Crowd at a concert

I know what you’re thinking, “You’re that person that drives up the ticket price for people that actually want to go to events!” And I’ll admit, this is partially correct. However, the main reason I started selling tickets on StubHub was to meet credit card sign-up bonus spending requirements. I think we can all relate to the feeling of needing to spend several grand in a relatively short period of time. Well, this was an easy way to spend a lot of money.

Harry Styles
Tweens can’t say no to this face!

In the beginning, I’d go on Ticketmaster right when tickets were released and then quickly flip them for face value on StubHub. Of course, with buyer and seller fees on StubHub, the buyer is paying more than face value, but when it comes to spending requirements, you gotta do what you gotta do.

As I got more into selling tickets, I saw how lucrative it can be which is why I am *sometimes* that person ruining it for the true fans. At times I feel guilty and usually take a break from selling. It’s just really tempting to make a profit when you have a pair of Harry Styles tickets and the worst seats are going for over $450 each. Anyway, reselling tickets on StubHub is a personal decision and should you choose to give it a try, here’s what I’ve learned in my first six months of reselling.

What You Need to Know About Selling Tickets on StubHub

StubHub is the best place to buy tickets if they sold out on Ticketmaster or Live Nation. It can get a bad rap since both the buyer and seller pay fees. While StubHub takes 10% of your sales, they are very transparent about the amount you will actually be paid when your tickets sell.

I like to sell on StubHub because they make it really easy. It takes about two minutes to list tickets. You can list tickets even if you don’t have them in hand as long as you can deliver them by the indicated date. If you fail to deliver the promised tickets, you may have to pay for the buyer’s replacement tickets and additional fees, and your account may be suspended.

Listing tickets on StubHub
If you upload your PDF tickets immediately, you’ll get paid as soon as they sell.

The best method is to get PDF tickets that you can upload when you’re creating your listing. Since you won’t get paid until the buyer receives the tickets, this allows the buyer to get their ticket instantly which means you get paid faster.

When you sell hard copy tickets, all you have to do is print off a shipping label (prepaid by StubHub), head to UPS, ask for an envelope to send StubHub tickets, and mail them off. Once the buyer receives the tickets, which is usually in a day or two, you get paid!

When selling tickets, you should be keep track of how much you spend and what you sell since technically this is tax-reportable income. While StubHub will only send you a 1099 if they pay you over $20,000 or if you have 200 or more sales, you should still report any amount under this come tax season.

Tips for Getting Good Tickets

For some events, like Harry Styles, it doesn’t matter how crappy your seats are. For most shows, getting good seats is what stands between a loss and a profit. Here are some tips for getting good concert tickets:

Fenway Park concert seating chart
Fenway concert tickets are a good buy because of the stadium’s small size and the appeal of seeing a show at a historic ballpark.
  • Be on the ticket sale website before tickets go on sale. You will need to click through exactly at the time they’re released to secure the best seats. You’ll get better at this with practice.
  • Once you click through the first time, repeat the process on an incognito browser window, and on your cell phone. This will allow you to grab multiple sets of tickets. You can then decide which ones you want to buy.
  • You’ll get better tickets buying through a presale. American Express and other credit cards often sponsor a presale so I highly recommend getting in on these.
  • If you didn’t get tickets, keep clicking for 30 minutes after the tickets went on sale. When other buyers don’t complete their transactions in time, the tickets are released again.
  • Small venues with big artists = money! If someone like Taylor Swift is playing a smaller arena (like for basketball) instead of a football stadium, there will be more demand for the venue with the smaller capacity.
  • Stick to venues that you know when buying tickets. You’ll get to know them better as you continue buying tickets which will give you a good idea of what seats sell well.
  • When additional dates for the same city are added for a concert that already went on sale, it tends to sink the prices of tickets for the original date. For example, I had Lady Gaga tickets that made a profit of over $300 for the first show. I only broke even for the second night despite the tickets being in the same section and row.
Can’t Float the Money, Don’t Buy the Tickets
Hamilton Chicago delivery delay
I wish I had noticed this before I bought tickets for 2018!

This is a general rule of thumb for any business. You have to spend money to make money. If you can’t float the money, don’t keep buying tickets. Tickets go on sale way in advance so you could be waiting to get this money back for up to a year.

Some events have delivery delays so you won’t get your electronic or hard copy tickets until the delay is lifted. Even if you sell your tickets quickly, you won’t be paid until they reach the buyer. For example, I have Hamilton tickets for January 2018 with a delivery delay until 45 days before the show date. If I sell them on StubHub, I won’t be seeing this money until next December! You can get around the delivery delay issue if Ticketmaster provides the option for fan-to-fan resale.

What to Do If Your Tickets Aren’t Selling
Using StubHub's pricing window
You can access this page when you list tickets. Do a mock listing (don’t actually submit it) to see how tickets are selling before you decide to buy.

Like any business, it can take a while to become profitable. Some tickets will sell for a huge profit, some will sell of a loss. You’re going to want to actively monitor your tickets so you can change your pricing as necessary. StubHub makes it really easy to see what other tickets are selling for and what other tickets in your section are listed at.

I’m more risk averse so I would rather cut down my profit to sell quickly. If my tickets have been sitting for months, I will sell them at a small loss since the price tends to drop if you get too close to the show date. Selling other tickets at a large profit is protection against instances when you have a dud that just won’t sell. Also for tax purposes, it’s important to have a sale on record. If you don’t sell the tickets at all, you can’t write them off as a business expense since there’s no way of knowing if you used them yourself.

I started off only buying tickets for events I’d go to myself as an insurance policy. This method can help you build up some funds to protect yourself from future losses.

Alternatives to StubHub
Ticketmaster resale button
If you see this button, you’re in luck.

When you buy tickets on Ticketmaster, you’ll sometimes see a “sell” button that allows you to list your tickets through their fan-to-fan resale. I have only bought tickets for a few events that had this option, but I like listing here when I can. Some buyers trust Ticketmaster over StubHub. In some cases, Ticketmaster resale will actually change the name on the ticket to the buyer’s name. In contrast, whoever buys my PDF on StubHub is entering the event under my name. 

Ticketmaster resale is a good option if you can buy tickets during the presale and then list them right when the general onsale starts. If the show sells out, Ticketmaster starts showing the resale tickets. A buyer is more likely to buy right then instead of taking the time to head over to Stubhub. They may not even realize it’s a resale ticket (I accidentally bought Hamilton resale tickets once without realizing it…)

You can also sell on eBay or Craiglist but I try to avoid those when possible.

Final Thoughts

Everything I do these days goes back to the ultimate goal of earning points and miles. Selling tickets on StubHub can be a good side hustle if you’re looking to make a profit, but it’s mainly the way I choose to meet a majority of my spending requirements. There is always a small risk of losing money when you buy tickets for reselling, but it’s a learning process so any mistakes you make along the way will help you improve. Hopefully the tips I’ve picked up along the way can help you get started on StubHub and earn your way to lots of sign-up bonuses!

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