Domain Flipping: How to Start and Make a Profit

how to flip a domain and make a profit

Interested in the business of domain flipping? Want to know if you can make some extra cash or even turn it into a full-time job?

Domain flipping is easy and it can be lucrative but … not always!

In this domain flipping guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know and also show you how to get started.

What is Domain Flipping?

Domain flipping is the process of buying and selling domain names. Just like you can flip a house (or any real estate property) in real life, you can flip a domain online.

Before you get into the business of flipping domain names, you need to know if it’s really for you. Here are the key aspects you should be aware of:

  1. Domain investing requires time and money. Though you can get started for as little as $10
  2. You need a fair amount of knowledge about domain names to know how to pick good ones that will bring in profits
  3. Depending on the domain names you choose, it can be easy to sell in a few weeks or it can be so niche that it may take a long time to find the right buyer
  4. You need to follow the law. This means there’s a bit of research involved in checking copyrights, existing business names, and domain blacklists before buying and reselling a domain name
  5. As with any business, there is a certain amount of risk that you need to assume when you invest in domain flipping
  6. You can work from anywhere in the world as long as you’re connected to the internet

We recommend checking out current domain statistics to get a sense of the market and to know if domain flipping is for you.

Now that you know the risks and rewards of domain flipping, we’ll show you how to get started. Then, we’ll give you tips on how to make your business successful.

How to Start a Domain Name Flipping Business

Most people get the impression that domain flipping is hard. But we’re here to tell you that it’s actually not. If you’re new to domain names, you’ll want to first get familiar with how to register a domain name.

Then you can get started with this guide to domain flipping for beginners.

Step 1: Find Good Domain Names

The hardest parts of domain flipping are finding the right domain names and getting the right buyer.

The first step needs a bit of effort. You don’t want to simply buy up random domain names. Instead, you want to search for a valuable one that people will not only want to buy but will also be willing to pay a good price for it.

To be honest, at the start, you might find this hard to do. But as you get the hang of the business, you’ll be able to spot a good domain name from a mile away and you’ll know how to make money fast!

To be a good domain investor, here are the best ways to find good domain names to make money online:

  1. Use a Name Generator: It’s hard to think of names that could possibly be valuable. An easier way to go about this is to use a domain name generator tool.

    nameboy domain search results

    You simply need to enter a few keywords and the generator will give you a list of results with available domain names. You can view different extensions like .com or .net that are available for the name.

  2. Run a Domain Name Search: You can also head over to domain registrars like Bluehost and Domain.com.

    bluehost domain names

    Then you can enter the domain name you’re looking for to see if it’s available. You can also use Google Domains to get insights into why the domain is valuable and what might reduce its value.

    Tip: You can run a bulk domain name search to save time.

  3. Check List of Expiring Domain Names: You can find domain names that are recently expired or soon-to-be expiring on websites like Network Solutions and JustDropped.

    domains expiring today

    These domain names are usually available for reasonable rates and there’s a high chance you’ll find valuable ones in these lists. See our guide: How to Find & Buy Expired Domain Names (2 Best Ways)

  4. Attend Domain Auctions: When a domain expires, people can place backorders to try to secure the domain name for themselves. If multiple people create backorders on the same domain, then it goes to auction where the domain is sold to the highest bidder.

    bid now on expired domains

    Viewing these auctions will help you get a sense of which domains are valuable and which ones you can pass on.

    GoDaddy auctions are one of the most popular in the domain marketplace.

2. Check the Domain’s Value

Once you find a domain you think is worthy, you’ll want to research it to make sure it’s a good investment. There are a lot of factors that go into the valuation of a domain. These include:

  • Domain extension: Is it a .com or .xyz?
  • Market value: How much is the other party willing to pay on average? How many people are interested?
  • Geographical limits: Can it be used internationally or locally?
  • Branding potential: Is it a short and memorable name? Is it easy to create a brand and marketing profile? Amazon.com and Cars.com are examples of highly valuable domain names.
  • SEO potential: Will it be easy to rank on Google? Does it have a good ranking profile history? You can check it’s backlinks profile and domain authority using tools like Ahrefs and Moz.

We recommend following 3 steps:

1. Use a Domain Valuation Tool: This will quickly show you what the domain name is worth in the market.

GoDaddy has a free Domain Name Value and Appraisal tool that you can use.

godaddy domain appraisal

All you have to do is type in the domain name and hit the search button.

GoDaddy will quickly run a check in the background taking multiple factors into account. Then it displays the results showing you how much the domain name is approximately worth.

godaddy domain valuation

Regular domain names may not bring in big profits. But short domain names and brandable domains usually sell for much higher. And this is what you want to look for.

You can also see similar domains and the same domain name with different extensions (TLDs). The .com domain is most preferred, but .net, .biz, .co are also popular. If you’re confused about which extension is worth it, you’ll want to see: How to Choose the Best Domain Name Extension (TLDs).

For more domain appraisal tools, we’ve covered this in our guide: How to Get a Domain Name Appraisal (3 Best Tools)

2. Check for Copyright & Trademarks: This will reveal whether a trademark for the brand already exists. You can use the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Trademark Electronic Search System to ensure the domain name has not already been trademarked.

search trademarks

If you find that the domain name is already trademarked, you’ll want to move on. It’s likely that the owner of the trademark can claim the domain name. This means you’ll lose your investment.

Interested to know more about this? You’ll find this guide helpful: Should You Trademark Your Domain Name? (Beginner’s Guide)

3. Check the Domain’s History: It’s rare that you’ll find a valuable domain name that’s brand new with no history attached to it.

With new domain names, you can skip this step. But existing domain names aren’t wiped clean before they are sold again, so it’s important to check what it was used for before.

In some cases, domain owners may have simply given up on the website, but there are others who deliberately abandon domains or were forced to shut down their site due to bans or penalties imposed by search engines or governments.

The best way to check a domain’s history is to run a search on DomainIQ and the Wayback Machine. You can follow the steps in our tutorial: How to Check a Domain’s History Before Buying it.

domain history for xyz extension

Once you’re sure the domain name you’ve picked is a good one and you can make money from it, you can go ahead and register it in your name.

Step 3: Register and Park the Domain Name

Now that you’ve found a valuable domain name, you need to register it in your name before someone else does.

You can use any popular domain registrar to do this. But since you’re planning to flip the domain, we recommend using one that lets you park your domains for free, or at least for cheap.

When you park a domain it means that you aren’t using it to host a functioning website. You could park it to reserve the name, protect your trademark, and even let others know that it’s up for sale. Bluehost and Sedo let you park domains for free.

You might want to know that when you register a domain name, your personal details like your name, phone number, and email ID gets added to the WHOIS database.

This will allow anyone who’s interested in buying your domain name to connect with you directly. If you want to remain anonymous with your domain registration, you’ll need to get domain privacy protection. This comes free with some registrars like Namecheap and Google Domains.

Step 4: Find a Buyer and Negotiate a Sale

If you’ve got a domain name that’s got high potential in terms of branding, marketing, and SEO, if you price it right, you could flip it in a few days for a neat profit.

If you tag the domain with a higher price than anyone is willing to pay, chances are you’ll be stuck with the domain name for a long time. To make a good amount of money online, you need to get a fair appraisal and price it right.

To let people know your domain is for sale, you can use the following methods:

1. List the Domain on Marketplaces

There are many websites where you can list you domain for sale. Most domain registrars allow you to do this namely GoDaddy and Namecheap.

namecheap marketplace

You can also use Flippa. This is a global online marketplace where individuals and business owners buy and sell websites, online businesses and other digital real estate.

2. Use a Domain Broker

Domain brokers help negotiate deals between potential buyers and sellers. The good thing about signing up with a broker is that your domain will get more exposure to their entire network of interested buyers. So they’ll help you find an interested party and work out a deal where both parties agree. Keep in mind that you can also make the transaction anonymously.

godaddy domain broker

When choosing a domain broker, you need to find one that’s trustworthy and reliable. One that will get YOU the best deal. Here’s our top recommendations:

Get more details on domain brokers here: 5 Top Domain Name Broker Services

3. Put the Domain Up for Auction

At auction, your domain name will go to the highest bidder. Popular auction sites include GoDaddy, DynaDot, and DNForum.

godaddy auction

At GoDaddy, you can join this marketplace by paying $4.99 per year as a registration fee. Once you’re a member, you can bid on and purchase a domain name or list your domain names for sale without any extra charges.

When you list your domain for sale you can:

  • Hold an auction and make it public for 1 week
  • Accept or reject offers from prospective buyers or make a counter offer

If your domain sells at a price below $5,000, then GoDaddy will charge a commission of 15% to 20%. But if you can sell it at a higher cost of $5,001 – $25,000, the commission will be $1000 plus 15% on the amount over $5,000.

The good news is that you don’t have to worry about commission fees if you’re buying a domain from them.

After you’ve put your domain name up for sale, you’ll have to wait for a buyer to come along. There’s no guarantee when that will be.

With valuable domain names, it can take minutes to days. Niche and local domain names may take weeks to months.

When you’ve struck a deal, you’ll need to transfer the ownership of your domain to them.

We recommend using a service like Escrow.com, Sedo, DAN, Epik, PayPal, to close the transaction in a safe and secure manner.

Tip: When you’re auctioning a domain name, it helps to add a reserve price at which you’re comfortable selling the domain.

Step 5: Transfer the Domain

Usually, your domain registrar makes this really simple. You’ll need to log in to your account with them and initiate the transfer of domain ownership.

namecheap cpanel for domain transfer

Provide the details required and they’ll take care of the rest for you.

We’ve covered the entire step-by-step process here: How to Transfer a Domain to a New Registrar.

That’s it! You’ve learned how to flip a domain name and turn it into a profitable business. Next, we’ll answer the most common questions our users have about domain flipping.

Domaing Flipping FAQs

Is Domain Flipping a Good Side Hustle?

Domain flipping can bring in a substantial passive income. But it’s not a set-and-forget type of hustle. You have to work at it to keep buying good domain names and finding the right buyers.

Is Domain Flipping Still Profitable?

Yes. Domain flipping can be very profitable if you know how to pick good domain names and the right places to sell them. You also need to know how to price the domain fairly so that buyers will be interested in making the deal. Expensive domains usually take a longer time to sell. Learn how much a domain name should cost.

Is Domain Flipping Legal?

Yes, domain flipping is legal. The only problem you could run into is if the domain name has already been trademarked. The owner can raise a dispute to secure the domain.

How Much Do I Have to Invest to Start Domain Flipping?

You can get started for as little as $10. We recommend using Bluehost. You can sign up for a hosting plan for just $2.75 per month and get a domain name for free (1-year registration). Then you can buy and park domain names for free till you sell them.

How Much Can You Earn Flipping Domains?

Domain flippers earn anywhere between a few dollars to thousands of dollars on each domain they buy and sell. It all depends on how good you are at picking out profitable domain names, and not to mention, there’s a little bit of luck involved with coming across the right domain name that’s available at the right time.

Truth be told, you can make a lot of money or little money depending on how much time and effort you’re willing to invest in this.

Is There Domain Flipping Software?

It’s hard to find reliable domain flipping software. One tool you could look at is Domainers.co. There are plenty of related software and tools you can use to make your domain flipping business a success. For instance, there’s GoDaddy’s domain appraisal tool and there’s Flippa that lets you sell digital real estate.

Which is the Best Doamin Flipping Website?

Check out Namebio, it’s any domain flippers go-to site to find available domain names, market values, and live news on domain investing and sales. You can also create featured listings to put your domain in front of thousands of domain investors.

We hope you found our domain flipping tutorial helpful. Next, we’ve handpicked these guides to help you make your business a success:

These posts will give you most insights into buying and selling domain names so you can make more money flipping domains.

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