Thrift Store Flipping as a Side Hustle
What exactly is thrift store flipping?
Have you heard of those people who are reselling items on Ebay for profit?
Have you ever wondered how they do it…
Today I am excited to introduce to you Melissa from Flea Market Flipper.
Melissa and her husband make money flipping thrift store items and selling them on eBay, Facebook, Craigslist, and more. They started this as a side hustle and now have made this their full-time gig! They closed the year out earning $130,000 flipping thrift store items.
And they’ve created a course, Flipper University, to teach you exactly how to flip thrift store items! They’ve combined their 20 years of “thrift store flipping”experience into a course that will teach you all about how to get started earning a side income or even a full-time income flipping thrift store items!
Find out the 20 Best Items to Resell for Profit
RELATED: How to Earn $1000 per Month Online
Melissa, tell us about yourself.
Thank you so much for taking the time and letting us interview with you! I love your site and how you provide great resources for moms to make money and save money. Money management is crucial to this world that we live in. And as a mom it can be so hard to figure out the balancing act we do for family, finances, and business every day.
I live with my husband Rob and three young kids in Orlando Florida. We have 2 girls (ages 4 and 2) and a baby boy (who is now 10 months) and a dog. It is really busy at our house at the moment! (I don’t think life ever slows down really). I have been a personal trainer for the past 10 years, but recently took some time off to take care of our crazy kiddos.
We have a side hustle (now main hustle) of flipping used items to make a profit.
How did you start flea market flipping? How much time do you invest in your thrift store selling side hustle each week?
Rob has been flipping items for over 20 years now! He started back in the day when eBay had just begun. I guess you could say I married into it. So for the past 10 years I have gotten first hand training on how this business works.
We used to do this more as a side hustle, and in 2015 we made $42,000 for the year in about 10-15 hours per week. This past year we put in about 25-30 hours per week and should hit around $80,000 this year! (Our 2016 numbers aren’t finalized just yet).
Edit: They closed the year out earning $130,000 flea market flipping!
What is flea market flipping? Can you tell us how to make money flea market flipping?
Flipping is the art of finding things that nobody else sees value in and reselling them for a higher profit. We buy new and used items from thrift stores, yard sales, and flea markets and sell them online for a profit. We help the people we are buying from make their money, and we help the people looking for our item get a better deal than they could find in the store.
What is a flea market…how is it different from thrift stores, consignment shops, yard sales?
Our name is flea market flipper because we buy a lot of items from our local flea market, but we also buy from thrift stores, yard sales and auctions. I like to go to yard sales on a Saturday morning, but Rob loves the flea market a little bit more. There are more vendors at the flea market, all lined up in rows, so it is like one large yard sale every week. He likes it because he can go through in an hour and look through items. I enjoy the hunt going from yard sale to yard sale a little more, but I also enjoy walking through the aisles of the flea market. Our kids enjoy going to the flea market too – mostly because they like searching for a new toy. (We usually let them pick out something for less than $1 if they are good).
A couple weeks before Christmas our girls found a box of Beanie Babies, I thought we would pick up a couple of them for Christmas and the next thing I know Rob had bought a whole tub of them for $20! 142 Beanie babies! Ha. We actually haven’t gone through them all, but we gave a couple to the girls for Christmas and posted a few of the ones worth anything on eBay. Even if we sold them all for $3 each (most of them sell for $3-$5 on eBay), we would end up making $400 on them! Not a bad find.
Do you ever shop at consignment shops, thrift stores, Craigslist, or yard sales?
We don’t really do consignment shops, but definitely yard sales, thrift stores, Craigslist and also Offer Up and auctions to buy used items. This past year we have probably bought the most items from the flea market, then Offer Up second, auctions third, and thrift stores fourth.
How do you find the best places to shop?
I can’t say that one place is a gold mine and others are not good for finding items. We consistently drop in at local thrift stores to see what they have, and we scroll through Facebook and Offer Up periodically to look for good deals on things. After visiting places a couple times, you get the understanding of which places have lower prices, and which store managers are willing to negotiate. Same thing at the flea market. We go so frequently that we have built a relationship with a lot of the regular vendors. We know which ones we can get a good deal from and which ones are more expensive. And now Robbie even has some of their phone numbers and they call him when they find something we may like. It pays to be nice to people and establish good relationships!
What are the easiest items to flip? Are you buying used stuff or new stuff or both?
Usually it is used, but sometimes it is new. We buy a lot of random things, so it is hard to say exactly what we look for. If Rob were to answer he would say we look for things that look like they could be expensive. Basically, we want products you can buy cheap and sell high.
I tend to gravitate toward baby and kid items because I am familiar with expensive brands so I know when it is a good deal. We also like exercise equipment, appliances, & some commercial equipment, as well as with unique items like prosthetic legs (yes we have sold several for good money!), Christmas Star Shower lights (we bought over 100 at a time to sell and made over $3,000 in 3 days), and even some things we have found in the trash!
What apps do you use to flip items for profit?
We use eBay, Facebook, Craigslist, and Offer Up to flip items for profit. We make the most using eBay because it reaches so many people around the country (and around the world if you ship internationally).
How do you sell on eBay? Do you use eBay auctions?
We use both auctions and fixed price listings. There are several strategies people use for listing, and more recently we do more of our items at a fixed price. We sometimes sit on items longer because of it, but we usually end up making a higher profit.
In your experience, what makes this a great side hustle for moms?
I became a mom 4.5 years ago when my first daughter was born, and from the time she was born (we weren’t supposed to be able to get pregnant naturally), I knew that I wanted to around for all the little moments. I still worked part time as a personal trainer, but because of our flipping business, we had the freedom to schedule our day how we wanted, and my husband and I could trade off watching her so we didn’t have to send her to (or pay for) daycare. I understand that daycare is the only or best option for many people and I am not opposing that at all, I am just saying daycare wasn’t the best fit for our family. Shortly after our first daughter, baby #2 then #3 showed up, and I no longer could go off to train during the day. Because let’s face it – it was complete insanity at our house and Rob couldn’t handle me being gone for even a few hours at a time.
Now I am home full time, so flipping items works perfect for us to bring in some extra cash. I even have my own eBay account so I can compete and try to make more money than Rob! Ha.
It’s not really hard to hit some yard sales, thrift stores or a flea market on the weekends, and work on listing items during the week to sell. If I sell them on eBay I just package them up and ship them, and if it is on Offer Up or Facebook, I plan to meet them at a park where I would go anyway with my kids so it doesn’t really take a big extra chunk out of my time.
Is there a niche that’s best for flea market beginners? Or should you stick to odd/unique items?
We recommend for people starting out to find items they enjoy or have some knowledge about. For example, one of our students is in the horse industry, so we had her start with discount equestrian items. Another student loves antiques so he typically sticks with looking for those. Moms tend to know baby items pretty well, so that is always a good one to start with too. As people get more experienced they can branch out to more unique items that might take more research on.
How do you define odd/unique items?
I mentioned earlier that we had sold a prosthetic leg. I would define that as pretty unique! We found it at the flea market and bought it for $30. We came home, posted it on eBay and sold it that night for $1,000! Super fast and high profitable flip! Those are always awesome!! Another sort of unique item was a few sleep number beds we bought off of craigslist from a hotel that was redoing all their rooms. And when I say a few, I mean 60! We bought them for $60 each and have been selling them for the past year and a half for $400-$600 each! They fold up so are not hard to ship either. Another unique item we sold this year was an antique military parachute. We made $250 on it and it was bought by Disney (probably for a prop) out in California!
How much should beginners spend on products when starting?
This is a great question. We recommend people starting out spend about $20-$50 to find a few items to resell. For a $50 investment, we like to make a $100-$300 profit. Someone really doesn’t need a lot of capital to get started. It can be started small and grow from there.
You have a website, Flea Market Flipper. What all can we find there?
Tell us about Flipper University.
We created Flipper University a little over a year ago to help others be successful in this side hustle. We teach you legit ways to flip for money using our 20 years of flipping experience and put it into one place, an e-course for people who are interested in learning the ropes of flipping items for profit. We have 6 modules and 28-course units, all dedicated to the ins and outs of buying and reselling items to make a profit. Our goal is to make people successful and making the extra money that they need for their family. Our family has greatly benefited from this business, and we want to help others do the same.
What’s your number one tip for flipping thrift store items?
My biggest tip for people starting out with flipping items is to stay consistent. If you commit to a few hours each week for a couple months, you will be surprised at the extra income you can provide for your family.