Selling stuff online has evolved over the years and can be a real source of income if you master this process
One of the first online side hustles was selling stuff on eBay and other auction sites. It’s come a long way since those early days and I wanted to talk to some experts that have been doing it for more than a decade.
This idea of buying local and selling online isn’t just a part-time way to make extra cash. I found out during the interview that it can be a legit source of income to more than pay the bills.
I love the face-to-face interaction we’re getting in the Let’s Talk Money YouTube community and being able to bring you some of the biggest experts in beating debt, making money and making your money work for you.
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Meet the Flea Market Flippers
Joseph: Today's interview is with Rob and Melissa. They've got a channel right here on YouTube called Flea Market Flipper and some amazing videos. Rob's been selling stuff online since 1996 and they've started teaching others the art of the flea market flip since 2015.
Besides more than just paying the bills they've turned their passion into more time with their kids. Rob, Melissa thanks for being here with us today to share some of your insight into flea market flipping.
Rob: Of course, thanks for having us.
Melissa: Thanks. Yeah, we're going to be here.
Joseph: So, I think this idea is nothing new. People have been buying and selling online with eBay for years but it seems you have really taken it to a whole new level. Take us through that that process of buying and selling stuff online.
How to Get Started Flipping Stuff Online
Joseph: Tell us how you got started flipping and then maybe take us through your process of being successful in flipping?
Rob: Yeah sure. I’ll go back. I grew up in a big family. I have six older sisters. I'm the youngest and only boy. My parents did this is kind of a lifestyle as I was growing up. They went to yard sales not as many fleas markets every once in a while, but more yard sales.
And that's where my parents bought a lot of stuff and they did it on the side they bought some commercial equipment, some commercial stuff as I was growing up. And I saw that from them and then as when I turned 16 I started doing exercise equipment out of my parents’ house. There were two Trek machines is actually what I made quite a bit of money on. So, that's how I got started and then ever since then.
It's kind of a side hustle for me for years. And Melissa married into it.
Melissa: Became a flipper by marriage. Yeah, I didn't really know what he did when I first met him. I'm like how you really make money on eBay but it definitely it's possible.
So, now two years ago we turned it into our full-time gig. And it's always been kind of just a side gig, side hustle for us. But now it’s what we do to provide for our little family of five.
What is the Process to Sell Stuff Online?
Joseph: Excellent. I know that the exercise equipment has always been a huge market for flippers, for resellers stuff like that especially on Amazon, FBA. I've talked to a lot of people on that platform because it's so expensive to buy new. People are making a lot of money flipping that kind of equipment.
So, take us through the general process you use for flipping?
Rob: Sure, a lot of stuff we do we have we do it on our local flea market. We'll go there, look for items most of the items that we find we look for weird stuff. So, we might not know what an item worth anything like that. When we see it at the flea market but then we'll try and do a little bit of research on our phone, try and look up Google, eBay wherever we can just to find some more information.
Melissa: The smartphone makes this a lot easier than it used to be like you having all the information right there at your fingertips. The risk is really minimal when you can figure out what an item is worth.
Rob: We'll buy it once we figure out that it's priced right. We'll go ahead and buy it, bring it back to either one of the storage rooms that we have, clean it up do have to do post it on eBay.
The majority of what we sell is on eBay. So, probably eighty ninety percent of what we sell is on eBay. We do some other platforms, but the majority of our income comes from eBay.
How Do You Find Things to Sell Online?
Joseph: So, you pretty much stick exclusively to your flea market. Are there other places that people can find things to flip? I imagine trying to go to retail stores or even consignment shops might get kind of expensive compared to you know how you can resell it.
Rob: Yeah definitely our flea market is great where we're at. But we do have local thrift stores, people can do local thrift stores. There’s local auctions.
You can go and find some great deals wherever you can find. We don't usually do newer stuff. A lot of people will flip new items you know they're marked down or stuff like that. We don't typically do that unless we find usually a truckload.
Can You Sell on Ebay as a Part-Time Job, How Many Hours Does it Take?
Joseph: Can someone do this side-hustle part-time or how many hours a week should someone think of this as a minimum amount of time they need to devote to it?
Melissa: You can definitely do it part-time. We’ve done it on the side always been kind of our extra money, our fun money, or vacations, or savings or for extra bills that came up.
It just depends but consistently he does go to the flea market every weekend pretty much. So, now we have a pretty good inventory but before you go every single Saturday.
Rob: We only spent at the flea market maybe an hour to two at most. We flea market on Saturday or Sunday.
Melissa: We would make a morning of it. I like to go to the yard sales after the flea market sometimes. I prefer yard sales and he likes the flea market. He also likes to use Offer Up and other apps to look at. He'll just sit there in the evening ten minutes or so to see what he can find some great deals.
Rob: Yeah some of the local apps or some of the apps that you can find offer up let go Facebook marketplace. I mean some of those resale apps have great items that you can buy and just turn around and resell them.
How Do You Know How Much You’ll Make Selling Stuff Online?
Joseph: How do you find buyers? I know you said that you sell through ebay. Can you immediately go to ebay and see how much people are paying for it? How do you know that there's going to be more people to buy that off of you?
Rob: Definitely we do research ebay, will try and find items on there. A lot of stuff we buy is weird. So, you might not find it on ebay and you're taking somewhat of a chance. But you know it's not a huge risk with the prices. Like our comfort zone on investing from the flea market would probably be $15 or $20 per item.
We try not to go too much over that and if I'm going to spend that kind of money I have to know the return is there. Even if I can't find it on ebay I have to know that the retail is quite a bit more for me to take the chance on throwing some money out of it.
What Kind of a Budget Do You Need to Sell Stuff on Ebay?
Joseph: I saw one of your posts just recently, an amazing flip buying that huge Harley Davidson sign for $250 and flipping it for $7,500.
What kind of a budget does someone need for something like this? I know you said you talked about your comfort zone for how much you'll spend on a single item. How much does somebody have to get started as far as you know for renting storage space maybe buying that initial inventory of stuff?
Rob: Yeah that's a great question. And we try to recommend even for our people who go through our course. We try and tell you do not start out going and buying a truck, go buy a storage unit, all that stuff.
You just start off slow and we don't even recommend people starting off with you know $50, $100 investments. We try and tell people to start off low you know 15, 5, 10, 15-dollar investments that you do the research on you know you're going to make your money back out of it. And just to kind of get your feet wet. See if you like it if you like the process if you like going through it that's kind of what we teach our students to just start off slow.
You don't have to have storage I mean I started out after I moved out of my parents’ house I had a duplex with an extra bedroom. And I put all my stuff in there. I stored it in there and boxed it in there and then I shipped it out. So, I just had an extra room. If you have a garage, if you have a closet just somewhere where you can store some small things and get started like that. And then if you like it you progress, you go higher.
I mean yeah, we don't recommend somebody starting with a Harley Davidson sign. You know that thing was huge and not everybody can do stuff like that but that's to where we're at now. And we make great money with what we do but it's taking its time to get there.
That's the best thing we can recommend to start where you're at. See if you like it if you enjoy and then slowly build that progression.
Joseph: Yeah okay. Now I remember I mean you know way back when and you probably do too before we had apps and you could really find the demand on your phone. Then I remember that the idea used to be that you should you start in one category.
So, you really get to know that category of stuff, know what kind of market there is and how much you can buy and sell it for. Is that even relevant anymore? Should flippers start with one category of product or really just buy anything they think they can flip and they can find you know on those apps.
Melissa: We definitely recommend people starting off with stuff that they know. Like kind of like one category like you're talking about just because it can be So, overwhelming. There's So, many items out there. There's so many things that you could can get to flip. If you start with something you either know or you know like a hobby or something you enjoy then that helps a lot. And then you can grow that and grow into another thing.
You Have a Course on Selling Stuff Online?
Joseph: I understand your eBay course is about to open back up to new students. You had it closed for a little while. Tell us just a little bit about the course maybe how long it takes? You know what somebody can expect when taking that?
Melissa: It actually has three parts. There’s a beginner, intermediate and then the third part is all about freight shipping. That part's not for everyone, that's why we split it up because not everybody wants to learn how to freight ship. The beginner part really takes people who've never done ebay before and really gets comfortable using ebay.
You’ll learn finding free stuff and being able to flip it, being able to declutter their house. Which is a huge point if you can declutter your house and make money at the same time. It's pretty awesome. The beginner course takes them through that.
The intermediate is more for the person who might already be using ebay or other reselling apps. We talk about Facebook, we talk about Offer Up, we talked about Craigslist, but we do primarily use ebay.
For the person that wants to take it to the next level, we have the freight shipping course. The freight shipping, that's kind of where we shine I think. I feel like that has really taken our business from good side extra income into being able to provide for our family.
There's a ton of people who flip furniture and we would love to help them be able to ship their pieces. You know to wherever they want because they could reach.
Rob: Yeah, we try to have different levels for everybody wherever anybody's at their flipping career. Just try and take them to that next level.
Joseph: Some great ideas, some great information. I want to thank Rob and Melissa for their tips on flea market flipping.
They just started their 2018 challenge. So, go out buy something set a $25 limit and flip it and then keep reinvesting that money in flips for the rest of the year to see how much you can turn into that turn that $25 into all year.
There are so many side hustle ideas out there that it can seem overwhelming and new income strategies pop up every day. Sometimes, it’s the oldies that are the best and you can turn these ideas like selling stuff online into a part-time way to make extra cash or legit income from sites like eBay.