Flipping is essentially buying items at a low price to sell them elsewhere with a markup. Making a profit isn’t as hard as it might seem, and the activity allows you to set up your own schedule and work whenever you want. Some people flip items for a living, while others just do it to get rid of excess items.
Note that flipping items might also mean improving them before reselling. As far as cars, appliances, and houses go, people usually modify them to get a bigger profit.
To get in on the resale business, you will need a printer, a smartphone with a decent camera, shipping supplies, and some free time to do your research, find items to sell, and deal with customers.
How to find things worth selling
In order to make money flipping items you will need to buy the items for as little as possible. Moreover, you will need to be able to recognize a great deal when you see one.
Garage sales and thrift stores are great places to look for items, as these will often offer cheap items you can easily flip. Garage sales are a great place to haggle prices down, effectively increasing your profit once you manage to sell. The worst you will get is a “no”, so haggling is always worth a try.
Outlet stores, local auctions, and websites such as Craigslist and eBay may also be worth checking out. Be aware of the price and the condition of the items.
You should also consider talking to your friends and family about what you want to do. They can help you by either pointing out great deals or giving you things they no longer use.
Also read: How to Live a Minimalistic Life to Achieve Financial Freedom
Deciding what to buy
There are a few ways to find out what is and isn’t a great deal. Usually high-end brand items will turn a high profit, even if they aren’t new or in great condition. Antiques and unique items might also be worth considering, although it might be hard to do research on these.
Always search the item you are about to buy online, so you will know how much it is selling for. Installing the eBay and Amazon apps on your smartphone will help you do this on the go. If you are going to flip video games, DVDs, or books, a tool like http://www.priceaz.me/ will help you find out how much a bundle you see on a garage sale might be worth.
Another app to consider installing is Percentage Calculator (iOS / Android). It allows you to do the math on markups, discounts, and profit margins for free, so you can determine whether or not a specific item is really worth your time.
It might be tempting to try to find deals on whatever you can, but it is important to start with a niche, and as you gain experience – branch out to other niches. This way, you will be able to know, within your niche, what is and isn’t a great deal, and what makes an item unique. When trying to flip items, mistakes can be expensive.
Selling the items
There are dozens of ways to sell the items you bought and make a profit. Most flippers use eBay to sell what they acquire, although it might be hard to start gaining positive feedback on the website. In it, you will have to decide whether to let customers bid on an item, to merely open a “buy it now” option, or a combination of both.
Amazon is a great alternative, as long as the items you are going to sell still have tags on them and are in good condition. Craigslist and other listing websites, as well as Facebook groups, can be used. Be sure to receive payment before you ship your item, or use an escrow service.
If you’ve got your hands on handmade or vintage items, make sure you list them on Etsy, and any other local platform that specializes in these. Other websites, like Bonanza, might be worth taking a look at, as selling is the number one priority to be successful.
Before you list the items, always clean and/or repair them to the best of your ability so you can sell them for a higher price and increase your profit. It’s important to take good pictures from every angle so the customer can see the items are in good condition.
Properly listing items involves using popular keywords. These are the terms people use to search for items, such as “blue jeans size 12”. A small paragraph describing the items, including all relevant information, is a necessity. Describing small imperfections and adding some honesty will help customers pick up their wallets when looking at your listing, as describing what’s wrong helps people know what to expect and builds trust.
Once sold, all you need to do is to ship the items and make sure your customers have a worthwhile experience. Negative feedback can really hurt your business, so sometimes it might be worth losing a few dollars to keep a good reputation.
Remember what internet enthusiast and former J.P. Morgan board charmain Doug Warner said:
In the world of Internet Customer Service, it’s important to remember your competitor is only one mouse click away
A few safety tips
It’s advisable to start flipping smaller items at first, as it’s only natural to make mistakes, especially when we’re learning. You don’t want to spend $1,000 on an item that won’t sell as easily as one would think.
Your listings should always include your return policy, as well as any warranties. This can save you from a heap of trouble, as scammers often take advantage of sellers that don’t include their policies. Using a spreadsheet, like the one once shared by a Redditor, might be worthwhile in order to keep track of every item.
Finally, if you are going to transact in person, make sure you do so in a public place, and that you don’t go alone. These deals are often unsafe, even when dealing with digital currencies.
How to be successful
At the end of the day, flipping items isn’t an exact science, and the number one rule is: buy low, sell high. Most of those who flip full-time do so for various reasons, as for example, there’s no telling what a unique item can be sold for, and they are free to work whenever they want to.
Some of the most popular success stories begin with an extremely undervalued item being sold for hundreds of dollars. There are a lot of these out there, as there are great deals all around us. Some of us even come across great deals accidentaly, as according to the BBC, a woman once bought a £350,000 (roughly $450,000) ring for £10($12.9).
Making a living flipping items online is a real possibility. Three years ago, a then 22-year-old Redditor named Kelly shared her success story with the flipping community. According to Kelly, she had a successful career at the time, as she was making $50,000 plus benefits as an executive marketing director. Nevertheless, in her own words she “dreamt bigger things” and decided to quit her job to start flipping full time. One year in, she was making the same amount of money she did in her full-time job, but had more free time, had to deal with less stress, and was one step closer to financial freedom.
Another incredible success story is that of Kyle McDonald, the man who traded one red paperclip into a house. Essentially, he started trading his paper clip for items worth more than the ones he had, instead of selling them for money. He kept on trading and, in one year, he turned that paper clip into a house.
Here’s how he did it, in his own words: