What are the best products to flip for a profit?
Buying low and selling high is a mega-popular business for side hustlers and big corporations alike. (Think Walmart and Amazon!)
With product flipping, you can turn bargain-hunting prowess into profits. In this post, you’ll learn how turn your love of online classifieds, flea markets, yard sales, and thrift stores into an extra income stream.
Stick around to read:
- Where to find some educational and inspirational free training on flipping products
- The most popular marketplaces to resell your items
- The most profitable types of products to be on the lookout for
Free Product Flipping Training
This post wouldn’t be complete without a mention of my favorite “Flea Market Flippers,” Rob and Melissa Stephenson of Florida.
This husband and wife team consistently earn thousands of dollars a month by flipping items part-time, enough to support their family without getting a “real job”!
They put together this free online training on how to get started and make your first sales in as little as 2 weeks. Check it out to learn:
- whether or not flipping items is a good fit for you
- how flipping can lead to freedom and security
- insider secrets on how to grow your flipping profits
Fun fact: You don’t need any money to begin flipping items.
Instead, start with what you already have collecting dust in your own closet, attic, and garage.
There’s also free stuff available online from buy and sell websites like Craigslist’s Free section, Facebook Marketplace, and Freecycle.
If you don’t mind getting a little dirty, you can also find free items to flip by looking through curbside garbage, junkyards, and even dumpster diving.
You can even reach out to friends and family to see if they have any stuff they no longer want. You’d be surprised how many people will offload their “junk” at no cost just to get rid of it.
Side note: junk removal is another legit side hustle too. Maybe you could even get paid to source some inventory!
When it comes to finding free stuff, your only limitation is your imagination.
Once you’ve exhausted ways to acquire free items to flip, you can branch out to other places to find bargains, including:
- flea markets
- estate sales
- yard sales
- thrift stores
- websites and apps
After all, buying low and selling high is one of the fastest ways to multiply money.
The Best Items to Flip for Profit
Flipping, or reselling, is a popular side hustle since anyone can do it and it doesn’t require a big investment.
However, not every item you acquire will be easy to resell unless you concentrate on items that are in demand. Focusing your flipping efforts on more popular items means that you can sell faster and easier.
Your location and personal preferences will also affect your choices of what to flip as will logistics, shipping, and storage. It also helps to know the value of what you’re selling, which is why it’s wise to stick to product categories that you know and find interesting.
To get started, here’s a list of the best items to flip.
1. Clearance Items
Going to the clearance section of websites or nearby retail stores to find deeply discounted items is the perfect scenario for buying low and selling high.
The key is to find goods that are highly desirable plus worth enough money to make a profit after expenses.
Be on the lookout for popular brands, seasonal items, and limited editions. Branded items are especially desirable because people will pay more for the brands they already use and like.
Reselling on Amazon
One way to resell clearance items (aka “clearance arbitrage”) is to become an Amazon reseller. You can shop for good deals, send them into Amazon’s warehouse, and let them take care of the fulfillment when someone buys. You don’t have to worry about returns, product descriptions, or shipping to customers.
Check out my podcast interview with Jessica Larrew to learn more about reselling on Amazon. When we spoke, she and her husband had sold over $1 million worth of products on Amazon!
(I did this myself for a while and earned over $650 very part-time.)
Jessica also has a free course on how to become an Amazon seller that’s worth checking out if you want to learn more.
One thing I didn’t like about my clearance arbitrage side hustle was the physical shopping trips. While I did find profitable inventory to resell, there were other times where I’d spend 45 minutes in a store and leave empty-handed.
The way around that is sourcing your inventory online, through what’s called online arbitrage. The idea here is to find wide enough pricing gaps between products on Amazon and the same products sold on other websites.
Furniture is still a popular item for flipping. There are always people moving as well as people wanting to downsize or redesign their look. In these cases, people are typically quick to sell, which means the possibility of buying low.
Whether it’s wood, upholstered, or outdoor furniture, you can usually find someone selling it and someone looking to buy it.
And, good quality used wood furniture has a long life span with lots of potential. Many times people don’t want to bother putting in the elbow grease it takes to make old furniture new again. With some work, you can increase your flipped furniture’s value to turn a profit.
3. Sports Memorabilia
There will always be sports fans! Search for memorabilia, such as cards, autographed sports items, championship rings, ticket stubs, bobbleheads, vintage hats and shirts, and jerseys.
These items are great to flip on Ebay because people buy them as gifts or to add to their own collection.
4. Sports and Exercise Equipment
Sports equipment is another category to be on the lookout for. Bulky items like home gyms, treadmills, and exercise bikes can actually resell for pretty good margins, and because they take up so much space, sellers are often happy just to get rid of them.
Well-maintained bikes, skis, golf clubs, and even hockey equipment is worth a look since buyers may be eyeing starting a new hobby or purchasing for their kids.
5. Musical Instruments
Musical instruments in good working condition are another item to flip. Both kids and adults frequently outgrow or abandon their hobby.
Once they’ve moved on, you can find musical instruments at a low price to resell for a decent profit. In fact, one Side Hustle Nation reader built an entire eBay business flipping guitars.
6. Power Tools
There’s both demand and availability when it comes to flipping power tools.
New power tools are expensive, so that makes secondhand tools attractive to people who want to save money.
Look for name brand tools, as buyers will often search by brand name. People sell their power tools when they’re done with a project, moving, or buying a newer model and want to quickly get rid of them.
7. Baby and Kid Gear
No question — kids’ stuff is expensive. Plus, kids grow quickly, which means they outgrow their gear quickly too.
That’s why budget-conscious parents are often on the lookout for gently-used baby and kid gear, such as:
- high chairs
- diaper bags
If you have access to upscale children’s stuff, there are specialty websites like Kidizen that cater to parents looking for designer items for the kiddos.
(Instead of flipping the items, you could turn around and rent it out through a service like BabyQuip to turn a single asset into a recurring revenue stream.)
Pro Tip: Find grandparents selling their young grandchildren’s stuff. These things were probably used infrequently at grandma’s house and therefore in great condition.
Appliances are big, bulky, and heavy, so when people want to get rid of them, that presents a potential opportunity for you to swoop in and take that problem off their hands. Of course, that’s as long as you have the means to pick up and move them.
And since new appliances are expensive, there’s a market for used ones. So, after you work out the logistics of the transactions, there’s money to be made in flipping appliances.
Years ago, I interviewed Ryan Finlay, who made a full-time living flipping items, including appliances, on Craigslist. His advice for people getting started was to try and find a fixed dollar amount (like $50 or $100) of profit each day.
9. Limited Edition Sneakers
If you’re interested in shoe trends and fashion news, then flipping sneakers may be up your alley.
Selling sneakers in the aftermarket means you buy the shoes at retail price and flip them immediately at a higher price.
This works because manufacturers don’t produce enough sneakers to satisfy the demand, creating a shortage on the supply side. When it comes to premium brands like Air Jordans, the high demand and short supply fuels the resale market.
Although you need some capital to get started, sneaker flipping can be lucrative and one of the best items to flip. In fact, Side Hustle Nation reader JV Ortiz reported earning $10k a month flipping sneakers.
Reselling sneakers allows you to piggyback on the success of a brand or a trend to take advantage of an already existing fan base and market. As such, you don’t have to build your own brand or following.
10. Name Brand Shoes
You don’t have to be a sneakerhead to profit from reselling shoes. In fact, there’s a great market for gently used name-brand shoes of the non limited-edition variety.
I know I’ve shopped eBay for particular models I loved that changed or went out of stock.
Shoes also have the advantages of being relatively small and light to ship, being easy to clean, and being readily available at deep discounts at yard sales and thrift shops. A typical purchase price for a pair might be anywhere from $5-15, but can sell for as much as $50-300 depending on the brand and condition.
If you want to learn more, my friends at Flea Market Flipper have a special workshop 100% dedicated to this niche.
Despite the rumor that people don’t read books anymore, there’s still a market for used books. You can flip books at local used book stores and online at Amazon (for a fee).
Flipping books requires sourcing books, so you’re limited by your time and book inventory. But don’t let that discourage you. On The Side Hustle Show, Charlie William reported earning up to $4000 a month flipping books!
Textbooks and hard-cover non-fiction books tend to be worth the most. Charlie recommended the ScoutIQ app for serious book flippers to scan barcodes quickly to find the profitable ones.
Think you may have a first edition or a desirable rare book? You can use the free Bookscouter tool to scan barcodes and see what titles on your shelf might be worth selling.
12. Vintage Clothing
Whether it’s the desire to capture a trendy look or to save money on out-of-season couture clothes, vintage clothing has a place in the resale market. It’s not a passing fad.
According to ThredUp, the secondhand apparel market is forecasted to double in five years to $51 billion with the resale sector driving the growth. The resale market has grown 21 times faster than the retail market in the past three years.
Although sites like depop and eBay make selling secondhand clothes easier, plan to invest time into flipping vintage clothing.
According to Keely Stawicki—who’s sold $270k worth of vintage items—thrifting is labor intensive. Your profit margin must make the effort of sourcing, rehabbing, photographing, listing, and shipping the items worthwhile.
Whether as a hobby, a fixer upper project, or as a mode of transportation, used cars are still popular.
The goal is still to buy low and sell high, but in this scenario you’ll need a bigger buy-in than most other items on this list.
Flipping cars works best as a side hustle for those who love the thrill of negotiation, and find undervalued cars, and are somewhat mechanically-inclined.
Important note: Some states have regulations on car ownership and sales limitations before you’re legally required to register as a “dealer.”
14. Designer Eyeglass Frames
Prescription eyeglasses are expensive, so people go on websites like eBay to find designer frames at a discount.
Your profit will depend on the brand, style, and popularity. But selling a used pair of prescription glasses for $30-$70 isn’t a bad flip, especially if you have them laying around the house or were able to score some inexpensively at a garage sale.
15. Collectible Jewelry
Authentic bakelite jewelry and finely crafted vintage costume jewelry from designers like Monet and Trifari are still sought after in today’s thrift marketplace.
The value depends on the quality, demand, and style. And, you need to make sure you’ve got the real deal and not a knock-off.
You can resell jewelry in singles or groupings, depending on the level of effort you want to go through in the selling process. Grouping means fewer listings and some buyers prefer to buy in groups to reduce costs.
16. Tech: Electronics, Smartphones, and Computers
When it comes to the best items for flipping, not all tech gadgets are created equal.
Some brands and makes are far more popular and retain their value, such as Apple products like iPhones, MacBooks, and iPads as well as Samsung Galaxy phones. You can expect these types of used electronics to sell for hundreds of dollars with MacBooks ranging all the way up to the thousands.
In general, tech like smartphones, tablets, smart watches, and computers/laptops are highly desirable.
That doesn’t mean other brands and certain older electronics won’t sell. People may want to save money or acquire parts for their old gadgets, such as Nintendo game consoles. Some online sleuthing will give you an idea of what’s hot and what’s not.
Popular websites for flipping electronics are Craigslist, eBay, and Swappa, the latter of which can help you find the going rate of your items.
For a few pointers, Side Nation Show guest Darrel Fitzpatrick shared his six-figure eBay side hustle flipping smartphones and computers.
17. VCRs and VHS Tapes
I was a bit surprised by this one, but according to Scott Voelker, both VCR players and VHS tapes can be hot sellers. The reason is scarcity — people either have a library of tapes and a broken machine, or a working machine but nothing new to watch.
Both items can be found practically at giveaway prices at garage sales.
18. Commercial Equipment
What do riding lawnmowers, scissor lifts, insulation blowers, and pizza ovens have in common? They’re all items Rob Stephenson has flipped for a profit!
(The Genie boom lift he bought for $3500 sold for over $10k.)
When he comes across one of these items, the first thing he does is try to find out what the retail price his. He knows that selling one used, he’s likely to get 50% of the original retail price.
And because these are often super heavy, bulky, hard-to-store items, many sellers are motivated to get rid of them for far less than that. If you have the storage space and means to transport these things, don’t overlook them when you’re sourcing!
19. Rare or Retro T-Shirts
The clothes we wear are part of our identity, and some people love to find cool retro shirts. In this category, sports teams merchandise and bands can do really well.
Sure, you might have been a toddler during that 1988 Metallica concert, but that doesn’t mean you can’t rock the shirt hard :)
These are good items to look for at garage sales and thrift stores.
20. Board Games
My family loves finding and playing new board games, but sometimes fun games go out of production and can be hard to find.
That’s what makes this a popular category on eBay and other marketplaces. People may be looking to relive a childhood favorite, replace missing pieces, or just try something new.
21. Vintage Items in a Set or a Collection
Not everything under the category of “vintage” is worth money. Nostalgia plays a role in value as does rarity and demand.
There are some brands and some items that command interest and popularity. Typically, the older, the better if it means the items are unique, limited, and mostly unavailable in the public domain.
However, when you can combine items like this into a set or a collection, the value increases. (You’ve seen Storage Wars, right?)
Pins, sewing patterns, patches, cards, stamps, video games, vinyl records, silverware, china, watches, artwork, and dolls are just some of the collectibles people will pay for in a set or a collection.
Fans of iconic brands like Disney, Star Wars, Vogue, Barbie, the Beatles, Kiss, Hot Wheels, and Tiffany’s are out there just waiting to purchase their next collection.
What Else Could You Flip for a Profit?
This post has focused on tangible goods, but naturally, there are side hustlers buying and selling other “products” as well. Here are a couple interesting examples that stood out to me from the podcast archives.
Stocks and Options
I’ve always considered stock market investing as a long-term game, but others take a more active approach to trading stocks. Like other side hustles, be sure to do your research and educate yourself before making any big moves.
Option Alpha has a tremendous library of free resources, and you can set up a practice trading account before putting any real dollars at risk.
Flipping raw land involves finding motivated sellers to acquire parcels of land on the cheap. Then you can either resell those parcels for a quick flip or as an owner-financed sale.
There’s a lot involved in flipping land, including upfront investment and know-how. Check out my interview with Roberto Chavez who was bringing in $10k a month flipping land when we recorded.
Where to Sell Your Items
Now that you’ve collected items, it’s time to sell them. There are lots of options, but here are a few well-known online marketplaces.
Facebook Marketplace – Great for selling items locally, with no fees and no integrated payment processing. I sold my old car on Marketplace; the buyer paid cash.
OfferUp – Free online selling app for local transactions. There are various service fees, but none for in-person exchanges. The app uses Stripe for payment processing of shipped goods.
Craigslist – A holdover from the early days of the Internet, this online classified advertising platform still fuels a lot of local sales transactions. No integrated payment processing, but most postings are free.
Mercari – A free app that lets you sell new or used items from your phone. No in-person transactions, all items are shipped. Sellers are protected with a payment guarantee and shipping insurance. Listings are free but there’s a flat 10% selling fee.
Poshmark – A free app for selling fashion and home-related items from well-known, upscale brands like Coach, Michael Kors, and Louis Vuitton. Think of it as an online consignment shop. Selling fees are $2.95 for sales under $15 and 20% commission for sales of $15 or over.
LetGo – An online platform (app + website) to list and sell secondhand goods locally for free. Offers a chat feature to communicate with buyers. Payment processing not included.
VarageSale – This “virtual garage sale” is made up of communities where members can buy and sell items locally with no fees.
Specialty Marketplaces – Depending on what you’re flipping, there are other online and in-person marketplaces for selling, like forums, swap meets, Etsy (for vintage goods), Autotrader (for vehicles), and consignment stores.
Final Thoughts About the Best Items to Flip
Although the resale market is a growing opportunity, items fall in and out of popularity based on trends and current events. Always research first!
As most resellers advise, stick with what you know and like. And, even if an item’s cost is super low, don’t forget to account for shipping and other fees.
Your level of interest and a good profit margin are important in determining your best items to flip.
Have you flipped any items to make extra money? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below!
Pin it for later:
Big thanks to Meghan Monaghan for researching and drafting this post!