Are You A Yard Sale Flipper? Maybe You Should Be!

great big old yard saleHave you ever thought about being a yard sale flipper? I don’t think yard sale flipping is something that would have ever crossed my mind except for the fact that my friend’s parents ended up turning yard sale flipping into a full fledged business! Due to their awesome success, I thought I should share yard sale flipping with you!

What Is a Yard Sale Flipper?

A yard sale flipper is a person that takes advantage of price differences to make money. When most people hold yard sales their goal is to get rid of a bunch of stuff that they see as junk in order to raise a little bit of cash or to declutter their house. Due to this fact, most people who have yard sales will not know the true value of all of the items they are selling. This presents an opportunity for you to make money.

How To Be a Yard Sale Flipper

BARCS Yard Sale, September 2007Virtually anyone can become a yard sale flipper, but you have to be knowledgeable and you have to be a morning person. Most items sold at yard sales are effectively trash or overpriced. You need to be able to weed through the trash and overpriced items and find the pots of gold at each yard sale.

Find something that you know a lot about that can be easily sold at a profit. Then, go find these items at yard sales and pay less than you can sell them for. The difference between what you can resell the items for and what you bought them for will be your profit.

Remember though, you must be a morning person. The best items are normally the first to go so you have to get to the  yard sales early. If you aren’t one of the first few people there you could miss out on that perfect flipping opportunity.

A Yard Sale Flipper Success Story

My friend’s parents started out yard sale flipping on the side of their normal jobs and it turned into a full fledged business that has employed both parents for close to a decade. It all started when they decided to pick up old used video games for their kids as a cheap way to entertain them.

After a bit of yard sale hopping they figured out that parents were cleaning out their kids’ closets of old video games just to get rid of them. They then realized that there were certain video games that had quite a bit of value and that they could get most video games dirt cheap because parents just wanted them gone. On the really rare finds they could make over $100, but they normally made $10-$40 per video game.

That doesn’t sound too impressive… until you realize that on some weekends they could find up to 100 video games. They weren’t getting rich, but they were adding a nice supplement to their regular income.

Turning Yard Sale Flipping Into A Business

eBay StoreOne day they decided to try their flipping on a larger scale. They began selling their games on eBay. Eventually, they became master eBayers and would even buy games on eBay to resell on eBay at a higher price by listing the item in a more effective manner. Once they figured out they could successfully flip video games they moved on to bigger items such as laptops and haven’t turned back since! They even have a retail location in the city now and do quite well for themselves.

Things To Watch Out For As A Yard Sale Flipper

Not everything you find is what it seems. The yard sales may contain fakes of items that could be worth significant amounts of money. If you don’t watch out you could easily get burned and lose some money in the process.

Make sure whatever you buy is relatively small and can be flipped quickly. If you start with large items or go after slow moving inventory you could end up becoming a hoarder with lots of useless stuff in your house!

If you’re a serious about making money as a yard sale flipper you need to make sure you keep track of all of your expenses. Driving to  yard sales can cost quite a bit of gas money and wear and tear on your vehicle if you aren’t careful. Add any storage fees or selling fees on top of your vehicle costs and you might find out you’re losing money instead of making money.

Yard sale flipping can get addictive! Watch out for addictive behaviors and make sure you’re still flipping for the right reasons.

Have you ever thought about being a yard sale flipper? What did you want to flip? If not, do you think you could ever be a yard sale flipper?

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.

Comments

  1. First time ever hearing about yard sale flipping but it doesnt surprise me that someone or many people are doing it. So many people are finding ways to make money and taking off with it. I once flipped cars on Craigslist and made great money doing it. Then I flipped sneakers yep sneakers. The return on that is great if you know what you are doing and can get a good contact. I am glad to see they have been so successful with it. I wonder which brings them the most money ebay or the brick and mortar location.

  2. I think yard sale flipping is hilarious! I see people do it around here all the time. Although I don’t do it very often myself, I have done it a few times. By the way, I’m having my own yard sale this weekend. Be sure to tell all of your friends :)

  3. That’s really cool. I love arbitrage, and this is a great example of it in action.

  4. Mr PoP used to do this kind of thing with his grandpa when he was a kid. They would buy things a yard sales (old tools mostly) then sell them for a markup at the local flea market.

  5. I am not a yard sale buyer, but there are some real finds at yard sales. There is a monthly flea market at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena my wife likes. We have found some great antique furniture at yard sales.

  6. I know someone who does this! I don’t know if she still does, but she did it for quite some time. She would buy designer clothing for like a quarter and then sell them for like $75 and up online!

  7. There is serious money in this. Media is really big because most people will almost giveaway their books yet there is a ton of value in them as long as they are in good condition.

  8. Justin @ The Family Finances says:

    I love the concept of this. We did something similar with some of our little boy’s infant toys. We bought some at a second-hand shop, used them, and when he grew out of them we sold them on Craigslist. It just so happened that the going rate on Craigslist for similar items was higher than what we’d paid at the second-hand shop. It’s arbitrage at it’s finest, lol.

  9. I was just thinking about this when I recently had a moving sale. I advertised my sale on Craiglist and it brought lots of traffic. However, if you bought things cheap at a yard sale and clean them up and took fresh pics you could sell them in the furniture or electronic sections of Craiglist for a decent profit. I agree that being a morning person is a must!! My moving sale was sold out by 930 am!!

  10. Very cool story. I loved going to garage sales when I was back in the States. I definitely believe you can make a living from that. It’s pretty fun!

  11. My area has a community garage sale, and we certainly saw our share of yard sale flippers! I think it takes a certain love of stuff to be able to do it, because they were up early and certainly working for it!

  12. There is definitely a lot of money in this, people buy stuff in charity shops here then sell for an inflated price. That way they’re helping charities too.

  13. We used to do this back in the day and had some great finds. I remember finding a pair of antique globe book-ends that I purchased at a yard sale for about $5. I later fiipped them on eBay for $100.

    It was a good time and can be quite profitable, but it is hard with kids. If you take your kids with you to garage sales, they will always want to buy something which will eat your potential profits.

  14. deRuiter says:

    Reselling is a great side business because the start up costs are almost non existent. If you have literally no money you can comb through your possessions and sell some things, or ask other people with unwanted stuff and sell for them on consignment to start your business. You can cruise the curbs near trash day and find things which you can bring home and sell on Craigslist. You can shop “freecycle” and sell the items you pick. You can also grab any scrap metal you find curbside and drop that at the salvage yard for instant cash. If you have access to a borrowed digital camera and internet, you can literally start a resale business with no money, using trash picked, or consignment merchandise to start. Reselling is excellent for America’s balance of trade as the profits go to Americans and your buyers are not buying cheap new junk made in China. Reselling is good for the environment as it’s recycling. Think Harley Davidson Factory light picked for $6. and sold for $153. Think antique perfume bottles picked for $2. and sold for hundreds. Think Oshkosh baby clothes bought for a quarter and sold for $5-$7. The possibilities are endless if you want to work. Reselling is also a good way for children too young to work at a real job to make some money. No reason they can’t sell their outgrown things, and cruise yard sales with you looking for kids’ things to sell, certainly your kids would know what is hot in children’s things.

  15. I LOVE going to Yard Sales. It’s true that most people don’t know the true value of their belongings, or don’t care to find out because they’re so set on ridding themselves of their “junk”. Before you pop the price tag on that item, think twice. A little research goes a long way!

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