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5 Thrifters Share Their Best and Worst Flips

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Last Updated on November 30, 2020 by Yovana

We flip items from anywhere really. Thrift stores, flea markets, eBay, outlet store sales, you name it.

Now we mostly stick to eBay since we have started to concentrate on guitars and collectibles.

However, we still love thrift store meandering and getting in the occasional flip. Mostly because it is so damn fun. And also great for finding any collectibles that we couldn’t online.

Flipping things online or in person can be a real treat. You know what I mean if you ever had to play 21 questions with a potential buyer, had a buyer lie about not receiving a shipment so they can try to get a refund and get it for free, or come to an agreement with someone who wants you to ship a guitar to Russia.

Yes, those are things that actually happen to us.

But flipping can also be dangerous. We haven’t come into any specific dangerous situations ourselves, but others have.

That is why I wanted to share these stories. Thrifting and flipping can be a crazy ride so grab on tight. It is going to be a bumpy one (but still super fun).

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Thrifters share their best and worst flips. Some of these horror stories will have you thinking twice before your next flip. Image of flowers on a wooden table. #thriftstoreflipping #thrifting
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5 Thrifters and Their Best and Worst Flips

I knew we weren’t the only ones having these crazy experiences when flipping things online or in person. So, I turned to one of my favorite Facebook Groups and Twitter to get their two cents.

The Thrifty Issue and Her Stalker

Kylie from The Thrifty Issue has a story or two, that’s for sure.

I used to do this a lot and got to over $10,000 a month from it. Easiest sales were rockabilly clothing I’d pick up for $2 and resell for $50 to $100. I did the Gary Vee flip challenge in 2017 – This was one month of it. Most memorable? I don’t have one really. But the worst was a speaker and the guy started stalking me. I had to tell him should he approach me again I’d involve the police.

– Kylie from The Thrifty Issue

Imagine if he kept going at it and the police had to get involved? That scares me so much!

Always have someone with you if you are meeting up for a sale. And if you still end up with a stalker, I have nothing against pepper spray and those crafty tasers you find for cheap on Amazon (actually, they are just great to have in general).

This is why I actually stopped using Craigslist. I always heard these horror stories so I actually found a couple of sites that claim to be much safer than Craigslist.

Instagram/eBay Shops and Mother’s Day Hauls

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Woman in a green dress striking a pose.

I have seen so many people sell things on their Instagram lately and wondered how it worked. Pretty well, it turns out.

I did this a few years back and had an IG shop and I put things on eBay. It was a fun side hustle. I grabbed an 80’s jacket for $5 and sold it for over $100, Coogie sweaters before the Cosby issue were bought for $5 each and sold for $100 each. Then there was the random $3 target dress I purchased because it was cute. I checked my ebay which was going out of control over this dress. I sold it for over $120. I guess some girl wore it on a show on MTV and everyone wanted it. My shop was all clothes so I never found some crazy treasure.

– Breanna

That $3 dress made her $117 dollars!

When Target actually makes you money (insert laugh-crying emoji here). I think that is a crazy treasure in itself.

Which brings us to our next treasure – coffee mugs.

My sons (10 & 12 at the time) used to buy coffee mugs at thrift stores and yard sales, sometimes as low as a nickel, and flipped them. Starbucks collector mugs went for upwards of $50, but you would be surprised what mugs go for even if they aren’t from coffee chains. One year, right before Mother’s Day, they made like $1000 on mugs. It was crazy.

– Amanda

I never thought of flipping coffee mugs nor that they could make as much as $1,000! Smart kids.

Related posts: 22 Creative Ways to Turn Your Clutter into Cash

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The Millionaire Dojo’s Sales

I’ve had better sales but the best sale I can think of is some Nike combat boots I bought at a thrift store for $2 and sold for $95. My worst story is buying an old car stereo, not having a way to test if it worked and when the buyer tried it, it didn’t work. I had to just refund the buyer and not worry about having it shipped back since it was broken.

– Nathan at Millionaire Dojo

Those boots were a golden thrift store find! When you see something priced so low like this at a thrift store, get our your phone and search on eBay to see what similar items recently sold for.

Or if they are as low as $2 in this case, it wouldn’t hurt to just buy them. Chances are you can make much more than $2 off of them.

What The Flea Market Flipper Has to Say

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Rob from the FleaMarketFlipper and their Harley sign they sold for $7,500.

We bought this Harley sign for $250 and sold it for $7,500 last year! We do a lot of larger items and ship freight. But we do some smaller items too. One that our friends know us for is a prosthetic leg that we bought from the flea market for $35 and sold for $1,000 on eBay the next day! A crazy experience was a few years ago we sold a security tower for $25,000 on eBay (that we bought for $6,000 from an auction), and PayPal tried to hold the money for 180 days. After some research, phone calls and a letter to our state commissioner, we were able to get the funds released. We still use PayPal now, but not for transactions over $5,000.

– Melissa at the FleaMarketFlipper

Wow, a security tower!? Now that’s a solid flip!

The FleaMarketFlipper has tons of educational resources they created from their flipping successes. They also a free 75 minute workshop to help you turn your passion for thrifting into a profitable flipping business.

Insider Tips for Beginners

When you begin flipping, there are a couple of tips that will help you get started, stay safe when meeting buyers and get past some of the B.S. that comes with the territory.

  • Do your research before buying and selling. Watch videos about what sells on eBay and look up what items are actually selling for by setting the search filter to “sold”.
  • Be consistent in your listings. Any platform you post on will favor the consistency of listing items and your items will get shown to more people.
  • Always go with someone when meeting a buyer.
  • When listing items, take good pictures with a plain or tasteful background. Use something like this phone ring light to add better lighting to your photos. Include as many angles and take pictures of any flaws the item has so the buyer can’t claim that it wasn’t represented accurately.
  • Be aware of eBay fees (and any other selling fees for other apps you might use like Poshmark) before you start selling.
  • Instagram is a great way for a way to showcase and get your items in front of more eyes. You can post your item on Instagram with links in your bio to your eBay listings using linktree. Or you can post the items alone in Instagram and communicate with buyers in the app while using a third party app for the payment. A lot of flippers have found success this way and managed to build up quite the following.
  • Check out our mini thrift store flipping guide.

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Flipping is the most fun way we’ve found to make extra money. It sucks when a flip goes awry but life happens and people are weird.

Have you ever had a crazy flipping experience? Or the more desirable, a huge flip that you couldn’t believe happened?

What’s your story? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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4 thoughts on “5 Thrifters Share Their Best and Worst Flips”

  1. I sell mostly books (fiction) on eBay. I know, you say to avoid fiction, you can’t make money on it, but I do alright. One of my better sales was a 1st Edition/1st Print of Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews. Bought it for $3, sold for $225. I haven’t had many bad experiences. One was a set of jadeite plates I sold for $60 that I did not pack well enough and they broke in shipping. I refunded them and have largely avoided dishes since.

  2. This is awesome! I think this is something I might like to do – just not sure how to get started. But looking things up on eBay is probably a good idea – and like Millionaire Dojo said – if it’s $2, you can’t even lose much.

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