Category Archives: reselling

2nd Hand Flip – Excerpts

2nd Hand Flip is a book I wrote about the Business of Reselling. A business that I “retired” into 20 years ago.  Here is a small excerpt.  The full book can be found in EBook format @

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2nd Hand Flip


According to National Association of Retail Trades, (NARTS) (,) a consumer research firm, an average of 15 percent of Americans shop at resale or 2nd hand stores in a given year.  The industry has experienced an average growth of seven percent a year for the past two years, and, according to IBISWorld, reselling is expected to increase at an annualized rate of nearly three percent until the year 2021.

The number is higher if you add in Flea Markets or sales through online thrift stores.  For consignment/resale shops, it is higher, hitting in the area of 12 – 15%.  To keep these figures in perspective, consider that during the same time frame; 11 percent of shoppers shopped at outlet malls, less than 20 percent in apparel stores, and  over 21 percent at major department stores.

While many major businesses close their doors every day, resale stores, including the small Mom and Pop booths in Resale malls, remain healthy and continue to be one of the fastest growing segments of the retail market.

Buying and selling for profit is nothing new.  It has been around for thousands of years; the only difference is that the currency has switched from goats and bread to paper, wood and plastic.  The first reason is the acceptance and use of the internet and the second reason is the economy.

Resell, Resale, Reseller, Vintage, Antique

Note: Throughout this book, I will use the term 2nd Hand or “Resale,” The term was first used as far back as the year 1625 (Webster)   I do this for simplicity and to broaden the overview of the business.  Properly defined however, a RESELLER is a business person who buys and sales 2nd Hand or Used goods.  A RESALE store can be a store that resells Antiques, Vintage or fairly New but Used or 2nd hand items.  The products sold can come from a variety of sources including estate sales, people who are downsizing, close out sales from retail chains, consignment, donated or other sources.  The definition of each is generally:

  1. Vintage: Too old to be considered modern, but not old enough to be considered antique. Often used to describe items for sale online, such as eBay auctions, Etsy, or Craigslist posts.  The word Vintage is used in printed listings such as classified ads describing an item that is made to look old.  Vintage is also as a euphemism for “heavily used” newer items.  Because vintage is always in style, you may find new “vintage looking” furniture in high-end furniture stores, bed and bath stores, and hobby stores.
  2. Retro: Recently out of style with potential to make a comeback. Example: In these days of high definition video, VHS is characterized as Vintage and will one day be Antique, while 1950’s chrome legged Formica topped tables and Naugahyde chairs are Retro or Mid Century Modern. (MCM)
  3. Antique: Antiques are usually objects that show some degree of craftsmanship, collectability, or a certain attention to design, such as a desk, glassware, glazed pottery or an early automobile. They are bought at antique shops, estate sales, auction houses, online auctions, and other venues, or estate inherited.  Antique dealers often belong to national trade associations, many of which belong to CINOA, a confederation of art and antique associations across 21 countries that represents 5,000 dealers.

Resale Dealers will find that over 60% of their inventory will be in the “Vintage” category.  20% is Retro and the balance will be Antiques.  As of this writing, an item produced before 1917 is considered as “Antique and anything over 20 years old is considered Vintage.”

1.     Do You Have What It Takes

Reselling takes some knowledge of your products.  I’m not talking about just antiques, even though the history of an item, called its provenance is what makes this business enjoyable and marketable, however what I am talking about here is knowledge of the business of reselling itself.

The first thing you have to know is that you will be in a stable market.  Reselling is a healthy investment for middle class people.  Reselling Antique, Vintage or Crafts is investment vehicle for the wealthy.  i.e Fine Art, Glassware, Pottery.

Your buyers come from all walks of life so it stands to reason that resellers also come from all walks of life.  With a little effort, you can turn your collecting hobby into a very successful business.  Through the advice in this book, you will become a special breed of business owner.

The Characteristics of Resale Dealers.

Zig Ziegler once said: “A Smile is a person’s best social asset.”  I find that Resellers smile a lot.

The people who resell are part historian, part collector, part hoarder and a group of people who have a lot of entrepreneurial spirit running through their blood.  They are not satisfied with the mundane.  They want more out of life.  They want to have some fun while pursuing a profitable business.  If they are retired, they have not retired from life.  People in the Resale Business set their own rules, their own time and their own income.  They like traveling, they love shopping, they like the togetherness they share and they have an eye for the unusual.

If I am describing you at this points, then read on because you will also find that you also have a little bit of a gambler in you and you are confident that – given the right opportunity, you can succeed.  Notice I didn’t say “probably.”  Resale dealers play the market.  Some days they purchase something that they think, everyone will want only to have it sit in inventory for months.  They understand that this is the nature of the business.  We discuss this more in a later chapter.

Blood, Sweat and Tears

What does it take to do this business?  Characteristics of the average owner are, they are not afraid of a little hard work, they are willing to devote a few extra hours each day to their business and they are not afraid to try new ideas that may or may not work.

They may spill a little blood here in terms of losing a little money trying an idea that did not work out as well as it did on paper.  These people don’t consider failure at one idea as a failure at all their ideas, because they are willing to strike out many times, so long as they get that one opportunity to hit a home run.  In this business as in baseball, home runs became more frequent with practice.


This eBook sells for $4.95 @

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2nd Hand Flip

Reselling through Thrift stores, Antique Store, eBay and other retail outlets have combined annual revenues of nearly $17 billion dollars!  What’s even more impressive is that many people – Mom & Pop, are doing this business without needing to set up a brick-and-mortar resale store of their own.

Look at sites like eBay, Amazon, and Craigslist; you can easily see that selling second-hand goods is a profitable business.  In fact, some people, using Phone apps such as OfferUp, LetGo, VarageSale, etc., get into this business for little to no money risked.  But How?  To answer that question, I wrote “2nd Hand Flip” about the business of reselling.

Flipping is easier now than when I first started out.  I became hooked on flipping when I flipped a Vespa Motor Scooter for a healthy profit in the late 60’s when I was in high school.  That flip allowed me to buy my 55 Chevy Nomad, which I later doubled my purchase price on when I resold it.  I took that money and bought my 56 Chevy coup.  I blew the engine, broke the rear springs racing (showing off), and yet, still sold it to another man for more than I paid for it.

In the 80’s before the internet, even before computers, I flipped used restaurant equipment.  I would stop into restaurants, small stores, or the kitchens of hotels, asking if they had any equipment that they were not using and they wanted to sell.  If they did, I would take the information on the item, including a price they were willing to take for it, and put that info on a 3×6-index card.  Then I would ask them if they were looking for anything in particular.  I made notes of their requests.  I did this all day long and in over a month, I had amassed a lot of cards and indexed a lot of equipment.

How I made money was looking what the item would cost new in an equipment catalog, then offering the owner a used price well below that.  We’d haggle and when we would agree on a price, I would either put it on consignment or pay them then and there.  If I paid them, I would load it up, take it home, and clean it, fixing anything that needed fixing and immediately takes it over to the buyer and sell it to them for a fair markup.  I never got stuck holding an item for more than a few days, because I knew what my customers were looking for and bought accordingly.

I tell you these things, not to brag, but to lay the background of being somewhat knowledgeable in this business.  I’ve had practice for over 50 years.  Since the time of my first flip, I have flipped many things, made a few mistakes, but my love for flipping grows.

Today I flip antique and vintage furniture and collectibles.  My wife’s love, on the other hand, is vintage linens and lace.  She and I love antiquing and she owns Mom & Me Vintage Linens, Lace, and Antiques.  (  Yes, the store is housed in a brick and mortar antique mall and she has owned it since 2010.  Do you have to run a brick and mortar business to make a profit in the business of flipping?  No.  With sites like eBay, Craigslist, Facebook, and Amazon, you can make a healthy profit working in a virtual environment, and still have extra time and money to do the things you want to do.

Don’t get me wrong.  We are not filthy rich.  This is not a get rich quick scheme.  Flipping used or vintage is still work, but it is enjoyable work.  We pay our bills, have a roof over our heads with a home we own.  We drive comfortable vehicles and have managed to stay out of debt.  The difference with us however, is the fact that we can take off anytime we want to and do the things we enjoy, without sacrificing our business and income.  Many self-employed people can’t do that.  They become a slave to their business.  We have the freedom to travel, see friends and family, and explore other entrepreneurial interests.  We love the thrill in the find of some treasure that I can turn around and resell.  We enjoy the people we meet and have spent many hours talking to strangers, cementing long lasting friendships with many of them.  As long as I have a connection with my phone, I am in business.  Our investments are in our inventory.  Where else can you work your money and have it earn 100 to 300% return in a short period.

Should you risk your weekly paycheck on flipping?  It depends on how sure you are that you can turn something over quickly.  I have a friend who is a mechanic.  He buys good used cars, checks them over for mechanical issues; fixing what is needed and then hires his son to detail them.  He puts them up on Craigslist and sells them for a healthy profit.  He specializes in SUV’s, small trucks and All Wheel Drives because here in Colorado, he knows that these sell the fastest.  His objective is rapid turn-over, not collecting.  He is also a master of buying low and selling high.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking he is an opportunist.  Remember, American Entrepreneurship means profit and despite the past twelve years, the American Dream still lives on in every nook and cranny of this great nation.

So how much money should you risk?  It all depends on your financial situation.  How much can you afford to lose?  How good of a negotiator are you?  Do you have a market to sell what you purchase?  Can you use online resources to price and market your item properly?  Last but not least, do you like people?

Now the question should be, assuming you answered positive to the questions above, where do you go after you flipped your first item?  The answer is do it again.  How?  I answer these questions in the book.  Check out the suggestions I have in my eBook, “2nd Hand Flip” on sale now at Smashwords This eBook discusses inside the business and future of reselling in greater detail, including what sells and what doesn’t.


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