How to Make a Side Income by Flipping Furniture
Working from home has been one of the biggest challenges of my life (try speaking to a business contact on the phone while your son screams for you to wipe his butt from the bathroom) and yet it is one of the things that I’m most proud of. I can dictate my own hours, I can earn some cash for my family and I can engage my brain with tasks that fulfill me. Home to Heather has allowed me all of those things.
One of my most favorite subjects to write about is how I find an old piece of furniture and give it new life. To date, all of the pieces I’ve refurbished are at use in our home but with each bit of furniture I work on I realize how much money this saves us. I love that pre-owned furniture is inexpensive and that I can add value to it by giving it a re-do.
Refurbishing furniture is also an ideal way to earn some cash. If I were to sell the things I’ve made over I could put a bit of coin in the account – another work at home side income can be had!
Here’s how to do it.
#1 – Find a great piece
The best pieces of furniture to flip are in good and sturdy condition, need very little work and can serve a purpose in someone’s home. Check your local thrift shops, garage sales and classifieds. You can even ask your friends and family if they have anything they might part with. The key to your success is to pay very little money for your finds.
TIP: Moving sales are fantastic places to score a great deal because people really do need to unload their stuff and fast. Negotiate and bargain and be willing to walk away if you can’t get it for the price you need to pay.
Example: The pedestal table and chairs I painted would be ideal – I only paid $50!
#2 – Fix it up!
If the piece has any structural issues, fix them. You don’t want to sell a piece that will fall apart. Your clients are paying you money in exchange for something useful. A broken chair isn’t going to be useful and you don’t want them to be dissatisfied with what they buy from you.
When redoing furniture, there can be a tendency to overdo it. Sometimes a chair only needs the seat recovered, or maybe a good cleaning and a new coat of wax is enough to bring a piece back to life. Paint if you need to and only if you need to.
It’s super important to keep your material costs down. A second hand piece of furniture is always going to be a second hand piece of furniture. There will be a ceiling to the amount of money you can sell it for. If you blow your budget on materials your profits can fizzle away quickly.
Tip: When fixing items up that you intend you sell, keep the finishes simple. The longer you work on each project, the less money you’ll make.
Example: I spent about $75 on materials to fix up my table including paint, primer, sanding blocks and rollers, all of which I had to buy new.
#3 – Sell it!
Start a profile on VarageSale. List your items. Wait.
Okay, I suppose there’s a bit more to it than that. You want to show your handiwork off in the very best way. Take a great photo in good lighting and make sure it highlights the important details of the piece. When you write your listing include dimensions and any other pertinent info. Buyers can be fickle and they might not bother to message you to find out how large something is. Give them what they need to make a purchasing decision. Answer your messages promptly and keep appointments on time.
VarageSale is an excellent tool because it’s a social network too. Interact with people, leave polite feedback and be prepared to negotiate. Don’t over price. It’s smart to keep track of your costs and how much time you spent on a piece so you can have an idea of your bottom line.
Tip: Put the word out that you are looking for used furniture. People will start begging you to take their old stuff away.
Example: Listing the table for $290 would be appealing to buyers and would allow me a profit of $165 or approximately $55/hour which is nothing to sneeze at for a side gig!
This isn’t a get rich quick scheme but if you can scout out great pieces, keep your costs down and sell quickly you can earn a nice income on the side to save up for that vacation you’ve wanted to take. Remember that not every piece is going to need a massive makeover. If you can score good items at below market value and sell them at market value you will earn a profit without even picking up a paintbrush.
Note: Values listed are for illustrative purposes. What you can earn will depend on the market in your area.
*VarageSale has generously sponsored this post. All opinions remain my own.
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