If you’re the kind of person who’s good with their hands and has an eye for seeing the potential in a hidden gem, then starting a side hustle by flipping furniture could be perfect for you.
It’s always a great outcome if you’re able to combine making money with something you love doing. Not only does it mean that it won’t necessarily feel like work, but it makes it much more likely that you’ll stick with it, allowing you to really maximize your earnings!
And this is why I’ve created this ultimate guide to flipping furniture for beginners. You’ll see just how to get started with this, as well as some key tips on how to start making real money here as quickly as possible.
What does it mean to flip furniture?
Flipping furniture refers to taking furniture items that people do not see a lot of value in and then selling them for more money. For example, you may see a piece of furniture on the side of the road that nobody wants. By adding some value to the piece, you can flip it by selling it for a profit.
Sometimes, you can flip furniture without having to do anything to the item at all. For example, you may see an item that is on sale and then sell it for a higher price somewhere else.
More likely though, this involves you taking a piece of broken or worn furniture, fixing it up, and then selling it for a profit. This might mean that you have to repair a broken piece of the item or it could involve you having to add a fresh coat of paint. Once the furniture looks good again, you can sell it for a profit.
Two people who’ve had amazing success at flipping furniture are Rob and Melissa Stephenson. In fact, just from flipping as their side hustle, they made $130,000 in only one year.
To help you do the same, they’ve created a free webinar that can teach you:
- How to know whether flipping is the perfect side hustle for you
- How to use flipping to get lifestyle freedom
- Their secret strategies to maximize your flipping profits
Flipping Furniture 101
When it comes to flipping furniture for beginners, you probably have a bunch of questions on what this involves. I’ve set out some of the most common ones below.
What are the best furniture items to flip?
The best furniture items to flip are going to be those that are relatively simple to fix up (meaning you can work on more pieces in a shorter amount of time, so as to make more money) and for which there is high demand. For this, solid wood is going to be your best bet.
Not only are wood pieces durable, but refinishing them is easy to do and doesn’t take too long. Even if you have to sand it down, hammer It, screw it, or add a fresh coat of paint, a solid wood piece should cooperate when you work on it.
Finally, keep in mind that you or your customers may have to transport that item somewhere when you are finished. Therefore, you may want to aim to work on items that are substantial but not too big that they’re impossible (or overly expensive) to move to their final destination.
Where can I get furniture to flip?
There are several locations where you might be able to get furniture to flip. A few examples include:
- Start with Family and Friends: First, you may want to talk to your family members and friends. You may find that there are people who are looking to get rid of furniture. Before they throw it out, raise your hand and take the item off their hands. You might be able to flip it for a profit.
- Garage Sales: Next, you should take a look at garage sales. A lot of people are willing to sell furniture at garage sales for next to nothing. If you see a sign for a garage sale in a local neighborhood, consider showing up on the day of the sale. You may be able to find some great furniture you can flip.
- Online Forums: You might want to check out a few online forums to see if people are selling broken furniture. For example, you should check Craigslist in your local area. You may find that someone is trying to offload a piece of furniture for a low price.
- Online Resale Stores: Furthermore, you should take a look at online resale applications as well. A few common examples include Mercari, Offerup, and Letgo. These are locations where people will sell the furniture they don’t need anymore. Of course, you need to make sure they are relatively close to you so you can get the item from them.
- The Side of the Road: Finally, you should also keep your eyes open as you drive down the road. You might see a piece of furniture left out for the garbage man that you can take. Sometimes, people throw away perfectly good furniture just because they have something better.
These are just a few of the many locations you should check if you are interested in flipping furniture. After all, if you want to flip furniture, the first thing you need to do is get some furniture to flip!
How do I start refinishing furniture?
If you want to maximize the money you can get for flipping furniture, you may want to consider refinishing it. In particular, if it looks like it has a bunch of dents and scratches or it’s simply seen better days, then it probably needs to be refinished.
A few steps you need to follow to refinish your furniture include:
1. Clean the furniture
Before you can do anything to the furniture, you need to clean it thoroughly. If the item has been in storage for a long time, then it needs to be cleaned from top to bottom.
Even though you may think you need to get a special cleaner, you can do a great job with some dish soap and warm water.
2. Make an assessment
After you have cleaned the furniture, you can get a better look at it. You need to think about whether that piece is actually worth your time.
If you decide it is worth your time to refinish that piece, then it is time to move forward.
3. Remove the old finish
Next, you need to remove the old finish before you can do anything else with the furniture. You may be able to use a sander to remove the old finish. If you do not have access to a sander, then you may want to use a chemical stripper instead.
The exact way to do this though will depend on the material that your item is made from. Fortunately, there are plenty of tutorials on YouTube to show you how to do this while being careful not to damage the underlying piece.
For example, if you’re working on a wooden item, the video below is great for showing you how to strip stain from wood. This includes – importantly, when you’re looking to get into flipping furniture – before and after pictures, so you know what to expect from your own piece.
4. Apply a sealant
After you have removed the finish, you need to apply a sealant to the furniture. Sealant is important because it can protect the interior workings of the piece from harm when you go to reapply your finish.
5. Paint the piece
After you are finished with the ceiling, it is time to paint the piece. When flipping furniture, paint can make a huge difference with very little work. Just check out this before and after as proof of that.
That said, paint choice can also be key for attracting customers to your item. There’s a great discussion on flipping furniture on Reddit about how refinishing, including potentially staining, wooden pieces is actually more popular than painting items. In that thread, they specifically recommend that flipping furniture with chalk paint is a no-no based on the theory that while it may be popular on social media, people don’t often actually want this in their homes.
So perhaps consider your target market to see if painting something is the best way for you to make money from it. After all, you may want the piecce to show its character.
In addition, if the piece is going to be sitting in an area with a lot of foot traffic, then you may want to use a stain instead of paint as it won’t show any bumps and scratches as much as a coat of paint will.
6. Finish the piece
Finally, you need to apply a finish to your furniture. There are multiple types of finish out there, so you need to think about the type of material you are working with, the durability of the finish, and the look you desire. All of this will impact the type of finish you choose.
7. Add any finishing touches
This isn’t strictly necessary but, for certain items, you can add some finishing touches that can really take it to another level.
For example, if you’re working on something with drawers, switching the old handles for something more modern can be a really simple fix. Just take a look at this flipping furniture before and after in the video for how effective a coat of paint and some new handles can be.
If you follow these steps, you should end up with a beautiful piece of furniture that you should be able to sell for a profit. That said, it can take a few attempts to get it exactly right, so don’t be too concerned if something doesn’t come out perfectly the first time. After all, practice makes perfect!
Questions on making your side hustle flipping furniture
If you are thinking about making your side hustle flipping furniture, there are several questions you need to answer. These include:
Is flipping furniture profitable?
Flipping furniture can be profitable if you do it correctly. The most important thing you have to learn is how to assess which pieces are worth it and which pieces are not. Even if you think you can get a lot of money for a piece of furniture, you need to make sure it will be worth your time.
For example, you may see a large piece of furniture that has a big price tag on it; however, if it is going to take you months to finish that piece, then it may not be worth it to flip it.
It takes experience to figure out which pieces of furniture are profitable and which pieces are not, but you’ll get the hang of it eventually.
Check out this free webinar on furniture flipping to learn how to make your side hustle as profitable as possible from day one – from someone who made $130,000 in one year just from flipping!
What is a fair price to charge to refinish furniture?
When determining a fair price to charge to refinish furniture, you’ll need to consider points such as the materials you use, the original purchase cost of the item and how long it takes you to work on the piece. These will all vary from case to case.
For example, there are some pieces of furniture that might not be worth more than $100. On the other hand, there are pieces of furniture that are worth several thousand dollars. Whichever direction you’re going, getting paid fairly for your work is always critical.
First, you need to think about the materials you use. If you are using sealant, paint, and finish to work on your furniture, then you need to cover your overhead expenses. Calculate the value of the materials you use to refinish that furniture piece. This should be reflected in the price of the furniture.
If you had to purchase the furniture from somewhere, then you need to think about this as well. You need to secure a nice profit for yourself when you are done with your work. Therefore, remember how much you paid for the furniture piece when you are figuring out the price.
Finally, you also need to think about the price of your labor. How much money do you want to make per hour? You need to track the amount of time you spend working on that piece and build it into the price.
How much does it cost to restore furniture?
The cost to restore furniture depends on the type of furniture you are working with and the materials you use. For example, if you are only using paint to restore furniture, then some pieces are going to be less expensive. You could even get away with using furniture stain instead of paint, further reducing the price of your work.
On the other hand, an antique piece of furniture is probably going to be more expensive because you may have to purchase a lot of specialized equipment.
It can be difficult to figure out how much it costs to restore furniture because it can be hard to see just how much you are using in materials. You need to take a look at the price tag of the materials you use.
From there, you need to figure out how many pieces you can get out of those materials. This will help you figure out how much you are spending to restore furniture.
Can you make a living upcycling furniture?
While you may not be able to make a living upcycling furniture at first, it’s definitely possible to build this up to the point where you can make a full time income. In particular, if you’re good with your hands and are able to recognize the potential in a piece, you have the ability to make good money from this.
Let’s be honest: It can be difficult to make a living upcycling furniture, especially at first. There is no guarantee you are going to get paid for your work and it can be a challenge to find someone to pay a fair price for your furniture when you are finished.
In addition, you can only sell one piece at a time if you’re doing this as a job where you work alone. It is hard to scale or automate this process because you will always have to interact with someone directly to sell a piece of furniture to them. As a result, this can limit the amount of money you can make.
On the other hand, it’s certainly feasible to build a successful flipping furniture business. In fact, it’s more than possible to make $10,000 a month – if not more. Just ask Rob and Melissa Stephenson, who made $130,000 in one year from flipping furniture. Since then, they founded Flipper University, to teach other people how to do the same!
Is reselling furniture worth it?
If you can quickly identify furniture pieces that are worth your time and flip them quickly for a nice profit, then reselling furniture can certainly be worth it. You do, however, need to keep an eye on how much you are making per hour. That is the only way you can figure out if this is worth your time.
This means that working out if this is a worthwhile side hustle will depend on how good you are and how much you think your time is worth. This is not an easy job, as you need to be good at working with your hands if you want to be successful flipping furniture. Therefore, if you are not used to working with your hands, then it might not be worth it.
Of course, you could always start your side hustle flipping furniture by doing this for only a few hours a week, like turning this into a weekend job for yourself or only working part time on it. That way, you can see if it’s for you, including based on how much time you’re putting into this compared to how much you’re earning
If you really want to get good at flipping furniture, it is important to take a closer look at a few important tips that I’ve set out below.
What is the best way to sell refurbished furniture?
When you are done with the restoration process, you may be wondering how to sell your refurbished furniture. Fortunately, there are plenty of places you can look. A few of the best places to sell your refurbished furniture include:
1. Create an ad on social media
If you have a piece of furniture that you think is ready to sell, the first thing you may want to do is create an advertisement on social media. For example, you may want to post about your new item on Facebook Marketplace. That way, you might be able to get someone interested in purchasing your item.
Do not hesitate to post multiple advertisements for a single piece of furniture in multiple places. That way, you might be able to collect multiple offers on your furniture. This can help you get the best price possible.
You should also work on the wording of your ad. Include terms that make your piece sound as appealing as possible, while also using keywords that people are probably searching for to help them find your ad. After all, there’s a reason why both marketing and search engine optimization are amongst our picks for the best high income skills you can have!
2. Visit an antique shop and set up a booth
If you hear that there is an antique shop in the local area that allows the public to offer their own pieces for sale there, you may want to consider setting up a booth. Then, you can bring pictures of your furniture items, letting people take a look at them. If the piece is small enough, you may want to bring it with you to the booth as long as it will fit.
If your piece will not fit in the empty booth, do not hesitate to invite them to come back to the workshop to take a look at it. The more people you can have looking at your furniture, the better the price you will get for it.
3. Post an ad on local community boards
Finally, do not hesitate to post local advertisements as well. You may be surprised how much interest you can get if you post a few flyers around town. The vast majority of people are going to prefer looking in person at a piece of furniture that they might be interested in, so local customers are going to be your best bet.
If your local community has an online community board, you might want to share a few photos of your furniture there. Local Facebook groups can also be a great source of clientele.
4. Check other sites for selling stuff locally
There are plenty of websites for selling stuff locally out there. This includes some you’ve probably heard of or even used yourself, like Craigslist, as well as other more obscure options.
By creating a profile on these sites, you’re giving yourself the best chance possible to be seen by potential customers. So find a couple that look like they would suit what you’re selling and start boosting your presence on there.
How to boost your flipping furniture income
If you are looking for ways to increase the amount of money you can make by flipping furniture, there are several important steps you need to follow. These include the following.
1. Take advantage of social media
If you want to make more money flipping furniture, the most important thing you need to remember is that social media is your friend. There are numerous social media platforms out there. A few popular examples include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat.
Even though you do not need to use all of these platforms, you can easily take advantage of social media so you can find good furniture pieces. For example, you can find some exceptional furniture items on Facebook Marketplace. A lot of these are being sold by people who just want to get rid of them, meaning you can easily grab a great deal.
Then, you should also use social media to help you sell furniture when you are finished. You can even put the item back on Facebook Marketplace when you are done with your work. You might be able to get multiple bids on a single piece, helping you maximize your income.
2. Take good photos of your pieces
If you are flipping furniture, you must invest in a high-quality camera. In order to get the best possible price for your work, you need to make the item look good in photos.
You might even want to take advantage of photo editing software that can help you drum up demand for your furniture. Don’t bother with anything expensive like Photoshop as there are some perfectly good cheaper options to do the job.
You could even start by checking out Canva, which is a super powerful online tool for image editing – and it’s completely free!
Even though you want to work quickly, you must make sure your pictures look good. Therefore, you should always take multiple pictures of the same piece. Then, figure out which one looks the best. You might even want to talk to your friends and family members to see if they have an opinion on the quality of your pictures.
3. Understand where to get the best prices
If you want to maximize your income, you need to know where to get the best prices for your furniture. When you are purchasing furniture to restore, you want to buy as low as possible.
Ideally, you can even get your furniture for free if you pick it up on the side of the road. But if you go somewhere like a garage sale, you may still be able to get a piece of furniture for very cheap.
After this, you may want to take a look at online forums to see where you can maximize the price of the sale. If you see there is not a lot of competition for your specific piece, this might be a good spot for you to sell your item. For example, if you have a wardrobe or armoire, and you do not see a lot of other ones for sale, you might be able to sell yours for more money.
4. Don’t be scared to ship your work
You need to make sure you maximize your time, so you do not want to necessarily spend a lot of time driving to meet someone who lives hours away. If you cannot get them to come to you, then you may need to ship your work instead. Even though this is not ideal, this could be the best way for you to move on to the next project.
If you decide to ship your work, you must make sure you protect your item. Make sure you pad it accordingly, and always get payment from your customer before you ship it. That way, you know you will get paid appropriately for your work.
Keep in mind that you might get different shipping prices from different carriers. You should always get multiple quotes on the price of your shipment before you make a decision. Remember that if you do not have to get your item there the next day, you can save money by taking a slightly longer route.
5. Don’t scare off your customers
When you are figuring out how to price your work, you want to get as much money for it as possible. At the same time, you do not want to scare off your customers. If you start by pricing the item too high, you will have a difficult time getting anyone to bite.
At the same time, you need to be paid fairly for your work, so do your very best to strike the right balance between the two when setting your prive.
Keep in mind that if someone does not necessarily offer you a fair price, you do not have to take it. On the other hand, if you price your item at the right price point, you might get multiple offers. If you can get into a bidding war, you can maximize the sale price of your furniture.
6. Network throughout the industry
Finally, you should also network throughout the industry. The furniture industry is one of the largest ones in the country. If you can make connections throughout the industry, you might be able to reduce your overhead expenses.
For example, you might want to partner with a few secondhand furniture stores in the local area. They might be willing to give you furniture off the floor if it is not selling. You might also be able to save money on the cost of paint, stains, finishes, and other equipment if you have a strong network in the field.
Tips to keep in mind for your flipping furniture business
If you want to create a successful business by flipping furniture, there are several tips to keep in mind. These include:
1. Create a page for your business
The vast majority of people use the internet when they are looking for products and services they need. This includes furniture. Therefore, when someone is looking for furniture, they are probably going to use the internet.
You need to make sure you have a strong presence on the internet if you want to sell your furniture. You might even want to create a Google My Business page so that you show up directly on search engines. At the very least, you need to have a Facebook page for your furniture so people can find you on social media.
You could even create your own website if you really want to turn furniture flipping into your full time business. Luckily, it’s super easy to do (even if you don’t have any tech experience!) as you can see from our step-by-step guide on how to start a website.
FYI: The first step in launching your new site is to pay for a host for your site and, for that, I always recommend Bluehost. They’re incredibly cheap, at less than $3 per month, and will make your site blazingly fast – plus you’ll get a free domain name!
2. Get out from your garage
You are probably going to be working on your furniture in your garage. Even though this is where you need to work on your furniture, you need to get out of your garage if you want to be successful.
That is, while you may be tempted to spend as long as possible working on each piece, you actually need to make sure that you’re allocating enough time to all of the other steps of the process. That includes sourcing the original items and promoting your finished pieces to potential customers.
This is the only way you are going to get the best deal possible on your furniture. For example, while you want to sell your furniture for as much as possible by offering the most amazing finished items you can, you also need to find inexpensive furniture to start working on your next piece.
3. Buy a good camera (or a phone that has one)
You need to buy a good camera for your furniture flipping business. Even though you may have the best furniture in the world, this is not going to mean anything if your pictures do not look good. There is never a second chance to make a first impression, so you need to make that first impression count by taking exceptional photos.
Of course, most new cell phones these days come with pretty amazing cameras built into them, so that can be a good option too if you don’t want to invest in a standalone camera. And maybe this is a great excuse to ask for one for your next birthday!
4. Avoid weak materials
As you are taking a look at your furniture, you need to learn how to spot quality pieces. Put your hands on the item before you decide you want to work on it.
For example, in the case of wooden items, if the wood is weak, it is not going to stand up to the restoration process.
This includes that you need to stay away from particleboard. It’s incredibly flimsy, and it is probably going to break as soon as you start working on it. If it breaks, you won’t be able to get anything for it at all.
That is why you should always go with solid wood when you can find it. This material has the durability to stand up to your work.
5. Ask for help when you need it
Finally, do not hesitate to ask for help if you need it. Everyone has to start from somewhere, and nobody knows everything about flipping furniture when they get started. If you want to start a furniture flipping business, you may want to learn from someone who has been there before.
If you follow these tips aimed at flipping furniture for beginners, you should be able to get the most out of your new side hustle. Even though this can be a difficult job, there are opportunities for you to make great money with this – and it can be incredibly fun too!