Pallet Flipping: How We Made $25k Flipping Liquidation Pallets


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jamie mcauley

Pallet flipping is a popular “buy low, sell high” side hustle.

When you return a product to Costco, Amazon, or Walmart, it doesn’t always go back to the shelves. In most cases, that product ends up at a local liquidator that resells it to side hustlers, who then flip it for profit.

Jamie McAuley has been doing just that for the past few years, and he’s earned over $25k in profit in the process.

Jamie is one half of the dynamic duo behind the Jamie and Sarah YouTube channel, where they cover all things return pallets, furniture flipping, and more.

Tune in to this Side Hustle Show interview to learn:

  • The ins and outs of the pallet flipping game
  • how to avoid scams
  • Jamie’s tips on how to make pallet flipping worthwhile for you

What Are The Best Things to Flip for a Profit?

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Why Start a Pallet Flipping Business?

Jamie and his wife Sarah used to flip furniture as a side hustle, so they often hung around Facebook Marketplace.

They’d come across and join Facebook groups of pallet liquidators, where they first learned about the pallet flipping business.

Deciding to give it a go, the couple drove to a local liquidator who sold Walmart pallets. “We had no idea what we were doing, so we just picked the one that looked like the most fun,” Jamie told me.

They paid around $600 for a pallet, which included electric scooters and even an arcade game. “We didn’t end up making a whole bunch of money … but we had a ton of fun and it kind of got us hooked.”

How to Find Reputable Liquidation Pallet Suppliers

Because pallets are essentially mystery boxes, finding suppliers who haven’t already gone through them can be tricky.

Jamie’s tip? Never buy pallets online.

Large retailers like BULQ make it easy for resellers to buy inventory, but Jamie says he prefers to inspect pallets before buying them.

There are two ways he finds suppliers:

  • Search on Facebook Marketplace – Jamie uses keywords like “pallet liquidation” to find posts of pallets for sale. He also sources pallets from Facebook groups where suppliers post their products.
  • Use LiquidationMap.com – LiquidationMap.com is a platform that connects suppliers with resellers. It has a registry of vetted suppliers, so resellers can avoid scammers and disreputable businesses.

What Startup Costs Are Involved in Flipping Pallets?

Pallets typically cost $500-$700 apiece, but that’s not including the $300-$500 shipping fee.

“The problem with liquidation pallets is they’re so large that shipping is not really cost-effective,” Jamie told me.

Large retailers buy pallets by truckloads, so shipping costs aren’t an issue. The same can’t be said for small-time resellers.

jamie and sarah pallet flipping
Source: Jamie and Sarah

So rather than fork up a couple hundred bucks for shipping, Jamie and Sarah use their own pickup truck to bring pallets home.

Some resellers also rent U-Haul moving trucks for cheap to pick up big pallets, while others use their own SUVs if the pallets are small enough.

And if you’re nervous about buying large pallets, Jamie recommends checking out bin stores — discounted retail stores where you can handpick and buy items for as low as $5 apiece. The caveat? You’d have stiff competition.

Reselling Products

There’s really no way to know for sure what you’re getting in a return pallet — it’s just the luck of the draw.

So Jamie and Sarah play it safe by picking pallets that have 1-2 high-ticket items peeking through. That way, they’ll surely break even and make a profit.

In terms of reselling, Jamie says there are many ways people sell their goods. Some have their own discount stores, so they’re able to buy pallets filled with small items that they can sell for as low as $3 apiece. For their part, Jamie and Sarah prefer to resell products worth $50-$100, so they don’t have to sell as many to break even or make a profit.

Some resellers have storage units where they meet customers, while others prefer to meet with customers in public places.

Jamie and Sarah’s favorite way of reselling is porch pickup, which involves placing the product on the customer’s porch and then getting paid either with cash under the mat or through Venmo.

How to Price the Items from Your Pallet

Jamie and Sarah usually ask for 40-50% of an item’s retail value, but that can vary.

For example, if an item is brand new and is a name-brand item, they can ask for 75-80% of its retail value. But if an item is too niche or has visible flaws, they might sell it for only 30% of its retail value.

Source: Jamie and Sarah

Despite their competitive pricing, though, Jamie and Sarah have seen profits go down slightly from when they started. Jamie says this is likely due to the fact that there are now so many people flipping pallets.

But he believes there are still ways to stand out and make money. For example, if there are many resellers in your area, list your products on eBay. “eBay is a great place because you’re reaching outside of your community.”

What’s Your Process Look Like?

Once Jamie and Sarah unbox a pallet, they’ll:

  1. Verify the products. They do this either by checking the pictures on the packages or scanning the barcode on the return labels.
  2. Label the products. If the package doesn’t have a picture of the item on it, they label it with a marker.
  3. Store the products. Since Jamie and Sarah are part-time pallet flippers, they usually just place the labeled products on a shelf in their garage.

The couple goes through only 1-2 pallets a month because YouTube is their main business.

And while scaling their side hustle would require more organization on their part, Jamie says people can definitely make a full-time income flipping pallets.

You might not make $20k a month when you start out, but a couple extra bucks a month could make a huge impact on your life. “I think it’s significant. That’s why we like sharing it,” Jamie said.

Tools and Tech for Pallet Flipping

The tools Jamie and Sarah use to run their side hustle are:

  • Spreadsheets – Jamie uses simple Excel spreadsheets to track their inventory, pending shipments, sales, etc.
  • Facebook Messenger – Sarah uses Messenger to communicate with buyers on Facebook Marketplace.

How Quickly Do You Resell Items?

Jamie and Sarah tend to hold off on selling valuable items until there’s demand for them.

For example, a pallet they bought last fall included a $400 pool lounger. They held onto it until a few weeks ago when they sold it for $180.

They also got a $400 Christmas tree in their last pallet, which they plan to keep until December comes around.

Fun side note: One pallet flipper I connected with makes extra money by creating Amazon Influencer product review videos before reselling the items.

Any Mistakes Along the Way?

When Jamie and Sarah were starting out flipping pallets, they chose pallets that had items they liked or thought were cool.

They believed people would want those items, but that ultimately cost them money.

Interestingly, they found the opposite to be true — the products they didn’t think were particularly interesting ended up being their best sellers. In fact, they once sold a pallet with 50 TV antennas in two months, and they broke even after selling only 15.

“Just because you think something won’t sell doesn’t mean that it won’t,” Jamie said.

What’s Going On with Your YouTube Channel?

Jamie and Sarah’s YouTube channel now has 130k subscribers.

They didn’t always put out pallet-flipping videos, though. They got their start flipping houses before flipping furniture.

Jamie says their furniture-flipping videos really boosted their channel. They also enjoyed making those because they got to be more creative.

Eventually, the pallet-flipping videos got a lot of views as well, likely due to the appeal of unboxing the mystery boxes that were the pallets.

These days, Jamie and Sarah are doing more reselling and side hustle content in general. They post a video once every 1-2 weeks.

Would Pallet Flipping Be Worthwhile Without YouTube?

Jamie and Sarah’s pallet-flipping side hustle and YouTube channel go hand in hand — they flip pallets for profit, and then they turn that process into video content.

But even if they didn’t have their channel (which earned six figures last year from ad revenue and sponsorships), Jamie says their side hustle would’ve still been worthwhile.

“I’m not going to be doing [YouTube] when I’m 50 or 60 years old. It’ll change into something else.”

Jamie added that their success with pallet flipping also reassures him that they could make it if they were ever in a pinch.

What’s Next?

Jamie and Sarah recently hired an editor so they can put out more content on their YouTube channel.

He says they’re excited to continue using their channel to help people scale their pallet-flipping side hustles.

Jamie’s #1 Tip for Side Hustle Nation

Think of it as a journey.”

What Are The Best Things to Flip for a Profit?

Enter your email to check out the full list now:

You'll also receive my best side hustle tips and weekly-ish newsletter. Opt-out anytime.

Pallet Flipping Alternatives

Liquidation pallets certainly aren’t the only items you can flip for a profit. If this business model appeals to you, here are some similar ideas to consider.

Suggested Playlist: Flipping Profits

Buying low and selling high is the fastest way to multiply money. Here's how to get it done.

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Flea Market Finds

Rob “The Flea Market Flipper” Stephenson is a professional “money multiplier.” By buying low and selling high, the guy repeatedly turns $100 into $500 … or more!

I love hearing Rob’s awesome stories about the random stuff he finds and flips for big gains. And he’s turned it into a full-time, 6-figure business!

Check out my interview with Rob to learn more, and his free training on how to get started.

Side Hustle Nation Approved
Free Flipping Workshop
4.5
Pros:
  • Low startup costs
  • Simple business model
  • Can multiply money quickly
Cons:
  • Can be time-consuming to source inventory
  • Difficult to store and ship bulky items

Mattresses

The rise of the “bed-in-a-box” industry has resulted in an entirely new side hustle: picking up and flipping mattress returns. When customers aren’t satisfied with their purchase, they can get their money back.

But what happens to the mattress? Companies like Sharetown specialize in “reverse logistics” to pick up those bulky items and either donate them or resell them on secondary marketplaces.

For Sharetown reps, it’s risk-free inventory as long as you have the ability to move and store the mattresses.

Highest Earning Power
Become a Sharetown Rep
4.0

Sharetown reps make money by reselling gently-used furniture and bed-in-a-box mattresses. Top reps earn $4000+ per month.

Pros:
  • Low startup costs
  • Great earning power
  • No hunting for inventory
Cons:
  • Requires a truck or SUV
  • Bulky items to store
  • Not available in all areas

Used Books

There’s an entire industry set up around flipping books. One guest of mine reported earning up to $4000 a month re-selling used books.

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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, Hubspot, Ahrefs, Shopify, Investopedia, VICE, Vox, Mashable, ChooseFI, The Penny Hoarder, GoBankingRates, and more.

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