Want to find the best items to flip for money?
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure as they say. Personally, I’m happy that they do, because there’s a lot of money to be made selling used stuff for a profit on Craigslist, Ebay and other marketplaces.
Over the years I have sold tens of thousands of dollars worth of stuff. For the most part, I’ve used Craigslist and other local classified sites, though I’ve ventured onto other platforms as well.
What I’ve learned is that the reselling business can be both fun, and profitable.
Why start a flipping side hustle?
It’s true that you could make a bit of money more easily by getting a second job, but for us entrepreneurs-at-heart, reselling is more appealing for a couple of reasons.
First, when reselling, you’re not directly trading time for money, you’re making a profit on a sale. This means that you can increase your dollars-per-hour as you get more proficient at locating things to sell, marketing them and closing sales.
Second, it’s a lot more fun! There’s a thrill in hunting for a good flip online or at garage sales. It’s a great way to learn about unique things while passing time on a Saturday. It’s also a great activity to bring your kids along and teach them the value of a dollar.
What are the best items to flip for profit?
There are literally hundreds of thousands of things that you could flip. That said, flips that make bigger money generally share a few characteristics. Here are a few things that make a good flip.
Generally, items that are less common and have a smaller market make great flips. Why? It’s simple, the larger the market, the more established the value of an item. Everybody and their dog knows what an Iphone 6 is worth. Not many people are going to know what a commercial deep fryer is worth, just those who are looking for that specific item. And those are the people who will be willing to fork over more money to have it.
The bigger something is, the fewer people that are going to want to deal with the logistics of loading and moving it. Large items aren’t the easiest things to flip for profit, but that’s the point. anybody can throw a laptop into a backpack but not anybody is willing (or able) to transport a commercial generator or a deep-freeze.
Items that need repair
We live in a throwaway world. When most people are done with something, they simply toss it (or sell it cheap) and go buy a new one. This sucks for the environment, but it leaves a lot of room for profit for somebody who is handy and can handle simple repairs.
If you can learn how to change a lid switch on a washing machine or a thermal fuse in a dryer, you’re well on your way to making a profit selling appliances
Where to find items to flip
As you get more proficient at it, you’ll find lots of places to pick up fun and unique things to sell. That said, here are a few ideas to help you get started:
- Garage and yard sales
- Estate sales
- Thrift shops (such as Goodwill, Salvation Army etc.)
- Around your home
Ready to get started?
The best things to flip for a profit
Appliances are by far one of the easiest things to flip for a profit. I know, I’ve made a ton flipping appliances on craigslist. The things that makes appliances great for people like you and I is why many people won’t bother with them – they’re big and heavy. Most resellers don’t want to go to the hassle of moving appliances up and down stairs and loading them in a truck. It’s a lot of work and because fewer people want to do it, there’s less competition.
However, if you’re not scared off by a little heavy lifting, flipping appliances is a great hustle.
The other thing that I love about appliances it that when people are looking for them, they usually need it the day before yesterday. When a washer or dryer breaks, it’s a real hassle and you want to get it replaced as soon as possible. In my experience, this results in fewer no-shows and fewer showings per sale with appliances than with other items.
Where to find appliances
In my experience, the best way to buy appliances is to purchase them from folks who are renovating their home. Typically, they’re willing to sell all of their appliances as a lot for a lower price vs. buying them individually.
Another great way is to allow customers to trade in their old machines for a discount on a new (used) one. You can then repair the old machine and resell it for a good profit.
Where to sell used appliances
Appliances sell quite well on Craigslist as well as other local listing sites. If you focus on appliances, it’s a good idea to keep a few business cards handy. That way when you meet property owners and building managers you can leave them with a card so they can contact you next time they need something.
Solid wood furniture
Solid wood furniture is great because it’s timeless, and you can simply add more value to an item by sanding and staining, or painting it. There are a few folks locally in my town who buy furniture, refinish it to have that ‘weathered country’ look, and resell it for a profit.
Furniture made of less common woods such as teak, sandalwood and mahogany are especially good for resale as they’re more valuable.
Some good furniture items to keep an eye out for are dining sets, hutches, TV stands and solid wood patio furniture sets.
The best place to find furniture is on Craigslist and in your local network. When friends and family find out that you refinish and resell old stuff they’re surprisingly willing to help out in my experience.
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Utility trailers are great for resale for a couple of reasons. First, they’re pretty common and good ones tend to sell quickly.
Second, it’s simple to upgrade a trailer and add value with a paint job, new tires or bearings, new side panels and lights. They’re typically a lot less hassle to sell than vehicles as well.
Another option for trailers is to purchase trailer kits in bulk. You can then assemble them yourself and sell the assembled unit at a profit.
The best place to find utility trailers for resale is Craigslist. If you want to build trailer kits for sale, you can find lots of outfits that will happily sell them to you online.
Quads, snowmobiles and dirt bikes
Add to this jet-skis, trikes and other powered toys. It’s not too hard to find these with enough value left in them to make a good flip. They also don’t usually require paperwork or insurance, meaning that they’re far less hassle to resell than a road-going vehicle.
Quads, snowmobiles and dirt bikes are best found on Craigslist and out of season. Lots of people unload their toys cheap when they’re no longer using them.
This one is good for people who have some knowledge of cameras and photography. Vintage cameras are quite popular right now and can sell for decent money. Deals on cameras can be found on EBay, local used sites as well as thrift shops.
Cameras are a fairly common item for thieves to grab and try to resell so if possible, it’s a good idea to try and verify that the seller is the legitimate owner of the item before purchasing. You don’t want to be inadvertently flogging stolen merchandise.
Tools are a great profitable item to flip. I’ve found the ones that sell fastest are name-brand power tools (Milwaukee, Dewalt, Bosch, Makita, Hitachi and others) and name-brand hand tools (Snap-On, Mac Tools, Matco and Craftsman).
The name-brand hand tools are easier to sell than less popular brands. That said, uncommon but valuable tools such as torque wrenches and other specialty wrenches make great flips for Ebay, where the market is larger and lesser known tools are coveted. I once tried for weeks to sell a set of Snap-on wrenches locally with no luck. I put them on Ebay and they sold for more than I expected within three days.
Retro stuff of all varieties is great for a flip. Some good items to look for are old audio equipment, vintage signs, license plates and sports memorobilia. This category is too big to cover everything but here’s a tip when buying retro stuff to flip: always bring your phone and do a quick bit of research on what it might sell for before buying.
Garage sales, Craigslist, and thrift shops are all great places to find retro stuff to sell.
Working, name-brand record players are a great item to flip and tend to sell quickly.
They show up regularly at thrift shops. Also, check your dad’s basement :).
Vintage gaming consoles
Vintage game consoles are always in demand. For us millennials who grew up in the 80s and 90s, NES, Atari and Sega will always hold a special place in our hearts.
There’s a game store near me that deals almost exclusively in retro games from NES through to Gamecube. They sell a lot of consoles and games – there’s definitely demand for that stuff.
Local classified sites are a good place to look for consoles and games. Ebay is also a good place to look and you can sometimes find retro games or consoles sold in lots that can be separated and sold at a profit locally. Also garage sales and thrift shops are good places to check.
Bicycles are a great item to buy and sell. The most money will be in name-brand bikes in good condition as well as fixer uppers. If you have the mechanical skill and some room to work, you can fix a bike up including a repaint and a tune-up and make a decent profit.
Garage sales are the best place to find bikes.
Tips for buying items to flip
- Money is made when you buy, not when you sell! Know what an item is likely to sell for before you commit to the purchase. The better the deal you can get when buying, there more profit is left in it for you.
- Always keep a phone on you to help you check the resale value of items before committing to a purchase.
- Always be willing to walk away. If you can’t get an item for a price that leaves enough profit in it to be worth your while, just walk. Also, if somebody makes you uncomfortable or you suspect that an item might be stolen, don’t bother with it. There’s always another deal.
- Another good tip is to always keep a small amount of cash on you. This enables you to pick up finds at garage or yard sales as well as other incidental finds.
- Make sure to thoroughly test anything that you’re planning to buy. There’s nothing worse than getting the item home and finding out some key feature is broken and it’s not worth what you thought it was.
Tips for selling your items on Craigslist, EBay and other marketplaces
- Cross post! The more places your item is for sale, the faster it will sell. Depending on the item, you might want to post on Craigslist, Kijiji, Facebook Marketplace, Ebay and/or others.
- Post as many high-quality photos as you are permitted by the site you’re using. Make sure to show the item from all angles as well as any imperfections. You might also want to go the extra mile and do a brief YouTube walk around video.
- Be very thorough in your description. Include any damage, wear or imperfections. People expect that used items have imperfections and it’s much easier to sell when you’re up front about them.
- Offer extra value to your customers. When I was selling appliances, I used to offer free delivery to help move machines. Not even stores will offer delivery for free and it helped me move a lot more machines. Think of ways that you can add extra value to your listings to help improve your sales.
Use common sense
You’re going to meet some people you don’t know. If you’re uncomfortable with a transaction, it’s a good idea to meet in a public place or to bring a friend. Many police stations offer their lobbies as a safe place to conduct online transactions. Some other great tips on safely making Craigslist transactions can be found here.
Ready to get started flipping items for profit?
Whether you’re looking to make some extra cash on the weekends or looking for a way to get out of your day job, flipping is a great option. There’s no limit to how much money you can make if you take the time to learn the art of finding valuable items in flea markets, thrift shops and garage sales.
The thing is, flipping can be a fun and profitable hobby, or it can be a full time business.
Don’t believe me?
Rob and Melissa, the founders of Flipper University, made more than $130,000 in 2016. All they did was flip stuff full time. They decided to build a course to teach others how they can do the same.
Question for you:
Have you ever flipped items for profit? What were the best items to flip in your experience??
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