A good place to start is by looking around for stuff that you already own and no longer want and selling that. This way, you can learn the selling process (which is arguably more complicated than the buying process) and you don’t have to worry about whether you’ll make a profit.
How to Flip Products on Amazon
Find an item that you no longer want and see what it’s being sold for on Amazon, what the Sold Listings are on eBay, and what people in your area are selling it for on Craig’s List. Do take into account the condition of the item and what kind of condition it’s in. If it’s an item with a model number, your search will be much easier.
Flipping Products on Amazon
- Amazon is best for commodity type items where you have the model number. (See the Amazon wiki for more information.) This is an easy process, because in a high majority of cases, a product page is already in place for you. You simply set a price, someone buys it, you ship it. When setting a price, it should be listed for the lowest price in most cases. If an item is new, it should be the lowest price in the New condition listings.
Flipping Products on Craigslist
- Craigslist is the easiest place to start, simply because you don’t need a membership or need to deal with fees or shipping but if you’re in an underpopulated area, it can be difficult to find buyers. You will, however, need to make each ad from scratch and meet strangers face-to-face to make the sale.
- Please be safe when meeting people from Craigslist. Most are normal people, but there are some crazies out there. Meet in a public place, if possible. If they insist on meeting at their home (some do), go during the daylight. Don’t go inside. Don’t knock on the door if something seems off. Just call off the deal. Making $20 here and there isn’t worth risking your well-being.
Flipping Products on eBay
- eBay is better for rarer, unique, or non-mass produced items. On eBay, people can bid (though you can also set specific prices), possibly bringing in a lot more money for a hard-to-find item. (See the eBay wikifor more information.) eBay also means dealing with PayPal, which is a middleman between the money you get from eBay and your actual bank account.
There are other ways to sell but those are the main ones we discuss and certainly enough to get you started.
Once you’re ready to start buying for the purpose of selling, it just becomes a matter of researching an item on those three sites and see if what it sells for is worth what it will cost you to buy it. If you think it will net you enough of a return, you buy it for as cheap as possible then turn around and sell it.
How to Acquire Items to Flip Online
Items are usually acquired at yard/estate/garage sales, discount stores, Goodwill stores, bargain bins in big box stores, and used item stores (sometimes video game stores will have deals stating “buy one game, get one free”). Take your time and research. Sometimes an item selling for $5 on eBay will be going for $30 on Amazon. Just keep your eyes open.
It is possible to find items to purchase for flipping on the sites mentioned above, but this is risky. Markets are volatile. You could buy an item for $15 on one site, and it’ll sell for $40 on another. By the time you get the item a week later, though, the price could tank to $20.
What to do to get started flipping stuff online
- Learn your local laws. If you gross over a certain amount in a given year (may be calendar year, may be fiscal year), you may be required to open a small business. Call your local Trustee office for more information.
- If you have to create a small business, you will be able to get a tax number. This allows you to purchase items free of sales tax (if where you purchase is equipped to handle it – places like Wal-Mart should have no issue with this).
- If you sell an item online, you are only required to collected tax if sold within your state. Interstate commerce is not taxed.
- Create a spreadsheet. This is definitely needed if you will eventually have to open a small business, but it’s good to keep track of these things, anyway. Create as many columns as you want, but these are the minimum: date, earnings, tax collected, costs, refunds, notes.