Do you love to shop and grab a bargain? Or maybe shopping isn’t your thing, but you’re the main shopper in your family and you can never get down to the clearance aisle to see what deals you can get for the fam. Whether you’re a shopping-savvy 9-to-5er or a stay-at-home mom, what if I told you that you could turn your shopping trips into extra cash? There is no bull. If you don’t mind browsing through bargains or checking the clearance racks, you can make a pretty penny by buying cheap locally and selling high online.
Prepare to flip
One of the first steps in any flipping process is figuring out where to sell the bargains you find. Some of the most popular online forums for buying low and selling high are Amazon, eBay, and even Etsy (for some types of products). Amazon is an attractive choice because their program, Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), allows you to ship your items to them – then they take care of storing and shipping your items, as well as any necessary customer service or return processing (for a fee). However, some types of products are restricted to Amazon and require approval before you can sell — which can make eBay a better choice, even if you have to handle all the shipping yourself. If you’re into vintage items or crafting supplies, Etsy is a platform you might want to consider.
Now, before you go to the bargain, you need to have the right tools. These tools should ensure that you are selecting the clearance or bargain items that will actually make you a profit when you sell online. Depending on where you choose to sell your products – whether it’s on Amazon’s FBA or eBay or elsewhere – you’ll want to install a few apps on your smartphone to check prices and popularity (marketability, really) on the go. Some of the most useful apps include Amazon Seller, the eBay app, and profit bandit.
Shop to flip
There’s hardly a store that doesn’t have a bargain or clearance rack at some point—and getting familiar with their clearance and overstock flushing seasons is your bread and butter. Keep an eye out for any liquidation sales or out-of-business sales happening locally and be sure to check them out. Always scan through the weekly sales papers for promising leads, and be sure to look for library sales, rummage sales, garage sales, and flea markets in your area. Also know which times of the year are best for clearance – for example, Christmas clearance starts in mid-December, while swimwear clearance starts once summer is in full swing.
It also helps to know which types of stores are likely to get the best deals: drugstores often discount quickly to clear stock, big retailers like Walmart and Target have serious clearance areas, and toy stores like to throw out unpopular items quickly. Estate sales or thrift stores can pick up treasures at surprisingly low prices, while Craigslist’s free section may have some worthy items if you’re willing to spend some internet time. I’ve got more tips on buying “45 Ways to Sell Low and High with Retail Arbitrage,” so check out that resource next.
Maximize the flip
While it takes a lot of time and effort to track down great deals to turn into more cash, you should make sure the effort is worth it. To achieve this, make sure you only pick items that will make your money back, pay for your sales fees, and provide a profit on top of that. In general, many people say that the best way to achieve this is to only pick an item that you can sell for three times its price. So only get a $5 appliance if it’s at least $15 according to your seller’s apps. Once you have more experience, you may find other ratios work for you, but the 3X rule is a good value to start with.
Here’s another clever trick to maximize flips: Don’t just profit from selling, profit from buying. You may already be a big coupon-clipper and cashback app user – so keep applying those cash-generating tricks to your flipping shopping trips too! When you buy clearance items online, you can earn gift cards from Ebates or MyPoints; In some cases, you can even earn Ebates rewards in-store. Check to see if your credit cards have any cashback programs you can take advantage of: This is especially worth your while if you have category-specific credit cards that often have point rewards programs for their in-store purchases. If there’s any opportunity to make a shopping trip work for you, follow through and follow through.
Follow through with the flip
Following is the most important step – you’ve scored a lot, made a profit on the purchase, and now you’re ready to profit from your work. If you’re doing FBA, you’ll need to list your items in your Amazon seller account and send the items to them for storage and shipping after they’re sold. If you’re selling elsewhere, you’ll still need to take photos and create an attractive listing for your product, but you’ll also need to handle the shipping, safely storing your items, and any other handling necessary for your product. Customer service correspondence required.
The extra cash you’ve scored in your pocket is perfect for the moment – or you can use your profits to invest in more products that you can continue to flip for even more profit. You can enter the restricted category on Amazon, grow your business, and maybe one day become one of your central money-makers. It can happen – you just need the right mix of persistence, thoroughness and awareness of the items that are hot sellers of the moment.
Are you ready to try to bargain? It’s easy to get started in your spare time, and there are tons of tools out there to help you And if bargaining for profit catches your fire, I’d love to hear your success story!