Buying and selling items locally on Craigslist or online is very interactive which can be a very time consuming process if not done correctly. There are many steps that you must follow and complete if you want to get the best deals when buying, and the most profit when selling. Lets talk about the basic first steps you should be taking when starting your flipping adventures.

But before we get our hands dirty, lets talk about what most new people to the game of flipping will do.

A typical approach would be:

-Find item on CL, or other local classified.

-Think “wow that’s a great deal, let me email or call the seller and pick this up!”

-Send email/call seller.

-Drive down to wherever they are located and bring it back to your place of business. (where that be a home or office, up to you)

-Immediately put it on eBay or another auction style site or again locally in classifieds.

-Sit around and hope it sells for big!

-Realize that It’s not selling for much, and when it does you barely made any money if any at all!

-Sad panda face.

This approach to buying and selling items happens more often than you think with people getting into the flipping game. I was guilty of this myself when I started! Most everyone thinks that once they ‘think they’ find a deal without proper research and finding out what the item usually sells for, that they can make the big bucks too!

The FIRST and most IMPORTANT step to take, is to look and research the items that you are looking for! Certain items depending on the market sell for different amounts, and like the stock market prices do change! This is VERY important because items you might think that sell for big, might not sell for much or for anything at all! The very first step you should do is research your items you plan on buying and selling! This leads us to our first step,

How to research what your item will sell for:

Before even contacting the seller to try and buy the item, or haggle on the price you need to first look at what the item generally sells for. For this we will do some basic searching and look at the trends and selling markets. For this example lets look at something selling on Craigslist, and what it is also selling for on eBay. Keep in mind you don’t have to sell and buy on these particular sites, they are just the most common and popular sites and most everyone uses them.

Today I did a quick search in the “computers” section on Craigslist and found what I believe to be a good deal on a Mac Mini. For those of you with little computer know-how, a Mac Mini is a very small desktop computer that has all the components built inside of it. Small lightweight and can fit practically anywhere. Here is the listing:

Mac Mini

(To protect the sellers identity and location I blocked out the info)

The seller has this computer listed at $300 cash. The relatively low cost is what caught my eye, this is something I normally do when browsing is look at the prices and do some quick math in my head on current worth and such, when you get better at your niche you can quickly determine what items are worth and what they are selling for. But before we jump the gun and contact the seller lets do some quick research.

The next step I like to do is run a quick search on eBay. Note that you want to be descriptive with your search, in this case I searched for a Mac Mini with the same specs (500 gb hard drive, 2gig memory ect..) so I can find out more closely what they are really selling for. Here are my results from a quick eBay search:



Determine if you item sells, and for how much:

The next step is to find out if your item is actually selling, and for how much! With a quick look you want to see what the “buy it now” or Final price sales are going for compared to the “auction” style listings. I typically look for items that have lots of auction style listings vs buy it now’s. This shows that there are people out there looking and buying these items. You don’t want to buy things that other people don’t want, or that will be hard to sell. Unless they are bigger ticket items that you can sit on for the time being, but we’ll get to that later ;)

If you notice the Craigslist posting doesn’t mention what type of Intel processor is in the computer. I would send a quick text or email to find out what type of processor it is. The difference in processors is ultimately the difference in how much more money you could snag. If It was an Intel I5 processor like the top auction style listings on eBay. I would most defiantly  send the seller an email/text/call with a cash offer to snag it up, and turn it on eBay.

The main reason why I would jump on this computer is because of the bidding activity and price on the top auction listing. It’s already at 365 dollars with 9 bids, and it still has 5 days left on the auction! I would predict this to sell at a final price of 400-450. Depending on if you can low-ball the seller (more on this later too!) and get it for cheaper you are looking at close to a $200 dollar profit!

On the flip side, if it was a lesser or slower processor I would put it into consideration, considering the prices of what the slower Mac Mini’s on eBay are selling for at the “buy it now prices”. Not a big profit for the work. My general rule of thumb with electronics and computers, is that If its within the 100-300 dollar price range, I try to shoot for the 150-200$ profit range. Anything less tends to cut too much into my time. But if you aren’t dealing with lots of sales each week this is something you could get away with purchasing and flipping on eBay.

In conclusion, doing a quick search on eBay on your potential product can give you lots of insight to who’s buying, if the item is popular, and what they typically sell for.  This is an easy way to get started and to price out your cost to profit ratio’s.

In the next weeks I plan on posting a more In Depth guide that discusses more tricks and techniques you can apply to your business if you plan on selling primarily on eBay. Be sure to subscribe to my blog by putting your email in below to receive updates when I put up new articles!


And don’t forget to always keep your hands clean, and your money dirty!