Flea Market Flipping – Earn Extra Money
Making money by buying things for very cheap and then selling on for profit is something that has been going on for a long time, but there are now people who are able to make a full time living out of it!
It’s not always as simple as seeing something that you think people would like, and get that – but rather making sure that you do your research and check how much it is currently selling for, how well it is selling and more – so you make sure that you are guaranteed a good profit and that it will sell quickly.
This is referred to as ‘flipping’ – and can be done at car boot sales, auctions, online marketplaces, flea markets, charity shops and more.
This can all sound a bit overwhelming, so I’ve brought in expert ‘flipper’ Melissa who does this full time with her husband Rob over at Flea Market Flipper.
They have been doing it for years and doing very well, so make sure you read through their tips to pick up valuable information:
What is flea market flipping?
Flea market flipping is referring to buying a used or second hand item from the flea market (or yard sale, thrift store or auction), and then reselling it to someone else who is looking to buy that item.
Some items require a little love and elbow grease to get looking good or functioning well again, and some items just need to be marketed online in order to find the person who is looking for it.
How do you choose what to buy?
Rob (my husband), is the professional finder-of-the-things. He has been doing this for 20 years now and has an eye for what can sell well online.
After living with him the past 10 years, I have been able to get a little bit of a feel for it myself. It isn’t really hard actually. Once you get out and do it for a bit, you can start to find things that are worth some money.
Since this stage of life for me right now is little kids (we have a 4 year old, 2 year old and 7 month old), I know what brands of kid items are worth more and will pick those up if I can find them at a good price. Rob tends to look for more unique items.
Occasionally, after he sells something, I will ask him what it is and he still has no idea! It makes me laugh every time it happens! He just posts good pictures and a description as best he can and if the person knows what it is they buy it!
How do you price the items?
We look at the going rate for things. We tend to price items on the middle to higher range, and then if they don’t sell after a certain amount of time, we will drop them down a bit.
I tend to want to price items a little lower and have a faster turnover rate, but Rob likes to hold out for the bigger profit.
This past year, flipping items has been our primary income, so Rob got a storage unit that he keeps several of his items in, which allows him to hold on to things a little longer if he wants to wait it out.
How do you find out the price of the item in front of the seller? Do you tell them what you are doing?
Typically if we see an item, we will walk away for a minute and look it up online to see if it is worth buying. Since we go to the flea market pretty much every weekend, we have made some friends with some of the vendors.
Several of them know that we sell things on eBay, Craigslist, Facebook, and Offer Up, and sometimes THEY will even tell us what they are selling online for.
I don’t really understand why they don’t sell it online, but that is their choice. Maybe they just want to focus on their flea market booth and that is all.
Occasionally someone will ask us if we feel like we are taking advantage of people by buying something and then reselling it.
My answer is no, not at all, and in fact we are actually helping them! Let me explain this. Take for example our friends at the flea market. They have bought their items at a discounted rate too.
Most of them attend auctions and buy things at a bulk price. Then they take their lot to the flea market and price things so they are making a profit.
So when we buy from them, we are helping them make their money. And like I stated before, they could definitely do the same thing we do and sell online, but many of them choose not to.
Also, we could easily go to the same auctions they go to and purchase my items even cheaper, but we choose not to, and instead buy from them.
Rob even has about 6 flea market vendors phone numbers, and they call him when they find something they think he would like. So it is a good working relationship.
What do you like about flea market flipping?
Well, at the moment, I love that it is providing for my family!
I love that it gives us the freedom to make our own schedules, and I love that Rob really has such a passion for it and gets so excited about finding things to sell.
I am also loving that we get diapers and wipes at a discounted rate at the flea market! 😉
How much does it cost to start and maintain this as a business?
There really is a wide range for start up and maintenance costs. You can start with whatever you have really, and keep trading up!
For example, someone could start with $50, go buy a few items, make $150, and use the $50 to invest again until you build it up.
I tend to not go over $20 per item with the items that I buy, and it’s usually even lower. Rob will invest a bit more on big machine type things here and there, but the smaller items he still doesn’t like to go over $30-$50.
His biggest investment of the year this year, was $6,000 on a security lift. He sold it the next month for $25,000!
That was a great flip! But he would never do something like that without a lot of good research beforehand. He likes the things that he can get for $10 and $20 and sell them for over $100.
This question came up recently for a couple people who really had very limited funds to start with, so we came up with a few ways to get items for free! (All legal of course!! ;))
What is your best flip?
The most profitable flip would probably be that security tower that we sold a few months ago, but I would probably classify the ‘best’ flip as one of our more memorable ones.
It was memorable because it was a pretty odd item that we ended up making a great profit on.
We found a prosthetic leg at the flea market and bought it for $30. We went home and did some research on it and found out the knee joint was actually worth a good amount of money. Rob posted it on eBay that night for $1,000, and it sold within a few hours.
So $30 turned into $1,000 in less than 12 hours. It was fantastic! Except that we kicked ourselves a little bit because we probably sold it too cheap! But it was a great profit so we were happy with it anyway.
Are there any challenges that you have come across?
One of our challenges has been getting organised with our sales. We used to just do this as a side thing so if things sold and made extra money than that was great.
Now that we do it full time, we have to be a little more organised with our books. Also living on a variable income takes a little faith and planning. Some months are awesome, and some are a little on the slender side, so we have to plan for that.
As far as challenges go with daily operations, I would say the one thing that can be annoying at times is the delivery services both damage packages every now and again.
We package stuff up really well, but somehow they manage to break items occasionally. We always get insurance on things for that reason, so we are never out any money, but it is just an inconvenience for both us and for the buyer who wanted to buy the item.
Tell us about Flipper University please and any success stories from people that have taken your course.
We created Flipper University in 2015, after several of our friends and family had come to Rob and asked him to help them sell something or make some extra money ‘doing what he does’.
We thought we could help more people by making it an online course, and pouring his 20 years into 6 modules and 27 different course units.
We cover finding items, negotiating the price, selling on the best platform, packing, shipping, and more. We also have a closed Facebook group for our course members to be a part of. It is a place where they can ask any questions and both Rob and I monitor it daily.
Our goal is to help people fill the gaps in their finances and have the extra money to pay down debt, pay for Christmas, go on vacation, or do whatever they want to do.
Recently we helped Bryan out in Colorado fund his $1,000 emergency fund – get $1,000 fast to use as your emergency fund instead of using that credit card ‘for emergencies’.
Also just a month ago, one of our students Bobi sold an exercise bike for a $2,300 profit! That was an awesome find for her! It is now more exciting to hear our student’s success over our own. We have a goal of helping 1,000 people make an extra income over the next year!
Big thanks to Melissa for sharing her advice and experiences for doing this as a full time job.
A great thing about doing this as a side hustle or full time income is that it is so flexible, and you don’t need a lot of money to start out doing it. It seems like it would be a lot of fun too, which no day the same!
If you have any more questions, please let me know in the comments.
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