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A Guide to Furniture Flipping for Extra Cash in 2023

You may have discovered the furniture-flipping side hustle in your quest for searching what you can do online to earn extra cash.

People are willing to pay good money for used furniture you’ve procured, fixed up, and listed for sale online.

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about this side hustle.

And by the end, you’ll save your customers the trip to the furniture store while putting some extra money in your pocket.

What Is Flipping Furniture?

Flipping furniture involves buying used or old furniture, fixing it up, and selling the restored furniture to earn a profit.

When selling furniture as a side hustle, you must live by the mantra of ‘buy low, sell high’ to make money.

Luckily, it isn’t too challenging to find furniture to flip.

You can procure inexpensive furniture in many places, including online, at local yard sales, and at flea markets.

One of the legitimate concerns most folk interested in this side hustle have is their lack of DIY skills.

However, you don’t need to be an expert woodworker to make money flipping furniture.

You only need basic skills and know what to look for, which we’ll get into in more detail.

How the Process Works

You’ll mostly go through the same six-step process for every piece you sell:

  1. Sourcing Items: The first thing you’ll do is search for items to flip. There are several places to look when searching for old furnishings to sell, including around your neighborhood, online, etc.
  2. Procurement: Once you find a profitable item, you’ll procure it. Procurement involves either negotiating with the seller until you reach a price that’s acceptable to you both or getting it for free. In the latter case, the item’s former owner is happy for you to take it off their hands.
  3. Recovery: With the item in your custody, you’ll need to do some work to get it looking good as new. The amount of work you put in will depend on the item’s condition when you procured it.
  4. Marketing Material Preparation: When you get the item into sellable condition, you’ll need to prepare marketing materials, which involve writing a product description and taking high-quality photos.
  5. Listing: After creating the marketing materials, you list your product on online marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace and eBay.
  6. Negotiation: If your listing gets an inquiry, you can negotiate with the potential buyer and hopefully make a sale.

Is Furniture Flipping a Great Way to Make Money?

Flipping furniture is a fantastic side hustle to get into if you want to earn money for several reasons, such as:

1. Minimal Start-up Capital Required

You don’t need a huge amount of capital to start.

Once you can find some unwanted furniture to buy on the cheap, you only need some DIY supplies, and you’re golden.

2. Make Money Quickly

Unlike other side hustles, flipping furniture doesn’t involve long incubation periods before you can earn cash.

You can go from locating and doing up an old piece of furniture to selling locally and earning money upfront in a matter of days.

Some veteran furniture flippers go from buying furniture to making a profit in as little as a week.

3. Work On Your Terms

Flipping furniture for profit is among the most flexible side hustles you can do to earn money.

You can arrange it around your schedule, so it doesn’t matter whether you have a full-time job.

How much time and effort you put into it is up to you.

You can search for, buy, and sell pieces in your spare time or give this side hustle a go full-time.

4. Excellent Growth Potential

If you become a successful furniture flipper, what starts out as a way to earn extra money could turn into a full-time income.

Your operation has the potential to grow into a business that lets you quit your day job and possibly take on staff to help with day-to-day tasks.

You could go from buying locally to expanding your sphere of operations nationally.

5. Little Skills Required

You don’t need to be too knowledgeable in the beginning.

You can pick up the skills as you go along, and many online resources can help you along the way.

6. Massive Opportunities for Success

Furniture flipping opportunities are abundant.

You don’t have to look too far to find pieces and jump in.

You can start with the old furniture in your house when learning the ropes.

And there are many places to buy and sell furnishings.

7. Furniture Flipping Is Kind to the Environment

At its core, flipping furniture involves making the old new again, i.e., recycling.

So when you buy solid wood furniture, restore it, and sell it, your actions positively affect the environment.

It reduces waste, prevents the furniture from ending up in a landfill, and could ensure fewer trees are cut down to make new furniture.

8. It’s a Satisfying Side Hustle

You’ll love this side hustle if you enjoy getting your hands dirty and restoring things.

In addition, should you decide to take on more complex projects, you get to learn life-long skills you can use in your everyday life.

How Much Can You Make Flipping Furniture?

The amount of money you can earn flipping furniture depends on many factors, like your eye for a bargain, your ability to refurbish furniture and find potential buyers, your marketing skills, and the amount of effort you’re willing to put in.

Flippers who do this side hustle casually can make between $100 and $700 monthly, depending on the furniture sold.

Meanwhile, others who go all-in earn between a couple of grand to $20,000 monthly.

How Much Should You Spend When Flipping Furniture?

There’s no exact amount you should spend to flip furniture because your costs will vary from project to project.

However, it isn’t a good idea to spend too much money on the items you procure unless you’re certain you’ll turn a profit.

It’s advisable to factor in the going rates for the furniture where you live, as this research can tell you whether a project is viable.

Do a quick search on Facebook Marketplace.

Take note of refurbished furniture prices in your area.

When you find someone willing to sell their used item, you can compare the seller’s asking price to your town’s going rates for refurbished pieces and do some computations to see if the purchase will be profitable.

Another factor that influences how much you’ll need to spend is the type of furniture you’re purchasing.

Larger pieces with more moving parts will be more expensive than smaller one-unit items.

It’s better to start small and build from there, especially if you have limited capital.

The Best Types of Furniture to Buy When Flipping Furniture for Profit

The most crucial factor in making this business work is your ability to sell furniture for much higher than you paid for it.

Some pieces have better resale potential than others.

These include:

  • Dressers: Dressers offer an easy way into the furniture-flipping world. They have basic shapes (being rectangular) that make them easy to restore, and you’ll have an easier time painting them.
  • End Tables: End tables, coffee tables, and side tables are among the most affordable pieces of furniture to acquire and flip.
  • Bookshelves: Bookshelves are the perfect mid-sized furniture to flip.
  • Office Furniture: With the ubiquity of remote work, demand for office furniture that people can use for their home offices has surged.

If you’re procuring any of these pieces, make sure they’re solid wood furniture.

These furniture types are valuable once fixed up.

They’re durable, easily maintainable, and more manageable to refinish.

Furniture to Avoid

You may not want to flip furniture that belongs in the categories mentioned below:

  • Traditional China Cabinets: Unfortunately, people don’t buy this style of furniture like they used to, so you could lose money if you try to flip them.
  • Particle Board Furniture: You’re more likely to make a sale when you flip solid wood furniture. Buyers aren’t as keen on fake wood or particle board furniture.
  • Dining Tables: Furniture buyers tend to snap up large, used furnishings like dining tables much slower than smaller pieces.
  • Ornately-designed Furniture: Trends have moved away from ornate pieces with numerous flourishes and details. Over the past decade, buyers have come to favor minimalist modern furnishings.
  • Broken Furniture: Although we’ve mentioned that skills aren’t as necessary when getting into this business, it’s best to avoid punching above your weight. Therefore, if you find broken furniture and are unsure how to fix it, move on.
  • Low-Quality Furniture: As much as flipped furniture buyers are looking for a good deal, they still want quality pieces that can last. As such, you’ll have a harder time selling low-quality wood furniture.
  • Antiques: Antique items don’t seem to move quickly, possibly because consumer tastes have changed.

Your ability to sell some of the furniture discussed above depends on your location.

For example, if you live in an area where people still use antique furniture, you might have better luck flipping China cabinets.

Where to Buy Furniture for Your Furniture Flipping Business

Finding furniture to flip for a profit can be easy when you know where to look.

Below is a list of places you can visit to find inexpensive pieces:

1. Garage Sales

Garage and yard sales are some of the best places to find good bargains.

The people who tend to want to get rid of their stuff fast, meaning there are some excellent deals to be had.

These furniture sellers are open to negotiation, so you may be able to get a piece of furniture for much cheaper than its original asking price.

2. Thrift Stores

Rather than hitting your local thrift store in search of clothes, consider looking for used furnishings.

3. Estate Sales

Even though untimely deaths precede Estate sales, that doesn’t make them a poor place to look.

You can find some modern furniture and similar hidden gems with affordable price tags.

Since the deceased’s family members want to clear out their stuff quickly, you can get good deals for the pieces you find.

4. Facebook Marketplace

People sell just about anything on the Facebook Marketplace, including furniture.

Facebook’s powerful search features make finding pieces by location straightforward.

It’s possible to find people willing to offload their furniture for next to nothing.

In some rare cases, you may even get the furniture free of charge.

5. Flea Markets

Flea markets are excellent places to look when buying furniture to resell.

You can procure excellent quality furniture for cheap at these venues, meaning you might be able to widen your profit margin.

6. Your Neighborhood

You might stumble on a deal while driving through your neighborhood.

In many cases, a neighbor might be happy to let you take an old sofa off their hands without asking for a dime in exchange.

What You Need to Start Flipping Furniture

Since you’re not working with new furniture, a degree of DIY work will be necessary.

Below is a list of furniture-flipping supplies and basic tools you’ll need when doing this side hustle.

  • Wood Cleaner: Wood cleaner is essential to clean up old-looking furniture. Gentle cleaning with this water-based solution will make the wood shine.
  • Quality Paint: A considerable part of this side hustle involves painting furniture. Ensure you use high-quality paint (e.g., chalk paint) because anything less tends to be susceptible to weathering quickly. After all, you don’t want chipped or cracked paint jobs hampering your furniture-flipping efforts.
  • Paint Brush: You’ll also need a paintbrush to give your acquired furniture a fresh coat of paint.
  • Paint Scraper: For scraping off softened paint from the furniture’s surface.
  • Heat Gun: A heat gun can help you quickly strip off old paint from acquired furniture.
  • Sander and Sander’s Tape: Some furniture-flipping jobs may require you to smoothen some parts of the furniture. In those cases, you’ll need a reliable sander and sander’s tape in your toolbox to have an easier time.
  • A Trailer, Truck, or SUV: This is an optional requirement, as not every flipper starts out having their own delivery vehicles. With that said, if a customer prefers to have the furniture delivered, you’ll need a way to transport furniture to their location. But you’ll have to factor hiring costs into your final resale price to protect your margin.

You can get most of the supplies at your local hardware store.

Once again, don’t worry if you don’t have DIY skills when first starting.

You can learn them as you go along by watching YouTube Tutorials like the ones on @TheMaker1’s channel.

Restoring Solid Wood Furniture – What’s Involved?

The process can be described in three or four steps:

Step One – Get Rid of the Old Paint

If the furniture you plan to sell had a previous paint job, your restoration efforts would begin with removing the paint.

This is your first step because painting over an already-painted item will result in a sloppy and unprofessional-looking finished product.

Use your heat gun and get the paint nice and soft before scraping it off with a scraper.

If you don’t have a scraper, your sander should do a good job removing the paint.

Step Two – Sand the Wood Until Smooth

The next step is to get the furniture ready for a new lick.

You do that by sanding the wood so it’s nice and smooth and won’t cause any issues when you start painting.

Step Three – Repaint the Furniture

Depending on the paint brand you’re using, the instructions you need to follow will vary.

Whatever the case, ensure that you read them, as some paint brands may recommend you coat the furniture with a sealant before applying the paint.

Step Four – Add Hardware for a Modern Finish (Optional)

If you’re working with a particularly old piece, you can modernize it by adding hardware like knobs and drawer pulls.

The upgrade can raise its value, but you also need to pay attention to the added cost.

This step is optional for beginners, as it requires DIY know-how.

Places to Flip Furniture for Profit

If you’re looking for a potential buyer for one of your fixer-uppers, you can create a listing on one of the online marketplaces mentioned below:

1. eBay

eBay is one of the best platforms to list when looking for buyers for your finished piece.

The site has hundreds of millions of users, making it an amazing site for getting buyers for your recovered furniture.

2. Etsy

Etsy isn’t limited to handcrafted products anymore.

People sell everything from digital goods to print-on-demand products and furniture.

3. Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace is an excellent hunting ground for finding furniture. This is especially true when selling to people from the same local area.

4. OfferUp

OfferUp is an incredible option for anyone that wants to start a furniture flipping business in their local area.

You can download this app on your Android or iOS device, making it the best option for anyone doing this business while working full-time.

5. Craigslist

Craigslist predates many of the marketplaces mentioned in this section, yet it remains a solid option for anyone who wants to give furniture flipping a try.

6. AptDeco

AptDeco is an excellent place for New Yorkers to sell their furniture.

This website handles everything from shipping to returns.

Its fees are on the high side, though, so factor them in when pricing your pieces.

Pricing Your Furniture

Setting your prices is probably the most challenging aspect of this side hustle.

Set too low a price, and you risk eating into your profits; too high, and you may put off customers.

You must keep track of your costs and factor them into the final price.

The most common costs you’ll incur when flipping a piece of furniture include the following:

  • What you paid for the furniture
  • The money spent on the supplies used to do it up
  • Transportation and shipping costs (when your customers aren’t picking up the furniture locally)
  • Marketing costs and brokerage fees (e.g., eBay transaction fees)

Whatever you add on top of the costs is your profit margin.

For example, if you purchase a table for $40, spend $20 on supplies, ship the item for $20, and pay a $10 seller fee to the online marketplace, your total cost will be $90.

Let’s say you sold the table for $180: the $90 left over after deducting your expenses is your profit.

With that said, the above calculation process won’t always be practical.

You might end up underpricing your listing anyway or sell it for more than customers think it’s worth.

Therefore, doing some market research on your chosen marketplace is a good idea.

Compare your proposed price to similar items listed by sellers like you to get a sense of the item’s value.

Pay attention to the responses these listings have gotten: are potential buyers negotiating the price?

Has the seller sold similar items in the past, and for how much?

When you have this data, it’ll be easier to price your furniture correctly, ensuring you flip furniture and earn a profit.

How to Sell Used Furniture – Some Helpful Tips for Success

The following are some helpful tips when flipping furniture for profit:

1. Choose Easy-to-Restore Furniture

In the beginning, seek out smaller-sized furniture.

Starting with an item like a small table as opposed to a dining table is helpful because the restoration process won’t be as overwhelming.

It also helps to start with two or three types of furniture initially.

With greater proficiency, you can set your sights on bigger items with more complex designs and gradually expand your furniture categories.

2. Gather Your Tools In Advance

If you’re new to this side hustle, visit the hardware store before you start flipping furniture.

You must have the tools for the job on hand before you procure your first piece of furniture, as you don’t want any reason to procrastinate.

Spending the money needed for tools is an excellent way to commit to making this side hustle work.

This isn’t to say you should go overboard with the purchases.

Rather, having some paint and a paintbrush handy will ensure you see your first furniture-flipping opportunity through to completion.

3. Keep Searching for Your Next Furniture Flip

You’re not going to make a lot of money flipping a mere handful of furniture.

If you want to make the big bucks, you’ll need to move volume.

Keep your eyes and ears peeled for your next flipping opportunity.

For example, consider spreading the word among friends and family that you’re willing to buy unwanted furniture.

Check your neighborhood daily for discarded furniture on your neighbors’ curbs.

4. Stay Aware of Trash Day

It pays to be aware of your neighborhood’s trash day.

You’re most likely to find items destined for the landfill on your neighbors’ lawns and driveways on this day.

After knocking on their doors, a simple conversation may mean you procure furniture to flip without spending a dime.

5. Always Negotiate

You must buy low and sell high to make money with this side hustle.

Besides the item’s final price, you’ll need to consider the costs you’ll incur when restoring the furniture and getting it into a potential buyer’s hands.

Make a habit of negotiating when you find a furniture piece worth paying for.

Try to extract the lowest price possible while being fair in your dealings. Your profit margins will thank you for it.

6. Take Nice Photos

While you don’t need to have professional photography skills to make this business work, the importance of high-quality photographs can’t be overstated.

The quality of your listing photos will determine whether potential customers send you a direct message or pick up the phone to make a purchase.

Poor lighting can make the furniture look unappealing, reducing its value in your customers’ eyes.

Avoid visual clutter when taking photos. The furniture needs to be the center of attention of your listing.

It would also help to stage the shot so that your listing’s viewers can imagine how the item would look if they had it as furniture in their homes.

7. Provide Full Details in Your Listings

When you list an item on a marketplace, provide complete details about its conditions.

Some potential customers would want to know the furniture’s dimensions, as this information lets them know whether they’ll have the space for it in their homes.

Other people will be interested to know its exact color to see whether it fits their home’s aesthetic.

8. Sell the item’s benefits when you list it.

Describe the type of wood it’s made of, its finish, etc., so people can better imagine what they see.

Detailed and appealing descriptions give buyers more confidence to make good purchasing decisions.

9. Don’t Skimp on the Customer Service

Throughout a transaction, ensure you provide excellent customer service to every customer that purchases from you.

There are numerous reasons why this is important.

For one, positive word of mouth can help your furniture flipping operation to grow.

For another, the people that view your online listing will likely read comments left by your past buyers when gauging whether you’re trustworthy.

Providing excellent customer service increases the likelihood of converting a first-time buyer into a repeat buyer.

10. Deliver Orders (Where Possible)

If you have access to a spacious vehicle and you’re operating locally, consider offering to deliver purchased items to your customers’ doorsteps.

You can charge extra for the service, letting you cover other costs or increase your profit margin even further.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Move Heavy Furniture After Buying It?

If you purchase items like a dining table or sofa, you must arrange a truck or van to transport them to your garage.

Dining tables will pose the most issues because they include at least two chairs, which are too big to fit in a minivan or small vehicle.

What’s the Best Place to Sell Furniture?

Facebook Marketplace is the strongest contender for the best place to sell recovered furniture.

The main reason is the platform’s reach.

Millions of Americans have a Facebook account, meaning you could possibly have that many eyes on your listing.

Its user base dwarves similar (but equally viable) platforms like eBay and CraigsList.

Which Is Better to Flip? Solid Wood or Upholstered Furniture?

It depends on your skills and budget.

Wooden furniture is easier to flip because the skills needed to make something old look new again aren’t too difficult to learn.

You can pick up painting, sanding, and DIY knowledge by watching online tutorials.

In contrast, upholstered furniture requires sewing skills, and the new upholstery may add an extra cost.

Do Some Recovery Items Require the Use of Power Tools?

Yes. However, it depends on the category of furniture you buy and the amount of work it needs to put it into purchasable condition.

If you choose easy-to-recover furniture, you may never need to pick up a power tool.

What Colors Are Best to Flip Furniture?

Neutral colors like beige tend to sell better than bright colors like green and blue.

A possible reason for this trend is that neutral colors more readily fit in with most customers’ decor and color schemes.

In contrast, brighter colors move less quickly.

What Makes One Piece More Valuable Than Another?

The forces of demand and supply determine which items are the most sought-after in the furniture flipping market.

Typically, the scarcer an item is, the more desirable it is to buyers.

Wrapping Up

Hopefully, this guide has thoroughly explained the furniture flipping side hustle.

With the tips we’ve shared, lots of elbow grease, and a little luck, you’ll have a furniture-flipping enterprise up and running in no time!

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