The margins can be tight. The hours are long. The competition is everywhere. The success of the products they're selling is often based on factors out of their control or even who happens to be online at any one particular moment.
Still, it's sometimes a lot easier than selling cards the traditional way.
Case breaking has become a cottage industry and for trading card manufacturers, it's become a significant sales outlet.
The National Sports Collectors Convention also created a cash stream when it set up the Case Break Pavilion at this year's show, with breakers broadcasting live from the show floor. For most, though, that's not enough. To turn a significant profit, they must often broadcast nearly 24 hours a day, picking up overseas customers via their live internet stream as night ticks into the wee hours of the morning.
They often break dozens of boxes per day, selling 'slots' to customers who can then watch live online to see it unfold. Slots are sold by team or through a random draw with those who buy into the break receiving the cards pulled from the case that match up with that specific team.
The cards are shipped out immediately because often times, the buyers are mercenary, opting to flip them on eBay (hopefully) for a profit of their own. Sometimes they lose. It is, after all, sort of a lottery.
Breakers spread the word about upcoming breaks on social media and through their own websites, waiting until each slot is filled before opening the box or case.
We talked with Joey Paquette of Virginia-based Friendly Box Breaks about the world of the case breaker.