Whether your goal is to pay down debt, save and invest more, or even retire early — increasing your income is key. Thanks to the internet and technology, there are so many ways to make a little side-money today. This gives more people a chance to bring in some side income or even turn their side hustle into a real business.
One classic money-making idea is to flip items or resell for a profit. Typically, this will be the process of op shop flipping. But how do you get started in flipping items from op shops? What are the easiest items to resell for a profit? Read on to learn more.
What is op shop flipping?
Many of us think of op shops as places to score great deals on vintage clothing, kitchen essentials, and fixer-upper furniture. Op shop flippers have a different perspective. They recognise that resale shops and garage sales are full of stuff priced well-below market value.
Op shop flipping is the process of purchasing items from op shops in your area, with the goal to resell the items for more than you paid. These items can be sold most easily online, but might also be sold by apps, or in-person at your own store or traditional garage sale.
(Flippers doesn’t mean flippers for swimming, you might have also heard the term flipping in regard to “fix and flip” real estate deals, where the investor buys a run-down home or block of flats and renovates it before selling it “flipping” for a profit).
Flippers scour op shops in search of items they can pick up for a low price and resell for a maximum profit. They may pick up items for $2, $5, or $10 and resell them for $20, $50, or $100+.
Money to be made
Believe it or not, you can make meaningful money as an op shop flipper. With a quick Google search, you’ll find many stories of people pulling big numbers from reselling all sorts of items.
Many other people treat op shop flipping as a fun side hustle. Whether your goal is to flip for a living or make extra money to pay off debt or fund your hobbies, it’s easy to start op shop flipping.
With a little patience and some research, you’ll be well on your way to making money as a flipper.
The 10 easiest items to flip from an op shop
Not everything you can find in an op shop can be resold for a profit. Much of the junk people clean out and donate to the op shop is just that: junk that no one is going to pay very much for.
Your op shop flipping success depends on sifting through the junk with a discerning eye to find stuff people want and are willing to pay higher prices for, or things that can be simply fixed or done up to command a substantially higher price. Some ideas are listed below, and although many, like designer clothing, are obvious, there are some more that may surprise you.
1. Designer Clothing, Handbags & Shoes
The market for used designer goods is huge. You can purchase clothing, handbags, & shoes cheaply and easily flip them online.
In addition to designer labels, there is a healthy market for name brand maternity and children’s clothing.
There are always people looking for unique, high-quality furniture. To flip furniture successfully, be picky about quality and focus on pieces with character.
You want to purchase items that stand out from what’s available at big brand stores, instead providing customers with something that feels special.
Also look for antique pieces that can be sold as is or easily refreshed with new upholstery or paint.
3. Toys and games
The most popular items in this category are Lego, vintage or special edition board games, vintage toys, old video games, and video game consoles.
Toys for babies and young children are good options, too. You can sell complete Lego sets or offer assortments by the kilogram.
The vintage toys and games are prized by collectors. Certain rare editions can sell for surprisingly high prices.
4. Old technology
Surprisingly, there’s a huge demand for old technology, even if it doesn’t work properly. Look for computers, tablets, smartphones, office equipment, smartwatches, and other old tech.
Of course, things that work will have more resale value, but you’d be surprised what you might be able to get for some technology.
5. Sports memorabilia & equipment
It’s not surprising that there are people willing to buy memorabilia such as jerseys, helmets, and trading cards, especially if they’re signed. There’s also a good market for used sports equipment in good condition.
This is especially true of youth sports equipment, as parents are always trying to keep up with growing kids.
Consider picking up items such as cricket bats and gloves and selling them as complete sports packages. One caveat: beware of purchasing items with bad smells or stains.
6. Books & music
We’re not talking about paperback romance novels, here (sorry Twilight!). Keep an eye out for classic novels, box sets, first editions, and college textbooks that can resell for a hefty profit.
On the music side, buyers are eager for original and rare records and record players.
To be successful with this category, you must do in-depth research or have a sound base of expertise in a particular area.
If you’re willing to do this, you can make healthy profits flipping collectible toys, coins, comic books, and other items.
8. Camera equipment
Digital cameras may have taken over, but there’s still a market for old cameras and equipment such as lenses.
Naturally, you have to know what a good deal is in this space, but once you catch on, you might start making a few hundred bucks with each camera flip.
Kitchen gadgets, glassware, and cast-iron cookware are always popular. You can often find gadgets and appliances that are either still in the box or at least in working condition.
Vintage cookware and glassware are highly sought after by collectors willing to pay good prices.
Get familiar with popular pieces like milk glass, depression glass, and rare and vintage Pyrex patterns so you can spot them when you see them.
10. Something else
You might have an area of expertise or knowledge you can rely on, or perhaps you’ll try a seemingly random low-cost item and find good demand for it.
Give it a crack!
These tips and tricks will increase your chances of success:
Quality is key. Take the time to inspect the quality of every item. When items are in good shape and of good quality, they fetch the highest prices. Selling quality goods also helps build your reputation as a reliable seller.
Research will be repaid. Before purchasing an item, you need to have an idea of its resale market value. Spend time searching online to keep current on market prices for items you’re selling. Another thing worth researching is the timing of discount and restocking days at local op shops. The less you pay for an item, the higher your profit margin will be.
Take great pictures. Most of your customers will only see your products online before purchasing. It’s important that the photos you post are clear and accurate. Take the time to find good lighting and take photos from different angles. The better your photos, the increased chance you’ll make a quick sale. Honest and expressive descriptions help too, including describing any flaws or damage in the item being sold.
Elbow grease. Some items are diamonds in the rough. Consider whether some quick clean-up such as a good scrub, a new coat of paint, new hardware, or new upholstery could fetch you a higher price.
Shipping costs. Make sure you understand the shipping costs and packaging requirements for your items. This is assuming you are selling your op shop finds via an online store. It’s important to factor shipping costs into your profit margin calculations and to pack items so they arrive safely. Plus, you don’t want to ship items and have them broken when they arrive.
So, what are some of the best places to source items that you can resell for a profit? Fortunately, there are a lot of options that you can investigate. Here are a few popular ones:
Some areas have council-backed second-hand stores, such as Christchurch’s Ecoshop. An online search might unearth something similar in your area.
For selling, the most common places are Trademe, Mighty Ape, and Facebook marketplace. Etsy is another that specialises in vintage and unique items. You might even buy underappreciated items from all these sites too – especially items that haven’t been photographed and described well so might attract fewer bidders.
The bottom line – op shop flipping
Flipping items online or in-person can not only be lucrative but can be quite fun.
Plus, getting started with op shop flipping is pretty easy and doesn’t require a lot of upfront funding. However, you will have to spend some time shopping for items that are worth flipping.
Who knows, you may make a few extra thousand each month (or more), depending on the amount of work you are willing to put in.