What if I told you you could earn an extra $1,000+ per month just by working a few hours each week visiting flea markets and flipping items? You'd probably think I was crazy.
But it's certainly possible. In fact, one couple earns over 6 figures each year flipping!
If you're looking to make more money you can turn to a variation of something that has been around for ages: flea market flipping.
You will need to put in some effort and know-how to spot the best items, but many people make plenty of money just from flea market flipping.
In this post, I'll explore what flea market flipping is, the benefits of flea market flipping, some of the best items to flip, how much money you can make flea market flipping, and more. Let's get started.
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What Is Flea Market Flipping?
Flea market flipping is when you buy an item for sale at a low price and then sell it for a higher price. Notably, both the buying and selling take place at either a flea market or a similar platform.
People also get items at garage sales, thrift stores, and auctions.
In the modern age, flea market flipping has become even easier, as you can also buy and sell the items from Craigslist, eBay, and other sites with third-party sellers.
To get started flea market flipping, you'll need to dedicate some time to learning the process and understanding what items are good candidates to flip.
Why Should You Pursue Flea Market Flipping?
Now that you know what flea market flipping is, you might be asking yourself “is it worth it?”. I'll explore some of my favorite reasons you should get started!
Having a singular job can be scary and somewhat risky. What if you were to get laid off tomorrow? Could you still pay your mortgage, rent, and bills? For many, the answer is an astounding “No”.
By learning how to flea market flip, you can diversify your income in the case of a job loss or other emergency. This means that if you were to get laid off from your job, you could still make money by flipping.
Large Income Potential
Flipping items can be an excellent way to boost your income and in some cases, help you make over 6 figures.
If you're looking to get rich from nothing, flea market flipping can be a great start. You can then use any profits you make to invest in other businesses to even further increase your earnings.
If you're like me, sometimes you hate waking up and feeling forced to work. With flea market flipping, you can work at your own pace and become your own boss.
The amount of money you'll make is tied directly to how hard you work. This gives you the ability to control your income and work life.
Best Items to Flip at a Flea Market
The best items to flip at a flea market depend on your definition of “best.” Some people prefer items that are easier to sell, as you know you will not be stuck with the stock sitting in your garage forever and will likely make back your money. Others prefer to focus on items with the highest returns once flipped.
What items are easiest for you to flip may also depend on your social connections and knowledge. For example, a woman in a bunch of mom groups may find it easiest to flip baby clothes. Or a musician may find it easiest to flip instruments. If you have niche knowledge, you can put it to good use to reduce the need for research as you flip.
The following items are a combination of the two, and all offer great options for flippers of all experience levels.
Furniture includes any type of furniture that you can think of. You can flip tables, chairs, bookcases, side tables, kitchen tables, and dressers. Some of these items are easier to flip than others. You can also include furniture with upholstery, assuming you know how to reupholster furniture or are willing to learn.
The great thing about furniture is that everyone needs it, and certain items are incredibly easy to make look nicer. For example, you can find a cheap dresser or table that looks a little ratty. You would then stain it or give it a fresh coat of paint and sell it for a few hundred dollars more.
The caveat if you decide to flea market flip furniture is transportation. You need a truck or SUV and may want to take advantage of freight shipping, depending on where you buy and sell.
Flipping furniture can be an excellent way to boost your earnings when flipping.
Nearly any type of book can be a choice for flipping. You can look for leisure books, old books, or even college textbooks.
The only caveat is that flipping books can sometimes lead to mixed success. You will typically need to plan on selling them online instead of in-person and will likely want to focus on more popular or interesting items.
If you decide to flip books, some of your best choices would be textbooks, hardcover non-fiction, and sets of popular books.
Antiques or Vintage Items
Antiques are another popular choice for flipping. It can include antique versions of items on this list, like furniture, lamps, plates, glassware, and jewelry. You can also extend it to vintage items, such as clothing, accessories, and shoes.
The appeal of antiques comes from the fact that many of them can be rare and expensive. There is also a vast market for antiques, thanks to collectors and people who want to put older items to good use.
As a bonus, the growing movement towards eco-friendliness has encouraged a lot of people to look for gently used items instead of buying new.
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Although they are more a class of items than a specific item, flipping larger things can be a great opportunity. This category includes furniture, which we already listed separately. It can also include exercise equipment, lawn equipment, larger kids’ items, patio furniture, and other big items.
The good thing about these items is that they tend to be bigger ticket items. Since they sell for a lot of money, you have more wiggle room when finding an acceptable price to buy them for.
As with furniture, remember that other large items will require more logistics for transportation than smaller items. Because of this, flipping them is not for everyone.
High-end or Luxury Brands
Another great choice to flip that is more of a category than a type of object is luxury or high-end brands. Think of designer or well-known brands for items like baby products, clothes, electronics, or kitchen appliances. They don’t necessarily need to be incredibly expensive luxury brands, just well-known and trusted brands.
The reason these items can be so great is the amount that they retail for. If you can get an item in close-to-mint condition, you can sell it close enough to the retail value to deliver a profit. There is also the fact that a lot of people want these items because of the brand name but can’t necessarily afford to buy them new. As such, they are in demand as used or like-new items.
There are a few important caveats with these items, though. Always learn how to spot fakes so you do not end up accidentally getting scammed. You could easily lose hundreds or thousands on a well-done counterfeit product if you didn’t spot the difference. The other thing is that you will likely need to pay more upfront for these items. That makes them less beginner-friendly.
Baby Items, Including Strollers
Everyone knows that it is very expensive to have a baby. You can take advantage of this with flea market flipping. Because of the high cost, most new parents are looking for ways to save money on baby items, which leads to many turning to gently used items. From cribs to clothes to toys to strollers, most items are fair game. Do not flip car seats, as that is not safe to do.
In addition to the high demand for affordable baby items, there are plenty of those gently used baby items available for sale or sometimes even for free. That is because kids grow fast, meaning that most items are not usable for very long.
Assuming you know what you are looking for, you may want to consider flipping smartphones and computers. The key is to stick to the biggest brands, such as Apple and Samsung Galaxy for smartphones and Apple for computers and tablets.
Like some of the other items on this list, the big appeal of flipping smartphones is the price people are willing to pay. Buying smartphones, iPads, and tablets reduces the barrier to entry, letting people who couldn’t afford these items new enjoy them. Just remember that you need to be familiar with the tech you are selling, so you can confirm its condition. You will also typically have higher upfront or buying costs than some other items on this list.
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Power tools are yet another item that can help you boost your flipping earnings and are in high demand. The key here is to focus on the best-known and most-reputable brand names.
Power tools share a trait with many other items on this list – they are expensive enough that many people want to get them secondhand. To make it even easier to flip these items, it is common for people to sell power tools when moving or even buying tools for just a project then selling them.
Sporting Equipment or Memorabilia
For those with an interest in sports, flipping sports equipment or memorabilia can be a great choice. When looking for equipment, some of the best choices include rollerblades, ice skates, hockey gear, skis, golf clubs, and bicycles. Depending on where you live, dirt bikes can also be an amazing option. Just make sure that the items are in good shape and do not smell.
In terms of sports memorabilia, you want to find collectibles, like championship rings, cards, jerseys, and bobbleheads. Vintage shirts and hats are also good choices.
You can also extend the idea of sports equipment to general fitness gear. Items like dumbbells, workout benches, and even some larger items like treadmills or stationary bikes can all be good options.
The main reason to sell these items comes down to their cost. In the case of sports equipment, like many other items mentioned, they can be expensive when new, so people buy used to save money. In sports memorabilia, collectors are willing to pay a lot for some of these items. Just keep in mind that those particular items will get the most profits from eBay or similar sites.
The recent demand for exercise-related sports gear comes from the pandemic. More people are working out at home now. Even as things open back up, many people realized that they prefer working out at home instead of at the gym, so they need the gear to do so.
Other Items to Flip at a Flea Market
The above list is far from exhaustive. The following are some other items that are good options for flipping, along with some quick tips.
- Musical Instruments: If you want to flip instruments, make sure you know enough to confirm that it is functional, or you can fix it.
- Non-sports Collectibles: Sports memorabilia and antiques aren’t the only collectibles worth flipping. As long as you have the knowledge, you could also look for other collectibles, such as Lego sets or even classic action figures.
- Picture Frames: These tend to be in high demand. Instead of looking at the artwork for sale, pay attention to the frame and pay extra attention to larger or more ornate ones.
- Records or Record Players: You get to sell to two markets, both the nostalgic older generation and the younger generation that is just getting into them.
- Vehicles: If you are knowledgeable about cars and taking care of them, have money to invest, and are a good negotiator, vehicles can be a good option.
- Video Games: Focus your efforts on the newest games in high demand but hard to find or older games with nostalgic appeal.
How Much Money Can You Make From Flea Market Flipping?
The potential to make money from flea market flipping depends on what type of items you flip and how much time and effort you devote to flipping. You don’t usually have to put in much effort to make a few dollars or even $100 on certain flips, depending on the item.
If you focus on high-end or big-ticket items and are good at making repairs, some items can earn you thousands or more.
The great news is that you can start flea market flipping without any money, thanks to the “free” section on sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.
The overall income you get from flipping depends on how many items you flip and your margins. To give an ultimate example of success, consider Rob and Melissa, who run the website Flea Market Flipper. They are among the most successful. In 2015, they flipped as a side job. Working just 5 to 15 hours each week, they made $42,000. In 2016, they flipped full-time and made $133,054.
Related: How to Start Flipping on eBay
What to Look for When Flipping
Experienced flea market flippers will tell you that you should look for items that are of interest or expensive, as these tend to sell well and increase your profit. The key is to always research something before buying it, especially if you think it is important.
It is smart to try to find items that you are somewhat familiar with. Good examples are parents flipping kids’ brands and antique collectors flipping antiques. This reduces the learning curve.
You will also want to decide on a general business plan. The most common model is high volume and low profit, where you focus on flipping a lot of items with lower profits. The other option is low volume and high profit, where you focus your efforts on items you can make bigger returns on.
As you search for the next great item to flip, try to look for the following characteristics:
- It’s Unusual: As odd as it may seem, some very unique items can go for great prices. Things like concrete stamps or signs can sell for a fair amount to the right buyer. (Although you need to accept that it may be a challenge to find the right buyer.)
- You Can Make It Look Better: Keep your eyes out for items like home décor or furniture that you can make look better with minimal effort. With some basic DIY skills or a fresh coat of paint, you can quickly and easily increase the value of these items.
- You Can Repurpose It: Sometimes, you can find a great item to flip by repurposing an item. For example, you can increase the value of a vintage glass jar by turning it into a light fixture. Or you could turn a cheap old tire into a coffee table. Learn to look at items with a creative eye.
- You Can Repair It: Keep your eyes out for cheap items that do not work but that you can repair. Is there a broken necklace you can re-bead? A purse with a loose zipper you could replace? A broken toy you can find a replacement part for?
- It’s Gently Used: Items that are gently used or still close to new condition will help you maximize profits and the ability to sell them. Remember, people want to save money with second-hand items, but they don’t want to sacrifice quality too much.
- A Value You Can Confirm on Google: You always want your smartphone handy when looking for items to flip. Before you buy something, especially more expensive items, quickly search for the item and its condition. This will let you know how much you can sell it for so you can accurately gauge if it is worth flipping.
- A Tag: If the item still has its price tag, you can sell it as “new with tag,” which will help you make a sale.
- It’s Priced for Less than It’s Worth: Although you have likely already figured it out, the most important characteristic to look for in something to flea market flip is that it is priced for less than it is worth. This is why your online search for its value is so important.
How to Make More Money Flipping
Below are some of my top ways to increase your earnings when flipping!
Use Multiple Platforms
One of the easiest and quickest ways to give your earnings a boost is by using several platforms to buy and sell your items.
This means that instead of purchasing and selling your items at a traditional flea market, try to use other options like garage sales, Facebook Marketplace, and others.
By expanding your options you'll gain access to many more items to flip, in turn boosting your flipping profits.
Learn from the Pros
If you haven't heard of Rob and Melissa from the Flea Market Flippers, now is your chance. They have made hundreds of thousands flipping and are here to teach you how to do the same. By joining their $1 Flip Club you can get started learning how you can create a full-time flipping business to replace your job.
Offer Cash When Flipping
Cash is king, and it'll help you get better deals. By offering check or credit card payments, the sellers will have to increase the price of your items to account for the risks and fees involved. Be sure to bring more than enough cash with you when going to the next flea market or garage sale.
Master Negotiation Skills
Negotiating when flipping is essential. This will help you to get the best deals and the highest profits when you sell. You can check out these best negotiation tactics to learn more.
Bring Proper Transportation
Because furniture can be on of the most profitable items to flip, you'll need to bring a vehicle capable of transporting it. After all, that large chest and dresser likely won't fit on top of a two door car.
Final Thoughts on Flea Market Flipping
Flea market flipping entails finding low-priced items at flea markets, garage sales, or online and then selling them for a profit.
If you find items that need a bit of care, and then you fix them up slightly, you can dramatically increase your profits.
Some items flip easier than others or have higher profit margins, so you will want to think about your goals and plans. As you browse for items, your main goal should be to find items that are underpriced or can get a second lease on life with some simple steps.
Have you been a flea market flipper? Comment your experience below!