Have you ever thought about being a yard sale flipper?
Yard sale flipping isn’t something I would have ever given any thought to as a side hustle or full time business.
Fortunately, my friend’s parents opened my eyes. They 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.
Who knows, maybe you can be the next person to turn yard sale flipping into an amazing business.
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 do 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
Virtually 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 pot 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. It slowly turned into a full fledged business that still employs both parents today, almost two decades later.
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 had significant value. To make things even better, 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
One 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 now and make a decent living 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 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?
Lance Cothern, CPA holds a CPA license in Indiana. He’s a personal finance, debt and credit expert that writes professionally for top-tier publications including U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Investopedia, Credit Karma, Business Insider and more.
Additionally, his expertise has been featured on Yahoo, MSN, USA Today, Reader’s Digest, The Huffington Post, Fast Company, Kiplinger, Reuters, CNBC and more.
Lance is the founder of Money Manifesto. He started writing about money and helping people solve their financial problems in 2012. You can read more about him and find links to his other work and media mentions here.
Monday 8th of June 2015
Yard sale flipping pretty much became my full time job. I have a supplier where I get used business equipment, but half of my income is from garage sale junk. I don't want to give away too many secrets, but almost everything I buy is small, under $5 and tends to sell for $25-$40. You don't even have to be a morning person...I find a lot of items that no one even touched at 2 in the afternoon. Just last week I bought an item for $3 and sold it on Amazon in 45 minutes for $70. I make a list of about 20 sales, map them out to prevent backtracking and pick up about 15-25 items on a normal day. I might spend $40-$75 and resell them for $300-$500.
I've stockpiled so much stuff because its so cheap and I could easily double my income if I had the energy to list all the stuff. Unfortunately, I can't have a garage sale myself because the stuff I sell is worthless locally.
Monday 8th of June 2015
That stinks you can't sell it locally quickly, but it sounds like you found quite the deal on the items you sell! Good for you!
Christina @ Easy Financial Tips
Friday 22nd of November 2013
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!
Thursday 18th of July 2013
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.
jefferson @See Debt Run
Friday 12th of July 2013
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.
Thursday 11th of July 2013
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.