Faced with continued unprecedented demand during the ongoing pandemic, PSA is now grading and authenticating deep into the night, has hired 45 new employees since early April and expanded its weekend hours to try and reduce an ongoing backlog of trading card submissions.
The company says it has also added more than a dozen temporary employees while expanding its operation to both grow capacity and adhere to social distancing requirements.
They’ve even hired a registered nurse to take the temperatures of employees as they enter the building each day as part of the latter effort.
What many customers really want to hear, though, is whether the recent sudden increase in grading fees for “Ultra-Modern” cards–those issued since 2017–is permanent. The answer would appear to be ‘no.’
Earlier this month, PSA increased grading prices for Ultra-Modern cards from $9 to $10 for those who submit 100 or more at a time and from $12 to $15 for those who send in 50-99. The move was made with virtually no notice and because of “overwhelming demand.” On Thursday, PSA President Steve Sloan told customers via email that the increase was only temporary.
PSA’s backlog, which stood at over one million cards at the end of the last fiscal quarter, is primarily because of the increased interest in grading new rookie cards or potentially valuable parallels, autographs and inserts in all sports. A temporary shutdown because of state COVID-19 orders didn’t help. In May, PSA’s orders increased by 188 percent from this year’s previous monthly high. Sloan says the company is “receiving so many of these cards on a daily basis that it is affecting our ability to expeditiously receive packages from other submission types.
“We will continue to monitor the Ultra-Modern category and provide updates to you as we expand our capacity,” he wrote.
Part of that expansion involves more people. In June alone, PSA has hired and trained 25 new employees for its core operations. They’re hoping to add more in their Receiving and Research departments in the weeks to come.
PSA recently implemented weekday swing shifts and graders are working more weekend hours in an effort to keep up with submissions.
The efforts have paid some dividends, according to company officials. In the last quarterly report, daily receiving capacity increased by 95 percent and research capacity was up 78 percent.
PSA’s New Jersey office, which shut down during the third week of March, began bringing some of its operations back up to speed on May 18 and is currently receiving, processing and shipping orders.
Sloan says PSA plans to unveil a new development regarding the future of its operation in July.
PSA’s operational staff–those who receive, process and ship customer orders out after grading–are in the office working full shifts. The majority of the company’s administrative personnel, including customer service, marketing and IT, are working remotely.