I have been buying and selling furniture for years now and have learned a handful of tips and tricks along the way, but selling a piece of furniture can be tricky. Sometimes you will post a piece of furniture and you will get dozens of messages from interested people within minutes of posting, while other times it’s crickets.
Why is this? Well, there are a number of factors that contribute to this, but I sort of figured out the main reason: it’s the listing price.
The best way to price flipped furniture is to evaluate your current market and determine what the buyers in your area are willing to pay. Setting an hourly rate is a great start, but you might be losing out on potential profits.
In real estate, people like to say location, location, location, which is similar to furniture flipping but the location meaning is slightly changed. The location in real estate is based on where a home is physically located, but in furniture flipping it’s where you are located, being the city or town you reside in and what people are willing to pay in that area. Do many people live where you do? Do you have a lot of potential buyers? Is there even an opportunity to grow locally?
The main point I am trying to get across here from the start is to be aware of your surroundings. If people are not willing to pay high amounts of money for your flipped furniture where you live you might be wasting your time. Of course, you can make it a hobby but to grow a business out of it might not be the best idea.
Selling Refinished Furniture Cost Calculator
If you don’t have all day to get into the details then go ahead and figure out your “Suggested List Price“. You can do this by using my custom-made furniture flipping calculator below. Simply plug in your expenses, what you paid for your furniture piece, and all your supplies/related expenses. Next plug in your total hours worked and your hourly rate. This will automatically calculate your total expenses, total labor rate, and your suggested list price.
This calculator is a great quick formula to provide a pretty accurate listing price, but reading the full guide can potentially save you from undervaluing your work. Like I already mentioned, your location determines a lot of how your refinished furniture is valued – it is not always about how many hours you spent working on it. Just keep that in mind because you could be losing out on hundreds of dollars per sale.
How to Price Your Refinished Furniture
Let’s go through the entire process of flipping a piece of furniture from start to finish. I am going to make this as detailed as possible to help anyone interested in flipping furniture because I see so many pricing questions that all come back to the process.
So first we jump on the Facebook Marketplace, the current and most popular buy and sell place today, and we search for furniture. I like to search for wood furniture because it just sells better in my opinion.
Buying the Furniture
Let’s say we find a dresser for $50, we now have to go and pick it up, and if you are like me and don’t have any friends it can be a difficult task (I live in a new place and don’t know as many people). If you can, it is always nice for someone to help load it in your vehicle for you, take your husband, wife, grandma, whoever, I don’t really care I am just saying wooden furniture can be heavy loading it solo.
Finally, we have the piece we plan to paint, stain, and makeover. Your heart is pumping with excitement, you jump on Pinterest for some ideas. You then realize you need supplies, you make your way to the local hardware store.
Once you get to the store you pick up the following furniture flipping supplies:
- Furniture Paint – $20
- Spray Primer – $6
- Wood Stain – $10
- High-Quality Paint Brushes – $10
- Polyurethane (Water-based) – $20
- Sand Paper – $5
These numbers are estimations based on typical expenses for each project and can quickly go up depending on what items you purchase. After finishing the project you can determine how much product was used and go based on percentages, which is explained in “Pricing Your Flipped Furniture” below.
Anyways, after tallying up how much money we have spent on this project so far we are at $121, the initial investment can rack up quickly.
Refinishing The Furniture
Now we go through the process of flipping the dresser, this usually takes 1-3 days depending on drying times because of your climate. To break down the process as fast as possible we first start by removing the hardware (which is best if its all included or you have to spend more money), then clean the piece with a degreasing product, next we sand the piece down (must be down to the wood for stain and only a light scuff for paint), then we can paint and stain, once dry we add our topcoat protection.
Selling the Furniture
Finally, we finished the dresser, and it’s ready to hit the market. However, there’s an important step here we must do, YOU MUST TAKE NICE PHOTOS. And no, your 1997 flip phone is not going to sell your furniture at top dollar. If you have a somewhat newer smartphone you should be ok, I have a DSLR and mirrorless camera but I still use my iPhone for these furniture photos. The key is good lighting, I used natural lighting when I started but after some time I picked up some bright lights that increased the overall quality.
Try staging the piece with a book, lamp, and even a modern potted plant. Just don’t scratch up your piece, cause I have done that before… was not a happy flipper.
Pricing Your Flipped Furniture
Finally, we made it. It’s time to really get to the point, we need to price this piece and make some money.
The first thing I do is calculate home much money I spent on the entire project, including the piece of furniture and all materials used. I will see how much paint, poly, and stain I have used because you usually have a lot left just from one project. Below is a chart of how much materials were used from just this dresser project (based on the materials mentioned above):
|Product||Total Cost||Percentage Used||Cost for This Project|
|Paint Brushes||$10||(Reuse for 2-3 projects)||$5|
Our total cost for this project is technically $88.00 even though we initially spent $121. There might be some other expenses you could include such as gas, feel free to add more expenses based on your project. I only include gas when I have to drive more than 30 mins to get a piece each way. Anyway, we now have leftover products which can and should be used on a future furniture flip, that is how I do things at least. If you don’t reuse leftovers that means you just make the total amount your starting point at where you make a profit.
It’s great to tally up how many hours you worked to make sure you are making a decent hourly wage, as a beginner you might not make as much because it takes you a bit longer, and that’s ok. You can’t become a pro instantly so enjoy the learning process.
I won’t break down the hours worked because it varies so much, but let’s just say a project like this takes 6 hours total from pick up to the listing. It can take more, it may take less. Here is a chart showing how much you need to sell the piece for to get such an hourly rate:
|Selling Price||Total Expenses||Profit (Selling Price – Total Expenses)||Hourly Rate (Divided by 6 Hours)|
|180.00||88.00||92||15.33 per hour|
|200.00||88.00||112||18.67 per hour|
|250.00||88.00||162||27.00 per hour|
|300.00||88.00||212||35.33 per hour|
Checking for your hourly rate is definitely good practice, you are making sure you aren’t wasting your time. You get to choose what your time is worth and that’s pretty cool. However, I only use this to make sure I am making money for my time, I really go into what my piece of furniture is worth to a buyer.
Analyzing the market can be a good or bad thing, for me, it’s good because a dresser like the one we have been talking about would sell for $300-450 in my market.
But how do you know what refinished furniture will sell for in your local market?
A simple analysis of checking what’s for sale in your area should do the trick. Of course, if something is listed at such a price we know it doesn’t always sell there. On the Facebook Marketplace, I will see a refinished piece and go into it and click “save listing”, it’s like a little tag that keeps you updated on the listing. This helps you see if they reduce the price and how long it takes them to sell. After checking a few pieces out and following the journey it will help you get a better understanding of your market.
Furthermore, play with your market. Don’t be afraid to list something too high at the start, it gives you the ability to remove the listing and repost lower if you don’t see any interest. I will change the first photo if reposting.
After a comparative analysis in your market we find 3 dressers refinished, one for $300, another for $450, and the final one listed at $425. I will now compare the style of each piece.
How big is it? Sometimes a large dresser is good, sometimes it’s bad. Huge pieces can be hard to sell so it must catch the buyer’s interest.
Why type of furniture is it? MCM, french provincial, etc. I know in my market MCM furniture is so popular and I always keep an out eye for it. I purchased an MCM bedroom set for $100 and without even painting, I sold it for $865, watch that MCM flip video here. Try to see what type of furniture is valuable in your area, likely MCM (Mid Century Modern).
How does it look? You should be able to look at a flipped piece of furniture and tell if it looks nice, did they paint it nicely? Is the piece in good or bad condition. Just look at yours and compare it, and try to be fair. Also, consider the refinished style. Is the color in right now? Did you or they add new legs? Many factors increase value and competitors may have done more or you could have, so keep that in mind.
These questions help me consider what number I am going to list a piece of flipped furniture for. Consider going even deeper, but over some time you will get a feel for your market, and pricing pieces will come naturally, trust me. You don’t really have a choice but to follow the market, consider supply and demand. If a lot of people are flipping prices will be lower, if the demand for flipped furniture is high, then prices go up. There are so many factors, just go ahead and jump in, if the prices aren’t what you were expecting then you can make a personal decision whether or not this side hustle is right for you.
Where to Sell Flipped Furniture?
Selling any type of product is about finding buyers interested in what you have to offer. The best thing about selling furniture is that no matter where you live people own furniture. However, where do we find buyers looking for furniture? Well, the great thing about selling items today is how easily accessible selling marketplaces are for us.
The best place to sell refinished and flipped furniture is on the Facebook Marketplace, but keep in mind it isn’t the only place. Local buy and sell groups can really make a name for your furniture business, this can create interested clients making a demand for your work. This increases your total selling price.
The most common places to sell refinished furniture are:
- Facebook Marketplace
- Local Facebook Buy and Sell Groups
- Kijij (Canada)
- Buy and Sell Apps
These are easy places you can post your furniture projects up for sale, and this is usually the process I follow because its simple.
As time goes on, you may become an expert furniture makeover artist. Great, your work is amazing, but you may realize you put a little more effort than others and don’t make much more or even more at all on your transactions. What can you do? If you live in a city you likely have these cute little shops that sell refinished furniture. I live in a medium-sized city of approximately half a million people (whether that’s medium or not in size idk lol), but there are a few of these shops. Many of these stores will sell your furniture at high prices giving you a good percent, negotiate high. The store where I live sells pieces over $1000 and gives the owner 80%, that’s awesome if you ask me. I just wanted to let people know this is a possibility!
5 Tips to Make More Money Flipping Furniture
1. Buy Low or Find Free Furniture
As the market becomes more and more saturated over time finding a good piece of furniture under $50 is getting harder and harder. I recommend jumping all over free furniture if it’s in decent condition, free is FREE and you will likely have the greatest return on investment (ROI) from these gigs. Under $50 is the sweet spot and is getting hard to find, so I will go over if its a nice piece, but keep in mind you are increasing the risk the higher you go.
Free furniture can be found online, search free on any marketplace and see what’s available. If you are in a busy area you’ll likely have to be on the ball to get these deals. Also, free furniture can be found on the curb so don’t miss the opportunity if you see something just out on the side of the road, go and grab that money!
2. Add New Furniture Legs
I love adding new furniture legs to pieces, it makes the overall look so much newer. Having a modern looking piece of furniture will increase interested buyers, trust me! You can learn the process of adding hairpin legs to furniture here or you can watch a few of my Youtube videos on my Furniture Flippa Youtube Channel. My first time adding hairpin legs on an MCM piece I listed the 2 dressers for $600 and had over 25 messages, I should have listed higher but having that cash in hand was pretty awesome!
3. Make Sure The Drawers Work
The drawers are basically the essence of the furniture. Of course, tables and other pieces of furniture don’t have drawers, but if you are flipping items that do I recommend you find pieces with drawers working or know how to fix them. I recently saw a dresser listed (not mine) and they put a lot of work into painting and staining, but the drawers looked wonky and it ruined the photos. This is why it has been on the marketplace with 3 reduced prices for 2 weeks now. Quick tip, add some paste wax on the drawer sliders to make them glide smooth!
4. Know When to Add New Hardware Or Keep Old Hardware
I had a friend of mine give me a solid piece of advice for flipping furniture. Only buy new hardware when you don’t have all the old hardware. It makes sense, hardware can be expensive. Don’t get me wrong, new hardware can transform a piece, and sometimes I will add it if the piece needs it. Also, nightstands are only a couple of pieces so I might swap them out too. But if a furniture set has all the hardware, just make it work. You will likely make more money re-using the older hardware.
5. Stage Like a Pro
Staging your furniture and taking high-quality photos truly helps sell your furniture for more money. Trust me, try posting your same piece with no staging and bad lighting vs good staging and good lighting. You will see the difference in your inbox and your bank account.
This is the ultimate furniture flipping guide for a reason, I am providing you a lot of information that only experienced furniture flippers would have. I wanted to provide flippers and furniture artists with the proper information and tips to help make more money in this furniture business. You might have the ability to use your market in your favor to make more money! Plus, I have a refinished furniture calculator you can use to your advantage for free.
Just taking action with these tips in mind will without a doubt increase your selling prices and overall profits. I hope you learned a thing or two! If you want to reach out to me with any questions check me out on Youtube by searching Furniture Flippa in the search bar and leave me a comment! I will gladly do my best to get back to you.