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Flipping on eBay (How to Start a Flipping Business in 2024)

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  By Forrest McCall | Last Updated:  December 18, 2022

Looking to make some extra income each month even with a full time job?

Flipping things on eBay can be a great way to supplement your income and let's be honest – it's a pretty cool gig that allows you to make money online.

In this post, I'll explore how to make money flipping on eBay, how to source inventory to flip, how much money you could make from flipping, and much more. Let's get started!

How to Make Money Flipping on eBay

Below are the steps you can take to starting making money flipping on eBay. In just a few months you can turn this side hustle into and money making machine selling things like musical instruments, clothing items, or even prescription glasses on eBay.

Create an eBay Seller Account (or eBay Store)

Before getting started sourcing items to flip, you'll want to create an eBay seller account or eBay store.

This will ensure you are capable of selling and there are no issues with creating your account.

You'll need to include some basic personal information to be approved to sell on eBay. This helps to keep their community safe and encourage legitimate buyers and sellers to use their platform.

Source Inventory to Flip

Finding items to flip can be the hardest part of making money with this side hustle.

It's all about doing your research and finding places that have the things you're looking for. Before making any purchase, it's a good idea to browse sites like Amazon and eBay to see what the item is currently selling for.

Next, you'll want to consider the fees that eBay charges. While they might seem minimal – they can add up.

You'll also want to take into account the costs of shipping and packing your goods. As you become more experienced, you'll be able to estimate these costs more accurately.

Try Thrift Stores

Your first option for finding things to flip is by visiting local thrift stores. These stores will often have items heavily discounted that can be sold online for a profit.

You might need to visit a few thrift stores to find the items you're looking for, but it's a great place to start your flipping journey.

Depending on the resale market in your area, thrift stores can be a great place to find products to sell at a low cost.

Check out my post on thrift store flipping to learn more!

Browse Facebook Marketplace

If you know what you're looking for, a quick search on Facebook Marketplace can be a profitable method to find things to flip.

I love this method because you won't need to visit a physical location (like a thrift store) to know what you're getting.

For example, I found many sets of Legos on Facebook Marketplace that can easily be flipped on eBay.

Flip Legos on eBay

The downside to this one is that you'll likely be competing with other flippers so it's all about timing. You'll need to be the first person to make an offer and pickup the item if you want to get it.

Visit Yard Sales or Garage Sales

Yard sales and garage sales can be among the best places to flip valuable items for cheap. Because they are run by homeowners looking for some extra cash, they often sell things for well under their real value. You can often find valuable things highly discounted.

Going to yard sales can be hit or miss. Some weekends you might score some big wins, while other days might be less successful.

When it comes to this method of sourcing inventory, it's all about consistency.

Try Flea Markets

Flea markets can be another good place to find items ripe for flipping. Just like a thrift store or yard sale, this method can be hit or miss.

Sometimes you might find a great deal of items to sell and other times you might not find anything.

Flea markets can be a good way to source furniture, clothing items, and other products to sell online.

Restore Items to Flip

This step is optional for some sellers.

Depending on your flipping business, you may or may not need to restore or refurbish the item. For example, if you are operating a furniture flipping business you'll need to invest some time and resources to refurbish older pieces and sell them for a profit.

Flipping electronics is another type of flipping business that you might need to restore items before selling them.

There is one big advantage when it comes to having to restore products. With this method you can make more money flipping products.

Check out the video below on flipping electronics!

List Items to Sell on eBay

The final part of starting your eBay flipping business is listing your items for sale.

This is the most critical step to ensuring your items will sell fast and make money.

Include a Unique Description

Be sure to include all the details of your items and check the market price before listing your item for sale.

Check the Market Price

Pricing is one of the biggest components when you sell on eBay. If your item you're debating selling is currently at a low price, you might chose to find more profitable types of items to flip on eBay.

When you sell on eBay you'll want to know the average price of the items you're listing. It's a good idea to create a “stretch” number that is higher than the average and a “dump” price that is less than the average.

If your business is doing good one month, you might consider selling things at the stretch price to boost profits for the month.

Decide on Shipping Costs

You have two options when it comes to shipping costs: you can offer free shipping for the customer, or you can charge them for shipping.

Listings that offer free shipping tend to outperform those in which the customer must pay for shipping.

If you decide to offer free shipping, you'll want to account for this cost in your calculations to ensure you are profitable.

Include Quality Images

When it comes to images and pictures of your items, you can upload custom pictures or use stock images. If the item is brand new, it's a good idea to use stock images of the item as it will show customers your item is in new condition.

For used items, be sure to take some pictures that accurately portray the item you've listed.

Pay Attention to the Numbers

Selling on eBay is all about working the numbers to see if you can sell your product for a good price and how much you can make on it.

Tips for a Successful eBay Flipping Business

Cost to Start an eBay Flipping Business

Starting a successful eBay flipping business will take some time and experience. You won't get rich overnight, but as the months come and go you'll start to notice your profits increasing and your work becomes easier.

Below are some tips to master the skill of eBay flipping.

Boost Your eBay Seller Rating

eBay customers use reviews to get a good understanding of if you can be trusted to deliver items fast and as described.

When you sell items on eBay, customers can leave a rating on various factors including the speed of shipment, accuracy of product, etc.

Ship Sold Items Fast

Whenever an item is sold, be sure to ship it as soon as possible to maximize your chances of getting a positive review. This will help your account in the search rankings on eBay. 

Use Amazon to Increase Sales

Other online platforms like Amazon can be a great addition to your eBay flipping business.

When flipping items on Amazon, you'll go through a very similar process. The main difference between the two platforms are the fees they charge.

Amazon can be a great way to gain additional sales and turnover your inventory faster. 

Master Photography Skills

If you want to make more money from your eBay business, mastering how you take pictures of your items is vital.

Believe it or not, the quality of your photos is a huge selling point for potential customers.

When you sell on eBay be sure to take high quality photos that accurately portray the item being shipped.

Find a Niche

Because there are so many potential items to flip, it's wise to find a couple of niches that you are knowledgeable about.

For example, if you're a stay at home mom starting an eBay business, you might be more skilled flipping baby clothes, kid gear, or children's toys.

Put in the Work

Growing an eBay flipping business is not a small order. You'll need to spend time finding items, listing products, and shipping goods to start making extra money.

Find Free Stuff

Getting free items to flip is a great way to make extra money. Many times you can find free items available as long as you can haul the item away.

When visiting a yard sale you can sometimes find items that are free or dirt cheap.

Minimize Packing Costs

Large boxes, printer ink, and shipping labels can cut into your profits on eBay. To reach maximum profit, you'll want to reduce these costs as much as possible.

One tip you can use is purchasing supplies in bulk. If you have many small sales, you can easily reduce your costs by bulk purchasing shipping labels and envelopes.

Another easy way to save money on these costs is using a credit card that gives rewards. While these rewards might not seem like a ton of money now, they can add up over time.

Save Money By Hauling Products

There are a few things that will require you to haul them if you want to sell them. Prime examples include furniture and antiques.

Many people do not want to do the work to haul these items making them prime candidates to be discounted if you have the equipment (and willpower) to do the work.

Take a Class

If you want to become a successful eBay seller, why not learn from the pros. Rob and Melissa from The Flea Market Flipper are the best of the best when it comes to starting a profitable reselling business of just about any type.

If you want to start or grow your business, I recommend downloading the Flea Market Flipper things to resell to learn the ins and outs of everything reselling.

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Limit Selling Fees

Many sellers will take advantage of promotions in which selling fees are lowered (if not free!)

Sometimes you may have to pay an insertion fee just for listing your item for sale on eBay.

In addition to this, you'll pay a fee whenever an item sells. Current fees are shown in the table below.

eBay Fees (1)

How Much Money Can You Make with an eBay Business?

One of my favorite things about starting an eBay business is the amount of money you can make.

Some people make a full time living working just a few hours selling on eBay. By finding the best items to flip you can turn your side hustle into a full time income.

So how much money can you make?

It's possible to make over 6 figures flipping products on eBay and other online platforms.

The amount of money you can make is tied to a few key numbers.

  1. The profit margin per item
  2. The number of items sold
  3. The fees and costs of running your business

By calculating these numbers you can get a better understanding of how much money you can make.

For example, if you flip products that sell for $50 with a 20% profit margin, your net profit would be $10 per item sold. If you sell 10 items each day, this would amount to $100 a day. Then you'll need to subtract any fees or other expenses that you have running your eBay business.

You need to have realistic expectations when product flipping. It's going to take at least a few months to flip on eBay and turn it into a full time business and reach financial freedom.

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Flipping Side Hustle?

With flipping, you're going to need some money to make money. But the good news is that it doesn't have to be a significant amount.

Because you'll be purchasing your inventory from low cost places like thrift stores – as little as $100 will do the trick to get started.

With that said, the more money you have to start, the more you can make. Flipping can sometimes be hit or miss, so by having extra funds available you can lessen your chances of flopping.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Start an eBay Business?

eBay requires that you be at least 18 years old to sell things through their online platform.

But don't give up on flipping, you could instead sell items through other methods like local classifieds such as Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.

If this doesn't suit your interests, you can check out these methods to make money as a 13 year old or these ways to make money as a kid.

Final Thoughts on Starting an eBay Flipping Business

Starting an eBay flipping business can be an excellent method to make more money in your free time and reach financial freedom.

You'll need to dedicate time to browse through thrift shops, local flea markets, estate sales, and other methods to source items to start flipping and find good deals.

The income potential from an eBay flipping business can be extremely lucrative with some flippers making over 6 figures from their efforts.

Looking to make more money? Check out these posts:

Forrest is a personal finance, entrepreneurship, and investing expert dedicated to helping others obtain life long wealth. He has a Bachelor's degree in business and has been featured in many popular publications including Forbes, Business Insider, Bankrate, CNET Money, and many others. To learn more about Forrest, visit the About Us Page for more info.
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