Are you interested in starting a fun side hustle that allows you to make extra money in your spare time? Flea market flipping might be the perfect side hustle for you!
You can find some of the best things to resell from thrift stores, on the side of the road, and all over online- but you need to learn how to buy and sell smart to be profitable.
Today we have an awesome interview with our good friends Robbie and Melissa from Flea Market Flipper.
They share some awesome stories on how they took their flipping business full-time making over $10,000 per month.
Enjoy the interview and read all the way to the bottom so you can grab their FREE beginner’s guide to selling on eBay.
Hey Rob & Melissa! Thanks for agreeing to get interviewed about your life as a flea market flipper. For the people not familiar can you share the basics behind flea market flipping?
Thank you so much for having us! We really appreciate it and love what you are doing for your community!
What we do (aka flea market flipping) is take items that are undervalued from one market into a market where they are desired.
For example, we browse flea markets, thrift stores, yard sales, and online apps for items people have donated, ready to get rid of, or even thrown away.
Then we take those items, clean them up if needed, and sell them on platforms like eBay, Mercari and Facebook Marketplace for a profit.
How long have you guys been in the flea marketing flipping game?
I started flipping items back when I was 16 years old – way back in 1996! Right when eBay was getting started. So now it’s been 24 years… getting old.
Melissa married into this flipping lifestyle almost 13 years ago. She didn’t know exactly what she was getting into.
Rob, what got you started in learning how to become a flea market flipper and make extra money on the side?
I grew up in a large family. I have SIX older sisters. (My dad didn’t think there was any chance left and named my youngest sister Bobi after his name Robert).
Since we had such a big family, my parents always shopped at thrift stores and yard sales to find clothes and other things for us. At one point my mom started reselling clothes and doll clothes to make an extra income.
I had watched what she was doing and when I was 16 I started selling Nordic Tracks on eBay with one of my sisters.
We would get them super cheap locally (because people would move to Florida to retire and donate their equipment since they could get outside most of the year for exercise instead) and then sell them on eBay to people who lived up north.
What does your average day look like as a flea market flipper?
My favorite part of this “job” is that every day is different! I get a little bored doing the same thing over and over and I love how different every day can be.
One day I may be browsing a thrift store or flea market looking for deals, another day I pick up a treasure from OfferUp, and the next day I may be building a pallet or headed to FedEx to drop off our recent sales.
Now even though I don’t like to be bored, we still have a routine that we usually follow each day.
On a typical day, we wake up and get the kids to school. Next, we head out for a run on our local trail. Melissa and I walk to the trail and back. During that time we discuss what we will be working on that day.
Then it’s back home to list items, buy a hidden treasure (my favorite!), clean up something to get it ready to sell or package something up and ship it out.
In the late afternoon, Melissa & I usually take another walk and talk about our day and what else we need to get done. And we also discuss the evening plans which include creating videos or working with our flipping coaching group after the kiddos go to bed.
Do you focus on a certain type of product to flip? What have you had the most success with in terms of the highest overall profit?
I’ve flipped so many types of items over the years. Basically I will sell anything that will make a profit. I don’t have any bias.
In the more recent years, I started getting into the larger items and that is where the large profits are.
If you were to take a poll of all resellers, we probably visit USPS the least of any of them. Most of our items go FedEx or freight.
Four years ago we had a huge A-HA moment.
At that time Melissa had just had our son (we also had a 1 & 3-year-old), and we decided she would quit her job and stay home with the kids. At that same time, my job informed me they were cutting health insurance.
We made the scary decision to jump into flipping full-time!
So I needed to figure out how to make more money – and quickly now that we had THREE little ones and a big hospital bill to pay.
I was trying to sell a super nice dining set on Facebook Marketplace. I had it listed for $750 for a few months and no bites.
I decided to list it on eBay and offer shipping – at that point, I had never shipped anything that large. But I figured if it sold I would figure it out!
After a few weeks that dining set sold on eBay for $2,250 plus $500 for shipping!
I was ecstatic!
It took me a little while to figure out the freight shipping, but for that markup, it was SO worth it!
Now I mainly look for the larger items to sell and ship freight. Most people won’t ship them which leaves a large market for me to sell them.
What is your sourcing process like? Where do you source your products from? Which platform should new flea market flippers focus on? (eBay, Amazon, Craiglist, Facebook Marketplace, etc)
Sourcing is my absolute FAVORITE part of this whole process. It jazzes me up every time I find a hidden treasure!
If I had to list my favorite sourcing places in order it would be.
- Facebook Marketplace
- Flea Market
- Thrift Stores
- Garage Sales
And we also have to sprinkle sourcing from the trash in there too.
We find so many things that people throw away! But we don’t take any extra time out of our day to source the trash, we just find things on our daily walks to our downtown area. If we actually took the time to drive around and check the trash, I know we would find even so much more!
I love sourcing on OfferUp & Facebook because I can find awesome deals while sitting in my lazy boy at the end of the day. I jump into both of these platforms for a few minutes each day.
Visiting the flea market is another favorite. Our flea market has a lot of vendors with used items. I don’t like the flea markets that only have new cheap items from China.
Melissa says I get an extra pep in my step on Saturdays when it’s time to hit the flea market.
What are some of the biggest signals you found a great item to flip for cash? What are the easiest things to flip?
I’m always keeping my eye out for things that look expensive. A lot of times the brand of an item can make it an awesome find – or just an ok one.
Once I find an item, I take the time to look it up and see if the cost and what I can sell it for are worth a purchase. If I can get it at a good price and I know I can sell it, then it’s a go!
I don’t take risks when I purchase an item. You can find all the info you need right in the palm of your hand with your smart phone.
There are so many great items to flip – it’s easy to get overwhelmed. So some of the easiest items to flip are ones that you know a little bit about.
We tell people to start with some categories they have some knowledge on – maybe it’s baby items because you know what brands are worth more, maybe you are a sport enthusiast so you know what are collector items & what brands of equipment is expensive, or maybe you just love fashion and know brands of shoes, bags, etc.
It’s a great starting point to start with 2-3 categories of items and then expand from there.
What is the craziest item you have ever flipped for money?
I love finding unique items to flip. It keeps things interesting!
One that comes to mind is a prosthetic leg. I picked it from the flea market for $30, listed it on eBay the same day and sold it the next morning for $1,000!
Another was a bondage chair.. I had no idea what it was when I bought it from the flea market for $20. The seller didn’t know either – he told me it was a pool lounge chair.
After I bought it and was looking up the brand and the comps I figured out what it actually was…haha. But sold it on eBay in a few weeks for $450!
What is the most money you have made from a single flip?
Our largest flip to date was a parking lot security tower. We bought it from an auction for $5,000 which is WAY MORE than we normally spend but I knew it had great potential and it wasn’t a risk. (I had to convince Melissa this though.)
A month after I listed it on eBay, it sold for $25,000!
How do you ship large items without cutting into all your profit?
THIS is what took trial and error and so many hours (and money lost) to figure out.
In our search to find great shipping costs we came to find Uship. They are great to get started with freight.
It’s a site where people bid to ship your item so you can find the cheapest cost.
Through Uship we created a relationship with one of the freight companies and now we can ship almost anything of any size from Florida to Washington state for $100-$300.
What do you recommend to those looking to get started with flea market flipping? Can anyone make money as a flipper?
Absolutely anyone can make money as a flipper! That’s one thing I absolutely love with this business.
I didn’t go to college and barely passed high school, but I can still flip items and make a good living for my family!
The best place to start is by looking for items in your own home that you no longer use anymore.
This helps to gain confidence with listings, get some traction on selling accounts and doesn’t cost anything if you make a mistake.
What is a good budget start with? How much time should you expect to commit to learning how to flip?
It doesn’t take much to get started. We recommend for people to start with a budget of $50 to get started. You can find a few great items with $50 and turn it into $200. Then take half the money and reinvest it in inventory to resell.
We have a Flipper University member who started with $0.50 just 18 months ago. She bought an item, sold it for $20, took the money and kept reinvesting it in her business. She put all her flipping money in a savings account to save for an RV and now she has grown it to $22,000! All from starting with $0.50!
What are the biggest do’s and don’ts of flea market flipping?
I think the biggest do is to get started now! Stop thinking about starting a side hustle and take a step forward and do.
Another big do is to stay consistent. This can be done as a side income in just a few hours per week, but a little bit every day is better than trying to do a lot in just a weekend.
The algorithms love consistency too. Items are seen by more people the more often you use a platform.
One big don’t is don’t gamble. We don’t take risks when we buy an item to resell. Luckily we live in a time now where information is at our fingertips. We can check our phones for items that have sold so we know if it’s a good buy or not.
Back in the day sourcing looked a lot different. (No smartphones back in the 90’s)
I couldn’t look up an item before I purchased it. I had to take a guess and then check online (on dial up internet) when I got back to my house.
If my guess was right I would make money, but if not, then I would just break even or lose money for my time.
But now you don’t have to take risks. Now everything is at your fingertips! You can check an item before you purchase it to know if you are going to be able to make a profit on it.
Tell our readers about your awesome course Flipper University!
Five years ago we created Flipper University to help people create an extra income for themselves and their family.
Up to that point we had helped several friends sell some items on eBay to make an extra couple hundred dollars, and one day a good friend told us that we needed to help even more people!
She encouraged us to start helping people online and that was the beginning of Flipper U!
Since then we have helped hundreds of people start their flipping business or take their current flipping business to the next level by shipping larger items.
Flipper U covers everything from the very basics of opening your eBay & PayPal accounts to creating your first pallet and finding the cheapest way to ship freight across the country.
And a HUGE component to the course is our member’s group.
It’s more than just a group though. It’s a flipping family. And we are so excited to be a part of this movement! It’s a group to help people get started with flipping by asking all the questions they have, and it’s also a group to help stay accountable to keep moving forward and making an income from flipping.
It’s been SO rewarding to see the success of others. I love when I hear that Cha-Ching sound for my own sales, but when I see the success of our students in our group, I get even MORE stoked about it!
Thanks so much Kelan & Brittany!! You guys rock!
Click here to join Robbie and Melissa’s FREE workshop on how to start a flipping business.