Episode #49

With Rob & Melissa Stephenson

Turn Anything Into Profits!

Learn How You Can Get Started Flipping For $0 Down!

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Rob and Melissa Stephenson are a family of 5 that buy and sell items for profit! Rob started flipping 20 years ago when eBay was still young and 5 years ago, they both went full-time! Now, they teach people how to do the same thing as they do! Melissa married into it!

When they had jobs, it was there extra fun money for vacations or had to fix something, they would flip a couple things and were able to live the lifestyle they wanted.

Rob and Melissa opened a new store for their children and they are getting the whole family involved!

What made you get started?

  • Rob’s parents went to yard sales when he was growing up. That is where they got clothes for their kids. They also looked for commercial items that they could sell!
  • Back in the day, there wasn’t eBay. They would buy at local flea markets and then put it on the classifieds in the newspapers.

Who is this for?

  • People who love the thrill of the hunt or finding a bargain
  • If you’re just looking to get rid of stuff in your closet!
  • You need time! Sourcing, pictures and uploading takes time!

What is your typical day?

  • When part-time, they did 5-15 hours per week.
  • Now when full-time, they are putting 20-30 hours per week, but they are splitting their business up with teaching now too.
  • Rob typically sits on his phone at night and sources directly right on his phone! You don’t even need to go out and leave the house
  • They spend 1-2 hours per week on Saturdays at the Flea Market and other sourcing stores, other than that, everything is done from the phone

Where do you buy/sell?

  • LetGo
  • eBay
  • Craigslist
  • They occasionally will go to auctions as well
  • When they go on trips, they also use these apps to source on the road!

Interesting Story:

  • Rob and Melissa went on a 30 day road trip and they spent $1400 to acquire items that amounted to $24,000 of inventory!
  • This means that if they sold everything they bought for $1400, they would earn $24000 in revenue!

When youre on the apps, are you searching keywords or looking at latest?

  • A mix of everything, but Rob just constantly scrolls through and looks for things that catches his eye.
  • If he’s looking for something specific, he uses keywords, but typically, just scrolling

How do you approach people?

  • You cannot get attached to an item!
  • All the money is made in the BUY, not the SELL!
  • Sometimes Rob will pay the price they are asking, but typically, he is just polite and offers something that he believes is fair
  • You don’t know people’s situations, sometimes, they need to get rid of it right away. Send out enough, you will get people saying yes.
  • Rob does NOT do small talk with these people.
  • “Hey, I can pay you cash today. $25” is a typical response Rob will send to people.

What kind of items are different at the Flea Market than the apps?

  • Hodge podge of different stuff
  • Rob and Melissa have created a trusted source of people they visit and they have secured relationships with these vendors that pay them dividends (great deals, exclusive to them!)

Items to stay away from:

  • Electronics: You don’t have to stay away from them, you just have to know about them
  • Medical equipment: Very hard to resell. 80% of their sales come from eBay and eBay doesn’t allow you to sell medical equipment now
  • Recalled baby items: you have to be very careful with!

The industry has changed tremendously now with smart phones and all the apps. It is a no-brainer now. You can do the research before you even purchase the item!

Pro-Tip: A lot of people don’t want to buy large items because they are scared to ship it. Since most people have this thinking, there is less competition. Rob and Melissa buy large items and they are not scared! Of course, you have to keep in mind shipping is going to be more expensive and you can build that in your buy/sell price.

What do you need to get started?

  • Smart Phone or Camera!
  • Computer!
  • THAT IS ALL!

What’s changed since you guys started?

  • eBay has weighted feedback heavily!
  • When you first get started, you need to get feedback! eBay stresses feedback!
  • Buy a few things from eBay when you start your store so you can start giving and getting feedback. As you start getting feedback, you will grow organically.
  • Don’t forget to ask for feedback.
    • “If you’re happy with your transaction, please don’t forget to leave us feedback”!
  • Melissa recommends that you start listing right away, but around 50 feedback, your prices can be more competitive

 

How to determine selling price of an item?

  • You can go onto eBay and look at completed listings.
  • Go to completed listing and check “sold listings” as well
  • If you forget sold listings, you may see crazy numbers!
  • If you can’t find the item on eBay, jump onto Google and try to find the retail value. If it is in decent shape, you can go about half of the retail on eBay.

How do you scale flipping?

  • Larger size typically means higher margins! This is an easy way to scale
  • It is very difficult to scale when you are making $10-$20 per item
  • Try and make $100-$500 per item!
  • You can also scale with employees!

Explain Shipping!

  • Shipping is a big monster and you will most likely make mistakes along the way
  • When you sell on eBay, you get discounts on printing a label from eBay!
  • Typically, Melissa use FedEx and UPS, sometimes, they use USPS to (but mostly small stuff there)

What do you look for in returns?

  • 10X returns is usually the minimum they look at
  • They also want to stick to items that sell for a minimum of $50

Crazy Items:

  • Bus wash: Paid $650, Sold for $9000
  • Tik Set: Paid $50, Sold for $1300
  • Stove: Paid $200, Sold for $2200

How to get started?

  • Don’t even worry about sourcing!
  • Start with everything from your house.
  • You will make mistakes learning the business, and if you start with items you don’t have money in, you feel the losses a lot less!
  • As you start selling, you will learn how to ship, how to sell, etc.
  • Take a portion of what you sold, keep putting that into your business and keep growing that

Branded Shop vs eBay?

  • A lot of work to do that!
  • Go where the people are, don’t try to reinvent the wheel!

Are you worried about relying on eBay?

  • No! There will always be an app. Whether its eBay or another app, they are committed to learning it and figuring it out

What is the most profitable item you’ve sold?

  • Prosthetic leg
  • Bought at the Flea Market for $35, sold it in less than 24 hours for $1000

What is the highest ticket item you’ve sold?

  • Parking lot security tower!
  • Bought for $5000 and sold in less than a month for $25,000!

Where do you store everything?

  • They’ve built a shed in the back and they now leverage store units
  • When you start, you don’t need to buy all of this.
  • Start with whatever is in your room/house and move from there!

How has COVID impacted you?

  • With more people buying online, it’s actually increased their sales!

Connect with Rob & Melissa:

 

Hosts & Guest

Matthew Alexander

Rob Stephenson

Melissa Stephenson

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