Author Topic: I'm a what? Flipper, flipper!  (Read 7415 times)

Tami1982

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I'm a what? Flipper, flipper!
« on: January 21, 2013, 12:52:23 AM »
I have managed to supplement my income nicely the last three to four months by full on buying items cheaply and reselling at higher prices.  I'm a flipper.  I didn't think there were any issues with this, but apparently some people find this immoral.  I'm not cheating or screwing anyone, but because I got it on the cheap, I'm supposed to sell it that way too? Um, no.  I got a great deal, the people buying it? They get a good deal. 

Feeling pretty bad ass about the following: (keep in mind, I'm low income so these are big numbers to me!)

Dog carrier, paid $5.43, sold $40
Dvd set, paid $20.  Sold $50
Mixer, paid $150 8 years ago.  Sold $175
Mixer, paid $100 last month. Sold for $200.
Used tennis balls - Free.  Sold for $45
WII game system - paid $80 last year. Sold for $100
Snowpants - Paid $40, sold for $60.
Jeans - Free, sold for $15
Dog bed: Paid $15, sold $40.
Dog toys: Paid $25 two years ago.  Sold $70.

and so on.  I've been really lucky in that, as far as I can recall this past year, I've managed to purchase and resell everything at a profit.  I've yet to take a loss.  I utilize craigslist (a little), ebay (a tad more), but mostly sell all this on a local Facebook group.

I guess in the wake of being told this is somehow immoral, I'm hoping some MMMer's will support me and say, "Hey!  Good job on supplementing your income."  Or maybe you agree with the person who bashed me.  Who knows?  But I wanted to brag for a half a minute about how I've managed to make good choices when it comes to judging on what people will pay for the things I buy.  It is a risk, putting out without knowing if you can sell it, but I've done well and it enabled me to meet my goal of credit card debt free for 2013.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2013, 01:32:49 AM by Tami1982 »

happy

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Re: I'm a what? Flipper, flipper!
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2013, 01:06:16 AM »
No, not immoral in my book. I'm going to cheer for you. Good on you for making the effort. I think the person doing the name calling was in some way uncomfortable with your activity, but that doesn't make it immoral.

What do I think crosses the line: 
 
Taking advantage of a vulnerable person selling you things and bargaining them down hard, so you can make more profit
Telling people you paid a higher price for the item than you did, to assist with the resale
In some situations in might not be acceptable to sell a gift.



Tami1982

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Re: I'm a what? Flipper, flipper!
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2013, 01:29:01 AM »
I agree with your three rules:)  I do not bargain hard, it makes me seriously uncomfortable.  I never disclose what I paid for an item (who needs to know that?) and I generally don't receive gifts.  My mom bought me storm doors for my house.  That was my only Christmas gift, but I was certainly glad to get it!   We just don't really do presents in my family. 

Thanks for the cheers:)   I appreciate it!  It is a lot of work on my part managing all the ads and listing and meeting people.  What can sometimes seem like a good profit margin can be whittled down by the cost of my time.   

Specifically, my dad didn't like that I got free tennis balls and sold them.  They were given away free, no strings, no manipulation, to anyone who wanted them.  COME TAKE THESE BALLS!  I DO NOT WANT.  I said, "OKAY!" and took them.  Then I pondered.  If I was so happy to have balls for my dog, perhaps others would be too.  And I was right.  I sold them for way less than people could buy them from a pet store or sports store and clearly said they were used tennis balls.  No one bargained or asked me anything and they were darn happy to get, what they felt, was a deal.    I guess it bothers me to have my dad think ill of me, when I felt like I was pretty smart for finding an opportunity out of free stuff:/ 

happy

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Re: I'm a what? Flipper, flipper!
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2013, 01:41:00 AM »
I've seen people combing garage sales, who are clearly hoping to re-sell stuff...so what? Whats wrong with being a second hand trader? No-ones forcing people to sell, giveaway or buy. If you're willing to put your time in, it seems reasonable to get some recompense. By finding new owners for second hand stuff who will use it, you're helping the planet, in some small way, by reducing landfill etc.

marty998

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Re: I'm a what? Flipper, flipper!
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2013, 02:01:37 AM »
It's a free market. More power to you for taking advantage of it.

Just be careful, big brother is watching. For example the Australian Tax Office does take a good hard look at the buyers and sellers on eBay. They can deem you to be running a business and tax you accordingly on the profits. The onus of proof will be on you to prove otherwise.

gooki

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Re: I'm a what? Flipper, flipper!
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2013, 02:52:56 AM »
Good on you.

I'd join in the flipping, but like the poster above, our online auction sites are monitored closely by our tax department (ird in nz), and I can't be bothered with the extra paperwork.

grantmeaname

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Re: I'm a what? Flipper, flipper!
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2013, 07:52:35 AM »
I've seen people combing garage sales, who are clearly hoping to re-sell stuff...so what? Whats wrong with being a second hand trader? No-ones forcing people to sell, giveaway or buy. If you're willing to put your time in, it seems reasonable to get some recompense. By finding new owners for second hand stuff who will use it, you're helping the planet, in some small way, by reducing landfill etc.
Not to mention the people who buy materials at a used building materials store, then sell their renovated house without telling people they did so. Or the people who comb thrift stores for items nice enough to sell on ebay. Or people that buy items in the fall, hold onto them until they're 'hot' in the spring, and sell them. These people are really adding value by putting up with the time requirements of buying on craigslist, or monitoring and combing through used store shelves. The people who don't want to deal with that amount of work are happy to pay more, and the people who do want to do the work are happy to relieve them of their money.

tooqk4u22

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Re: I'm a what? Flipper, flipper!
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2013, 08:23:34 AM »
I see no faults in this. 

The only thing I would take exception with is if you played up your low income status to make people feel bad for you and they then give you for free or low price as a result...although if you needed the items and bought them for your own use initially, and actually used them for a while and then sell then it would be no fault.

cbr shadow

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Re: I'm a what? Flipper, flipper!
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2013, 08:41:47 AM »
I agree that this is not even in the slightest immoral.  I see no issue w/ doing this.  Also I disagree about the rules above.. all of them.
If you bargain hard to get a better deal, nobody is putting a gun to the other person's head saying they have to accept your offer.  If there are better offers to be had, they can say no to you and take a different offer.
If you tell someone you bought an item for more than you actually bought it for, that doesn't change the value of the time you're selling at all.  If I paid $500 for a $2 pen, would you buy it for $50?
Maybe I stand alone on these beliefs though.

Rangifer

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Re: I'm a what? Flipper, flipper!
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2013, 09:20:14 AM »
I don't see any problem. This is basically how businesses work.

Tami1982

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Re: I'm a what? Flipper, flipper!
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2013, 10:45:33 AM »
The only thing I would take exception with is if you played up your low income status to make people feel bad for you and they then give you for free or low price as a result.
 

Nope, never.  It's always like this, "Hey, are you will to take (insert $) for that?" and either way the response is "okay."  I hate bargaining.  It makes me uncomfortable.   The only reason I bring up low income at all in this post was I guess I felt so many people on here have big money investments and things that my small amount of profit may not have been impressive, but it made a big difference when you live on a small income.

If you tell someone you bought an item for more than you actually bought it for, that doesn't change the value of the time you're selling at all.  If I paid $500 for a $2 pen, would you buy it for $50?
Maybe I stand alone on these beliefs though.

You make total sense.  The item still possesses it's value, whatever you paid for it.   However, I am a very, very bad liar. LOL  So I couldn't look at someone and say I paid whatever when I didn't.   I will post a link to the item showing someone else values it for more than I've listed it for, but I've never been comfortable stating I paid more than I did.   If someone asks what I paid, which to me is unbelievable, but it does happen, I just say that I don't see how that is their business.  Well, I say it nicer than that, but essentially same thing.

Just be careful, big brother is watching. For example the Australian Tax Office does take a good hard look at the buyers and sellers on eBay. They can deem you to be running a business and tax you accordingly on the profits. The onus of proof will be on you to prove otherwise.

I'm in the US and they watch us here too, at least on EBAY.  I do a very small amount of sales on there for that reason.  That and I hate messing with shipping.  Much prefer to meet someone local and the FB page has produce reliable people who show up, unlike craigslist.  In the US, if you sell more than $600 worth of items Ebay reports it for tax purposes.  For that reason I try to only sell what I think must sell through that avenue. 

Thank you for all the feedback guys.  It was pretty suck to feel rockstar about the time and work I was putting into this, meeting my goals, and not hurting anyone and to get deflated by someone telling me I was doing wrong.  I'm glad I can put this out on here, because I trust you guys to come at me from all directions, whether it's face punch or support.   

I'm off to the local thrift shops today.  They are all having 50% off sales for the holiday:) 

swick

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Re: I'm a what? Flipper, flipper!
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2013, 11:54:22 AM »
I think it is a great way to keep things out of the landfill and make some extra cash!

Although you do have to be ethical about how you source your things. We have a very active facebook buy and sell group and a small community. Because it costs so much for shipping second hand items retain their value to the point it can be silly - sometimes second hand goes for more then new.

We have been having a problem with someone needing help and asking for free stuff and turning around and selling it...also our Hospital thriftshop takes donations and there has been a problem with people stealing the donations and re-selling.

The big debate in our town is of you take something out of the "Swap Shed" at our local dump and re-sell it is it ethical. People are very split.

c

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Re: I'm a what? Flipper, flipper!
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2013, 12:57:03 PM »
Congrats on all your sales! People get upset for such strange reasons.

When I sell things on Craigslist I always put items up for less than what similar items are selling for, I figure that way I appeal to people who want the item to use and people who want the item to resell. My listings always go quickly, when I see others up for weeks.

sol

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Re: I'm a what? Flipper, flipper!
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2013, 05:56:33 PM »
My sister put herself through college this way.  Mostly reselling cheap ebay finds and craigslist free items.

After a few years in a more normal career, she chucked it and bought a second hand/antique store in Portland. Now she resells other people's old cast-offs for a living. 

secondcor521

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Re: I'm a what? Flipper, flipper!
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2013, 07:24:51 PM »
You're trading your time, effort, and skill (i.e., knowledge of the marketplace) plus a little risk (maybe someday you will buy something that you can't sell for more) for money.  That's exactly what I and millions of others do in our jobs, and what many companies do in business.

Good on you.

2Cor521

sulaco

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Re: I'm a what? Flipper, flipper!
« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2013, 07:44:41 PM »
I've done the same thing to supplement one of my *ahem* hobbies - video games. I'm acutely aware of the prices of games I'm interested in as well as a typical spread. If I can get it new for less than the used price, I'll generally buy it without question, try to beat it quickly, and get it back before the market corrects. I've made money playing all of the Uncharted games, and lots of other great PS3 games.

The same can be done for just about any mass media (I've made money flipping Blu-Rays, for example). They're very liquid, have relatively low shipping costs, and can usually be purchased in bulk without question (strange looks, maybe).

I generally don't pursue flipping something unless I am certain that in the worst case I'll break even (or at least can back out of the transaction). At one point in the fall, I had a pillar of printers in my hall that had dropped in price before I could list them. Luckily I had a 30 day return window, so I sat with some extra printers in the house until I was certain that I couldn't unload them (even at cost).

For me, flipping is a thrill, but that's because it's unpredictable. And since it's unpredictable, it's difficult to expand to more than a way to offset hobbies for me. I've been trying to figure out how to apply this to some kind of side hustle, but the jump from a little monthly arbitrage to continuous sourcing at sustainable profit seems high.

James

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Re: I'm a what? Flipper, flipper!
« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2013, 08:03:53 PM »
You're trading your time, effort, and skill (i.e., knowledge of the marketplace) plus a little risk (maybe someday you will buy something that you can't sell for more) for money.  That's exactly what I and millions of others do in our jobs, and what many companies do in business.

Good on you.


This is exactly what I was going to say, you are providing a service and being paid for your time, effort, and knowledge.  Didn't even consider the risk part, but agree with that also.


I wouldn't tell your dad all the details, he doesn't need to know.  :)

meadow lark

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Re: I'm a what? Flipper, flipper!
« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2013, 08:58:53 PM »
Dads can be weird.  My dad has all kinds of morals That make no sense to me.  Like he would never return something to a store, b/c he thinks it isn't fair to the store to make them take it back.  Whereas if I buy something at Walmart and it doesn't fit, I'll take it back.  Sometimes different generations just think differently.  Don't worry.  Nothing wrong with flipping!

NumberCruncher

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Re: I'm a what? Flipper, flipper!
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2013, 07:42:03 AM »
I'll admit that when I get something for free on craigslist, there's a part of me that wants to list it for free again just because of that "pay it forward" feeling - but dealing too much with craigslist and the like is also annoying/stressful for me.

It's definitely not unethical to make money on these trades, though!

maryofdoom

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Re: I'm a what? Flipper, flipper!
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2013, 09:32:14 AM »
I do this with books. Just today, a book I bought at a Goodwill for $1 sold for $89 on Amazon. It doesn't always work like that, but when it does, it's awfully satisfying.

Some people have gotten shirty with me about this, but here's how I look at it:
 - People who donate books to Goodwill are getting rid of things they don't want
 - Me shopping at Goodwill helps support their mission
 - People on Amazon who need a particular book will be able to get it at a reasonable price
 - If I pick up books that I want to read, I'm expanding my own library and learning about subjects that I find interesting

EVERYONE WINS. Shirty people are just mad they didn't think of it.