147: Rob’s $30,000 Side Hustle: Flea Market Flipping

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This week I’m excited to welcome Rob Stephenson to The Side Hustle Show.

Rob is the “Flea Market Flipper” and he’s got an interesting take on the age-old Buy Low, Sell High business model.

In fact, it earned him $30,000 last year working just 10-15 hours a week. This is on top of his day job as a real estate inspector.

The cool thing about this one is there’s pretty much no technical skills required (Rob’s been doing it for 19 years!), and you can get started with as little investment as you feel comfortable with.

During our conversation, we cover Rob’s favorite marketplaces to source inventory, how he evaluates an item’s potential value, and how he goes about selling it.

It’s a fun one!

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  • How Rob’s flea market flipping business works.
  • How to find local markets.
  • Rob’s favorite marketplace apps.
  • How he researches an item’s profit potential, and his preferred buying criteria.
  • The types of items he’s had the most success flipping for a profit.
  • Rob’s #1 tip for Side Hustle Nation.


Your Turn

What do you think? Viable side hustle in your area or no?

flea market side hustle

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Nick Loper

About the Author

Nick Loper is a side hustle expert who loves helping people earn more money and start businesses they care about. He hosts the award-winning Side Hustle Show, where he's interviewed over 500 successful entrepreneurs, and is the bestselling author of Buy Buttons, The Side Hustle, and $1,000 100 Ways.

His work has been featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Forbes, TIME, Newsweek, Business Insider, MSN, Yahoo Finance, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Financial Times, Bankrate, Hubspot, Ahrefs, Shopify, Investopedia, VICE, Vox, Mashable, ChooseFI, Bigger Pockets, The Penny Hoarder, GoBankingRates, and more.

18 thoughts on “147: Rob’s $30,000 Side Hustle: Flea Market Flipping”

  1. Hey Nick and Rob!

    Thanks for a great podcast. I think these are my favourite types of episodes where I’m exposed to new people and new side hustle ideas. I think I will hop in the car and visit some local flea markets this weekend to get the lay of the land and see if anything jumps out at me. We have several within a 45 min drive from my area so lots to choose from!


  2. I have always thought this would be fun. I have made some money by re-doing furniture in the past, and I know someone else who has made it a very lucrative side hustle too. Right now it’s a little hard as I just don’t have a good place where I could work on the furniture and time to do it when I’m not already working or taking care of the twins.

  3. Regarding the into and outro, I have always thought having someone else (in a ridiculous voice) open and close your show is cheesy and makes it seem more amateur.

    All the professionally produced podcasts I listen to have the host do the intro, whether it is theme music with or without a prerecorded vocal intro. Either way, I’m all for you owning your own intro rather than someone who obviously isn’t a part of your organization like the announcer on The Price is Right might be.

  4. Great interview. Great questions, Nick!
    You have probably have heard of Bryan Harris’ story of getting his eBay account frozen, with $20,000 frozen in his PayPal account. He was doing this exact thing. How does Rob get around that risk?

    • Hey Roger,
      I’m not familiar with Bryan Harris’s story, but I have had PayPal freeze funds for a transaction where the buyer reports a problem with the item they received. (caused by shipping or misrepresentation) The only money they can freeze is the amount received for the single item. I’ve never experienced or have even heard of them freezing an entire account without reason. The money only stays frozen until the dispute is resolved.

    • Hey Roger!
      So I have to update my response. A few months back I had a large transaction come through ($25,000) from a lift that I sold. A few days later Paypal froze my account!! I had a total of $30,000 in it and I couldn’t do anything with it! I was on the phone with them constantly and even got the buyer to call with me and said the item was what he wanted and he wouldn’t be getting a chargeback. Well, Paypal said they could hold the money for 180 days!!!!!!!! Holy cow I was mad. I did some research and stumbled across screwpaypal.com . I did what he suggested and wrote a letter to my congressman. 1 day later my funds were released. They know they are doing something wrong! So now I will never do a transaction larger than $1,000-$2,000, and I also take my money out right away and put it in my bank account. Unfortunately there is not a way around Paypal for what I do at the moment. Hopefully in the future there will be.

  5. Hi Nick,

    I’m a long time listener of your podcast. I look forward to every Thursday to see what topic you will have next!

    Anyway, you asked about updating your intro and outro for your podcast.

    I’d love to help you with that! I’m a “beat maker” as my sidehustle, and I would love to work with you to make some original intro and outro music!

    It would be my way of saying thank you for all of the help and great content you’ve provided to me and your other listeners.

    Let me know if you’d be interested.



  6. Question for Rob:

    Do you also scour local thrift stores?
    If so, does it work with Goodwills or should you stick with more fringe, local charity types of thrift stores – or do thrift stores do too much research to make this a profitable approach?

    • Hey Brett!
      I actually do go to thrift stores often. I visit our local Habitat for Humanity once a week because it’s right down the road from me, and others like Goodwill and Salvation Army maybe every other week. We also have a couple local smaller ones that I visit now and again. Some stores know the value of items and will mark up their inventory, but most don’t. Most everything is donated to them so even if they sell it at a lower price they make their money. We recently went on a road trip and bought 8 items to flip, and 7 of them were from thrift stores. (You can read more about our Road Trippin’ Flippin’ trip here: https://fleamarketflipper.com/road-trippin-flippin/)
      It would be worth to check out some of your local stores. :) Let me know if you find anything good!


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