How I Quit My Job 5 Years Ago to Flip Flea Market Stuff Full-Time
It’s been five years since I quit my job to flip flea market stuff full-time!
When we first started full-time, we pretty much got thrown into it (we’ll share more about that later!). Getting backed in a corner to make a decision about how I’m going to support my family was a tough decision when it happened.
So here’s the question I’ve been asked a lot after 5 years of flipping full-time. Do I have regrets? The answer? No way! Let’s just say, it’s been amazing ride! And getting forced to jump in full-time was the best thing for us!
Let me explain.
First off, these five years have gone by fast. Our oldest was only three years old at the time we started full-time flipping and now she is in second grade! Our youngest was just born and now he’s in kindergarten!
Time sure flies.
But as it turns out, quitting my job to flip flea market stuff full-time has been the best decision ever for our family.
I’m not going to say it’s been without challenges. Let’s be honest. Every business has its challenges. Living on a fluctuating income and needing to get our own insurance has taken a while to figure out.
But after 5 years, we are in the groove and happier than ever!
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 was working as 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 the sole purpose of 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!
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?
Yup, our house was a zoo most of the time with Melissa trying to juggle working and taking care of them.
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 question was asked, “Do we cut another income source and jump into this flipping thing with both feet?”
I think you can guess what happened next!
We felt at the time that going full-time with my flipping gig 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.
I gotta say, it has been an amazing way to make a living!
And it 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 mid week Disney trips, water skiing, and traveling with our little family whenever we have the opportunity.
Not only that, we’ve been able to have learned a lot and have flipped some sweet things for a big profit!
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!
Or the road trek last year up the 127 Yard Sale and picked $8880 worth of items for $618.
And what about when we bought 60 sleep number mattresses for $60 each! (and sold them for about $500 each on eBay!)
And we can’t forget that time we took how we flipped a chair from the trash into $103,000 in inventory in just 4 months!
In case you missed it, in 2019, we started a flipping challenge to help people realize they really can do this business starting with no money!
We grabbed a chair out of the dumpster, sold it, and with that $50, we continued to re-invest that money and turned that $50 into $103,400 worth of inventory in four months!
It was a super fun project and were able to prove that you really can do this business starting with no money!
And let’s just say our adventure are getting better and better! We can’t forget picking up $24K in inventory on our 30 day road trip adventure last summer. We had fun and were able to pick up inventory to recoup our costs!
I even used my negotiations skills to snag this amazing 15 passenger van for $3500! It was definitely a trip to remember!
Work Less, Make More with Flipping!
If you know me, you know I am not a workaholic. I never understood people who want to work their lives away.
Don’t get me wrong, I love providing for my family and making sure they are taken care of. But if I can be at Disney with family instead of working, well, I’m there!
But having the flexibility and more hours in my day is one of the main benefits of flipping items full-time.
I can make more money than when I was working full-time at a job I didn’t love – and have more time to enjoy Melissa and the kids.
It’s a win-win!
This past year we hit $79K in flipping sales – and we accomplished it in only 15-25 hours per week.
For the past several years, we have split our time between flipping items and coaching others to build successful flipping businesses.
In all honesty, I have never felt so fulfilled helping others learn this business and become successful at it! It’s one thing to realize your own success at the business, but it’s another to see others take what you’ve taught them and run with it!
Over the past 5 years, we have coached over 700 course members to learn how to be successful at flipping.
Many have created amazing side hustles with a consistent flow of cash each month. They have used the extra money to kick their debt, take fun vacations with their family, and pay extra expenses that come up.
Some have even left jobs that they were not enjoying.
Let’s just say, it’s amazing to be a part of this journey for those I have been able to coach!
Like Joan and Jack who retired and started their second careers – Making $6800 flipping in 82 days!
And Stacy who took $0.50 and turned it into $100K in just two short years.
Then there is Brandon and Stephanie who do this as a hobby with their 6 kids and made $26,000 as a side hustle.
And Jessica and her family who paid off $65,000 in debt in 14 months just from flipping items on the side
Where We See Ourselves in 2021
I really thrive when I am able to visualize my goals. It really helps me. Each Monday morning, Melissa and I take the kids to school and get out for our mornings runs. We listen to motivating podcasters and get our motivation for the week.
We also set a huge goal for us this year – We want to hit $100K in sales! Over the past several years, we haven’t quite hit that mark.
We’ve been sharing our time with our coaching group to help them become successful. And if you know anything about the business, you know it takes time and training to get good at it.
We love this part of our business. But I still love to flip and we are setting lofty goals for ourselves to hit this year and we are well on our way!
We are moving into a different season in our lives. Our kids are growing older and they are getting into different activities like dancing, soccer, and baseball.
You know what that means to us? New flipping ideas!
We’ve learned a lot about baseball bats and gloves – in fact I just found a $425 glove at the flea market. I had no idea it was valuable and honestly, haven’t given baseball gloves or bats a second thought.
So I picked it up and I should get $200-$300 for it!
And then there’s bats – a lot of them! I didn’t realize that used baseball bats are literally everywhere and there is some good money it. The only reason I know that is because we are in this new season with our kids. So I have been educating myself on new items to source and sell!
With our kids growing up, we are in a new season of teaching them the flipping ropes as well!
And as it turns out, our kids love to flip used items and they are getting great at it!
We decided several months ago after getting asked so many times to buy our kids toys at the store, we thought it’d be a great idea to show them how to make their own money flipping! they are older now, they are much more available and read to earn their own money with flipping.
So we opened up an eBay account for them and took them out to the flea market for a few test runs. After a few coaching lessons with our kids, they have developed a pretty good and. And now they have been sourcing some really great items with no help from us!
Teaching our kids to earn money with flipping seemed like a natural progression for us. Because we love coaching adults to flip items, it was pretty easy to teach our kids.
Let’s just say we are happy to have invested the time in the kids to teach them this skill they can have for a lifetime. We’ve been able to take this time with them to help them earn their own money and not only that, learn how to manage it.
They have more money in their pockets and so do we!
We’ve been so proud of them. As we watched them grow with their flipping skills, we got inspired to create Flipper University – Kids Edition. We not only have been able to teach our kids the ropes, but other people’s kids are learning it as well!
Bella sold her first item in 24 hours and made $40! Her mom is pretty happy too!
Over the past five years, we’ve gotten great at balancing our own flipping gig while still helping others find success in this business.
Enjoying both sides of the business 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.
Not everyone wants to flip flea market stuff full-time, but 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.
So what about you? Have you thought about starting a side hustle? Check out our free intro workshop and see if it might be for you!
Check out our $1 Flip Club! Make $100 in 7 days of flipping items!
FREE Workshop How To Turn Your Passion of Flipping Items Into A Profitable Reselling Business
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48 thoughts on “How I Quit My Job 5 Years Ago To Flip Flea Market Stuff Full-Time”
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.
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.*
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?
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) 🙂
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.
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.
Great tios and advice! Thanks for sharin.
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.
Melissa loves estate sales! We don’t go as much right now, but we do like to visit them when we can!
Wow, this list of finds is particularly unique! Thank you for sharing your finds with us!
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?
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.
Is ebay the only place you re-sell items?
We sell on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and Offer Up as well, but eBay is our largest source of income.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hi Wiana! That sounds like a great plan. We love doing things we enjoy and being able to make money at the same time. 🙂
how do you afford health insurance for your family?
Hi Kay! We use Medishare currently. It’s not technically insurance, but it’s a sharing program that’s similar.
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! 🙂
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).
I’ve sold stuff at flea markets before, but never bought to resell.
I never knew flipping thrift store items is a lucrative business.
We love it! 😉
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.
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…
Thank you Loretta!
Where do you usually purchase your items to flip? How do you determine what they should bring?
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.
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.
Hi Ally! Are you trying to use the top bar to enter your info? Or another link in this post? Does this link work for you?https://fleamarketflipper.lpages.co/5-day-intro-course/
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.
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/
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.
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? 😉
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! 😉
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!
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.
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/
I’m a massage therapist and my passion/hustle is personal training and crochet/knit crafts projects
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?
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.
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?