Looking for Flips? Big Things to Buy & Sell in your Side Hustle

Have you thought about flipping items for money? Do you want to start a side hustle that allows you to make money just by reselling items for a profit?

Some of the best hustlers among us are the Flippers. Natural sales people who know difficult marketplaces and have an uncanny ability to know when they’re buying low and selling high are Flippers. Some flips can change lives, and oftentimes the bigger the item in question, the more it benefits the flipper.

how to flip stuff for money

The following is a guest post from Robert Campbell…

In just about every Habits of Successful People type self-help book it’s revealed that the smartest and most energetic people in our society have a side hustle. This action is always a part-time endeavour, and is usually some activity in an area of business they’ve previously mastered, and in which they can still profitably share or participate. But a proper side hustle is never a main source of revenue, it’s just a little thing that enterprising people do here and there when time allows to make some extra income.

Let’s detail five categories of things to buy and sell and thereby flip for profit, and maybe it will give readers some ideas for diverse markets they can explore in their own lives.

Everyone flips something…

At some point in everybody’s life, they make a big flip. Depending on the transaction, these gains can redefine the next decade of their lives in terms of personal finance, friends and relationships.

The biggest flips possible for normal everyday people would be in the following five categories:

  1. Property.
  2. Livestock.
  3. Furniture.
  4. Fine Art.
  5. Luxury Vehicles.

Flipping Property.

Buying & selling property in a perfect flip is what most Canadians dream about at night. Realizing forty or fifty thousand dollars profit in a single transaction can change a young life, and fund so many other endeavours. Property investments are usually divided into two categories; prebuilt and home renovation based flips. This author doesn’t have much to share about this diverse topic except to point out the buying and selling older properties after fixing them up isn’t a side hustle at all, but rather a full-time job.

Keith Travers of Eastview Homes in Oakville Ontario
Keith Travers of Eastview Homes flips houses in high growth property markets. Photo by Rob Campbell.

Keith Travers from Eastview Homes in Oakville Ontario says, go west young people, do not buy anything in the City of Toronto. Keith is a contractor who believes single dwelling homes outside urban centers and particularly those west of Toronto are the best investments, but he’s just one of many experts in this field where wealth is created in accordance with growth. If your target city or region stops growing, its housing market will cool down and property investments become unprofitable.

Flipping Livestock.

Pet flippers are parasitic. This author will not discuss the act of buy and selling dogs, cats, canaries etc. But there’s another animal which can be bought and sold in a strange economy dominated by the most elite members of our society and it’s horses.

Horse racing is alive and thriving in Canada as legalized gambling; it’s heavily regulated by provincial governments which levy stiff taxes on all transactions. Despite diminished attendance at Canadian racetracks, the purses and payouts have actually been increasing over the years with the rise of online betting technology. And Canadian race horses are among the best and fastest horses in the world!

Look carefully, the horses for sale in Horse Canada magazine are probably not the best ones to buy for investments, but rather this link gives readers some idea of the marketplace, and the prices involved. An older horse with no prospects other than pleasure riding will fetch a few thousand dollars, while younger animals that are race-ready could be sold for ten or twenty thousand bucks.

horses for sale in Horse Canada magazine

The industry term for buying young colts and training them until they can be sold as race ready horses is called pinholing, and there are organizations set-up online for investors to buy ‘lots’ of young animals hoping that one or two will become champions. While this is an interesting investment strategy, and one that has accessible fees for young people (readers can buy a small percentage of several animals for a few thousand dollars), it doesn’t qualify as a flip when structured in such a way that the risk is shared by a chorus of investors.

Flipping Furniture.

Studenomics should do an entire post advising young people NOT to furnish their apartments with anything made from particle board. Any pieces purchased from IKEA are worthless now and they won’t survive the next move, and neither will that Leatherite sofa with aluminum tube legs or the plastic porta-shelving or… Do not buy this junk! Take the time to buy furniture that is made from solid wood, and if you cannot find this then make it yourself.

Furniture upholstery is the sweet spot in this niche. Take a course, or seek out a business you can use that has decent prices. Then scour the antiques ghetto at Queen and Roncesvalles in Toronto or similar areas in other cities, or visit estate auctions to find old wooden frame furniture with ripped cushions and bad upholstery. Then use your eye to buy replacement fabrics that add aesthetic appeal and value to the piece. Below is a before and after from the Sunflower Storytime blog.

flipping furniture for profit
Sunflower Storytime blog shows how easy it is to re upholster an old chair into a fun piece of furniture worth flipping.

Sunflower Storytime found a chair and re-upholstered it with white fabric which she then painted in these delightful colours to make a centrepiece for the story room in her daycare. Pinterest is alive with these before & after pictures, and Etsy is a great place to sell you work and further your side hustle.

Flipping Art.

Flipping art is not for the faint of heart, and most of the bidders at the monthly art auctions in Toronto already have private buyers lined up well in advance of these adrenaline filled sales events. Just look at the schedule of upcoming art auctions at Waddingtons, or Sothebys. If readers peruse the catalogues they will see different sale dates for various niches and sub-genres of collectibles and probably realize that a vast amount of knowledge is needed to pick a winner. A lifetime spent collecting lore seems to be a prerequisite for flipping fine art.

Yet this speculative activity is trending up; according to the 2014 Deloitte Art & Finance Report, seventy-five percent of art collectors and buyers are purchasing art for collecting purposes. In 2014, artworks sold at auction globally jumped more than twenty-five percent to $15.2 billion, with a record 1,679 sales worth $1 million or more. That’s four times more than a decade ago, according to data from Artprice.com.

Finding rare and special flips is possible for art noobs if they follow a select fact-finding buyers recipe before speculating on unknown booty in auction lots. The Appraiser, an auctioneer named Marshall Gummer in Port Hope Ontario has published on his blog a plan for profiting from art and antiques.

Marshall Gummer buying Canadian art in a snowstorm - E Conyers Barker , early Port Hope artist
Marshall Gummer flips fine art in Port Hope Ontario, photo by Rob Campbell, Dumpdiggers

In the photo above Marshall is seen researching the bill of sale at Rodney’s in Port Hope before buying an E. Conyers Barker painting of Napenee Ontario in the 1800s. At seven hundred dollars this was an excellent investment, and Marshall flipped this piece a few months later for many times that amount to a collector living in the area.

Look for pedigree in all forms is Marshall’s mantra, and he means not just the artists own history, but the origin of the piece for sale. Is it Canadian? Is the piece part of a movement or a defined period in history? What is the object made of? And was the object considered high quality and expensive when it was first produced? If you have the right answers and could live with the piece in your own dwelling then the risk is reduced, and the rewards will come, eventually.

Buying unique composition elements that have great style and still function in a modern setting is usually a safe investment. If you have found rare works of art, and have enough merchandise to make a gallery show, you can rent space in some of the finest art galleries in the world through Heffel which has spaces in every city in Canada, and Toronto they’re located in Hazelton Lanes.

Flipping Luxury Vehicles.

Rookie capitalists soon realize the sweet spot in the automotive resale marketplace is finding and buying high-end luxury automobiles (that hold their value longer and will age into fine antiques) in private sales. Consumers can realize great savings by not paying expensive dealer or broker fees and there are great bargains posted everyday in Auto Trader magazine, Craigslist and Kijiji. The same vehicles can be restored and in many cases simply re-photographed before being resold through niche publications and branded automotive clubs. One trick a salesman told me once was when shooting luxury cars for Auto Trader magazine, drive the car to the beach and photograph it with the water and sand in the background. Why? Apparently this will scare away the low-ballers and attract the lifestyle consumer who will pay any price to catch the dream. But honestly let’s get smart here, this is all bunkum. This author advises flippers to look beyond the lemon traps, and seek out highly unique and collectible vehicles in any state (like uniquely coloured VW camper vans or even Airstream trailers) and whenever possible, utility trailers.

What is a utility trailer? These are the wagons that cottagers use to haul wood and furniture to and from their rural properties and their dwellings in the city. Every cottager wants one, and they feel the need most acutely when vacationing with family in the country. So, it stands to reason of course that this is where the prices for such trailers are the highest, and smart entrepreneurs can flip these trailers most effectively simply by driving them to where the demand is the greatest, which is Muskoka, the Kawarthas, and Perry Sound here in Ontario and cottage country wherever readers happen to live in their part of the world.

Flipping goods for profit is human nature and the best flippers have two common qualities;

  1. They never stop looking for stuff or considering how to repackage what they already have in their possession.
  2. They’re experts at getting the word out and letting other people know they have the goods to sell.

What are you going to flip?

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