If you’re a fan, like me, of the popular show Flea Market Flip on TV, then you’ve seen one of the latest trends happening today.

Teams of 2 compete by going to a large flea market, find 3 used or vintage items, turn them into updated, chic furniture or home decor, and resell them for a profit.

Whoever makes a larger net profit wins $5,000, and millions of fans see themselves jumping onto the bandwagon to go flea market flipping for profit! But can you really make money?

There’s no doubt that fantastic bargains can be found at flea markets and thrift stores. For those who know how to recognize the value in them and the ability to restore and market those bargains, there is great profit to be made. But that takes experience and commitment beyond the enjoyable hobby most people see it as.

But what if you can still enjoy your bargain hunting as a hobby AND make money promoting it? We’ll talk more about that, but first let’s check it out whether you can really make money!

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What is Flea Market Flipping?

What is flea market flippingSimply put, flea market flipping is purchasing an item at a flea market and then reselling it for a higher price. Some items can be resold as-is while some need to be restored or refurbished to bring their value back.

But the biggest trend going right now is upcycling! Upcycling is taking an item and refiguring it to become useful for something other than the original purpose. An example would be a ladder that is cut to lean against a wall with shelves and used as a bookcase.

Upcycling an item is probably the way to get the most profit out of it at resale, especially for those items that are no longer usable for their intended purpose. But it usually takes the most time and hard work to recreate it as well.

Getting Started Flipping For Profit

It’s not difficult to start finding your bargains at flea markets, and it doesn’t require a great deal of money. But there are things you’ll want to consider before loading up the pickup truck at your first sale:

  • Take time to become familiar with the different flea markets and thrift stores in your area. The merchandise sold and the asking prices can vary greatly. Time is money and that’s never more true than when you’re searching for bargains.
  • Have a plan for how you will be reselling your items. If you find a great deal on a washer and dryer, you’re probably going to be reselling them locally, but smaller items can be sold online and you’ll have shipping costs.Take a tablet or cell phone
  • Take a tablet or cellphone with you at all times to research the value of items and see what they are being sold for online. My in-laws once bought a box filled with vintage postcards from around the world for $1. They looked up how much similar items were being sold for on EBay, and each postcard was selling for a minimum of $3-$5 each. While others glanced in the box and saw nothing of value, my in-laws were instantly able to verify that they had found a treasure!
  • Always carry cash–while vendors may accept credit card payments, many only want cash and avoid the hassles of dealing with credit cards. You don’t want to find a fantastic bargain just to find it gone when you get back from running to an ATM–vendors won’t hold it for you!
  • Bring the right vehicle and someone to help carry large items. Vendors aren’t going to deliver or hold items for you past their closing time.
  • Ensure that you have storage space and work space available for everything you purchase. If you wind up having nowhere to refinish a fabulous vanity or the beautiful Chippendale chairs you found, things won’t go well.

Finding the Best Items to Resell

So how do you find great bargains? Experience is king! If you’re going to create an income from reselling your flea market finds, you need the experience and knowledge to look beyond torn cushions and broken drawers and see if there’s a true hidden treasure there.Finding hidden treasures

Can you distinguish whether a desk is solid wood or covered in veneer? Do you understand what customers see as shabby chic or just shabby? Will you be able to recognize when a piece is a true antique? You can actually lower the value of an antique if it’s not restored correctly.

If knowledge is king, then creativity is queen! If you’re upcycling, you need to have the ability to truly think outside the box and see the potential of items in a totally different way. That can be easy to imagine, but hard to actually do as you’re walking past booth after booth with hundreds of items.

Reselling For a Profit

Once you’ve found your bargains, you’ll need to get them ready to resell. This can take quite a bit of time depending on how much work needs to be done for each item. Any upcycling projects may require skills that someone else needs to help you with as well. Those projects on Flea Market Flip take a lot of help from experienced craftsmen to complete!Reselling for a profit

Then you’ll need to list your items for resale. This usually involves taking pictures, writing descriptions, figuring out your prices, and uploading everything to a platform such as EBay or to your own website. Once you make a sale, you’ll need to package and ship the items to your customers.

Keep in mind that all of these expenses–packaging materials, selling fees and more–need to be accounted for when figuring out your pricing.

The Verdict–More Than One Way to Make Money!

Yes, those with experience, passion, and drive can definitely make money. But, if you love finding great flea market bargains as a hobby without a lot of the hassles, there is another great way to earn an income–through affiliate marketing. This is where you’ll be promoting products related to your hobby on your own blog!

Affiliate marketing flowIf you’ve ever been reading an article on a website and clicked on a link to a product or service, you have experienced affiliate marketing. If you purchased anything, an affiliate marketer received a commission–but you didn’t pay anything extra, so it’s a win-win!

Here’s how it works–from your own site you write articles about your hobby just as if you were talking to someone about it. You can promote products or services in these articles to let people know about the ones you find useful or enjoy.  If someone links to them from your site and makes a purchase, you earn a commission!

You may be thinking what I did when someone suggested it to me, “Whoa! Now we’re getting into something complicated!” But what I found is that technology has made it easier than I had ever imagined. Creating your own website can be done with a few clicks of your mouse in under two minutes.

Most people enjoy discussing their interests and hobbies–what they like, what they use, how they do it. If you can communicate those things, you can be a success with affiliate marketing!

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When I started out, I had no experience at all and benefited from some training. So I started my blog through Wealthy Affiliate and learned everything I needed to in order to become successful–I have 6 websites with them now!

Their community based platform was just what I needed to get the support of experts in the field and answer all my questions. If you’re interested in checking them out, you can sign up for a free membership to see everything they have to offer–no credit card required!

Have fun finding those great flea market bargains!  If you have any suggestions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. We love hearing from you here at Build Your Early Retirement!


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