How to Flip Furniture for Profit

Turn dressers and chairs into dollars and cents

How to Flip Furniture for Profit

Key Points

  • With high retail costs for new furniture, there are plenty of buyers out there looking for discounted furniture

  • It’s not hard to find cheap furniture, and simple repairs can increase its value drastically

  • Making real money is possible by flipping furniture, either in addition to your regular items, or as a full-time business

Spring is a great time to make a little extra money. Maybe you’ve been looking around the house (or garage) and realized you had some furniture sitting around you wouldn’t mind selling. Or maybe you’ve heard about opportunities to buy and resell couches and shelves for serious profit. With a little know-how and elbow grease, you can turn discount or discarded furniture into piles of cash. Sound interesting? Let’s get into it.

Is flipping furniture profitable?

While furniture is far from the most glamorous item to resell, that doesn’t mean there isn’t money to be made. Everybody thinks of sneakers, electronics, collectibles, when it comes to reselling, but that doesn’t mean those are your only options.

For one, furniture is always in demand, and can be pretty expensive. Everyone needs chairs, tables, shelves, lamps, etc, but are they willing to pay retail prices? If you haven’t been to a furniture store before, you might not realize how much they can run for.

How to Flip Furniture Prices

Even a simple apartment can cost thousands to get set up, and a family home can stretch into the tens of thousands quite easily. Considering all this, you can understand why buyers would be willing to buy from a third party offering to save them money.

So that’s demand taken care of. Fortunately, supply isn’t much of an issue. There’s lots of secondhand furniture for sale, often at heavy discounts or even offered up for free. Furniture retailers may also sell their display models, or damaged but unused items on the cheap. All that said, there’s an opportunity for resellers to make money flipping furniture, as long as they go about it the right way.

Where to find furniture to flip

There’s two main ways to source furniture to resell: retailers and secondhand sales. You can also sell your personal belongings, or even craft furniture to sell (which we’ll get into later). For now, we’ll just focus on the main channels.

Buying from a retailer is something you’re probably already familiar with as a reseller. We’ve touched on how expensive furniture can be at retail, but there are exceptions to the rule. Many furniture stores will have stock set aside at a discount. Display furniture that typically gets worn out sitting in the showroom, or factory-new items that were damaged during shipment. It’s possible to get a serious discount on these items, depending on what’s offered.

Used or otherwise secondhand furniture is also a viable method for resellers. In these cases, vintage, discontinued, or otherwise rare pieces of furniture may pop up.

Buying through online marketplaces like Craigslist and OfferUp can be a good way to source items, but you’ll also want to keep your eye out for yard sales, thrift stores, or even free furniture left out in front of houses (or the side of the road).

The most profitable pieces of furniture to resell

When you’re hunting for furniture to flip, keep your eyes peeled for specific items. Most people want to cut costs on the essentials like bedframes, tables, and chairs, but will splurge on decorative items.

Furniture like bookshelves, desks, and shelves are some of the most profitable furniture to resell, especially if they are visually unique or vintage. Outdoor furniture can also be quite profitable, as it tends to be made from inexpensive materials.

This is also a good time to mention that not all furniture is made equal. Buyers will probably not be interested in your IKEA tables, considering they’re plywood stuffed with cardboard. Well made, durable products are far more attractive, and expensive.

Recognizing materials and high quality construction is important if you want to try your hand at flipping furniture. If you want to flip furniture at a serious profit, look for real wood, real glass, and watch out for plastic and plywood.

Whenever possible, do a google search for a the product you’re considering buying secondhand. Find out what it sells for retail, and what it’s made from.

Repairing furniture to flip

You might’ve noticed we’ve been talking a lot about damaged or blemished furniture. As a furniture reseller, that’s something you’ll have to get comfortable with. Furniture is expensive, and one of the only ways to get it cheap is to buy it damaged. That means making the repairs yourself.

Intimidated? Don’t be. Even if you have no experience in woodworking or furniture repair, it’s not hard to get started. That said, if you’re already good with your hands, flipping furniture is probably a great fit for you.

For now, the basics: most furniture repair will revolve fixing scratches and gouges, and fixing blemished paint. Your essential kit will consist of putty fillers and touch-up pens to handle simple nicks.

More advanced repairs will involve gluing fractured wood back together, repairing broken joints, and sanding down finished wood and repainting or staining it. In these cases, getting an exact match of the original paint or stain will be critical, don’t shotgun it.

As with any DIY project, you’ll be doing plenty of research. Thanks to wonders of the 21st century, there are plenty of furniture repair blogs, websites, and YouTube channels that cover every aspect of the process, so there’s not excuse not to learn.

Where to sell flipped furniture

Once you’ve got your hands on some furniture, whether you got it cheap or fixed it up yourself, it’s time to resell it. The obvious way is to list it yourself. For most furniture, you’ll be relying on local sales. Furniture is big, heavy, and potentially fragile, so shipping it will likely be prohibitively expensive.

You have plenty of options to list it. Craigslist, OfferUp, and eBay local are all great choices. For more information on selling local, check our articles here.

The essentials apply: take good pictures, and a lot them. Be upfront in your listing about any issues, damage or blemishes on the furniture you’re flipping. Negative seller feedback and pissed off customers are not worth fudging the truth.

If you’re selling more bespoke or handmade items, you may prefer to sell them online and deal with the shipping costs. In cases where you have a rare clock or fancy bookshelf, buyers across the country may be willing to pay enough to offset any extra hassle or cost associated with shipping.

Consignment stores may also be an option for these items. For handmade or high-quality items, it may be a good idea to drop your items off at a store, and wait for the right buyer to pick it out.

Turning furniture flipping into a business

If you’ve gotten a taste for reselling furniture, or you just think it might interest you, it’s possible to turn it into a legitimate business.

The biggest hurdle will be finding a consistent way to source products, and there’s three ways of doing this:

  • You can find furniture to resell through secondhand sales and repairing. That’s most of what we’ve covered already; picking up nicked and dinged items from yard sales and doing your own DIY repairs. To make this work you’ll want to have a solid grasp on woodwork and basic repairs.
  • You can also buy from wholesalers. Alibaba can be a great option for getting furniture on the cheap, but you’ll need to buy and bulk and pay for shipping to stay profitable. Getting a warehouse makes sense for this.
  • Additionally, you could try your hand at making your own furniture. At this point, we’re really stretching the definition of “reselling”, but it is an option. Handmade, high quality furniture can sell for remarkable prices. If you’ve got the talent, why not capitalize on it?

As with any business, flipping furniture revolves around minimizing costs and maximizing profit. You won’t make any money if you’re spending it all buying your items to resell. Furniture is expensive, and buyers will be trying to save money as much as possible.

Buying and reselling Alibaba Furniture

That’s a sectional for $200 – if you buy 20

If you’re buying damaged furniture to flip, make sure you’re comfortable making the repairs yourself. Be careful purchasing damaged goods from a retailer, as they’ve likely already given the item a look and decided it’s not the worth the cost of repairs (bad sign). On the other hand, secondhand sellers may be dumping their furniture on the curb after a scratch or paint discoloration, which are perfectly easy to fix.

Since everybody needs furniture, it’s not hard to find a buyer. If you can offer your items at a discount compared to retail, flipping furniture for profit is totally possible as long as you can find it cheap.

Alternatively, you can make money by reselling furniture without making any major repairs. Vintage or discontinued items can be very lucrative for a reseller, especially when sold through online marketplaces like eBay, where buyers across the world can compete for your items.

No matter how far you want to take it, every reseller should keep their eyes open for furniture to flip. Whether its a one time thing or something regular, it can be a great way to make money. It may not be flashy, but cash is cash.

For more ideas on what items to flip, or a just the basics of how to get started reselling, check out our other articles. We have plenty of guides on the ins-and-outs of the business, as well as coverage of past, present, and future cooks.

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