Originally published February 16, 2020. Updated July 1, 2020.
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Complete Guide To Flipping Furniture
Flipping furniture is a great way to earn additional cash in your free time. Best of all, all it requires is a few easy to learn skills and you can start for as little as $150. This makes it one of the best side hustles that you can start today.
From kitchen tables to dressers and armoires, you can turn any piece of furniture into a masterpiece that someone might be looking for. The “up-cycled” look is extremely popular among millennials right now making it a great opportunity for you to take advantage. In this post, we’ll explain how to start flipping furniture, what you can do to make more money, and the best tips to help you get started!
How to Start Flipping Furniture
There are a few things you’ll need to know before you start flipping furniture to be successful. You’ll need to which pieces of furniture make a good candidate, what materials you might need, and where to buy your furniture.
What pieces of furniture should I flip?
Some of the best pieces of furniture to flip are those that are older and come with a lot of character and imperfections. It could be a dresser or an old side table, or many other pieces. Your options are endless when it comes to flipping furniture.
You should look for high-quality pieces that show signs of normal wear and tear over the years. These pieces can be refurbished and sold for much more than your initial investment.
Depending on your skills, you could consider purchasing pieces that are in greater disrepair, but for those just getting starting, look for more simple pieces to refinish.
Where to find furniture to flip?
Some of the best places to find furniture to flip are usually thrift stores or garage sales but there are many places you can look. You’ll find that when someone wants to get rid of furniture, they’ll oftentimes let it go for free as long as you can haul it away for them. Below is a list of places to start your search:
- Garage or Yard Sales
- Thrift Stores
- Facebook Marketplace
How much should I pay for my furniture?
You should judge the level of wear on your potential furniture before making any offer. Traditional negotiating suggests that you always make the initial offer so that you can set a low reference price and negotiate around it. We suggest spending less than $100 for most of your pieces unless you have an extremely rare piece that could have a very high demand once it’s refurbished.
What materials you’ll need to get started
In order to start flipping furniture, you’ll need a few items to get started. Depending on the piece you plan to flip, you can expect to use at least a few of the materials below.
Depending on the size of the furniture you plan on flipping, you’ll need some way to transport it when you purchase and sell it. If you are flipping larger pieces, you might need a truck or SUV where smaller pieces might fit into a smaller car. You should know what pieces you plan to flip and arrange transportation accordingly.
Space to Work
This might seem obvious but you can’t flip furniture if you don’t have a clean space to work! It could be your garage, basement, or even spare room in your home, either way, you’ll need to find a clean area to work.
Painting, Reupholstery, and Restoration Equipment
If you’re planning to renew furniture that requires paint or restoration, you’ll need some equipment that you can pick up at your local hardware store or using the links below to get started. Some of these items are considered optional but might help you (especially when just getting started).
- Paint Brushes
- Painters Tape
- Paint Stripper
- Paint or Stain
- Sanding Materials
- Sewing Machine
- Staple Gun
- Wood Glue
- Steel Wool
How to Restore Old Furniture
Now that you have all of the materials needed, it’s time to start “doing”. If you’ve never done any woodwork before, it’s probably a good idea to check out a few of the videos below to help you along the way.
How to Restore Wooden Furniture
- When restoring wooden furniture, you’ll need to first strip any of the old paint or stain from the piece. To do this, apply paint stripper to the furniture and give it time to dissolve into the wood.
- Next, you’ll need to neutralize the stripper by applying the proper spirit or polish remover and rubbing it into the wood in the direction of the wood’s grain.
NOTE: The paint stripper you use should note what spirit or polish remover you will need.
- After rubbing your neutralizer into your piece, you need to check to ensure your furniture is clean of any paint or stain. If there is still leftover, reapply the paint stripper and repeat the previous steps. If it is clean, wipe it off and let it dry for 24 hours.
- Next, you’ll need to smooth the wood using sandpaper. If you find that there are many spots that are rough, use sandpaper to smooth them out.
- After the furniture is clean and smooth, you can apply your favorite stain as desired. After applying, wipe away excess stain and let it dry.
- After the stain has dried, you can apply a finishing oil or wax to add shine. After each application, you should let it dry before considering another coat. The more coats you add, the more shine your piece will have. Once you are happy with its sheen, let it sit for 24 hours to completely dry.
- The last step in restoring your wooden furniture is to apply the final coat of wax to your piece to add even more shine.
How to Reupholster Furniture
Another option to consider when deciding to flip furniture is to reupholster furniture. This involves repairing or replacing the fabric on your piece of furniture giving it a fresh look and feel. Reupholstering furniture can be very time consuming but it also can give you a unique opportunity to make money because of less competition.
How Much Should I Sell My Refurbished Furniture For?
After you’ve successfully refurbished your piece, you’ll need to determine how much to sell it for. It’s wise to first write down the amount of time and money you have put into the piece. This should include your initial purchase price, the price of any materials used, any transportation costs, and all of the time you have spent working on the piece.
Once you have determined the amount of time and money you input to the piece, you can oftentimes mark it up by 200 to 400 percent.
For example, let’s say you bought a piece for $50, used $50 in materials, and spent a total of 6 hours of your time on the piece. You could reasonably ask for anywhere from $200 to $500.
A good way to determine your selling price is to gauge what other similar pieces have sold for recently. If you notice that a piece similar to yours sold for more, you can raise your price.
You can always adjust the price of your piece after posting it. If you are not getting much of a response, you can always lower the price and adjust accordingly.
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Where to Sell my Furniture?
After determining how much to sell your furniture for, you’ll need to find somewhere to sell it. There are many different options available, but some might offer better prices and ease of use than others.
Just as you can buy items on Facebook Marketplace, it can also be a good place to sell your revived furniture. You’ll gain access to billions of people instantly and there are no fees for selling your items.
Craigslist is a great place to list your items for sale. It will take less than 5m minutes to get your item for sale and users can easily reach out via an anonymous email address to input their offers or questions.
Sometimes a garage sale can offer you the ability to list your refurbished furniture for sale. The advantage of holding a garage sale is that you can also list other items around your house for sale as well.
If you’ve ever visited your local antique store, you can often find many pieces of revitalized furniture. Typically you will pay for booth space where you can display as many items as you’d like. Some antique stores will also charge a percentage of your sales.
eBay has been around since the early 2000s and offers sellers a way to sell items to millions of shoppers online. The downside of eBay? Many shoppers will be out of your surrounding area, making shipping and transportation a hassle. However, you can make your items as “Local Pickup Only” where the buyer will be forced to pick up the item themselves.
If you want to up the ante with your furniture flipping business, you could consider creating a website to sell your pieces. You can start a website for a couple of hundred bucks per year, but it gives shoppers the opportunity to browse your products any time of day.
Anyone with a social media account can consider offering their items for sale as a regular post. If you have a large following, or numerous friends and family, they can reach out to you directly on the platform to make an offer for your furniture.
How Much Money Can I Make Flipping Furniture
How much you make flipping furniture depends on several factors. How much time you have, how skilled you are, and where you are located can all impact how much you can make.
When it comes to flipping furniture, the majority of your work is time. The more time you can spend searching for and selling your furniture, the more money you can make.
For example, you might spend 2-3 hours searching for a good piece of furniture to flip, but you could make over $500 on that piece. Or you might spend 1 hour searching for a piece you might only make $50 on. As with any business, the more time and effort you put in, the more money you will get out.
Most furniture flippers will make anywhere between $50 to $500 per month but some of the best have been reported to make over $15,000 per month with this hobby turned business.
How to Make More Money Flipping Furniture
If you’re new or early on in your furniture flipping business, there are a few things you can do to make more money.
Don’t Accept Your First Offer
Whenever you get an offer, you might be tempted to accept it if it turns a profit for you. But it’s better to either counteroffer or decline the offer altogether if it is too low. You need to understand the costs that went into flipping your pieces before selling your items and accepting an offer.
Become More Productive or Skillful
With any skill, the longer you flip furniture, the better you’ll become. This will make you a more efficient furniture flipper making your items less expensive. This comes with time and knowledge so be patient!
Promote Your Items for Sale
By promoting your items, you can sell them for more money. If you only list your item for sale on one location, you minimize how many people will see it and therefore make an offer. Promote your items on multiple platforms to maximize your exposure and offers!
The best way to make more money flipping furniture is to lower your costs. There are many different ways you can achieve this. Maybe it’s by purchasing supplies in bulk or reducing your transportation costs. Either way, lowering your costs can help you become a more profitable furniture flipper.
Spend Less Money on Supplies
Spending less on your supplies goes hand-in-hand with lowering costs, but we think this deserves its own section.
Between paint and materials, you can easily spend a large chunk of your potential profits on various items. Instead of purchasing your supplies at more expensive (but convenient!) specialty craft or home improvement stores, consider purchasing your supplies online through websites like Amazon or eBay to save money.
Charge for Delivery
Boost your furniture flipping profits by charging for delivery. If a customer falls in love with one fo your pieces, there’s a good chance they’ll be willing to shell out some extra money to have it delivered. Charging to have your items delivered is an easy way to earn extra cash.
Showcase Your Items the Right Way
How your pieces are presented is highly correlated to how much you can sell them for.
For example, if you take a low-quality picture of your piece and list it on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, there’s a good chance you won’t get as much as you could by taking high-quality photos or staging them in a manner that boosts its’ appearance.
This doesn’t mean you need to have the most expensive camera, however. Do your best to ensure your pictures look appealing to potential buyers.
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Tips for Flipping Furniture
When you first start flipping furniture, you’re bound to make mistakes. We’ve gathered some of the best tips to help you get started!
Look for Quality Furniture
When it comes to flipping furniture, you should always look for quality pieces. After all, renewing a few year old piece from Ikea isn’t going to make you any money. Find pieces that are made of real wood like Oak and Cherry (Hint: they’ll probably be extremely heavy!). These pieces are more cherished and will be easier to sell when the time comes.
Take Time and Don’t Skip Steps
You’ll probably be tempted to skip certain steps that are time-consuming or seem “unnecessary”. To avoid mistakes, be sure to complete these steps no matter how unnecessary they may seem. This will save you plenty of time in the long run.
Have a Clean Dark, Open Space
Having a clean space to work will ensure that you do not have to repeat steps when refinishing your furniture because of debris or dust gathering on your piece.
It’s also a good idea to leave your furniture out of direct sunlight so that the wood does not bleach when being restored.
Imperfections are Perfect
The main reason people opt for antique furniture is the character that it holds. Over the years, the wood will change and imperfections arise. This is what makes antique furniture so sought after. When restoring your furniture you might want to consider leaving some of the imperfections it holds to keep its character.
Flipping furniture can be a great side hustle for anyone with a few extra hours on the weekend. You might think that you need to be handy or a strong woodworker to be good at flipping furniture but that is not true. With the right tools and time, anyone can become a profitable flipper.
Have you had experience flipping furniture? Comment below!