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It feels like everyone is looking for a side hustle these days to make a little extra cash.

Flipping cars can be a great way to make money, especially if you are a car enthusiast.

Purchasing inexpensive cars and selling them at a higher value is one way to bring in extra income quickly and easily.

Read on to learn more about how to get started and how to be successful.

What is Flipping Cars?

Flipping cars means you purchase a car and then sell it to someone else at a higher price than you paid.

You will likely need to improve the vehicle or market it to a larger market to sell it for a higher price than you paid.

Laws for Flipping Cars

There are many laws to be aware of before you start flipping cars.

Some of these laws vary by state, so check your local guidelines and regulations.

How Many Cars Can You Flip in a Year?

Many states limit how many cars you can flip each year.

Check your state regulation to ensure you will not exceed the legal limit for car flipping.

Can You Flip Cars Without a Dealers License?

You can flip cars without a dealer license if the vehicle is in your name.

If the title lists someone else as the vehicle owner, you will need to work with a licensed dealership to sell your cars.

The process of obtaining a dealer license can be difficult and expensive.

You’ll only need one if you plan to turn your car flipping into a complete business instead of flipping a few vehicles on the side.

Difference Between Flipping a Car and Selling It

There are similarities and differences between flipping and selling cars.

Similarities Between Flipping and Selling a Car

You will buy a car and then eventually resell it in both situations.

This is the primary similarity between flipping and selling a car.

Differences Between Flipping and Selling a Car

The most significant difference between flipping and selling a car is the reason you are selling the car.

When you flip a car, you are selling it to make a profit.

When you sell a car, you are selling it because you don’t want it anymore.

How Much Money Can You Make Flipping Cars?

The average car flipper can make around $1200 per car.

However, the amount of money you make flipping cars will vary based on your success.

Most people who flip cars do so alongside their full-time employment.

If you only flip a few cars annually, you will not have a considerable overhead cost.

For example, you will not need an expensive dealer license or physical premises.

The entire business can be run from your smartphone.

Suppose you use your phone to take photos and sell your cars.

In that case, the only other cost to factor in is the price of parts and materials you use to improve a vehicle before you flip it.

This is usually minimal compared to the selling price of the improved vehicle, so there is a lot of opportunity for profit here.

Because you will make around $1200 per car flipped, flipping on the side can be an excellent way to pay for a short-term expense.

Many flip cars to work away at debt or even fund a recreational activity, such as a vacation.

Can You Make a Living Flipping Cars?

While most people who flip cars do so to supplement their income, it is possible to make a living flipping cars.

However, it will require more overhead costs and be as demanding as opening your own business.

If you plan to make your living flipping cars, you will likely need to obtain a dealer license.

Flipping enough cars to replace your income will probably put you over the maximum limit you can sell without a license.

You will need to check your state guidelines to be sure.

Many people who flip cars for a living also invest in physical premises on which to sell the updated vehicles.

This will come with additional costs, such as maintenance, insurance, and even hiring additional staff.

You will also need to purchase marketing materials, such as a sign or other advertising.

Benefits of Making Money Flipping Cars

There are many benefits of flipping cars to make money.

Doesn’t Take a Lot of Time

If you know what you’re doing, flipping cars won’t take long in today’s digital world.

You can browse and purchase used cars without traveling far distances.

You can also post your own for sale with the click of a button.

Even better, buyers will find you!

Quick Easy Money

Flipping cars can be quick, easy extra money.

Depending on the vehicle you purchase, there might not be much work to be done before you resell it.

You will be able to quickly improve and relist any cars you buy if you already know how to detail cars and make minor repairs,

Flipping Cars Is A Fun Hobby

If you love cars, flipping cars is fun and lucrative.

It’s a great way to continue learning more about cars, getting your hands dirty, and enjoying yourself while making some quick cash.

Less Capital Than Real Estate

You can flip cars with far less capital than flipping houses or other real estate.

You will not need to spend as much money to purchase a car as a property, but you can still make a significant profit.

What to Do Before Flipping a Car

There are a few things to do before becoming a car flipper.

Set Your Budget Low

Keep a low budget when you are starting out.

You don’t want to spend too much money on the car you will flip because it will be more challenging to make a profit on the resale.

Purchase inexpensive cars that are selling for below their value.

You can find them listed online or through a garage or car shop.

You can also find great deals at a car auction or listed in your local classifieds.

Know Its Resale Value

Always do your research to learn more about the resale value of any car you hope to flip.

This will help you determine the most you should pay for the vehicle to turn a profit when you resell it.

Get a Vehicle History Report

Pull a vehicle history report before purchasing the car to ensure there are no surprises about existing damage or needed repairs.

Use a service like CarFax to find a vehicle’s history based on its VIN.

Test Drive It

Test the car to ensure it runs well and meets your standards.

You might need minor repairs to bring it up to snuff, but you shouldn’t purchase a vehicle that requires too much work.

A quick test drive is an excellent way to ensure you are not buying a dud.

What to Avoid When Flipping Cars

Always avoid these things when flipping cars.

Damaged Cars

Avoid purchasing a vehicle that is damaged or requires significant work.

You will likely put more money into fixing it than you will make back on the resale, especially if you need to hire someone to help you with the repairs.

Legal Issues

Always do your best to avoid legal trouble when purchasing a car.

Do your due diligence to check that the person selling the car is the legal owner with the right to sell.

Ask to see their paperwork.

On your end, make sure you are following your state guidelines for flipping cars.

Make sure you obtain a dealer license if required in your state.

Report your income according to your state’s regulations.

Where to Find Used Cars to Flip

There are many great locations to find an old car perfect for flipping.

Auto Auctions

Check out online auctions or auctions located in your area to find used automobiles to purchase and flip.

Keep an eye out for a dealer auction, where you can often get a great deal.

You can also enter iaai for online auctions.


Craigslist is an excellent resource for finding a good deal on used cars.

You can browse Craigslist without ever leaving your home.

eBay Motors

eBay, the classic resale website, has a section just for used vehicles, parts, and accessories.

You can find some of the best cars here.

Newspaper Classifieds

The classifieds are still an excellent place to find used cars for sale.

Check your local paper or their online classifieds section to find a great deal in your area.

Facebook Marketplace

You’ll need a Facebook profile to access Marketplace, but it’s worth making one for the great deals you’ll find on cars (and other stuff, too!).

You’ll receive access to Marketplace after your account is active for a short period.

How to Prepare a Car for Flipping

You can do a few things that will help your car sell for a higher price than you paid for it.

Get it Inspected

Take your car in for an inspection from a licensed mechanic or car dealership.

A completed inspection will show your buyers that the vehicle is safe and ready to drive.

Do Any Necessary Repairs

Complete any necessary repairs before you list the car for sale.

You are less likely to make a profit on a car you are flipping if the buyer will need to have additional work done before driving.

Get it Detailed

Get the car professionally detailed so it will look its best when you list it for sale.

Get both the interior and exterior done to impress your potential buyers.

Take Good Pictures

Put in the extra effort to take beautiful photos of the car for your online listing.

If your smartphone does not have an advanced camera, consider investing in a professional camera that does the job.

You can find inexpensive digital cameras online or at many box stores.

Where to List a Car for Flipping

Here are the top three places to list your car for sale.

Auto Auctions

List your car in an online auto auction or head to an auction in your area.

You can attend a private or public auction.


List your car on Craigslist to reach many interested parties without leaving your home.


Autolist is an easy-to-use website where many car-buyers go to find their next vehicle.

How to Negotiate a Price

Here are a few things to remember when deciding what price to purchase and resell your cars at.

Price High

Price your newly updated car high to allow some room for negotiation.

Your potential customers will likely try to haggle for a lower price, so make sure you have room to lower the cost without cutting your profit too much.

Do Your Research

Do your research before you price or bid on a car.

Know what the car is selling for elsewhere and the market value, factoring in the vehicle history and other information specific to the vehicle.

Don’t settle for a price that doesn’t follow your research on market value.

Characteristics of Highly Successful Car Flipping

You’ll need to have a few characteristics if you want to successfully flip cars.

Know Vehicles

To be successful at flipping cars, you must know a little about the car market and how to get an old car in shape for resale.

Know How to Maintain and Fix a Car

Knowing how to maintain and fix up the cars you will purchase is incredibly beneficial.

This allows you to do much of the work yourself instead of hiring a third party to help you.

Negotiation Experience

It’s essential to negotiate a low purchase price and a high selling price for the cars you flip.

Experience haggling prices will help you do this successfully.

Sales Experience

Selling is a big part of flipping cars.

Sales experience will help you turn interested people into buyers for your new car.

Wrapping Up

The car flipping business can be a great way to make some money on the side and pursue a hobby in cars.

Be sure to research vehicles before you buy and to put in the work to get them up to par before listing them for sale.

Check your local regulations to ensure you are selling your cars legally and following laws in your state about flipping cars.

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