How I Quit My Job To Flip Flea Market Stuff Full-Time

How I Quit My Job To Flip Flea Market Stuff Full-Time

How I Quit My Job To Flip Flea Market Stuff Full-Time

It's been three years since I originally wrote this post. Three years since I quit my job to flip flea market stuff full-time.

First off, the three years have flown by. Our oldest was only three years old and now she just graduated from kindergarten! Next year we will have two kiddos in school full-time!

It turns out quitting my job and focusing on flipping has been the best decision ever for our family.

I’m not going to say it’s been without challenges. Living on a fluctuating income can take a while to figure out. But it’s been the best thing for our family!

Some of you may know the story of how we were pushed into flipping full-time, but if you haven’t heard it yet, or are feeling trapped in your current situation read on.

For 7 years I had been a home inspector for an inspection/report company. Insurance companies would hire my (former) company to do inspections and reports for them.

An inspection is usually done with a new home purchase, a switch of insurance companies, or if it has been a certain amount of years since the last inspection.

My job was to check out the roof and house conditions, and if there was one of those old school super dangerous diving boards on the pool! (Poor kids these days don't know what they missed out on).

I enjoyed some aspects of this job like the freedom I had to make my own schedule. They gave me a number of houses to inspect and get them done in a week or two.

But I absolutely hated having to sitting in the office filling out all the paperwork that went along with the inspections.

The work had slowly been declining over the last year and a half at this job, so my main income had been coming from flipping items each month.

I basically had this job for health insurance.

But then that was taken away.

The company notified me that they would no longer be offering health insurance for us and our coverage would be ending at the end of the month of March.

This was a stressful situation in itself, but what even made it even worse was baby number 3 was on his way and Melissa's due date was – April 1st !

It’s safe to say she was freaking out a bit at the thought of having a baby with no health insurance to cover it.

I don’t tend to worry too much about things (which causes her to worry even more..)

She ended up having our son on March 23, so she made the cut off.

But that still left us with a decision.

Do we jump into flipping items full-time?

I forgot to mention that a few months prior we had decided Melissa would stay home with the three kiddos (ages 3 and under..) because it was plain craziness at our house.

She had been a personal trainer for 10 years and was still training clients part-time up until she had our son.

So we were already down one income source. So the decision was do we cut another and jump into this flipping thing with both feet?

We felt like it was the right thing to do (and think it was a nudge from God).

So we did it. We decided to flip flea market stuff full-time.

Here is a picture of my last day going into work.

flip flea market stuff full-time

 

It has been a fantastic ride.

And that ride isn’t over!

We hit $133,000 in sales in our first year of going full-time!

And we’ve been able to create some awesome experiences along the way.

Like the time we created the biggest crate EVER to ship off our Harley Davidson sign. We picked it for $250 and sold it for $7,500 plus shipping!

flip flea market stuff full-time

Or the time we took the trek up the 127 Yard Sale and picked $4,600 worth of items for $562.

flip flea market stuff full-time

And what about when we bought 60 sleep number mattresses for $60 each! (and sold them for about $500 each on eBay!)

flip flea market stuff full-time

And we can’t forget that time we took a chair from the trash and flipped it into a house! (ok, that hasn’t happened yet… but the story is being written as we speak.)

flip flea market stuff full-time

In case you missed it, we started a flipping challenge in the beginning of this year. The guidelines are:

          1. Find an item for $25 or less (from a thrift store, yard sale, flea market or even curbside in the trash).

          2. Resell that item. (using eBay, OfferUp, Letgo, Facebook Marketplace or other platform)

          3. Take the money and reinvest it in other items to resell.

          4. Keep reinvesting the money until the end of the year and see how much you can make.

We started with a chair we found in the trash and flipped it into $103,400 worth of inventory so far!

It’s been a super fun project and we can’t wait to see where we are at the end of the year!

(It’s not too late to jump in to the challenge. Just picture how much you could flip $25 into!)

Full-Time Income, Part-Time Hours

This past year we hit $85,000 in flipping sales – and in only 15-25 hours per week.

So in part-time hours we have still been able to make a full-time income.

Now we spend a bit more time helping others be successful at this flipping gig too.

Like Kelly who has worked her way up to a $5K monthly average in eBay sales.

flip flea market stuff full-time

And Stacy who has saved up $14,000 of flipping money towards an RV her family wants to purchase

flip flea market stuff full-time

 

There is Brandon and Stephanie who do this as a hobby with their 6 kids and made $26,000 last year alone.

flip flea market stuff full-time

 

And Jessica and her family who paid off $65,000 in debt in 14 months!! Just from flipping items on the side

flip flea market stuff full-time

Balancing Act

We love balancing flipping items for ourselves and helping others have success.

This is seriously what fuels me.

Recently during an interview I was asked if I see myself always flipping items.

My answer was emphatically YES!

I see myself doing this long into my retirement – no matter how much money we have saved in the bank.

When you do something you really enjoy, it rarely feels like work.

I think EVERYONE should have a side hustle going on. Something they are doing/building part time to help out with their financial future.

You never know what lies ahead, and when that additional income may be needed. Life can throws us crazy turns, and by having an extra income it saves us from dealing with extra anxiety and stress.

Further Resources

Ready to get started with a flipping side-hustle or grow your existing reselling business? Check out our FREE Intro workshop to see if this is a good fit for you!

Download these 5 mistakes reseller's make that could be costing them money to avoid making these yourself! (This will also add you to our flea market flips and eBay tips newsletter. You can unsubscribe anytime.)

I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

What is your second income stream at the moment? Do you have (or even need) one? Comment below!

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How I Quit My Job To Flip Flea Market Stuff Full-Time

Rob Stephenson
[email protected]

I grew up in Central Florida and have lived here my whole life. I first got into buying and selling items when I was 16 years old, and have been hooked ever since. It has mostly been a hobby that makes some extra cash, but sometimes it serves as my main income as well. I don't plan on stopping any time soon. I find too many fun toys for my family (or myself), and just love the whole process.

48 Comments
  • Linda H
    Posted at 22:25h, 25 May Reply

    I’ve been flipping as a hobby for years on a very small scale. I’d like to do more but my biggest question is, what do you do about income taxes? Are you supposed to claim very dollor you make like regular income?
    Thx for your help.

    • Robert Stephenson
      Posted at 21:08h, 29 May Reply

      We claim our income from flipping. You don’t have to claim sales from your own stuff (items you bought to use and them later resold), but items bought specifically for flipping need to be claimed. You are able to claim more expenses when self employed as well so that can help come tax time. *We are not CPA’s, just sharing our own experience.*

  • Renee Haley
    Posted at 21:22h, 10 January Reply

    Not sure if this thread is still active. I am trying to get into this, but I’m paying too much on the front end. Bought a couple of things at an antique store and now I’m seeing on eBay that I’ll be lucky to sell them and get my money back. I prefer to deal in things smaller than a bread box :). I am going to France in February and I usually go to flea markets. Any suggestions on what I should pick up to sell for maximum profit?

    • Robert Stephenson
      Posted at 07:52h, 14 January Reply

      There are so many things you can look for. One thing I would suggest is looking the items up before you buy them. That way you know you are getting a good enough deal to make some money. If not, then it’s not worth to purchase. (Unless you just like the item and want to keep it) 🙂

  • Mike lehr
    Posted at 22:51h, 01 January Reply

    I have non profit thrift store near me I use. I to sell flea market items as well but where I live isn’t much out in the country of good old Western Maryland and Pennsylvania. I enjoy car parts selling the most and probably make second eBay just for the niche but I do sell alot of random things. My question is with YouTube having sellers showing people do you think 2019 be good year. Its work to sell online and alot people give it a try and just realize it’s not what they want to do. My problem is limited sources in winter besides Goodwill and mompop store and so fourth but I’m making money I just wish I was getting more sales more orders. I’m 33 and iv learned so much sense I started back in July 2018. I even sell parts of old vintage electronics and clothing. But just can’t seem to get the sales one month I’ll have 10 sales a week next 1 or something like that. I have been doing bolo and comps searches as well. Sorry if this doesn’t make sense to some I’m rambling lol. Anyways Happy New year would love to hear back from you and maybe see some new post on eBay PayPal and something like when to change from hobby selling to store when the time is right.

    • Robert Stephenson
      Posted at 10:32h, 30 January Reply

      Hi Mike! Thanks for your comment. I totally get what you are saying by people talking more about it, won’t it limit items. I would say that the majority of people won’t take action. That is the unfortunate truth for many who want to start something new. And there are SO MANY different niches you can get into with reselling that I don’t think the market will be overrun anytime soon. 🙂 Car parts is a great one! I don’t see many sellers doing those as doing clothes.

  • LeAnn Hirschman
    Posted at 12:34h, 01 January Reply

    Great tios and advice! Thanks for sharin.

  • Mary Rowell
    Posted at 15:03h, 28 October Reply

    Have you ever tried estate sales? Sometimes on the final days when the prices are knocked down you’re able to buy several items and negotiate.

    • Robert Stephenson
      Posted at 09:54h, 31 October Reply

      Melissa loves estate sales! We don’t go as much right now, but we do like to visit them when we can!

  • Trinity Owen
    Posted at 21:35h, 13 September Reply

    Wow, this list of finds is particularly unique! Thank you for sharing your finds with us!

  • Robin Gage
    Posted at 07:05h, 04 August Reply

    Years ago I sold on eBay and just loved it, but the fees are so high now….do you know if there is a way of cutting those fees down?

    • Robert Stephenson
      Posted at 12:13h, 09 August Reply

      The fees are typically 10% of your final sale. We can usually make a lot more selling on eBay so it’s worth the fees for that. But you can also sell locally with no fees involved.

  • TJ Johnson
    Posted at 14:45h, 14 July Reply

    Is ebay the only place you re-sell items?

    • Robert Stephenson
      Posted at 16:03h, 15 July Reply

      We sell on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and Offer Up as well, but eBay is our largest source of income.

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 22:42h, 26 June Reply

    Hello, this kinda stuff doing I really like. The only thing I have no idea about yet is once you get the EBay business account and you start selling stuff. Then how do you ship it and pay for that? That seems to be the hardest part for me. What do you do and does it work for you and what is the cheapest way to go.
    Thanks!

    • Robert Stephenson
      Posted at 16:19h, 15 July Reply

      We have the buyer pay for shipping on some items, and some items we price to include the hipping. Just depends on the item. But if we do free shipping, we are sure to include it in the price of the item so we don’t lose money.

      • Steve McCoy
        Posted at 19:12h, 02 September Reply

        How do you accurately determine shipping costs? I sold some items on eBay for a while, but I didn’t have very good luck using their shipping calculator, and lost money on shipping too often.

        • Robert Stephenson
          Posted at 05:02h, 17 September Reply

          Sorry to hear that Steve! I wonder why the shipping calculator was so off? I’ve seen it off by a dollar or two here and there, but not crazy amounts. We estimate the cost for shipping to go to the furthest state from us (California), and then we are covered pretty much anywhere that it goes in the country.

  • Wiana
    Posted at 05:19h, 13 June Reply

    Hi. Your story is absolutely inspiring. I am a 61 year (young) lady. I love to give old things a new life. Currently, I am a school librarian. However, I have to make plans for retiring within 4 years. How to keep me busy and also how to do the things that I like…to paint and to restore! I know that my life is in God’s hands, and if Jesus has not come to fetch us before my retiring date…then I would love to make this my life and income. God bless you and your wife.

    • Robert Stephenson
      Posted at 12:49h, 15 June Reply

      Hi Wiana! That sounds like a great plan. We love doing things we enjoy and being able to make money at the same time. 🙂

  • kay
    Posted at 17:02h, 05 June Reply

    how do you afford health insurance for your family?

    • Robert Stephenson
      Posted at 19:54h, 05 June Reply

      Hi Kay! We use Medishare currently. It’s not technically insurance, but it’s a sharing program that’s similar.

  • Coty Burkhart
    Posted at 19:29h, 30 May Reply

    Hi! Just wanted to say I love your story and the way you started out in the flipping business! I would really like to start getting in the process of it but I’m sort of nervous to start because I feel like whatever I get to sell, it wouldn’t sell at all and that scares me and also I would really like to make that my main income so my husband wouldn’t have to work twice as hard and neither would I. Also, do you have to have a business license to sell on eBay? Thanks so much! 🙂

    • Robert Stephenson
      Posted at 19:55h, 05 June Reply

      Hi Coty!

      Thank you!! You don’t have to have a business license to sell on eBay. You do have to keep track of your income and expenses for tax purposes if you buy items specifically to resell. (Items you sell from your home or personal use don’t matter).

  • PhoenixG
    Posted at 07:38h, 24 April Reply

    I’ve sold stuff at flea markets before, but never bought to resell.
    I never knew flipping thrift store items is a lucrative business.

  • Loretta Muir
    Posted at 11:51h, 24 February Reply

    U r amazing, an inspiration, & a motivator. Thank you for doing what you are doing. It is motivating me to continue w/ getting my guide to market.
    Thank you & much success. I am going to send this to others.

  • Loretta Muir
    Posted at 11:49h, 24 February Reply

    You are amazing… A True, out-of-the-box doing thinker. I am inspired, I am inspired. I am working on a guide that will help 1000s of ppl. It is tedious but I am nonetheless doing what I dutifully need to do. My dream: help others & live near the ocean -not on the west coast – & drive a sudan Mozaratti!!! WOoo…

  • Jennifer Bench
    Posted at 07:32h, 15 February Reply

    Where do you usually purchase your items to flip? How do you determine what they should bring?

    Thanks
    Jennifer

    • Robert Stephenson
      Posted at 13:13h, 19 February Reply

      We purchase items from the flea market, thrift stores, OfferUp, Craigslist, auctions, and yard sales.

      The best way to find out what they will bring in is to check the completed listing on eBay. That will give you the most accurate idea of what you could get for your items.

  • Ally Rickenbacker
    Posted at 10:44h, 10 February Reply

    I am attempting to obtain your free five day course . I have filled in my name and email but am unable to submit the info or move forward with the order. I would be grateful for any assistance in completing this process. Thanks for your time.

  • Mike @ Ninja Budgeter
    Posted at 20:26h, 10 January Reply

    Cool site, just found it on Pinterest.

    I’m curious, how do you deal with shipping large items? I’ve only sold smaller, lighter things on Ebay and I would be nervous to take on shipping something as massive as that pitching machine.

    • Robert Stephenson
      Posted at 20:41h, 10 January Reply

      Hey Mike! Totally understand that! Shipping can be very intimidating, but over the years we have gravitated to the larger items and shipping has gotten a ton easier. Here is a post I recently wrote on getting started with freight shipping. I hope this helps! https://fleamarketflipper.com/freight-shipping-101/

  • Michele
    Posted at 22:39h, 16 August Reply

    Hi…..you say: “You can get the list HERE.” But then we have to download. I was just looking for the list. It is misleading.

    • Robert Stephenson
      Posted at 11:20h, 17 August Reply

      Sorry Michele, It is a download that you can get by clicking “HERE”. We don’t mean it to be misleading. I changed the wording to download. Is that better? 😉

  • [email protected]
    Posted at 21:14h, 15 June Reply

    I have a teenage son who is very keen to try this. He bought 1 pair of jeans from Value Village for $10 and sold them for $90. That’s an impressive profit for a kid!
    I have done this to pay for a keyboard for my children (saved $600 in 2 weeks). I love the challenge since we are raising 4 kids in an expensive city on a pastor’s salary. We do believe in miracles! 😉

    • Robert Stephenson
      Posted at 23:51h, 15 June Reply

      that is awesome Karen! I actually first started when I was 16 – and used my parents garage to hold some of my eBay items. He did a great job! And I agree – it’s a fun challenge!

  • Crystal
    Posted at 01:59h, 11 March Reply

    Hey robert

    Ive been flipping off and on for about 4 years now. To be honest i do it so i can pay for things i really dont want to pay full price for. I do low end quick selling stuff like kids babies and womens stuff.

    I would feel really intimidated selling a pitching machine because of the cost of shipping. Tell me something to give me a positive outlook on selling huge oversized items.

    • Robert Stephenson
      Posted at 02:58h, 11 March Reply

      I can totally understand your reservations about shipping larger items. I used to feel the same way and only posted larger items for pickup only. My wife likes a lot of the baby and women’s stuff too!
      We actually just came out with an e-book on the topic of shipping larger items. I go into detail how I do everything and created 3 videos to show examples of items that I packaged and shipped. You can read more about that book here if it’s something that interests you. 🙂 https://fleamarketflipper.com/package-ship-items-ebay/

  • Nardett
    Posted at 21:45h, 09 March Reply

    I’m a massage therapist and my passion/hustle is personal training and crochet/knit crafts projects

    • Robert Stephenson
      Posted at 01:35h, 10 March Reply

      Melissa is a personal trainer too! That goes well with massage therapy. Make them work, then loosen up those stiff muscles! 🙂 Does flea market stuff interest you too?

  • Beth
    Posted at 19:30h, 17 January Reply

    Hi fellow Floridan. I do this also but only as a hobby as I have limited funds to start with. Hope to follow your site for years to come.

    • Robert Stephenson
      Posted at 04:01h, 18 January Reply

      Glad to have you here Beth! This has been my hobby since I was 16! This past year I have spent a little more on some bigger items, but usually I like to spend $5-$50 on items to sell. You can definitely make a good profit with a small starting cost. I even have an ebook that I wrote about getting FREE items to sell. I LOVE those ones. 🙂 Do you have a good flea market or some good thrift stores near you?

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