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Today I’m diving deep into the world of flipping items for profit! I absolutely love this concept and I think you will too.
Do you love finding deals? Maybe you love flea markets, thrift stores or yard sales? Maybe you’re hooked on buying items on OfferUp or Facebook Marketplace?
Maybe you’ve even flipped a few items yourself for a profit and thought about doing it some more. Whatever brought you to this blog post, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it and find it super valuable.
This past month I was able to interview Rob and Melissa, a couple who flip items for a living. I was able to ask them a bunch of questions and they were so helpful in their answers.
If you want to learn all about them, how they did it, and how you can too, keep reading!
Q: A brief intro into who you are and why you both decided to flip items?
Hey Kari! Thanks for asking us to share our story with your readers.
I come from a rather large family and grew up in central Florida. I am the youngest sibling of seven kids and the only boy.
To make extra money for our family, my mom would go out with us on the weekends to pick items from flea markets, yard sales, and thrift stores.
In those days, there weren’t any online selling apps to use. She used the classifieds! She would sell the items and make a little money to help the family.
When I turned 16, I started picking up exercise equipment and flipping it. That was when eBay first started out – before there were smartphones or photo downloads! We were still on dial-up.
I was pretty much hooked as soon as I started and have been going strong ever since.
As for Melissa, she married into the business! She had a very hard time explaining to her parents what I actually did when she first met me!
When Melissa was pregnant with our last baby, my job informed me that they were cutting my benefits at the end of the month. Melissa was due right at the end of the month and we were praying he’d be born before we lost my benefits.
I’m the type of person who doesn’t enjoy schedules, demanding bosses, or jobs I don’t care for. But I stayed at the job because I had a lot of freedom and I needed benefits. So when the benefits ended, I realized I could make more money flipping full-time.
In fact, by that point, I was making most of my money from flipping items.
In all honesty, it was still a hard transition. I realized pretty quickly that selling a ton of small items wasn’t going to cut it for our family of five. I had to up my game.
That’s when I discovered freight shipping!
I had done some research and was consistently seeing larger, very expensive items selling well when freight shipping was offered. The problem was I knew nothing about freight shipping.
I had a decision to make. I could keep struggling along or put my best foot forward and learn how to freight ship.
I had a large, expensive dining set that I picked up for $350. I had it listed locally for $750 for months with no bites.
I decided to throw it on eBay and if I sold it, that would be my first experience with freight shipping. I would be forced to learn it.
That’s what happened! I sold the dining set in less than 30 days for $2,400!
That’s when I had an aha moment. I had discovered a way to increase profits to support my family without making more work for myself.
Our first year of going full time, we made $133,000 and we’ve incorporated selling large items as our business model ever since.
Q: For total newbies, what exactly is flipping or reselling?
That’s a great question. Flipping is a lot like it sounds – I buy items locally from apps or from the flea market that are very undervalued and underpriced, and I flip it (resell) the item for a profit – sometimes a very big profit!
There are certain things people may not know their value or they just want to get rid of them for any number of reasons. Maybe they are moving or want to clear out their garage. Whatever the reason is, those are the items that I am looking for.
I buy the item for a small portion of what I can sell it for. I take it home, clean it, fix it, and get ready to list it.
I take good photographs of the item with a good description and list it on several different platforms. About 90% of my sales come from eBay. But I also sell on Offerup and Facebook Marketplace.
My goal when I am looking for an item is to try to get 10 times my investment. Oftentimes, I will get even more than that.
On that note – I am still selling my items under retail price. My buyers are looking for a deal and I am able to provide it to them, usually around 50% of the retail cost.
Q: How much of a time and money investment is needed to start flipping?
Anyone can get started with flipping with a dime and that’s what I love about this business!
Do you have anything lying around you haven’t used in a while? If you haven’t used it in a year, chances are you never will. You can sell those items without ever spending any money to get started.
The time I spend can depend on what I need to do to get the item sold. There are many aspects of flipping including sourcing, fixing, cleaning, and packaging that have to be accomplished in order to actually get the item out the door.
I would say my average for all of these is about 15-20 hours a week. Nothing like working full-time hours.
Honestly, my absolute favorite part of the business is sourcing. I get a lot of satisfaction from finding an item for $100 knowing that I can turn around and sell for $500-$1,000.
Because I love what I do so much, it doesn’t seem like work. I have a lot of flexibility and I can choose my own hours, which is awesome. I get to choose to spend time with Melissa and my kids often and that’s a big bonus to the business.
Q: How does one get started flipping?
That’s a great question and is something that holds people back. How do I actually get started flipping?
Getting started isn’t hard, but you do have to take the first step.
I usually recommend anyone who is interested in flipping not to invest any money in inventory to start with. There are way too many things to sell right under your own roof.
I encourage our Flipper University members to do a quick inventory of items they have around the house or in the garage that they haven’t used in a while.
When they find them, they clean them up and post them on local markets to start with. They can get some very quick cash that they can then reinvest in new inventory and go from there.
In my opinion, flipping is one of the least expensive careers to start with the most promising potential for income.
Q: Do you need any special skills to be a reseller/flipper?
We get emails every week from people who contact us with a desire to start flipping. They will often say, “Rob, you make it look so easy.”
Now, we don’t want to mislead anyone. It does take work to get good at flipping and we work hard. It’s like any job. You work at it to get better and it is hard work. It just happens to be hard work that we love!
But the truth is, anyone can flip items, get crazy good at it, and make an unlimited amount of income. Yes, you heard that right – unlimited income! Sounds pretty amazing, doesn’t it?
There is definitely a learning curve to get started with flipping. I, unfortunately, I didn’t have anyone to teach me. I learned the hard way by making a lot of mistakes and learning from them along the way.
That’s why I really love that Melissa and I had the opportunity to create Flipper University so we can help people not make the mistakes we made. Learning this way cuts through the nonsense and helps our course members really accelerate their learning curve to make money sooner.
We love more than anything watching our course members get good at the trade and many, many of them do.
One of our course members, Stacy, took Flipper U in September 2018 to save cash for an RV. She started with $0.50 and a year and five months later, she had $20K saved!
We had a single mom working two jobs she didn’t really enjoy. A few months into taking Flipper U, she was making $5000 a month.
Our friend and course member, Joy, always wanted to stay home to homeschool her son. She has been able to make enough money to replace her income and within a few months of taking our course, she quit her job to homeschool.
The skills you need to be successful can be easily learned and with hard work, consistency, and dedication, anyone can be a successful flipper.
Q: Where do you find items to flip?
I love sourcing. That’s one of my favorite things to do! If my job was just to source, I’d be super happy! I’ve learned to be very good at it and it’s super fun!
I have many, many ways that I source items to sell, but I think my favorites are the flea market, Offerup, and the trash!
I think I enjoy OfferUp because I source from my phone while I sit on my couch after a long day. I love the flea market because I can walk around in the nice weather and bring my family with me. I also have made some really great contacts who consistently sell me items at a great price.
And the trash? Yup, we find hundreds of dollars worth of perfectly good items to sell and we make money doing it!
There are other avenues like yard sales, estate sales, and auctions as well. There is no limited supply of used items for sale.
Q: What should one look for when looking for items to resell? Are there certain items that sell quicker or for higher profits?
There are so many great items that sell so it’s hard to limit it. But more important than the actual item is the brand.
Brands are everything. We love selling high-end strollers, are getting into shoes, and we sell a lot of cooktops. The quality brands are what sells. People know the quality these brands offer and are looking for them at a reduced rate.
Other articles you may want to read:
- How to Sell on Poshmark (My Experience)
- Selling on Mercari: How one Woman Made over $24K
- How to Make Money Selling on Amazon FBA
I also often look for items that are unique and freight items that are hard to find. People will often go to eBay to find those items because they won’t be able to find them where they are. Because I am willing to freight ship the item, my items do very well on the eBay market. (antiques, furniture, commercial equipment, etc)
Because I have unique items that are higher ticket items, these will generally take a little time to sell. I can hang on to them for a few months to wait for the right buyer. It’s hard to say what items will sell faster than others.
Q: Where do you store your finds until they sell?
I have a couple of storage units that I store my larger items in currently. But for many, many years, I just used my spare closets, garage, and my shed to store my items and I did just fine.
In our first 5 years of marriage, we lived in a 575 sq ft house with no storage! So I bought a little shed and used that.
When we went full-time and increased our inventory to around $150K, it just made sense to have a storage place for us to have our items. It’s big enough where I can work fixing the item, photographing, and building pallets for shipping.
Q: What is the longest time you’ve kept an item before it sold?
Funny you should ask! I just sold a very unique wooden rocking horse that I had for three years. That’s not the norm, but it does occasionally happen. It was something very unique and beautiful and it just took a little bit of time to find the right buyer.
Melissa and I have a little different view on pricing. I price my items to be fair and I usually don’t move from that price. If it were up to Melissa, she would drop prices more often to get them moving.
My way of doing it may take a little bit longer for that right buyer, but I like to get what the item is worth. The trade off is it can take a little bit more time.
Either way, I made a great profit from selling the rocking horse – even if it took me three years!
Q: Where can one flip items they find?
Almost 90% of our sales are through eBay. Ebay is a multi-country platform with 171 million users who are looking to buy my listings. We also have found we get a higher return on our investment through eBay.
We also cross-post on local platforms such as Facebook marketplace, Offerup, Letgo, and Craigslist. These have much less of an audience, but we still sell some items this way. The benefits are we don’t have to ship the item and we don’t pay fees.
Q: What is the most money you ever made on a flip? Ever lost on a flip?
Our largest flip to date was a security tower that I purchased for $5,000. Spending that much money made Melissa really nervous! I normally don’t spend that kind of money on an item, but I knew it was something I could flip and make a great profit!
I sold it a few months later for $25,000!! It was a great return on our investment, a great learning experience, and our largest flip to date.
A few years ago, we bought a diesel truck for $3,500 to haul our camper. I put a lot of sweat equity into it and fixed a lot of stuff on it. It was pretty awesome when I got it done.
This year, we decided to sell it. I sold it locally for $18,000. That was a pretty sweet flip for us this year! I come across these kinds of deals on a regular basis.
One of our more interesting flips was about 10 years ago. It was a prosthetic leg that I picked from the flea market for $35 and sold on eBay for $1,000 – and in less than 24 hours! That was a rush!
Q: What can a newbie expect to make roughly when starting out?
This really depends on a lot of variables, but on average it’s not crazy to make $200 – $1,000 in a month if someone really puts some effort into it.
Q: Any tips for newbies?
The recommendation I have for newbies is to just get started. We get emails all the time from people who want to start flipping, but for one reason or another, they are fearful to take that first step. One step at a time will get you to your goal but you have to take the first step.
Before you start sourcing anywhere else, go through your house and find 10 items to sell. Get them listed on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Mercari, or OfferUp (or all 4).
This way you can experiment and make mistakes with items that you didn’t invest any extra money into. You will gain the confidence to get your flipping side hustle moving!
Q: Where can one find out more information and get more training on flipping?
We also have a free 1-hour intro to flipping webinar available for anyone wants to learn more.
IS FLIPPING RIGHT FOR YOU?
What do you think? Does flipping sound like something you would like to do for some extra cash? How about flipping as a full-time business?
Even if you aren’t sure yet the webinar will give you a lot more details and help you give it a try!
Other FREE Resources You May be interested in: