How This Retired Couple Makes $12K/Mo Flipping Large Items Online

Jack Podcast

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Transcription:

Rob: All right today, Jack, we’re so happy that you’re jumping on here to give us some great information about your reselling business. So Jack, welcome to the podcast. Please give us a little bit of information on your background, and kind of where you’re at in your reselling business right now. 

Jack: I can do that, Rob. Welcome, everybody. Let’s go back a ways. Very early in, in my life and career, I was a dairy farmer. Okay, [00:01:00] that’s getting up and milking cows, feeding animals, doing hay. That, that whole bit, I did it through high school, did it through college, did it after college for full-time for a while. It was family. It was my single uncle.

And that really is the compass that set my direction in life. I knew, at college, if this man could get up at five o’clock and milk cows, I could get up and study and be a better person. So, it’s made my compass throughout life. College was environmental studies. After college working on the farm, I was also a regional writer and conservation periodical.

And over the years, it morphed into me starting up working in the horticulture industry, getting away from animal husbandry into horticulture. And that’s what I’ve done for the last 30 years. I started a national employment newspaper for horticulture employment back in the [00:02:00] mid nineties called Farrell’s Jobs In Horticulture. I sold it in the late, late nineties and in 2000, my largest advertiser asked me to come to Florida. They were executive recruiters for the horticulture industry. So in 2000 we left Pennsylvania moved to Florida, and work with a Sanford company called Floor Search, retiring the very last day of 2018.

And I’m married to my life partner and partner in the flipping business, Joan, and I cannot say enough about how genuine a person Joan is. We have two daughters, Jacqueline and Gina and two son-in-laws, Joe and Mark, and now we have three granddaughters. Abigail is three, Ellis two, and little Weston’s 10 months, but he’ll turn one in January. So we’ll have a 3, 2, 1, and maybe it’s done. We don’t know yet. [00:03:00] So that’s a little bit about me and a little about, about the family. 

Rob: I love it. I love it. And the cool thing about this is your story is totally different than our story I’ve been flipping for over 20 years. Now, you don’t have any experience in the flipping industry. So how did you go to that next level? What caused you, a little over a year ago, what caused you to, to jump into the flipping industry? 

Jack: Well, it’s partially right and let me add some, some depth to it. Flipper University, yes. We’re alumni 12 months, now. How do you like that term? Alumni?

But I would look back over the years. We’ve flipped various items. I’m the only person I can think of that I’ve had two open houses and I’ve sold two homes by having open houses. And I just have the feeling if you can make things look good and of course need to be good that somebody will buy it.

So we did that, Joan [00:04:00] and I rehabbed three mobile homes, two single-wides and a double-wide. So we sold those. We also have flipped five RVs. We had three class B units, the van type RVs and two travel trailers that we’ve used and sold. And I guess lastly, I’ve had six maxi motor scooters, Suzukis, Hondas, and have sold those. So we have flipped things.

But never with the continuity, the uniformity that you all have put together in the Flipper University. And I heard about it and I called Joan, and I was traveling said, Hey, you know, we need to listen to, to this and, and track it out. And we did, and firm believers that education is cheap compared to ignorance. So we got the education. 

Rob: Awesome. So you do have some history [00:05:00] and it’s actually larger stuff, houses, RVs, motorcycles, and stuff like that. That is you have some experience on the flipping realm. 

Melissa: And I know Joan’s very thrifty too. Like she likes to save money so that the two of you together are good, are an awesome pair.

Rob: Exactly. That’s really, that’s really, really cool. So. Cool. Good, good. So now we have a little bit of background. 

Melissa: And so right now, are you flipping part-time or full-time? 

Jack: Right now we are flipping full-time. However, once the school year started, we are taking care of our infant grandson. So we’re trying to figure that one out, and we’ve come up with a strategy. I would work mornings, Joan would take over and work the afternoon. So she would have Weston during the morning, I have him in the afternoon, and for the most part it works, but it sure slows down momentum. Now I’m not saying it begrudgingly, family comes first and we’re glad to have the little guy in our life. He also brings some possible [00:06:00] germs with him because Joan has been ill, I’ve been ill, Joan’s ill again. So it’s just one of those things where it could be related. It could not be, but we’re working through it. 

Rob: That’s it. That’s awesome. And I want to definitely point out one key point you said: family comes first. Melissa and I are strong believers everything that we do in this business is so we can spend time with each other and with our kids. So that is one of the main reasons why we flip, so kudos to you. Yeah. You guys, you have our schedule, you could take it the wrong way and say, oh man, I don’t want to take care of my grandkids, but I applaud you. That is amazing that that is your outlook on it. And I agree a hundred percent. That’s why we do what we do as well. 

Melissa: It gives you the flexibility to be able to make those choices, which is pretty cool. 

Rob: Absolutely. Absolutely. 

Jack: Yeah, I said to Joan last evening if I had some type of job or part-time job, I don’t have the flexibility that this provides. And here we are, we can take care of, we can help our daughter and son-in-law, taking care of the little one. Supposedly beginning of [00:07:00] the January, he’ll be old enough to go into a daycare where his sister now attends. So that should be, should be happening early January. 

Rob: Awesome. Awesome. 

Melissa: Give it a little more time.

Rob: Cool. 

Melissa: So what right now, where are you selling? What platform is your platform of choice to sell on? 

Jack: Yeah, I think, eBay is definitely our, our platform of choice. Normally we can achieve higher profit margins with the items that we sell and, you know, either palletize package, the items for boxing, FedEx, or YRC shipments. The item’s out the door. It’s pretty much handled on our timeline with our ability to be flexible. We do sell things locally. Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, Craigslist, and you’re coordinating schedules. You’re, you know, you have scammers, you have low ballers, you have no shows. You, you have a lot [00:08:00] of things. You meet a lot of nice people, I’m not bashing it, but you have to be a little more diligent and, less flexible. And I know that, Joan recently got us set up on Amazon, so we’ll be on Amazon. We were approached by a gentleman that we know that manufacturers automotive detailing products, and he talked to us about selling those on eBay and Amazon, so we’re in the process. Not sure if that’ll come together, but that’s a possibility. But eBay is our go-to thing with items that justify being on eBay. 

Rob: I love it. I love it. And you’re not limiting it to eBay, so you’re actually looking other avenues. And if they come through, they do, if they don’t, they don’t. But that’s, that’s us as well.

We love eBay. We use eBay for probably 90% of our sales, so, but don’t ever close your mind. There could be something out there and when you close your mind, that’s when you miss it. So you have to be able to look at those other avenues, look at other, other opportunities that that approach [00:09:00] you, or that come into your, your path that you’re able to take advantage of. So that’s awesome for sure. 

Melissa: And so what are some of your favorite items that you guys sell? Like what are, what are some of the things that you like to sell? 

Jack: I would say that our categories right now, Melissa, would be automotive, exercise equipment, restaurant equipment, recreation. And I’m wanting to know if I could possibly interest any of the listeners into a rotisserie.

Now the rotisserie I’m talking about, it’s not for pigs, it’s not for chickens. This thing is a massive thing that you put up like a pickup truck on or a car on, and you can rotate it around to work on it. We had a, a neighbor in our warehouse development that moved recently, and he was not going to take a lot of items that didn’t apply to his business. His business model had morphed about 10 years ago and he had a lot of stuff that he inventoried. So [00:10:00] I don’t how many pallets of stuff he brought to us, maybe 8, maybe 10. It’s a lot. So we’re working through that now, but one of them is this giant quote, unquote rotisserie is what you call it.

Rob, you may have seen, seen a rotisserie before, but, it’s a big old thing that hopefully we’ll make some decent money on it. And likewise, we’ve sold some other things that he’s brought already, but we’re working through that, you know, have a food warmer, it’s really nice. You’ve been to a buffet meal where the you’re sitting there and these servers bringing a full plated meal and take the lid off and put it in front of you, well I have one of those that we cleaned up and looking good.

It’s listed on eBay. I even have a two-wheel golf cart. Don’t know if you’ve ever heard of a two-wheel golf cart, but there is such an animal. It’s essentially a scooter that the manufacturer puts up place where you put your golf bag on the back and all the other accoutrements you’d [00:11:00] find in a four-wheel golf cart.

So those are some of the things we chose the scale up early on to bigger items. Find that there’s more profitability trying to find if there’s demand on eBay. And so, you know, I’ve sold a Bowflex to a gentlemen in Colorado and there’s plenty of Bowflexes out there, but man, that time it took to tear it apart and wrap it and palletize it and then ship it.

I haven’t tackled another one of those again. So some things we make mistakes on too. I have a Baskin and Robbins ice cream cooler, big, old thing that you would walk up to any Baskin and Robbins counter and be looking through the glass at the various ice creams inside. I was giving it a good cleaning. I think I messed up the little thermostat on it. It’s a little controller, tell it when to turn on and when not to. No big deal, $75 plug a new one in. Well found out [00:12:00] that they don’t log, they no longer, make this particular controller, so I’ve been struggling to find used or even a new one. So things that, that happened, some things go sideways, but most things don’t, and that’s the, the point I want to make, not everything’s going to be peaches and cream.

Rob: 100%. We would agree with that. Yeah, but you’re learning from it. So you’re learning you’re from your mistakes and you’re learning from the process that you’re going through, which is awesome. You always want to be learning in this business. And you have to have the outlook on it. Okay, what can I learn from this situation rather than getting bitter at it and being like, okay, that’s it. I had a bad experience. I’m I’m not flipping anymore. Right. You know, I’m not reselling anymore because of this bad experience. So yeah. That’s an awesome mindset. I applaud you on that as well. Because that is how you become successful. You have to be able to take the good with the bad and realize, okay, what can I learn from this situation, which is totally awesome. For sure. 

Melissa: So what would you say was one of your most memorable flips or biggest flips that you’ve had? 

Jack: Well, it’s somewhat [00:13:00] of a circuitous story, but I’ll try to hit it straight on. We purchased seats out of a 15-passenger Ford transit van. This person contacted us because we’d purchased Mercedes seats from a conversion van company.

So anyway, there was a connection there. So we bought his seats and he came, I took them out. We bought the hardware, everything associated with it. He’s a lawyer he’s going to travel the U.S. converting it into a mobile office, and I hope he’s out there having a big old time. He should be. And so we advertise the seats on eBay, advertise locally, get local call when we were traveling the, the SunRail for, to celebrate Joan’s birthday in Winter Park, which to everybody listening to it, it’s a local commuter train in the Orlando area.

And anyway, this lady said her husband wanted to buy a particular seat, so [00:14:00] son came to pick up the seat a few days later. Showed the son, you know, we have more seats. We had hardware and the son comes back, well, he said he may, his father may be interested in the hardware. So I follow up a week later and they got back to me and said, yeah, we are interested in the hardware to hold the seats to the floor of our van.

So they picked that up. And a couple of weeks later, the son calls and says, hey, we have some things we’d like for you to look at. Could you come over in a, not too far away, 15 miles away. So we drive over, didn’t ask what they were and we walk into one room and there’s this tall, it’s called a turbo air. It’s something you would see, like in a row, in a airport where you walk by, reach in and grab a sandwich or fruit. There’s no doors to open. It’s an open air thing, gleaming brand new, never used. It turns out they’d been in the restaurant business for a long time, [00:15:00] eateries all over the United States, food service. And for whatever reason, this one never got implemented.

Of course, they wanted a decent dollar for it and they sell for $5,500 well, they sell for about $7,000 new, can resell a new one for $5,500. We ended up buying it for $3,500, a little more than we surely would like to but we, they had a lot of other things. We offered pennies on the dollar, and got those. The keystone thing was getting this cooler off their hands, which they wanted, but we got the other stuff cheap and we’ve been selling it.

Next phase. We have it on eBay. The cooler sells in a couple of weeks to a gentleman in Brooklyn. I think he’s English was his second language. Got it shipped. It was a challenge to lift this heavy thing around and call it, ties it, but that all got accomplished. It got shipped up there by YRC freight. Fine. Let the man know that it’s sitting there on the terminal and [00:16:00] in Brooklyn and he’s and I said he can go get it now. He’s coming back to me in his broken English corresponding. How do you mean? I said well you need to pick it up and he didn’t get upset. I gave him options and how I could get it, rent a truck, know somebody who has a truck anyway, he picked it up. He got it unwrapped at his place uncrated. And then he’s coming back to us saying, I’d like to buy another one, just like it. And of course, in the flipping business you usually don’t have another one just like, but the point is, if you’re doing right by people and getting them the right things at a good price, you know, you’ll have people, very happy with you and that’s what builds your business.

Melissa: Yeah, 

Rob: So many great nuggets in that story, for sure. So, I mean, you could dissect that yet. You created a contact by selling something to somebody, which is amazing. We always 

Melissa: Now you know somebody who wants one. 

Rob: That’s right. We [00:17:00] always love making contacts. And at the same time, once you sold this one, you made another contact of a gentleman who wants more when you come across them if you can come across them. Yes, so many great nuggets in that story. Absolutely love it, Jack. That is the key to this business is, is making your customers happy, and creating those contacts and creating that more of a, what would you call it like, relationships with, you know, just other people that you can, and you have that relationship with that you can talk to, and sell other stuff too, or buy other stuff from, so, yeah, that’s awesome. That is a huge point in this business for sure. 

Melissa: That’s helped our business a lot. It’s fun to create those contexts and it doesn’t come naturally at first, but then if you’re just nice to people, you, it’s amazing what a friend of a friend wants to give you. It’s kinda crazy. 

So I know, you jumped in, you guys jumped in feet first, like ready, like hit the ground running didn’t even like stop to breathe, like you were going for it. So the first three months you guys hit about $6,800, I think it was in sales your first three months. Since then, what has been your [00:18:00] biggest month? Do you know? On eBay? 

Jack: I know about two months ago before we started taking care of Weston and I looked and Joan might know, but we were on a 90-day average at $36 or $39 thousand. 

Rob: Wow.

Melissa: That’s awesome. 

Jack: I know it’s come down. I have it. That’s I think it was 36, maybe it was 39, but that was back two months ago.

Melissa: You posted it in the group. I can’t remember what it was either, but I knew it was up there. So that’s a that’s awesome. 90 days time. 

Rob: That’s amazing, not 3,900, not $3,500, $35,000, $39,000. Jack is moving some inventory. 

Melissa: In three months time. 

Rob: In three months time, which is awesome. That is amazing. And again, he’s only been doing this for the last 12 months, and he’s really learning a lot as you guys can hear from his stories. He’s learning a lot, he’s taking all this in and it’s amazing to see his progression. So that is awesome. 

Melissa: So what would [00:19:00] be three things that you’ve maybe would attribute to the success of your business?

Jack: I think one thing is division of duties and, you know, Joan does administration side of the business, the listings, and bill like, you know, paying bills, sourcing product. She’s good at that. I focus on operations so I refurbish and clean, I photograph, I do the boxing and the shipping. So trying to stay off, trying to stay out of each other’s hair as much as possible. Small businesses, it’s impossible, but as much as possible. And I think the work ethic, you know, bring that full circle. Farming, those 5:00 AM milkings, it’s just, as I said, it’s been a compass, my approach to work and you’ve met Joan, but most of you haven’t. Joan is a dedicated person to anything and everyone, family, friends, community, and this business. So she’s this extremely [00:20:00] dedicated, course she’s dedicated to me, which I’m not sure sometimes she gets the best end of the stick, but she’s just a great, great person to be in with. And we have fun. And I guess the third thing is exceeding the expectations of customers.

I sold something just short story sold an LG Sidekick. If anybody knows what that is, because five months ago, I didn’t, but it’s a, it’s a little pedestal washing machine that fits under a standard size LG washing machine. So if you have a small load of whites or something, you can be pushing up through while your big machine on top is running it.

So it takes the place of a pedestal that a lot of machines are on. One evening a lady inquired from Mississippi about it, and we were on it. And within an hour it was sold to her, and by the time I got done out at the warehouse at say nine o’clock that night, she had the [00:21:00] pro number so she could track it through YRC.

And she’s saying all these accolades, “Nobody’s ever done this with me on eBay. And this is so wonderful. You guys are such great.” And at one point I said, “You’re gonna have to stop saying this Trish, because you’re gonna make me blush,” all laughing, but you know, that’s our approach. Try to exceed expectations, try to have things clean and look good. It goes back to the flipping those houses years ago. You know, just make it real. 

Melissa: Yeah. 

Rob: I love it. Those are a great three tips. Jack, thank you so much for those business duties and in Jack’s case, he is working with his wife. They both are retired and they’re doing this full time. So they’re able to delegate who does what and try to stay out of each other’s hair, which is awesome, and then ethics. Work ethics is huge. Guys, this is not a get rich quick. All you resellers know this, you know that it takes work at this. You just, hopefully you’ll love it. I love sourcing items. That’s what I’m really good at.[00:22:00] 

So hopefully you guys, you guys understand that. And then the third one is definitely, and that’s a big one that Melissa and I always say is under promise and over deliver. You want your customers to be happy. If they’re happy, they come back to you. They give you other contacts, they give you other stuff. So that is the biggest thing is you want to make sure that item is meeting or exceeding the expectations that your buyers have. So, Jack amazing, amazing tips. We love them. Thank you so much for jumping on here. Do we have any more questions? 

Melissa: Just some fun questions. Like, so just to get to know Jack a little bit. So what is one of your hobbies besides flipping or is flipping your hobby really, at that pace? 

Jack: I created an edible landscape at the house we lived in, so I had this bonanza of oranges, grapefruit kumquats, limes, pecans, mulberries, figs, blueberries. And then we sold our home and moved into a condominium. So I pivoted and, you know, [00:23:00] hiking, kayaking, bicycling, things that I had done, but I do more of now.

And Joan loves fishing. She’s just passionate, always has been. I don’t have her passion though. I fished a lot. I don’t have her passion for that. And the things I mentioned, she enjoys doing this well. So we’re, you know, really a well-matched team in the harness. We really enjoy doing a lot of the same things.

Rob: That’s awesome. 

Melissa: We talk about that a lot, because it is important to do stuff, even if maybe your fishing’s not your thing, but you enjoy doing it with her. So like, that’s the same thing that we like to do stuff with each other. Like, I don’t really love the water, surprise, because we’re on the water almost every week on the lake, but I like to go out there with you. And the same thing with running, he hated running, but he likes to do it with me. So now it’s, we’ve learned. Now we like it. Now we really like each other, what we do.

Rob: It helps to grow each other together. So, yeah. That’s awesome that you in general like that, so, [00:24:00] yeah, that’s, that’s really cool.

Jack: We have a tandem kayak and it’s pedal driven and it only has one pedal drive. So I sit in the back and I pedal this sucker and she’s up front and she’s casting and doing, doing her thing. And it’s funny, we were in the think was the Dead River over near Leesburg, and these boats were going by and, you know, pontoon boats full of people and they were laughing, making fun of her, “She’s not doing anything up there and he’s doing all the work back there.” So, but you know, it, it works. I I’m getting exercise and she’s having fun. 

Rob: That’s awesome. I love it. 

Melissa: Last fun question. So your favorite vacation destination, I think you guys like to travel, don’t you and then this whole craziness hit, but you, before that you liked to travel, I think. 

Jack: Yeah, we, we love traveling, I would say if it’s a destination, Key West is pretty cool. Pretty cool place to go [00:25:00] to. I guess our point of view is there’s so many places to explore that we’re not one of those couples that would go to the same place year after year standing reservation. We’re going to be going somewhere different. You know, we had a chance to, to go to Paris with our daughter and son-in-law, and they had a two-month-old at the time. That was a couple of years ago, right before COVID hit. So we’re going to West Virginia this weekend. Friends are celebrating an anniversary up there. And so we’re going to hop on a plane and do that thing, but we’re talking about that yesterday. Once we get around the corner of this year, do a little bit more traveling. 

Melissa: And always a stop in at the thrift stores and stuff nearby right? 

Jack: There’s always something to look forward to. 

Rob: We totally agree. We love traveling and sourcing while we’re on the road. It’s fun. It’s a, it’s a good time. And we’re like you as well. We, we don’t like any specific destination, but it’s fun to see new things. We have so many [00:26:00] things to be able to see. So we’re always trying to find new things and do that. Awesome. Well, Jack. 

Jack: I was living vicariously through you two last summer, when you were on your marathon trip, it was great. 

Rob: It was a blast. Yeah. Thank you, so well, cool. Well Jack, thank you so much for your time. Thank you so much for your value bombs that you’ve been dropping through this interview. We’re so thankful for you, thankful to watch your growth and help you along the way as well. So, like I said, we, we, we greatly appreciate your time that you’ve taken to come on this interview with us and, and give some great, great value bombs for, for the audience. 

Melissa: Yes, thank you so much. 

Jack: Hats off to you and Melissa, keep up the great work. We’re listening. 

Rob: Thanks, Jack. Have a great day, guys. See ya! 

Rob: Awesome. Sweet, have a great day. We’ll see you guys soon. Thank you. Bye guys.

FURTHER RESOURCES

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Robert Stephenson

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.

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