2020 Topps Series 1 Sean Murphy cards for grading. So you should go back and look at your cards. If you are sending in cards that sell for $20 or less raw then you are part of the problem. I'm not just picking on you either because I definitely have some low end cards there too but that is essentially what has caused the problems the grading community is currently in.

Edited by tmoore_25
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Everyone loves to say the problem with these companies and the ever increasing backlogs are from the "low to mid level cards" being submitted. This is just garbage, thesecompanies were built for this and EVERYONE DOES THIS!! If you're not, you're literally throwing money away. The real problem is that the number of collectors has multiplied by as much as 10-20 times in the space of a year. Our Hobby is more popular than it ever has been before, and nobody was ready for that. Not ANY of the grading companies anyway. Add to that fact that last year several large graders had to shut down or severely decrease production for weeks due to COVID-19 and you have a perfect storm to create a backlog for everyone. 

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Posted (edited)
48 minutes ago, tmoore_25 said:

I'm not sure if you are genuinely asking a question or just ranting about the price increase. I will try to help explain why CSG did what it did, although I'm also in the dark like yourself and am just trying to decide what I would have done if I were in their shoes. 

First of all, CSG is not new. They've been around for years and many people who participate in their comic, coin, or gaming card sector also collect sports cards. Those are the people they were really trying to draw in. The ones who are already using their services and know their reputation. The bonus is any new people in the sports card community that they can peel off of some of the other grading companies.

Remember what happened to SGC when they said "Send us your cards. We're still open." They got flooded and couldn't handle the influx of cards and went from 20 days to 4-5 months to return cards. All the while they scrambled to hire more people and find a larger facility. CSG is dong the same thing but without bragging about themselves. They have stayed open and tried to keep prices at a reasonable level. They are still the cheapest grader out there, I think, but I could be wrong. SGC is forcing people to go with Group Submitters while at the same time raising their prices by about $10. I do not think they will change their business model from this point on. If they did in fact hire all these extra people then they should be equipped to handle the extra business. I think maybe they didn't do as much hiring as we thought. Remember, they eventually halted all Group Submissions around the holiday time frame. Now they've just done the opposite. Halted all personal submissions by raising the price to an astronomical level while making their job easier. Ship all cards to one person and let them do the work for you instead of shipping those same cards to 25 different people.

CSG is clearly trying to hire more. Heck they are even offering a $2500 sign on bonus for pretty much any position in the company. There is a delicate balance that they must maintain. Just because they have been flooded with cards doesn't mean they have the funds to hire more people. If you have 10 people who can grade 10 cards per day, your throughput is only 100 cards per day. If you have a backlog of 10,000 cards, that doesn't mean you have made any more money. You don't get paid until the cards get graded. The only way you make more money is by increasing your throughput. To do that, you either need more people or you will need to either compromise on the grading process so that those 10 people can now grade 15 cards per day instead of 10 or improve the process. I don't think they are compromising the grading process. I think they are taking a slow methodical approach to recruiting, vetting, hiring, and training people so that they ARE able to increase throughput. Also remember, once you are hired it's not like you get a desk and go to work grading on your own. There is most likely an extensive program that you have to go through to become some sort of interim or probationary grader and you stay that way for a period of time. After that time is up, they probably reevaluate you and decide whether you stay or go. So just because they have received more cards and raised their prices, doesn't mean they can just go out and buy more graders. Also, you have to realize that at some point PSA will open back up. That means that submissions might go down at CSG. What do they do with all those graders they hired then? They don't want to come out and terminate people because they don't have the business, they try to keep their head count at what they believe they will reasonably need in the future.

Also, part of the idea behind raising prices is to stop people from submitting those $30 mid-level cards. That was never the reason behind getting your cards graded. It was to authenticate and certify valuable cards in order to give a potential buyer a sort of warm and fuzzy that he was getting what he thought if he spent a ton of money on a card. We collectors are the ones who have ruined grading by sending in 2020 Topps Series 1 Sean Murphy cards for grading. So you should go back and look at your cards. If you are sending in cards that sell for $20 or less raw then you are part of the problem. I'm not just picking on you either because I definitely have some low end cards there too but that is essentially what has caused the problems the grading community is currently in.

Sorry guy, not looking for a customer to answer any of this or for a response like this. They are new to sports cards. I was not seeking advice from you or anyone about what you would do in my shoes. I'm an adult, I handle things the way I want to handle them, and you handle things the way you want to handle. This entire response is patronizing and condescending, and not the least bit helpful, either. Their reputation with SPORTS cards is TBD and so far, it's not stellar based on the reviews I have read at various websites. They are literally the last spot people are picking, beneath GMA. I came to give the a shot over GMA because the price point was more economical and I wanted to test the risk v reward. 

And, some of what you say is incorrect. No, SGC never had 4-5 month wait times. I subbed with them for all of 2020 and 2021 up until this month. The longest I ever had to wait was 3.5 months, and I had no problem with that when PSA was a year, BVG was 9 months to a year and appears CSG is actually 4 months or more (80 days) and there is no guarantee. 

People pay before the cards are graded and most are in a membership- so yes, getting flooded with cards means they did have more money. 

Finally, who the heck are you to be the arbitrator for the reason to get cards graded? The real reason to get a card graded was and still is to many people to PROTECT THE CARD, not to increase its value. Using your logic, I'm the problem because I am grading my complete 1973 Topps set. Yeah, noway, guy

Ultimately, it is people like you who are part of the problem: you don't do your research, you comment first before thinking and you come off sounding like a homer, not a deep thinker. 

I did not think my comment was going to be wildly popular among people who are here because they like CSG, but then again I did not really care. I figured 75% of the responses might be from people sounding like you. 

 

Edited by QueenCityCards
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5 minutes ago, Brandon Melnick said:

Everyone loves to say the problem with these companies and the ever increasing backlogs are from the "low to mid level cards" being submitted. This is just garbage, thesecompanies were built for this and EVERYONE DOES THIS!! If you're not, you're literally throwing money away. The real problem is that the number of collectors has multiplied by as much as 10-20 times in the space of a year. Our Hobby is more popular than it ever has been before, and nobody was ready for that. Not ANY of the grading companies anyway. Add to that fact that last year several large graders had to shut down or severely decrease production for weeks due to COVID-19 and you have a perfect storm to create a backlog for everyone. 

I agree. The guy does not have a clue what he is talking about. 

I think the bigger problem is all the people submitting their freaking Zions and Jas hoping to cash in. I only sell cards when I have to. So, profit was not the chief concern, but it is a concern. I do not want to spend $20 to grade a single card and it be worth the same unless it is for a special project ie grading my entire 1973 Topps set, which this guy seems to think is creating a problem for graders. 

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Is grading supposed to only be for collectors? Why is a bad thing to profit from a hot market? If speculators want to blow a bunch of money grading base cards let them, it's their money. I personally hope some of the young people who are starting to collect for the profit stick around. We need new blood in this. 

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I don't personally have an issue with people grading whatever they want and profiting from it. If I did, I would stop grading. But knowing that there are more collectors now and knowing that people who collected a long time ago are hearing about the grading card explosion and going back through their closets and sending what they collected when they were younger in, that is how you explain the longer turnaround times. Grading card services are currently a very inelastic service, meaning that demand is still high and climbing even with the price increase. That is a signal to the grading companies that their services are currently underpriced and they can continue to raise prices until the demand for that service decreases. At some point there has to be a price balance because currently there are really no substitutes for generating profit in the card community. The OP complained about the current pricing offered in the grading sector overall. Until the demand goes down, the prices are going to continue to climb.

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11 hours ago, QueenCityCards said:

The real reason to get a card graded was and still is to many people to PROTECT THE CARD, not to increase its value.

I’ve collected for nearly 30 years and this is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen. If you want your cards protected, save some money and buy a case of one touches for $5/ea. The reason for grading is to have an independent, legitimate, and recognized third party company grade the condition of your card, which increases the card’s value because the condition is no longer up for discussion or debate. It sounds like you just need UltraPro, not a grading service.

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7 hours ago, PunsRTonsOfFun said:

I’ve collected for nearly 30 years and this is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen. If you want your cards protected, save some money and buy a case of one touches for $5/ea. The reason for grading is to have an independent, legitimate, and recognized third party company grade the condition of your card, which increases the card’s value because the condition is no longer up for discussion or debate. It sounds like you just need UltraPro, not a grading service.

 

I mean do I care what you actually think? No. I don't. GTFO out of my post my 30 years of collecting. WTF cares?

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17 hours ago, johnl702 said:

Is grading supposed to only be for collectors? Why is a bad thing to profit from a hot market? If speculators want to blow a bunch of money grading base cards let them, it's their money. I personally hope some of the young people who are starting to collect for the profit stick around. We need new blood in this. 

Who said it was a bad thing? 

The only thing that's bad are the scumbags waiting in line at 3am at Target and Walmart so they can flip their retail boxes to pay their rent instead of learning a real skill and getting a real job, right?

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I went to Target last week and there was a huge amount of people waiting on cards. I asked the poor kid that was trying to contain the chaos and she said there was 38 people waiting to buy, insane!

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