How to Make Money Flipping Products Online

How much does it cost to start flipping stuff online or in person?

The initial costs of flipping stuff online will heavily depend on how deep you want to go from the start. Most people start out spending nothing and building your bankroll slowly as you acquire sales and additional products.  Nothing special is required to start flipping stuff. Below will describe some more basic things that you may want to consider.


What are the benefits of reselling online?

For starters, you can make a good living reselling stuff online. That’s pretty obvious though. The freedom to work your own schedule and limited hours are the biggest benefit in my opinion. I also love travelling so I can go anywhere at the drop of a dime without worry of getting fired or using up PTO. You can also get health insurance through eBay. Lastly, because you are always finding deals and know how to buy low, you can usually get things you need for next to nothing!


There are two sides to every story. What are the cons of reselling online?

There aren’t a lot of cons, but with everything, there are always a few. For starters, you really need to motivate yourself. With no boss looking over you, there’s nothing stopping you from skipping work for a day…..or 20. I found that out the hard way when I only made $500 last November. Too much traveling and not enough working! Another downside goes along with your health insurance. It can take a few months to get health coverage through eBay, so you’ll be insurance free until then. Lastly, you can’t prove your income until you file taxes. Don’t plan on getting any loans or leases or renting a new home until you get that tax statement next year!


What should I sell online and what should I be flipping?

What you sell is up to you. This is not something that anyone in particular can tell you. Most people usually stick to what they know until they get a bit more knowledgeable and slowly branch out from there. The easiest to start out with is things from around your house that you may not need anymore. This keeps startup costs low.


What equipment do I need to start reselling online?

  • A computer or smartphone for listing and researching.
  • A decent camera.
  • Printer (laserjet preferred, ink jet will work as well, or if you’re really not ready to invest, the local library’s printer)
  • Shipping supplies
  • Products
  • Most importantly – TIME.
  • What smartphone apps are best to use?
  • Amazon Seller App – Great for telling item sales rank and average profit per item.
  • Ebay App – Great for quick listing \ research.
  • A more complete guide can be seen here


Where should I sell my items that I want to flip online?

Depends on the items. Most people flip their items through Amazon if they are new and have tags. Amazon also restricts certain categories and these items would be best to move through Ebay. Used items are also sold mostly on Ebay. Large items that would be too cumbersome to ship are best through Craigslist. Some items can be sold as well through sites such as Etsy, Bonanza, and Kiiji.

What makes an item profitable to flip or resell online?

An item is profitable if you make $0.01 over what you paid for it. For many flippers, we refuse to sell for more than a certain percentage over what we pay for an item. When figuring profitability, you have to factor in the cost of the item, listing fees, final value fees, shipping costs, paypal fees (if applicable). This is all taken out of your final sale price to determine profitability.


Example of Profit Flipping Online

Item sells for $9.99 – $0.50 (cost of item) – $1.00 (ebay final value fee) – $0.59 (Paypal Fee) – $2.25 (shipping) = $5.65 profit.

Some flippers go even deeper than this. They factor in mileage on their vehicle, gas costs, shipping supplies costs, and most importantly, time. These factors are up to you and are an optional part of flipping for some.

You can sell just about anything if you get it at the right price. I don’t want to tell you any specific items, because this changes daily, but try to look for things that are in high demand. Search craigslist for things like video game systems and hot electronics. Find the people that need cash NOW and lowball the hell out of them. They get cash now and you get a profit later. You can also find people moving, trying to unload a ton of furniture. Buy it for one price and sell it later at higher prices. If you find a discontinued item that people love, buy it and wait until later. People were paying over $100 for a box of twinkies a month after stores were sold out!


Where can I get stuff to flip online?

You can get things pretty much anywhere you go:

Thrift Stores – Great places to pick up items. Looking on Yelp is a good way to find local thrift stores.

Retail Stores – Lots of stores have items that can be sold for more online. These items can be harder to find though and require some diligence.

Yard Sales, Garage Sales, Rummage Sales, Etc… – Great places to get amazing deals. Able to haggle on pricing at times. Check the Garage Sale section of Craigslist or visit to find what’s happening nearby.

Outlet Stores – New retail items sold at sometimes very high discounts to clear out inventory.

Craigslist \ Ebay \ Amazon – Yes, you can even buy items online and flip them in other places for more. This is a bit more risky though.

Local Auctions – Arrive early to look over everything and get an idea of what you want to go for. Head to AuctionZip to find auctions near you or look up local auction companies.

Dumpsters – Yes, you can even source items in neighborhood dumpsters. Many people throw away perfectly good items that could be sold to others.


How to Find Good Stuff to Flip?

Depends. Thrift store inventory can vary wildly, but I doubt that this is the case. If you took ten flippers and asked them to shop your local store, eight will walk out with a different item and two may walk out with nothing. We each have our own knowledge and specialties and even then, not every trip will come out with something.

I suggest something called the “touch everything” rule. Make sure you touch two to five items throughout the store in EVERY department. If your store has ten different departments and you check the value of five items in each and still walk out with nothing, you still learned about 50 items that will not sell. Sourcing is about learning constantly and continuously requires you to step out of your own comfort zone.

Another way to make sure you’re aware of what you’re looking at is to say aloud each item you see. If you’re not used to buying to sell, it’s incredible what you’ll gloss over.


So where can I find merchandise to flip?

There are all kinds of places to find merchandise! Soon, you’ll find yourself pricing every item you see in your head!

I find most of my merchandise in the following places:

  • Craigslist
  • yard sales
  • Flea markets
  • Goodwill / thrift stores
  • Clearance items at stores like Target / Walmart
  • Salvage stores like Big Lots
  • eBay
  • Return business


I am selling on Amazon, do I list as Merchant Fulfilled or Fulfillment By Amazon?

Depends on your preference. FBA is easier because Amazon will take care of all the shipping and care of your items, but this does come at an additional fee per sale. To counteract this, FBA usually commands a higher price than Merchant Fulfilled. If you list as Merchant Fulfilled, you will be responsible for shipping once the item sells.


I am listing on Ebay, what do all the options mean?

When you list on Ebay, you have many options available on how your listing will look. The most important options are these:

Auction \ Fixed Price Listing – Auctions give sellers the ability to have people bid on the item and POSSIBLY run the price up. This option gives the buyers the control over the pricing. It could get a lot of bids and sell for higher than you hoped, but it could also sell for what you start it at. For this option, it is best to set the item auction to start at what you want the item to sell for. For Fixed Price Listings, the seller has the most control over pricing. The price is set and that is what the buyer will pay. You have the option to allow the buyer to submit an offer that is lower than your set price.

Reserved Price Listings – Most people will tell you that this option is NOT a very good option for listing. Many people overlook reserve auctions because the bidder could still lose the item if it wasn’t bid high enough.

Duration – How long the auction is up for.

eBay’s own Guide to Selling on eBay

I am selling on Amazon, What are my options for reselling items?

Merchant Fulfiiled – Means that you list the item on Amazon and others will purchase it. You have to package and ship the items yourself. This method usually does not yield higher prices than FBA.

Fulfillment By Amazon – Otherwise known as FBA. This method allows you to send all your items to Amazon and they will warehouse it and store it and sell it for you. This does yield a higher selling price on average, but comes with slightly higher fees as well.


Is it more profitable to list this item on Etsy, Craigslist, Kiiji, etc…

It all depends on the item. Craigslist is good for items that are too heavy to ship profitably. Other marketplaces are decent for specific niches.


My item just sold! What do I do now?

You box it up and ship it. Doesn’t sound too tough but there is more involved than that.


Should I ship using UPS, FedEx, or USPS after I resell something?

These options are all great. Most standard items work well with USPS. When an item with a large weight or international comes along, UPS and FedEx can be a better option price wise. If shipping internationally, it is best to ask the customer what option they prefer. International shipping involves customs and duty fees that can cost a nice amount for the buyer.

What is the difference between Priority, First Class and media mail rates?

Priority is the fastest option but also the most costly option as well. Priority mail is for any item that weighs over 13oz AFTER packaging. This type of shipping comes with $50 insurance and free tracking. Usually a 1-2 day ship.

First class is for items up to 13oz AFTER packaging. Much cheaper option, but does not come with free tracking and insurance. These can be added though. Average shipping time 3-5 business days.

Media Mail is for almost all forms of media and is the cheapest rate. This method is mostly for books, cds, and such.  Average shipping time is 5 to 14 business days. Items are also able to be opened and inspected for compliance to media mail rules.

If you need more information about USPS, here is a nice handy guide to shipping with USPS:

Also, here is the most current pricing rates as of 10/20/2014:

Please be aware that postal rates change constantly.

Where do I get my packing materials You can order them online (USPS will send you free Priority Mail boxes if you plan to ship using that service), buy them at office supply stores, or even dumpster dive. Boxes are usually in their own separate dumpster and flattened out. Furniture stores often have a dumpster full of bubble wrap or you can even go inside the store and ask if they have any lying around.

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