Flipping various items has proven to be a lucrative side hustle for many entrepreneurs. Clothes, shoes, electronics, and even houses can all be flipped for a profit.
Furniture is yet another one of those items that can be flipped, and probably one of the more profitable ones, that is if you have the skills.
Repairing and redecorating damaged furniture reduces waste and helps contribute to saving the environment.
Also, there’s something satisfying and fulfilling about transforming something that’s worn, damaged, or even merely unattractive into a useful work of art.
Here is all you need to learn about how to make money from flipping furniture: how profitable it is, as well as how and where to buy used furniture,
Can You Make Money Flipping Furniture?
It’s possible to make money from flipping furniture, but it all depends on your existing tools and materials, skills, and artistry.
Having all the woodworking or metalworking tools considerably reduces your overhead and initial spending. The same goes for materials like paint, varnish, etching acid, etc.
If you have to buy tools before you start, it might set you back some and you start your endeavor already too deep in the red.
You can try renting tools from places like Home Depot to minimize your initial costs and then purchase tools for yourself when you start turning in profit.
Cleaning and polishing furniture are relatively simple tasks, but refurbishing and repairing furniture take considerable skills.
Of course, you can take carpentry, woodworking, and metalworking classes locally, but again, this involves cost before you even start. Alternatively, you can learn by watching various instructional videos on YouTube. Real-time feedback on what you’re doing is very limited, but it’s free to learn online.
Even without these skills, though, you can start buying used furniture, simply cleaning them, and then reselling them for a profit.
However, because you can’t add anything to the furniture to considerably increase its value, you’re limited to flipping furniture that’s already in good condition, which is more expensive to buy.
Bottom line: Flipping furniture is most profitable for people who already have experience and comfortable repairing, remodeling, and redecorating used furniture.
Things To Consider When Buying Used Furniture
Type of furniture
There are many different types of furniture that you’d need to familiarize yourself with.
Wood furniture, when built and maintained correctly, can last for decades. In addition, there is a huge market for pieces of furniture that have been refinished so that it retains its old-world charm while finding its place in a modern home.
Upholstered furniture can also be profitable; simply cleaning the upholstery can spruce the look of the furniture, but reupholstering it can give it a whole new look that buyers may be more willing to spend on.
Another type of furniture that you can flip is outdoor furniture, although they don’t fetch as much as indoor furniture. The wear and tear may be a tad more than indoor pieces, so keep that in mind when you buy this type of furniture.
Antiques are one of the most profitable types of furniture that you can flip if you find the right target market. Because they’re higher in value, the level of scrutiny should also be higher.
Condition upon buying
If you’re buying something that’s already in good condition, you minimize the amount of work you put into it.
It might cost a bit more, but saving on materials, labor, and time can offset the cost and still give you a nice profit.
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Uniqueness of the design
You want something one-of-a-kind so that your buyers don’t feel like they’re buying something they can buy from anywhere.
But you need to balance this with its functionality. For example, if a chair looks distinctive but you can’t sit in it, it’s worthless.
A uniquely designed furniture that doesn’t function as it should is no use to anyone.
Where To Buy Used Furniture
Shipping and freight for heavy items like furniture may prove to be too expensive, so you might not want to order from too far away.
Now that you know what to look for when shopping for used furniture, here are some of the places where you can find and buy used furniture for flipping.
1. Thrift Shops
These are probably what first comes to mind when you say “used furniture.”
You can find good deals in thrift shops, secondhand stores, or charity shops, but just because it’s in a thrift store doesn’t automatically mean that it’s a bargain. It’s possible to find used, even slightly damaged items priced even higher than retail prices.
2. Garage Sales/Yard Sales
When one of your neighbors or other local people in your area do a Marie Kondo or plan to move out and get rid of their old stuff, you’ll want to be there.
They’re highly motivated to sell off their furniture and might be more willing to negotiate with you for a lower price.
3. Estate Sales And Auctions
Estate sales are a good place to find well-loved used furniture. An appraiser normally determines the value of the furniture before it gets offered, so the price isn’t as low as you’d find in garage sales.
Your local paper should have a list of estate sales in your area, or you can go to a website like Find Estate Sales.
If you can find businesses that are closing, they normally sell their assets for a much lower price than retail. Furniture businesses are of course ideal, but pretty much any business that has furniture can be a goldmine of used furniture.
You might get an even better price if you have a lot of cash to spare and can buy their furniture as a lot.
4. Flea Markets And Vintage Markets
Flea markets are another good source of used furniture. The good thing about flea markets is that there are many sellers in one place and thus, they’re driven to sell their merchandise at lower prices, as there’s plenty of competition in one place.
Vintage markets aren’t very different from flea markets; they’re places where home goods and furnishings are old enough to be collectible but not old enough to be antiques.
5. Online through Craigslist
Craigslist, the modern-day local classified ads, is another great source of used furniture from people in your area.
Since Craigslist is a free platform for displaying ads and not really a marketplace, they don’t provide payment or shipping facilities. It’s up to you and whoever you’re buying from to meet up and exchange goods and cash.
Thus, you’d have to be careful. There’s a reason why there are plenty of scammers in Craigslist and you need to exercise the utmost care. Meet up in public spaces as much as you can, take a companion with you if you can, always inspect the furniture carefully, and never ever pay first before you meet up.
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Where To Sell Refurbished Furniture
As I’ve mentioned, shipping and freight for furniture may be too expensive, so it’s best to sell your pieces locally.
Of course, if a not-so-local buyer wants to buy your items and is willing to shoulder the cost of having the item sent to them, then there’s no reason not to accommodate them.
Here are some of the places where you can sell your overhauled furniture.
1. Online Through Craigslist Or Other Selling Apps
Selling locally is a better option than selling online, and Craigslist and mobile selling apps let you do just that.
Flipping furniture on Craigslist is as simple as buying them. But if you’re the one selling, you’ll need to market your furniture better, which also applies when you’re selling them through other selling applications.
Clear photos from multiple angles, materials used, size and dimensions, as well as any other details of your furniture should be included in your listing.
It also helps to mention the work you did on the furniture, such as any repairs, paint jobs, upholstery changes, etc.
These details attract serious and interested buyers.
You also should learn to protect yourself from scammy buyers, too. Make sure you’re meeting in a public place, such as the mall or any other building or structure that hosts plenty of people.
If meeting in a public space isn’t possible, such as if the item is too big or if you have some restrictions in driving or in motion, at least do the exchange in a publicly visible area such as your garage, porch, front yard, or anywhere else that people on the outside can see.
Never give up your item without at least seeing the money.
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2. Consignment Shops Or Used Furniture Dealers
If you want a quick way to move inventory, this is a good way to sell your used furniture. In addition, selling through a third party give you exposure to a wider clientele who might want to deal with you directly in the future.
The advantage is that they come to wherever your furniture is, appraise it, and take it off your hands if they think they can sell it at a profit.
However, you might not get the best price for your items because these dealers also have to make a profit. It might help to think of this minor loss as the price for being able to offload your stock quickly, exposure to new clientele, and having someone else handle selling your items.
3. Flea Markets And Vintage Markets
Renting a space in your local flea market and selling your furniture from there is another good way to sell your furniture.
Buyers who shop at flea markets are normally on the hunt for original, well-made furniture that can’t be found elsewhere.
A good strategy to sell your pieces quickly is to have an attractive display and access to foot traffic so that buyers can see your items on display.
4. Garage Sales
Hosting a garage sale is another way to attract local people to your merchandise.
Advertise your items for sale through your community boards, if you have them, and then invite them to your garage sale.
It’s probably not a good idea to be posting your home address on public bulletin boards, though. Either hold a garage sale in a public space or post contact details such as your email address and phone number so you can send your address in private.
5. Thrift Shops
Selling your pieces to thrift shops should be your last resort, if at all.
You want your furniture to sell at a good price, but shoppers at thrift stores expect low-priced items, so you might not earn enough to make it worth your while.
Tips To Earn More From Flipping Furniture
Learn how to negotiate.
Haggling is a huge part of flipping anything; you want to buy cheap and sell high.
Knowing how to negotiate a good price for the furniture you’re buying to flip allows you to get a good selling price for your refurbished furniture as well.
Avoid working with fake wood.
You want to put out quality furniture every single time, not only to build your reputation but also to get repeat business and solid referrals.
To produce high-quality furniture that lasts for years, you need to stay away from low-quality materials, such as particle board or medium-density fiberboard (MDF).
Those pieces won’t last, no matter how much you sand them or how pretty you paint them.
Know how to take eye-catching photographs of your merchandise.
Half of your business is advertising and convincing your target market to buy your furniture.
A big part of it is making sure that the visual aspect of your marketing is done well. There are plenty of online courses that teach how to take awesome photographs of furniture that showcase details as well as display their overall aesthetic.
Consider expanding your business to doing custom work.
Sometimes, customers want to keep their furniture but also turn it into something unique to them and their taste without having to buy new pieces.
You can monetize your skills in revamping furniture without having to look for furniture to buy and flip. Thus, you can make more money from the same work.
However, before you can make this into a profitable venture, you’d have to have a solid customer base to do this work for and to spread the word, so consider doing this later on in your business.
Quality always trumps quantity.
This is the most important thing to keep in mind if you want to be successful in this business.
This applies to everything. For instance, it’s better to use quality tools and materials that are a bit more expensive rather than settle for cheaper but lower-quality ones.
In addition, putting out fewer, excellently made pieces is a better strategy than churning out inferior furniture.
Is Flipping Furniture For You?
As you’ve probably gathered by now, buying and overhauling furniture can be a profitable way for you to make some side cash.
Hopefully, I’ve given you everything you need to get started flipping furniture and making some side cash from it.
Other Things You Can Flip To Make Money
Buying and selling furniture isn’t for everyone, though.
If you decide that flipping furniture isn’t for you, or maybe you just want to up your flipping game, here are some other items that you can buy at a bargain and then sell:
Is refurbishing furniture already something you dabble in? Or is it something you’re interested in learning? Tell us in the comments section below!