6 Unexpected Things You Can Flip for a Profit Right Now

 

Written by Peter Keszegh

Tired of the same old side hustle advice? I've got you covered. Forget lemonade stands and dog walking; we're diving into the world of flipping. No, not houses (although that's cool too). I'm talking about the best items to flip for a surprising profit.

From unexpected treasures found in your attic to digital assets you can buy and sell online, this list of things to flip will open your eyes to a whole new world of opportunity. Get ready to turn your clutter into cash and your savvy into serious income.

The basics of flipping: How to get started

So, you're ready to dive into the exciting world of flipping? It's not just about making a quick buck; it's a skill that combines market knowledge, negotiation tactics, and a keen eye for value. Let's break down the basics of flipping to get you started on your profit-making journey.

Where to find the best items to flip

The thrill of the hunt is half the fun of flipping. Here are some prime spots to uncover hidden treasures and things to flip:

  • Thrift stores: These treasure troves are overflowing with potential profit. Look for vintage clothing, designer labels hiding on the racks, furniture with good bones, or quirky collectibles that could be worth a pretty penny. Don't forget to check out the home goods section for hidden gems like unique dishware or vintage glassware.
  • Garage sales: Early birds get the worm at garage sales, where you can often snag items for a fraction of their value. Keep an eye out for tools, electronics, musical instruments, sports equipment, and household items in good condition. Haggling is key here, so don't be afraid to negotiate for a better price.
  • Estate sales: These sales are often a goldmine for antiques, collectibles, vintage furniture, and unique pieces with a rich history. Be prepared to dig through boxes, arrive early, and haggle for the best price. You might uncover rare books, artwork, jewelry, or other valuable items.
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  • Facebook Marketplace: This online platform is a virtual garage sale, offering a wide range of items from local sellers. You can find everything from furniture to electronics to clothing to tools. Filter your search by category and location to narrow down your options.
  • Online auction sites: Platforms like eBay can be a great source for finding underpriced items or rare collectibles. Look for items with low starting bids or those ending at off-peak times to increase your chances of snagging a deal.

How to determine profit margin on flipping items

Before you buy, it's crucial to calculate the potential profit margin on flipping items. This involves researching the item's value, considering any necessary repairs or cleaning, and factoring in selling fees (if applicable). Aim for a profit margin of at least 50% to make your efforts worthwhile.

Here's a quick formula to help you calculate profit margin:

(Selling Price - Cost Price - Expenses) / Selling Price x 100 = Profit Margin

Tips for improving your finds

Sometimes, a little elbow grease can turn a trash-to-treasure find into a high-value item. Consider these simple improvements to increase the appeal and value of your things to flip:

  • Cleaning: A good cleaning can work wonders for most items, making them more attractive to potential buyers.
  • Minor repairs: Fix any loose screws, broken handles, or missing buttons to make your item look more presentable.
  • Repurposing: Get creative! Transform an old dresser into a trendy bar cart or turn vintage fabric into stylish throw pillows.
  • Staging: When selling online, take high-quality photos of your items in a well-lit setting to make them look their best.

Selling your flipped items

Now that you've found, improved, and priced your items, it's time to find them a new home. Here are some popular platforms to sell your flipped treasures:

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  • Facebook Marketplace: This platform is ideal for local sales and allows you to connect with buyers in your community.
  • eBay: Reach a wider audience by listing your items on eBay. Be sure to take clear photos and write detailed descriptions.
  • Etsy: If you specialize in handmade or vintage items, Etsy is the perfect platform to showcase your unique finds.
  • Other online marketplaces: Consider platforms like Craigslist, OfferUp, or Mercari for selling a variety of items.
  • Local consignment shops: If you don't want to deal with the hassle of selling online, consider consigning your items to a local shop.

Bonus Tip: Consider creating a dedicated Instagram or TikTok account to showcase your flipping journey and attract potential buyers.

Flipping: More than just a side hustle

While flipping can be a lucrative side hustle, it's also a valuable skill set for entrepreneurs and digital marketers. It teaches you about market trends, pricing strategies, and the importance of presentation. Plus, it's a fun and rewarding way to unleash your creativity and make some extra cash.

Unexpected items with high-profit potential

Now that you've mastered the basics of flipping, let's dive deeper into the world of hidden gems. These unexpected items might not be on everyone's radar, but they hold serious profit potential for savvy flippers like you.

1. Vintage board games and puzzles:

Remember those dusty board games and puzzles collecting cobwebs in your attic? Well, they might be worth a small fortune! Vintage games and puzzles, especially those in good condition and with all their pieces, are highly sought after by collectors. Look for classic titles like Monopoly, Scrabble, Clue, or vintage jigsaw puzzles featuring unique artwork or themes. Limited edition or discontinued games can also fetch a high price.

2. Mid-century modern furniture:

Mid-century modern furniture is making a comeback, and savvy flippers are cashing in on this trend. Look for clean lines, organic shapes, and materials like teak, walnut, and leather. Pieces like dressers, chairs, coffee tables, and sideboards can be easily refinished or reupholstered to fetch a higher price. Keep an eye out for iconic designers like Eames, Saarinen, or Wegner.

3. Musical instruments:

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If you're a music lover or have a knack for spotting quality instruments, this could be your niche. Vintage guitars, amplifiers, drum sets, and even quirky instruments like ukuleles or vintage synthesizers can be flipped for a profit. Look for brands like Fender, Gibson, Ludwig, or Moog, and don't be afraid to negotiate for a good deal. Research the history and specifications of the instrument to determine its value.

4. Collectible toys and action figures:

Childhood nostalgia is a powerful force, and collectors are willing to pay top dollar for vintage toys and action figures. Look for popular characters like Star Wars figures, G.I. Joe, Transformers, He-Man, or Barbie dolls. Mint-in-box items or rare variations can fetch even higher prices. Attend toy shows or conventions to connect with potential buyers and learn more about the market.

5. Vintage clothing and accessories:

Fashion is cyclical, and what's old is new again. Vintage clothing and accessories are in high demand, especially from iconic brands like Levi's, Chanel, Gucci, or Dior. Keep an eye out for unique pieces like band tees, designer bags, retro sunglasses, or vintage hats. Consider specializing in a particular era or style to attract a niche audience.

6. Upcycled and repurposed items:

Get creative and turn discarded items into unique treasures. Upcycled furniture, repurposed clothing, and handmade jewelry made from vintage materials are all popular on platforms like Etsy. This is a great way to showcase your creativity and add a personal touch to your flipped items. Consider taking a DIY course or workshop to learn new skills and techniques.

Sourcing profitable items: Where to look for things to flip

Now that you're armed with a list of unexpected things to flip, let's explore where to find these hidden treasures. Remember, the thrill of the hunt is part of the fun, and knowing where to look can significantly increase your chances of finding the best items to flip.

Thrift stores:

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These havens for bargain hunters are often overflowing with potential profit. From vintage clothing and accessories to furniture with good bones, thrift stores offer a wide variety of items at a fraction of their original price. Don't be afraid to dig through the racks and shelves; you never know what gems you might uncover.

Here are some tips for thrift store shopping:

  • Visit regularly: Inventory changes frequently, so the more often you go, the more likely you are to find hidden treasures.
  • Look for sales and discounts: Many thrift stores offer special deals on certain days or for specific items.
  • Check the quality: Before you buy, inspect the item for any damage or wear and tear.
  • Negotiate: Don't be afraid to haggle for a lower price, especially if you're buying multiple items.

Garage sales:

Garage sales are a great way to find items at rock-bottom prices. People often want to get rid of unwanted items quickly, so they're willing to sell them for much less than their actual value. Arrive early to get the best selection, and don't be afraid to negotiate.

Here are some tips for garage sale shopping:

  • Check online listings and maps: Many garage sales are advertised online or in local newspapers.
  • Bring cash: Most garage sales don't accept credit cards.
  • Be prepared to haggle: It's expected at garage sales, so don't be shy about negotiating for a better price.

Estate sales:

Estate sales are a treasure trove for vintage and antique items. These sales often occur when someone passes away or downsizes, and they offer a wide range of items, from furniture and artwork to collectibles and jewelry. Be prepared to spend some time browsing, as estate sales can be quite large.

Here are some tips for estate sale shopping:

  • Arrive early: Estate sales often attract large crowds, so get there early to get the best selection.
  • Be respectful: Remember that you're shopping in someone's home, so be polite and courteous.
  • Negotiate: It's often possible to negotiate prices at estate sales, especially if you're buying multiple items.

Online marketplaces:

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Online marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace, eBay, and Craigslist offer a vast selection of items from all over the world. You can often find great deals on used or vintage items that people are looking to sell quickly. Be sure to research the seller and the item before you buy, and always use a secure payment method.

Here are some tips for online marketplace shopping:

  • Use search filters: Narrow down your search by category, price, location, and condition.
  • Read descriptions carefully: Look for details about the item's condition, history, and any flaws.
  • Check the seller's ratings and reviews: This will give you an idea of their reputation and reliability.
  • Ask questions: If you're unsure about anything, don't hesitate to contact the seller for more information.

Clearance sections:

Retail stores often have clearance sections where they sell overstocked or discontinued items at deeply discounted prices. This can be a great way to find brand-new items at a fraction of their original cost. Keep an eye out for clearance sales at your favorite stores, and don't be afraid to ask if they have any additional discounts available.

Here are some tips for clearance shopping:

  • Check the return policy: Make sure you can return the item if it's not what you expected.
  • Look for coupons and discounts: Many stores offer additional discounts on clearance items.
  • Be patient: Clearance sections can be messy, so take your time and browse carefully.

By exploring these different sourcing options, you'll be well on your way to finding the best items to flip and turning your passion for treasure hunting into a profitable venture. Remember, the key is to be patient, and persistent, and always keep an eye out for hidden gems.

Strategies for increasing your profit margin

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Congratulations! You've found some promising things to flip. Now, it's time to unlock their full potential and maximize your profit margin. With a little elbow grease, creativity, and strategic thinking, you can transform your finds into high-value items that will attract eager buyers and boost your bottom line.

Cleaning and minor repairs:

A good cleaning can work wonders for most items, making them more appealing to potential buyers. Dust off furniture, polish metal surfaces, wash, and iron textiles to remove any dirt or grime. For minor repairs, fix loose screws, tighten hinges, and replace missing buttons or zippers. These simple steps can significantly improve the appearance and value of your items. Consider using eco-friendly cleaning products to appeal to environmentally conscious buyers.

Refurbishing and restoring:

For furniture and other items with good bones but a worn exterior, consider refurbishing or restoring them to their former glory. This could involve stripping and refinishing wood, reupholstering furniture with new fabric or leather, or repainting metal surfaces. Refurbished items often command a higher price, especially if they have a vintage or antique appeal. Learn basic restoration techniques through online tutorials or workshops to enhance your skills.

Upcycling and repurposing:

Get creative and transform ordinary items into unique treasures. Upcycling involves repurposing materials or objects to create something new and valuable. For example, you could turn an old dresser into a trendy bar cart, repurpose vintage fabric into stylish throw pillows, or create unique jewelry from discarded materials. Upcycled items often have a higher perceived value because of their one-of-a-kind nature and eco-friendly appeal.

Bundling items:

Consider bundling items together to create more appealing offers and increase your profit margin. For example, you could bundle a set of vintage dishes with matching glassware, group together a collection of vintage toys from the same era, or pair a vintage dress with a matching handbag. Bundling can attract buyers who are looking for a complete set or collection, and it can help you move multiple items at once.

Presentation and marketing:

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The way you present and market your items can significantly impact their perceived value. Take high-quality photos of your items in a well-lit setting, using natural light whenever possible. Style your items to create an attractive visual presentation, and write clear and detailed descriptions that highlight their unique features, history, and benefits. Use relevant keywords in your listings to attract potential buyers who are searching for specific items. Consider creating a social media presence to showcase your finds and connect with potential buyers.

Additional strategies for increasing your profit margin:

  • Research the market: Before you buy or sell an item, research its current market value to ensure you're getting a fair price and setting a competitive price point.
  • Negotiate: Don't be afraid to negotiate with sellers to get the best possible price on your items. Hone your negotiation skills to get the best deals.
  • Be patient: It may take time to find the right buyer for your items, so don't get discouraged if they don't sell immediately.
  • Build a reputation: As you become more experienced, build a reputation as a reliable and trustworthy seller. This will help you attract repeat customers and increase your profit margin. Offer excellent customer service, respond promptly to inquiries, and provide accurate descriptions of your items.

By following these strategies, you can transform your flipping hobby into a lucrative business. Remember, the key is to be creative, and resourceful, and always look for ways to add value to your items. With a little effort, dedication, and strategic thinking, you can turn your passion for treasure hunting into a profitable venture.

Marketing and selling your flipped items

Now that your flipped items are primed for profit, it's time to showcase them to the world and find eager buyers. With the right marketing and selling strategies, you can turn your flipping hobby into a thriving business. Here's your comprehensive guide to navigating the online and offline marketplaces to maximize your reach and profits.

Online platforms: Your virtual storefront

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The internet has revolutionized the way we buy and sell, opening up a vast world of possibilities for flippers. Online platforms offer a convenient and efficient way to reach a broad audience, connect with potential buyers, and streamline your sales process. Here are some of the most popular online marketplaces for selling flipped items:

  • eBay: This auction-style platform is a popular choice for selling a wide range of items, from collectibles and antiques to electronics, clothing, and even cars. With its vast user base and global reach, eBay can help you reach buyers from all over the world, potentially fetching higher prices for rare or unique items. However, be prepared for competition and factor in seller fees when pricing your items. Consider using eBay's Promoted Listings feature to increase visibility for your items.
  • Facebook Marketplace: This platform is ideal for local sales, allowing you to connect with buyers in your community. It's a great option for selling larger items like furniture or appliances, as buyers can easily pick them up in person, saving you shipping costs. Facebook Marketplace is free to use, but be prepared to negotiate with potential buyers and exercise caution when meeting strangers for transactions.
  • Etsy: If you specialize in handmade or vintage items, Etsy is the perfect platform to showcase your unique finds. This curated marketplace attracts buyers who are looking for one-of-a-kind items and are willing to pay a premium for quality and craftsmanship. Etsy offers various tools for promoting your items, such as Etsy Ads and social media integration.
  • Other online marketplaces: Explore other platforms like Craigslist, OfferUp, or Mercari for selling a variety of items. These platforms often have lower fees than eBay and can be a good option for reaching a local audience. However, be aware of potential scams and take precautions to protect yourself and your buyers.
  • Specialty platforms: Depending on your niche, consider exploring specialty platforms like Reverb (for musical instruments), Poshmark (for clothing and accessories), or Grailed (for streetwear). These platforms cater to specific audiences and can help you connect with buyers who are specifically looking for the types of items you're selling.

Local selling groups and communities:

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Don't underestimate the power of local selling groups and communities. These online or offline groups can be a great way to connect with buyers in your area who are interested in the types of items you're flipping.

  • Facebook groups: Many local communities have Facebook groups dedicated to buying and selling used items. These groups can be a great way to reach a targeted audience and get your items in front of potential buyers quickly. Additionally, you can download Facebook Reels to keep up with trends and engage with the community more interactively.
  • Neighborhood apps: Apps like Nextdoor or local community forums can also be useful for connecting with buyers in your area.
  • Flea markets and craft fairs: If you enjoy interacting with people face-to-face, consider selling your items at local flea markets or craft fairs. This can be a great way to reach a new audience, get feedback on your items, and build relationships with potential customers.

Optimizing your listings:

No matter where you choose to sell your flipped items, it's important to optimize your listings to attract potential buyers and maximize your chances of making a sale. Here are some tips for creating effective listings:

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  • High-quality photos: Take clear, well-lit photos of your items from multiple angles. Show any details or flaws, and stage your items to make them look their best. Consider using a lightbox or natural light for optimal results.
  • Detailed descriptions: Write clear and concise descriptions that highlight the unique features, history, and condition of your items. Use relevant keywords to attract potential buyers who are searching for specific items. Be honest about any flaws or imperfections.
  • Competitive pricing: Research the market value of your items and set a competitive price that reflects their quality and condition. Be prepared to negotiate, but don't undervalue your items. Consider offering bundle deals or discounts for multiple purchases.
  • Prompt communication: Respond to inquiries from potential buyers promptly and professionally. Be transparent about the condition of your items and any flaws they may have.
  • Excellent customer service: Provide a positive buying experience for your customers. Ship items promptly and securely, and offer refunds or exchanges if necessary. Positive reviews and feedback can help you build a reputation as a reliable seller.

By following these tips and exploring the various marketing and selling channels available, you can effectively reach your target audience, build a loyal customer base, and turn your passion for flipping into a profitable business. Remember, the key is to be creative, and adaptable, and always strive to provide value to your customers. Happy flipping!

The legal and ethical side of flipping

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Flipping can be a fun and profitable venture, but it's important to be aware of the legal and ethical considerations involved. After all, we want to be successful entrepreneurs while maintaining our integrity and building trust with our customers.

Licensing requirements: Know your local laws

Before you start flipping things to flip, it's crucial to research and understand the licensing requirements in your area. Some jurisdictions may require you to obtain a business license or seller's permit, especially if you're flipping items regularly or making a significant income from it. This is particularly important if you're operating as a business entity, such as an LLC or sole proprietorship. Additionally, certain types of items, like antiques or collectibles, may have specific licensing requirements or restrictions on resale. Check with your local government agencies or consult with a legal professional to ensure you're complying with all applicable laws and regulations to avoid potential fines or legal issues.

Taxes: Don't forget Uncle Sam

As with any income-generating activity, flipping comes with tax obligations. In the US, you'll generally need to report your profits from flipping as income on your tax return. This could be considered self-employment income, so you may also need to pay self-employment taxes, which cover Social Security and Medicare. Keep meticulous records of your expenses, such as the cost of acquiring items, repairs, and shipping, as well as your income from sales. This will help you accurately calculate your profits and ensure you're paying the correct amount of taxes. Consider consulting with a tax professional for guidance on specific tax requirements and deductions related to your flipping activities.

Disclosing item conditions accurately: Honesty is the best policy

When selling your flipped items, it's essential to be transparent and honest about their condition. Disclose any flaws, damage, or imperfections, no matter how minor they may seem. This includes scratches, dents, stains, missing parts, or any other defects that could affect the item's value or functionality. This not only builds trust with your buyers but also protects you from potential legal issues, such as returns, refunds, or even lawsuits. Remember, a satisfied customer is more likely to become a repeat customer and refer you to others, which can significantly boost your business.

Here are some tips for disclosing item conditions accurately:

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  • Be specific: Instead of using vague terms like "good condition," describe the item's actual condition in detail, such as "minor scratches on the surface," "slight wear on the edges," or "missing one button."
  • Use photos: Take clear, well-lit photos of the item from multiple angles, including close-ups of any flaws or damage. This allows potential buyers to see the item's condition for themselves and make informed decisions.
  • Be upfront: If you're unsure about the item's history or authenticity, disclose this information to potential buyers. Be honest about any repairs or modifications you've made to the item.
  • Offer a return policy: This can give buyers peace of mind and show that you stand behind the quality of your items. Consider offering a reasonable return period, such as 14 or 30 days, and clearly state your return policy in your listings.

Ethical considerations: Beyond the legal requirements

While adhering to legal requirements is essential, ethical considerations go beyond simply following the rules. As a flipper, you have a responsibility to conduct your business with integrity and respect for your customers and the environment.

By navigating the legal landscape, fulfilling your tax obligations, and prioritizing ethical practices, you can build a sustainable and reputable flipping business. Remember, it's not just about the profit; it's about creating a positive impact on the marketplace and fostering trust with your customers.

There you have it – a comprehensive guide to the unexpected world of flipping. Remember, it's not just about finding the best items to flip; it's about honing your skills, understanding the market, and approaching the venture with integrity. 

Whether you're looking for a lucrative side hustle or a full-fledged business, flipping offers endless possibilities for those willing to put in the effort. So, dust off those forgotten treasures, scour those local markets and unleash your inner entrepreneur. With a little creativity and a lot of hustle, you can transform your passion for finding hidden gems into a profitable and fulfilling adventure. Now, go forth and find things to flip!

So, as you embark on your flipping journey, keep these legal and ethical considerations in mind. By doing so, you'll not only protect yourself from potential pitfalls but also contribute to a more transparent and responsible business environment. Happy flipping!

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