Furniture flipping is an excellent side hustle. Why? Because it’s easy, fun, and can make you some serious cash! You see, I got started in this business by accident (I had no idea what I was doing at the time). Since then, I’ve bought and sold over a hundred items to the point where it has turned into a lucrative side hustle for me.
Today, I’m going to show you how YOU can do the same. The process is simple: find furniture that’s cheap online, make a little upgrade to it (paint, new fabric, etc.), and then sell it within the same weekend to make a handsome profit.
The process may sound simple but you will need patience. You see, there are A LOT of furniture flippers out there doing the same thing. Furniture is very easy to get at pretty much any time of the year hence everyone wants to do it during their weekends. This results in ‘competition’ which makes it harder to sell items at a good price.
This is why you need to read this guide all the way through so that you can start making some SERIOUS money on your weekend furniture runs. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Starting Your Furniture Flipping Business
There are several steps for becoming profitable in furniture flipping.
Start Small and Learn the Ropes
First things first, it’s best to start small. You can’t simply go out there and buy a luxury piece of furniture because you have no experience in this field. What you need to do is learn what works and what doesn’t before putting your money into bigger items from places like estate sales.
What this means is that you should begin with smaller pieces of furniture to flip. You might not make much profit on these smaller pieces but they’ll serve as great practice for when you get better at this business. Here are some examples of the type of furniture I’d recommend buying for your first few runs:
- Smaller couches or armchairs with simple designs
- End tables or accent tables
- Ikea furniture
- Children furniture
You may also want to experiment with random household objects like lamps or decorative items to get practice.
Find Your Local Sales
There are several ways to find inexpensive furniture. The first, and most obvious way is through classified ads and sales online. You can get a lot of this furniture for free or very cheap but you need to be patient and check the listings every day for new posts.
Also, keep in mind that people want quick cash so it’s best not to look at items listed over $100 unless they’re truly worth it (very high quality, rare, etc.). Some online sites to begin looking include:
- Facebook Marketplace
The other option is to go out there and get your stuff from yard sales, estate sales, or a flea market. This method works better during spring and summer when people hold more sales but there’s also good money to be made towards the end of autumn/beginning of when everyone needs some extra cash.
When you’re starting is best to just look for free furniture and very cheap items. Don’t worry about buying expensive stuff right now as that will come later on when you get better at this.
Sometimes you can even find furniture at retail stores that are heavily discounted. A good example is places like Home Outfitters that have furniture displays. These items are usually slightly damaged but can still be sold for a nice profit if you get them at the right time.
Lastly, do not forget about thrift stores. There are several hidden gems to be found in these places and you can make a lot of money if you get lucky. I once bought a brand new dining room table with 6 chairs for $60 at the Salvation Army and sold it for $500 (the same table was originally listed at Overstock.com for $1000!).
Making Your Repairs/Upgrades
Now, you might be wondering what I mean by ‘upgrades’ since it seems to suggest that you need special skills to do this job. Quite the contrary! If you’re somewhat handy around the house then you already have all the skills needed to make some simple repairs on furniture pieces. Here are some examples of things YOU could easily fix up:
- A new coat of paint (or fabric) to change its color
- Spray painting or re-upholstering armchair’s feet, headrests, or pillows
- Changing the style of a piece (e.g., from modern to antique)
These are all very simple modifications that anyone can do and they don’t require you to be an expert. You can easily get tutorials online for some of these things like spray painting, sanding, etc.
If you’re not handy with tools then there’s no need to worry since you can always ask someone for help (e.g., your roommate, friend, or relative). Just make sure that the person knows what they’re doing!
Mark Up Prices & Make Profit
The last step is making money on items. The way most people do this is by marking up prices by at least twice the amount paid (i.e., a $50 item bought for $25 becomes a $200 item). You might also have to pay for some advertising costs if you choose the online route so that’s something to keep in mind.
Now, this is usually the hardest part of the process since it requires people. This is the same with many types of side hustles, like curb painting. You can either sell furniture pieces on your own or through Craigslist/Facebook Marketplace groups depending on how much you want to make.
A lot of people are happy with making a little bit of money but if you want to make more then you should look into getting helpers (to reduce labor costs). Also, I advise against starting by selling furniture at flea markets as this is too competitive and doesn’t allow room for high margins. Once you get better at this business then it’s time to hit up open markets for your furniture flipping side hustle.
Selling Your Furniture
There are three main ideas to keep in mind when furniture flipping which I will now discuss:
- Type of seller (e.g., antique dealer, consignment store)
- Condition of the furniture piece(s)
- Your marketing plan (online vs. actual sales etc.)
These factors all play an important role in pricing and maximizing profits from your furniture flips. Here is how I recommend thinking about these:
This is a popular place to sell furniture pieces because you get the most money and customers expect slightly higher prices here since items tend to be unique. If you’re looking to make more money with furniture flipping, then I suggest selling this way.
Most people know about these places and it is a good idea to sell here if you want to make some (but not most) of your money back. A piece of furniture sold in these stores typically gets 60-70% of the original price, depending on where you go.
Flea Markets/Garage Sales
Prices for items sold at flea markets are usually low compared to other options but they do give you great exposure since many people go there every weekend for a few hours. This isn’t my favorite place to sell stuff but keep it in mind as another option.
While I recommend using Facebook Marketplace initially due to its popularity and audience, Craigslist can be a great place for a furniture flipper. You can easily find people in your local area looking for nice pieces and this makes it easy to make deals since they’re right near you.
Condition of Furniture
The condition of the real wood furniture is perhaps the most important factor when deciding what to sell them for. If you have solid wood furniture that is in good condition then I suggest selling them for a premium since this is rarer.
On the flip side, if they’re very poor quality then you might want to reduce prices accordingly since most people won’t pay more for items that are falling apart.
How can you tell the condition of a piece of furniture? Here are some things to look for.
- Broken parts/pieces
- Aged appearance (i.e., look worn out)
Another important factor in this furniture flip side hustle is the age of your pieces which can have a big influence on pricing. The older furniture is, the more valuable they are since fewer people have them nowadays.
Marketing to Flip Furniture
It’s not enough to simply list your items on websites (like your own website) so you need to do some advertising as well. A lot of people don’t bother with this because they think potential buyers will find their listings themselves but I can assure you that this does not happen often. So how do you market your furniture flips? Here are several tips:
- Avoid doing this for free (i.e., don’t post your listings on Facebook groups and Craigslist for nothing)
- Set up a simple website and add links to it in your ads along with photos of each piece (for exposure)
- Advertise online using social media, Google Ads, and other advertising channels.
The best place to get ideas about current market prices is by checking out similar items that are currently listed online. This will give you an idea of what average prices look like so you can set yours accordingly as a furniture flipper.
Keep in mind though that if you do this then you might be undercutting the market so adjust accordingly based on your pricing instincts.
Basic Tools for Reselling Furniture
Keep in mind that the basics of reselling furniture can be done with little money or time investment. With this said, it’s a good idea to invest in some items which will allow you to save time and speed up your process. Here are two such essentials:
- Digital camera/phone (and charger)
- Good reliable truck or van (depending on how far you’re driving to buy and sell things)
The first point is important since having photos greatly increases the chances of someone buying your items. Having no photos is essentially leaving money on the table but more importantly, it lowers buyer confidence since they don’t know if the item is new or used, etc. If no one knows what you’re selling then people won’t buy it regardless of price.
Some other tools you might need to restore furniture include the following.
- Tape and other adhesives
- Putty knife/sandpaper (to remove dents and scratches)
- Interior paint (for touchups)
- Spackle (for larger holes/cracks in wood)
You can find most of these items at your local hardware store and they all come in handy. For example, a drill may be necessary to put new screws into old pieces of wood or a vacuum helps clean them up.
Tips to Start Flipping Furniture
There are several tips I’ve learned over the years about flipping furniture that you might be interested in following so that you don’t waste time with your furniture flip.
Pricing is the most difficult part when starting because you have no historical data to work from. My best advice is to pick a fair selling price then start at that value and reduce in small increments until someone bites. That will usually be the best price (as long as it’s more than your initial cost).
Another important tip for new sellers is to inspect every piece of furniture you buy carefully before going through with it. The last thing you want to do is buy items in worse condition than advertised since this will hurt your chances of reselling the finished pieces for more money than what you paid.
Since you’re refurbishing furniture, it’s best to clean each piece thoroughly before you begin restoration. This can be done with soap and water or maybe even something stronger if the wood is very dirty (especially if it’s real wood).
Start by cleaning up all surfaces but focus on any nicks or cuts especially since these are the most likely places for dirt to hide out in. Even if you plan on painting furniture or if you want to refinish furniture, take time to clean it the right way. It might be time-consuming but it’s worth it, especially when you make a few hundred dollars profit.
Choosing Which Furniture Pieces to Flip
There are several ways for choosing which pieces of furniture to flip so here are a few ideas:
- Smaller items that take less time to restore (i.e., nightstands) instead of larger ones like armoires
- Items that have high resale value due to their rarity/style/age (i.e., mid-century furniture)
- Local trends so that you can market to your local community through classified ads, garage sales, etc.
Location for Selling Furniture
This is usually determined by how much market research you do before taking on a project. If there are several competitors around you then it’s more difficult to sell pieces since everyone is selling theirs as well.
The best idea is to find areas where there aren’t too many people selling and start marketing your pieces there (i.e., yard sales, specific consignment shops). Plus if you don’t know enough people to buy pieces, at least you know enough people to help with moving pieces or touching up finishes.
Season of Year
It’s best to avoid selling furniture during the winter months (especially if you live in colder climates) since people tend to stay home more often.
After all, the holiday season is the best time to sell furniture so it might be better to hold off until after that or right when it’s over. Keep track of local holidays and times when people are typically at home/go on vacation so you can plan your sales accordingly.
Timing Your Sales
There are 2 different ways in which you can time your sales with furniture flipping:
Based on weather events
For example, you might want to time your sales right before the winter months when people are staying indoors more often or maybe even time it with a big convention in town so that people will have more money to spend. It all depends on where you live and what type of items you’re trying to sell.
A Note About Local Trends
Some regions tend to have their trends in terms of styles while others are pretty similar across the board. The best thing is to do some research before starting into anything since this can save you time/money if you choose not to invest in something that no one is interested in buying locally.
For example, some furniture styles that are very popular in some regions include Mid-century Modern and Shaker (less contemporary pieces). However, there’s no point in marketing these more traditional styles to a region where people like the not-so-typical.
Things to Watch Out For
It’s crucial to know what you’re getting yourself into before starting this venture. Here are a few things to watch out for:
Furniture that is in much worse condition than what you can/want to fix – it usually doesn’t make sense to take on the extra time and money required if the piece isn’t going to be worth much after fixing it.
Not researching furniture restoration – unless you have previous experience, take time to learn about the different types of stains and finishes so that you don’t ruin something beyond repair or cost yourself more money than necessary.
For example, someone who does wood refinishing might use the same stain color for everything but there’s no point since each type of wood requires a different type of finish.
Knowing when to cut your losses – although this is very easy to say, it’s also something you need to learn how to do if you’re going to be successful in the long run.
The best example would be a piece that doesn’t sell or one that costs too much money/time for repairs and not enough profit left over afterward. This will just end up costing you more time and money so take whatever steps necessary (i.e., selling them at a garage sale) so that you still make some form of profit from your efforts even though it might take longer than usual.
As you can see, there are several factors to consider when flipping furniture for profit, no matter if it’s solid wood furniture, antique furniture from an estate sale, or old furniture from a garage sale that just needs a fresh coat of new paint.
The best thing to do is list each piece on different websites and then track the resulting prices. This will give you a better idea of market value so you can optimize your efforts in the future when you buy furniture and then sell refurbished furniture.
FAQ – Making Money Flipping Furniture
Will I get rich flipping furniture on the weekends?
Nope. Flipping furniture is not a get-rich-quick scheme by any stretch of the imagination but you can make some extra cash if your time is free(ish). You’ll need to put in some work (in terms of planning, research, and marketing) but once you’ve got it down then you don’t need too much effort per piece since they mostly sell themselves (especially if they are solid wood pieces).
This means that with good planning ahead, you should be able to spend an hour or two every weekend buying and selling pieces without too much trouble. Is this business profitable? Absolutely! It can be very profitable if done well which is why I’m sharing all my best strategies here today.
How much money can you make with a profitable reselling business?
If you work it correctly, $1k/mo is certainly possible. This takes into account research time, finding buyers/sellers, advertising costs, etc. Keep in mind that this isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination but it’s possible if you’re willing to put in the effort. Allocate enough time for your flips and do them well so they sell fast and for possibly a full-time income.
What type of furniture should I buy?
This depends on what type of furniture you have available but my best suggestion is to simply look through ads on Craigslist before going out. That way you’ll know exactly what people are selling and for how much which will help narrow down your choices as well as give you a better idea of market prices.
How much time should I set aside each weekend?
That depends on how often you want to do flips and how many pieces you have available for them. If this is your only source of income then it’s best to dedicate enough time for several per day but if it’s just something fun to do with some spare change then 2 hours/weekend is plenty, especially if you have quality pieces that only need some quality paint, for example.
Can I make money without buying new stuff?
Yes, you can make money flipping furniture by picking up items from the curb like the rest of us (trash pickers). You can also visit thrift stores and try your luck there but keep in mind that these types of places aren’t usually great at pricing pieces so don’t expect to get rich easily. Be sure to price your items well relative to current market prices if you want any chance of making a profit so be sure to do your research.
How much should I sell my things for in my flipping business?
This again depends on what you have available but furniture by nature is pretty expensive so don’t expect prices in the hundreds or even thousands for anything larger than small pieces.
Instead, shoot for prices in the $25-50 range and then adjust accordingly based on your instincts. Nobody knows what people will find valuable better than yourself so use that knowledge when your price a piece of furniture.
How can I get more customers in my furniture flipping side hustle?
This is probably the most important part of furniture flipping and you’ll need to do a lot of it to make money. There are several strategies for flipping furniture but some of the best include:
Craigslist – this is the easiest place to get direct foot traffic so use it whenever possible
Social media ads – Facebook and Instagram allow you to target specific demographics which makes them great for advertising
Yard sales – hold your sale on the weekends if you have enough pieces available and price them competitively
Do not underestimate how much work it takes to start flipping furniture. It’s easy to think that just listing things online will automatically bring new buyers and make flipping furniture profitable but this isn’t always true unless you spend a significant amount of time promoting the listings for your refurbished furniture.
What types of furniture can I sell to make more money flipping furniture?
Pretty much anything goes when furniture flipping but traditional inexpensive furniture pieces like dressers, tables, chairs, etc. are generally more valuable than random decorative things like mirrors and small items like candle holders. Consider some of the most popular types of furniture that tend to be resold often (ex: sectionals) and focus on those if you want better chances at success.
What if I can’t sell my stuff at yard sales or on Facebook Marketplace?
In most cases, you won’t have a problem selling at least some of your furniture for more money but it’s important to remember that with most things there is a market for everything (even for furniture not sold in a furniture store). This means that even if you end up sitting on a few pieces such as end tables without buyers, you might be able to swap with somebody else who has something that you want or need. Also keep in mind that at the end of the day flipping furniture is just a way to make some extra money and not your main source so don’t get too stressed out about it, okay?