Getting Started on BrickLink – Beginners Guide
What is BrickLink?
Bricklink is an online market place for Lego. It’s operates much like eBay – you work out what you want to buy, find a seller selling it, and purchase it. You can purchase pretty much anything Lego from BL, but its strength is in parts, as well as instructions, boxes and stickers. You can also buy Sets, Gear, Books, Minifigs… If you can’t find it on BL, there’s a good chance it just doesn’t exist.
BrickLink can be a tad unwieldy and daunting at first sight – but it’s pretty simple once you know your way around, and invaluable for anyone regularly needing parts.
Hopefully this short guide will get you going with the basics of finding what you need, and ordering the parts from a seller.
Note: I’m by no means an expert on BL – it’s a big site, and I’ve only been using it myself for 6 months or so – but in that time I’ve completed 100+ orders ranging in value from 50p to £100, from sellers across Europe and the US – so know my way around enough to guide a few others, but there may be tricks I’m missing myself.
Step 1 – Register
To start off you need to register. Visit Bricklink.com, and select ‘Register’ at the top
You will want to register as a new Member. Even if you think you might want to sell as well in the future, I would still suggest registering as a member and buying a few times first – you can upgrade to seller at a later time.
Select your country, then complete the registration form – be sure to read and agree to those T’s&C’s!
Once you have registered, we can get going!
Step 2 – Finding items
So, you’re registered – time to shop! But before you can shop, you need to know, and find, what you’re buying. You can search based purely on item description. But this can be a frustrating exercise, trying to find the right part. You’re better off using the part ID. If you know it, great! If not, three best places to find it are… the Lego instructions book, another copy of the same part, or, I use rebrickable.com. Search for a set using the same part (or search for the part description), enter the set, scroll to the bottom, and you’ll see all its parts along with the Part Number
Once you have the part number, enter it into the search box in BL (ensure the drop down to the left states ‘Items for Sale’ & git ‘Go’
If you just want to browse parts, get prices, etc – or you need to narrow it down to the right part, use the drop downs which now appear to filter on new/used, etc
If you want to adjust which countries you see items from, select ‘more filter options’ and select, for example, United Kingdom and ‘Go’
Again, from here, you could scroll through the listings to find the best price / seller for you, and go ahead and buy it. However, I find that’s usually not the best way to buy parts, especially if you have several parts to buy.
Step 3 – Adding to Wanted List
Instead, and without needing to do any of the above filtering – just find the part that matches what you need – select (on any appropriate listing) ‘Add to My Wanted List’
Again, don’t worry about colour / condition / country before adding – we can set all of that in a moment.
Now, your Wanted List is just that – a list of parts you want to buy, but without selecting a seller. The benefit of doing this, is that it allows you to tell it everything you want, and then helps you find the most appropriate combination of sellers to buy from – but we’ll take a closer look at Wanted List later. For now, you’ll have pressed ‘add to my wanted list’, and you’ll be asked to fill in a form…
Ignore most of the form, but take a look at the bottom half of it. Select the colour you’re looking for (if you scroll to the top of the drop down list, you’ll see the ‘known’ colours for that part). Be sure to select the appropriate radio button next to colour, otherwise it may still say ‘regardless of colour’. Decide if you want new / used / either (I tend to go new, as there’s often so little difference in price – but your choice of course).
You may also enter how many you’re looking for, and enter any notes. You can also opt to be notified by email whenever the part becomes available – ONLY use this if you are looking for a hard to find part – otherwise it WILL flood your mailbox! (Been there!)
Now click ‘Add Item’, and the top of the form will turn green.
Now, there’s no reason why you can’t stay in this form, and go on to add all the parts you’re looking for using the search box above it. Not sure why, but I don’t do that, I go back to the search box at the top of the page, change the drop down to ‘Items for Sale’ (it’ll be set to search within your Wanted List) and repeat the exercise for any other parts you’re looking for.
Step 4 – Viewing your Wanted List
Once you’ve added all your parts, you can go to your Wanted List. Select the ‘Wanted’ tab, and ‘My Wanted List’
You’ll then see a list of the parts you’ve added, group by type…
Select ‘Show All’ to see the actual lines. In this view, you’ll see the parts, along with a selection of stores selling that item. You can adjust, for each line, your colour & condition preferences, if required.
Note on the right hand side of each store it’s available from, it’ll show ‘Min Buy’ – this is the minimum order value for that store/seller – not all stores have a minimum, but many do. Another important thing we need to do is tell BL which country we would like to buy from, as by default it’s worldwide, but if you’re buying low quantities, or standard items – you’re probably better off buying in the country you’re located in – use a wider geo-area for buying harder to find parts, or bulk parts which might be cheaper to buy overseas (even after extra postage).
Select ‘My Settings’ tab…
Then find the below option, and pick where you want to see items / sellers from
Be sure to ‘Save Settings’ at the bottom. Then return to My Wanted List as before to see the results.
Step 5 – Find a store
Now we know what we want to buy, we need to find a seller. Having the items in your wanted list now makes this much easier.
From the ‘Wanted’ tab, select the ‘By Shop’ sub-tab
What you’ll see is a list of stores. Next to each store, you’ll see some numbers, in the format Lots (Unique)
That is, how many listings that seller has of the items you’re after, and how many of those are unique items – they sound like they should give the same number, and often is, but can be different. That’s because a seller might have multiple listings for the same item – perhaps they have different price points for some stock, perhaps for bulk-lots (you may get a cheaper price for buying in multiples of 10, for example) or could be for new & used, if you did not give a preference earlier.
For this reason, I find it useful to sort the stores by unique listings. Use the drop down near the top to change this, and ‘Go’
Your list of stores should now update appropriately.
To the far right of each store, there is again the minimum order value – look at a combination of items available and Min Buy to select an appropriate seller.
Select a store – I’m going with ‘a brick or more’ on this one, and you’ll be taken to their store.
Step 6 – select your items from the Seller
It will initially show you a list of the items in your wanted list, which it sells. To get back to this view again, note the ‘Show All Items this store has on my Wanted List’ link to the right.
In the main screen, you’ll see all their listings for your items, along with your wanted quantity and comments.
Go through each item, reviewing the price and quantity you want, and add the quantity to ‘Add to Cart’. Remember there may be multiple listings for the same item – be sure to only add it once. Be sure to ‘Add Selected Items to Shopping Cart’
Once you’ve added the parts you’re after, go ahead and browse the rest of the store for any other parts you might feel like adding. Whilst you’re at it, be sure to also visit the ‘Splash’ link, which will take you to the welcome page for that store. Be sure to have a read through – it outlines there terms of sale. Some have minimum order values, others may operate a ‘lot size’ policy (eg, you can’t order 1 each of 100 different items, as it’s a lot of effort for little reward). It will also usually give you their postage rate card, and any other fees they may add (eg, packaging, paypal fees) Some apply these, others don’t – be sure to read through!
Once you’re happy, click ‘View Cart’ to review what you’ve added.
If you’re happy, we can checkout!
Step 7 – Checkout
From the store, select the Checkout button
Then select ‘proceed to checkout’ – re-login if prompted
From this screen, select your method of payment, the currency you intend to pay in, and how you would like it shipped. Review these options, and verify your shipping address. The options available to you will vary by store.
Review the T’s & C’s again, then select ‘Complete Your Purchase’.
On the confirmation page, you’ll see a link to show you the items you’ve just purchased which are on your wanted list – follow this link, and then remove these items from your wanted list.
Great – your order has been placed! Your order will then go off to the seller, and they will process it. Once you get your invoice through (anywhere from a few hours to a few days) pay it via the agreed method. I always use Paypal, and I include the Order Number in the ‘notes’ sections – be sure to do the same / similar so they can link the payment to the order. Some stores will generate a Paypal Payment Link which makes it a bit easier, but not many, to be honest.
You should then mark your order as paid – this is done in the Orders Summary page…
Step 8 – Manage Your Orders
Back in BrickLink, select the ‘orders’ tab, and then ‘Orders I’ve Placed’ link
This will list the orders you have placed, and the status. Once you’ve paid, be sure to tick the ‘paid’ box, and hit ‘Submit changes’
The status field is mostly updated by the seller – but once your order arrives, and most are good at updating it once they’ve processed your order, shipped it etc.
Once you receive your order, you can opt to mark it as ‘received’ to say you have the package, and ‘completed’ to say you’re happy with everything. You can also leave feedback if you wish, and they will usually do so in return.
And that’s all there is too it!
Of course – there’s much much more you can achieve – this is the basics. Few ‘extras’ to consider – Multiple Wanted Lists to manage ‘I need now’ vs ‘Whenever I shop from a store that has it in stock’, bulk XML uploading into wanted lists, and consider not using the Quantity field, but enter your quantity in the notes field instead – this helps you find a store which you’re using which may not have 2x what you need, but may still have 1, so may still be worth ordering. You then have utilities like BrickStore and the Brick Wizard for managing wishlists, and finding the best store combinations to use for your parts – but I’ll let you discover all of that.
Hope this mini-guide helps you – it’s got a pretty steep learning curve, but is pretty simple once you’ve grasped the basics.