Flipping furniture can be a great way to make extra cash on the side. With some work on your side, you can easily enhance the value of a piece of furniture and sell it for a profit. Let’s take a look at what is involved and go over some tips to make more money when doing furniture flips.
When doing a flip, you need to add value to the item you are selling. The more value you add, the higher the profit margin.
The easiest and least time intensive way to add value to a product is to buy something that is priced to sell and then put it back on onto the marketplace at a higher price. The value you are adding is your willingness to hold the item longer and to connect with a customer at a higher price. You can make money on underpriced items without even getting your hands dirty.
The next easiest way to add value is to add the furniture to additional marketplaces. When you buy something at a garage sale, the number of buyers is limited to the foot traffic that comes through. If you place the furniture on multiple marketplaces, you increase the number of potential customers who are willing to pay more for the piece.
Another easy way to add value is to offer delivery. Not everyone has access to a larger vehicle or a partner to help carry heavy items. Delivery expands the range of people who can buy the furniture, and you can actually charge a handling fee on top of shipping to increase the profit.
Taking better pictures is another easy way to increase the amount of money that you can sell your items for. Furniture catalogs and websites are a great way to get ideas on how best to display and photograph the furniture. You will also want to stage the furniture, for example, you might add flowers on a table to help the buyer visualize it in their home. Not a great photographer? This guide to photographing furniture will get you up and running in no time.
A more transformative way to add value is to sand away imperfections and repaint the piece. An old beat furniture can look brand new using this technique. Another benefit of repainting is that you can transform a dated piece of furniture into a more modern style. Replacing the handles on drawers can be an inexpensive way to give furniture a new life as well. White and light gray are popular colors for kitchens, and using those colors can create the value of refurbished kitchen items. Spray-painting handles gold is also a great way to make an item look pricier as well.
For upholstered furniture that is in bad shape, cleaning can remove unwanted dirt and smells. You can also patch holes fairly cheaply as well.
Where to find furniture to resell
- Facebook Marketplace – This marketplace has one of the best selections of furniture, but watch out for people who are overpricing their items.
- OfferUp – Smaller than Facebook Marketplace, but usually has good finds.
- Craigslist – Also a smaller marketplace with good finds.
- Letgo – Less of a selection here, but it’s worth it to check and see if anything promising pops up.
- Garage sales – Local garage sales are a great way to get items cheaply. Military bases are great for these, because of frequent moves related to the job.
- Dumpster diving – You don’t have to go in the dumpster, people leave the furniture next to the dumpster when they are moving, and you just need to pick it up.
- Thrift stores – Thrift stores don’t just sell used clothing, some sell furniture as well.
- eBay – Furniture is not really eBay’s specialty, but some good finds can be found here.
How much to pay for the furniture
To begin with, I suggest you start with items that are $100 or less. This will allow you to recover from any bad judgement calls you might have early on, where you find that you can’t resell the furniture as easily as you thought. As you get better, then you can buy increasingly more expensive furniture.
Don’t forget to haggle. You can talk down almost anything on the second hand market. Most Americans don’t feel comfortable haggling, if you are one of them, check out this guide on how to haggle successfully.
How to get the furniture back to your place
Ideally you will have a truck, but if you have a hatchback car, you would be surprised at just how many pieces of furniture can fit. Just ask for the measurements ahead of time and take a tape measurer to your cat to double-check that you have the clearance. Set the back seats down and move the front seats forward to give yourself some extra room.
Where to work
A garage is the ideal place to work on furniture, but almost anywhere in the house can work, even a spare room. Just remember that you will need good ventilation if you are painting.
It’s not a great idea to leave your furniture outside, as the sunlight alone can be damaging to the wood.
Restoring wood furniture
Before you start, make sure to get a mask, to avoid inhaling any of the fumes from the various chemicals and paints that you will be using.
One of the best ways to add value to a new furniture purchase it to repaint it. The first step you need to do is to strip off the old paint or stain. You can buy a liquid paint stripper to do this part. When using a paint stripper you will need to neutralize it afterwards, the paint stripper will have these instructions on the best neutralizer to use.
Next, use sandpaper to smooth out any imperfections and make it easier for the new paint or stain to stick.
If you use a stain, after it has dried, you can apply a finished oil or wax. This will add a shine to the piece. The more coats you apply, the more of a shine your piece will have.
How much to sell your furniture for
One easy way to gauge the market is to look at what previous pieces have sold for. Ebay, for example, has a sold items filter you can check to see the prices of the most recent items sold.
It’s always good to go for a higher price than you expect to get. First, people will haggle you down, so if you start high you are in a better bargaining place. Second, there are often people out there who are willing to pay more than you would expect. In the worst case, you can always relist the furniture for a lower price.
When pricing higher, you will naturally wait longer to get the sale, because the pool of buyers is reduced. If you don’t have a lot of space to store the furniture, then you may go with lower prices, to keep open space to bring new furniture in.
Where to sell the furniture
You can turn around and sell the furniture on many of the same sites that you buy the furniture from.
- Facebook Marketplace
- Antique Stores
- Your own website
- Social Media
Increase your profit margins
Buy in bulk
Buying paint and other supplies in bulk can help reduce the overall costs you pay for transforming the piece.
Promote your items
You can use advertising on different platforms to help bring awareness to our items and increase the likelihood that you will run into someone who would pay more for the furniture.
Keep up with current trends
Knowing the best colors to paint furniture or what types of furniture are in style will greatly increase your potential profit margins. You can use catalogs and see what type of pieces are selling on the used market to help judge this.
For some smaller pieces, you can disassemble them and ship via UPS. For larger pieces, you will want to use a freight shipper. You should be able to get a quote in order to know what charge customers for shipping.
Keep track of how much money you make per time spent
How much money you make per hour spent is the most important metric to use when deciding on what pieces you work on. Selling four $50 profit pieces that took one hour to refurbish is better than spending eight hours to get $200 profit on a single piece.
When we did this, we had a hatchback car, which limited us from getting some larger pieces of furniture. The other limitation was the strength of my wife, who could not help with heavier pieces. As a result, there is a lot less competition for larger pieces and much better profit margins to be had.
Watch out for stowaways
For the first furniture piece we tried, we had an unexpected stowaway. A cockroach jumped out and created quite a lot of drama. It’s a good idea to search through the items before you take them inside, just to be on the safe side.
As you can see, flipping furniture can be a lucrative side hustle. It’s ideal for people who like to find bargains and have a passion for interior design. It’s also easy to startup, you can even find a $0 piece of furniture to get you going with a low startup cost.