***This post may contain affiliate links. I do not recommend products that I have not personally vetted and love myself.***
Do you love buying things? How about purusing your local garage sales looking for steals?
If that is you, then you may be a prime candidate for buying and flipping items. You can become a flipper (not like the dolphin ;).
In order to be proficient at buying and flipping goods you have to have 2 systems setup, your buying system and your selling system.
For buying, you must be purchasing the right things. If you are not, then you may be stuck with tons of junk that nobody really wants. Who cares if its a deal if you can’t flip it, right?
For selling, you need to know which platforms you plan to use for selling and have your storefronts set up. When you have goods, its as easy as listing it properly and then shipping them when it comes time. If you sell locally, you can even get out of shipping.
Now that we see the basics are just like everything else, buying and selling, let’s go more into detail.
So what should we be buying that lets us pocket the most profit?
The below list has many winners in this category, but is by no means all-inclusive:
- Used Cameras and Lenses – Vintage cameras and any quality lens hold it’s value incredibly well. If you come across any old lenses that are not super scratched, they can even be manual focus only, pick them up. They are worth a tone.
- Antiques (all varieties) – It really is amazing how the older something is, given it’s in decent or better condition makes it worth more and more. Yearning for the days of old make antiques worth a ton!
- Tables and chairs made of real wood – You can find these at almost any thrift store or estate sale. They often need sanding and a new coat of paint to look brand-new, which makes your potential profit margins high.
- Record players – Like everything else, this brings nostalgia to the old and hipness to the young. Record players are just plain cool and can drive quite the premium.
- Records and record sleeves
- Brand-name clothing with price tags still attached – The potential here is huge! Be sure to inspect clothing carefully. Most sellers will not accept returns.
- REI or Walmart branded gear – These can be returned or warrantied at these excellent stores for first-in-class return policies. Think of it as free restoration.
- Picture frames – Vintage picture frames are awesome. I know my wife is always looking for these when they are available. Snatch them up when you find them because usually, they are not for sale.
- Vintage globes – Globes are classic. It may be difficult to sell these online, but they are worth a good amount.
- Jukeboxes – Jukeboxes can be retrofit with up-to-date parts like Bluetooth speakers and digital electronics. If you are a proficient DIY-er, then you could create a nice profit from this project piece.
- Sports Cards – Classic sports cards are worth a pretty penny if you find ones in good condition. If the seller received them as hand-me-downs and doesn’t know what they have, then you can find real bargains.
- Game Cards – Card games like Dungeons and Dragons and Pokemon
- Upholstered chairs – Most old chairs are disgusting, but with a simple reupholstering they can look great. A simple job by a professional makes your cheap piece worth a potential fortune. You can even learn to DIY upholstering for even more profit.
- Sports memorabilia
- Video game consoles (Atari, NES, SNES, GameBoy, etc.) and game cartridges – Many classic video games are worth far more than you can imagine. If you have knowledge about gaming then it is time to profit off of it. You can usually find games for $1 or less and resell at $50+.
- Vintage kitchen tools, such as meat grinders, butcher tools, etc.
- Vintage Pyrex and Tupperware containers
- Old coffee mugs
- Vintage Mason jars – Concerns surrounding BPA and other chemicals have made Mason jars very popular.
- Christmas Decorations – Old decorations that are no longer made can go for a pretty penny in the right circles. Blow mold forms and wooden forms are not sold in stores anymore making them fetch a very good price.
- Outdoor furniture
- Legos and Knex
- Original edition board games
- Most older items with “Made in the USA” tags or imprints
- Vintage Rugs
As you can see from the above list, pretty much anything labeled classic, vintage, or antique will sell well. Just make sure you are picking up a quality item.
Just because it is old doesn’t mean it is valuable. It cannot be garbage!
You want to find items that are in good-great condition or that you can restore.
Step Two: Where to Find Items to Flip
Now that we know what we are looking for, it is time to head out and find these bargains and make a profit!
To start you can look at home. For sure, this is not a long-term plan, but I am sure you can find some items to sell from your own house. We all buy too many things and could do to part with them. Since they are essentially sunk costs now (already paid for) it is pure profit.
If you ever have a doubt about the value of your items or prospective items, just Google them or look them up on eBay to see what they are going for. If you are good you can get the same or better.
Once you are done around the home, it is time to expand your search area for items to sell. Great locations to check out are:
- Garage sales
- Estate sales
- The Salvation Army
- Thrift stores in general
- Discount wholesalers like Big Lots
- Large inventory sell-offs at name brand stores
When you are looking for items at garage and estate sales you get to practice your bargaining skills. Cash is still king at these locations and you can show them “real” money to motivate the seller to let it go for less.
The Art of Bargaining
There is a whole art to bargaining. Since living in China, we have had lots of opportunities to practice. The takeaways are:
- Start the bargaining process at 1/3 to 1/2 the price you actually want to pay.
- Come up slowly, and make it seem painful.
- If you think they want too much, just walk away.
- If the seller really wants to sell it, they will chase you down with your last asking price.
Step 4 is the fun one. I once had a pair of Foakley’s at the market that the seller wanted 600 RMB for. They wanted 300 at the end of the bargaining process, but when I walked away they chased after me and I was able to buy them for 100 RMB.
The basic idea of bargaining is don’t feel bad about bargaining and driving down the price on the seller. Despite their stories about hardships (they are rarely true anyways) bargaining is part of the process. We start low and try to rip the seller off. The seller starts high and tries to rip us off. Bargaining is just part of the game. Practice and you will make more money!
Step Three: How to Sell Your Finds
Now that we have acquired new items it is time to sell!
But first, we must ensure that the items are truly in sellable condition. Fixing up an item yourself or having a shop refurbish/fix it can greatly increase its value. Look into refurbishing options and check the potential value change to see if it increases your profit.
Now it’s finally time to sell your newfound gold and realize those profits. Using the internet, it has never been easier than it is today to unload your finds. Here is the quick list of where to sell in order of ease decreasing ease and increasing exposure:
- Facebook Groups / Swap-Meets
- Garage Sale (personal or community)
- Amazon FBA
And now a little bit about each item above…
Facebook groups can help to organize your local swap meets. They are a great place to list your things if you want to unload them without shipping. Shipping is a hastle and will cut into your profits if you don’t charge it to the buyer. Most of the Facebook groups I have seen for swap meets are full of junk.
The local garage sale is an excellent place to bring your items for sale. It may very well be the same place that you picked up the items to start with. However, now since you have spruced them up and know how to bargain you can drive a higher price than previously.
Craigslist, even with its antiquated interface, is the king of local selling. You get access to a larger market than a garage sale or Facebook group, but it is still person to person. There is rarely shipping involved on Craigslist, though potential buyers can find you across the globe.
Personally, I have only shipped an item once for a Craigslist listing. I prefer not to because Craigslist does not provide any customer service/resolution for issues that may come up.
Craigslist can also help you to organize and get more traffic at your local garage sale by posting your hours there. Take the time to look through what you can list on Craigslist and you won’t be disappointed.
eBay is a wonderful auction and buy-it-now worldwide marketplace. You get access to an infinitely larger market than with local selling, but it comes with a fee. You have listing fees (sometimes), final value fees, and then PayPal fees for receiving payment. This can add up to 20% of your total revenue. If you expect to get 20%+ more than selling local then it makes sense.
It also makes sense to use eBay when you are having a hard time selling locally or if you want to try and keep all of your selling activities under one roof.
Last, but certainly not least, is Amazon FBA. FBA stands for fulfilled by Amazon, meaning essentially, you ship your goods to Amazon and then warehouse it for you and when the item sells on their platform, they will box and ship it for you.
Amazon certainly makes it a one-stop shop for selling and buying and they make the exchange as easy and seamless as possible.
General Selling Advice
You can command a premium by simply taking high-quality pictures of your goods for sale and writing quality copy to go with it. This applies to all of the selling locations. However, with the more exposed selling platforms, the competition of similarly well-posted goods is higher.
The major benefit of the higher exposure is access to the larger audience which can fetch you a higher price. It really is just a matter of personal preference and balancing fees/profit which platform/s you decide to use for selling.
Some may have personal and/or ethical reasons for not being the middleman. Buying and turning around and reselling something for more is what drives prices up in this world…
However, you are providing a service to others by bringing your unused items to a wider audience so that they can get used and loved again. For that, you are providing value. It’s okay to be out to make money. We all have to have it to survive.
Step 4: Start Making 4 Figures Every Month Flipping Items
Whether you’re looking for an interesting money making hobby or hoping to leave a boring job you hate, finding items to flip for a profit is a great opportunity. You must be persistent and be able to sniff out those diamonds in the rough.
How do you get started? Your one-stop resource: Flea Market Flipper University.
What is Flea Market Flipper University?
Robbie and Melissa were able to make $42,000 in 2015 working 10-15 hours per week and $133,000 in 2016 working 20-30 hours per week.
All their income was from flea market flipping!
You too can build the life of your dreams and flea market flipper university is a one-stop tool for learning everything there is to know about buying and reselling lost treasures.
They will teach you:
- How to find the best items to flip with the best resale value
- Create appealing listings on eBay, Facebook, Craigslist, and Offer Up that will get items sold quickly.
- Learn how to leverage today’s smartphone technology to flip for profit.
- Ship items for cheap to make the most profit.
- Make more money than any other side hustle (possibly)
Flea Market Flipper University is your one-stop shop for all information needed to begin your flipping career.
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