I’ve been asked a lot of the same questions regarding Flipping Furniture and the logistics behind it so I thought I would write a blog post answering some of these commonly asked questions. When I first started flipping furniture I was asking these same exact questions. Let’s get to it!
1. Where do you find all of your furniture? This is probably one of the most commonly asked questions. The answer is-EVERYWHERE. I find it everywhere! Goodwill, Estate Sales, Front Lawns, Yard Sales, Craigslist, Social Media, etc. I bought this desk for $5.00 off someone’s lawn! If you are searching for furniture to flip, I would start off by using some of these outlets, especially social media like the Facebook Yard Sale sites. Solid pieces of furniture aren’t necessarily hard to find but they are harder to find at a bargain price. People are catching on that their Granny’s old and dated dresser can be flipped and sold for a high price so therefore they want to sell it for what you would sell it for after it’s flipped. That’s obviously not going to work for you so you have to be patient and wait until you strike gold. When you do find something you want to buy, it never hurts to offer a little less. The worst that can happen is they say no. Now, I said a LITTLE less. Don’t offer someone $25 for a dresser when they are asking for $100. That’s offensive and they will be less likely to work with you if you give them a complete lowball offer. I’ve experienced this as a seller and it’s irritating! The only time I might throw out a borderline lowball offer is at estate sales. I usually check out the estate sale on the last day when things are marked down and they are more willing to bargain with you. The people that organize estate sales don’t own the furniture so you won’t offend them. With that being said, I still wouldn’t offer $25 for a dresser with the asking price of $100 but I might offer $70! Make sense? Okay.
2. How do you decide what furniture to buy? I take a lot into consideration before I purchase a piece of furniture. How much damage does it have? Is there just a few chips and dings or does it look like a dog chewed it up and spit it out? Sometimes it looks really ugly, but it’s just surface damage and nothing my palm sander can’t handle. Other times it’s going to cost too much and I’m going to spend too much time trying to fix it. I found a really cool vintage vanity at goodwill this week but the closer I looked I realized it was really damaged and even though it was so cool, I had to pass. There’s noway I would have gotten my money back with the supplies and time I would have had to put into it. I like to work with solid wood. Most everything I refinish is something I’m going to sell to someone else. I don’t want a reputation for selling particle board garbage! If the piece has drawers, I will pull them out to see if they are dovetail jointed or tongue and groove jointed. It’s not a deal breaker if they aren’t but it does help finalize my decision. Basically, I don’t just buy something because it’s cheap. It has to meet my standards (especially in price) for it to be worth it.
3. How do you price your furniture? I still struggle with this. My husband and friends poke fun at me for selling too low. The furniture I sell usually is sold within 24 hours so I get why they say my prices are too low. Just like when I purchase furniture, I take a lot into consideration when I sell furniture. How much did the item cost? Did I pick it up for free off someone’s lawn or did I splurge at an estate sale? How much supplies did I go through? Did I use 1/4 a can of paint (about $12) or did I use the whole can ($45)? What about sandpaper, stain, poly, hardware, etc? I take into account all of the supplies that were used and add the number to what I’ve purchased the furniture for. Next I think about how much time I spent refinishing it. Was it a 2-3 hour project or a 10-12 hour project? I usually charge about $25 per hour for labor. Those are the main areas I consider when pricing but I also have to remember (and remind my husband) that I’m not trying to retire off of this little side business. It started out as a hobby and even though it’s turned into a small side business, it’s still something I enjoy doing! Also, I like a good bargain and I want to give other’s a good bargain as well.
4. How long does it take you to refinish a piece of furniture? Time varies greatly. This Nightstand took about 2.5-3 hours, where as the Oak Pedestal Table and Chairs on my Gallery Page took about 12 hours. If you are planning to refinish a table and chairs, don’t plan on finishing it in one day. Chairs are so time consuming. Getting your paint brush into those small crevices, especially around spindles and spools takes hours and hours! Refinishing a dining set can be one of the most beautiful transformations but also the most costly when it comes to supplies and time. When a client approaches me about refinishing some of their furniture I always ask for pictures. It’s best when I can go see it in person if it looks like it needs some repairs. Repairs cost more money in supplies and time. Every project varies according to condition, size and whether I plan to stain, paint, wax or poly, etc.
5. Where did you learn how to refinish furniture? Trial and error mostly. One of my first projects is the entry way table in our house. It turned out pretty cool but every time I look at it I can’t help but think of everything I would have done differently! I wish I knew then what I know now. Furniture blogs really helped as well! This is partially why I decided to start my own blog. I hope it helps those of you who were like me and had no idea what the difference was between 60grit and 2000grit sandpaper. Blogs were a great resource that I could return to again and again for tutorials, supplies, etc. I also used youtube when it came to working with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Wax. I really have no desire to embarrass myself in front of a camera so I hope this blog never has it’s own Youtube Channel!
6. When do you have time to flip furniture? This is another frequently asked question. The answer is, nap time and weekends! I look forward to the day when my kid(s) can play out in the yard while I work outside on furniture but my kiddo is a little too young to play on her own and entertain herself so I usually find myself chasing her down the driveway or wiping wet paint off her hands! Thankfully she is a great napper so I can usually count on about 2-3 hours in the afternoon to go out in the garage and do what I need to do. My husband gets home around 5 so usually I have a little bit of daylight left to go paint another coat, wax, etc. Weekends are when I can get a lot done but I also like to spend time with my family so sometimes it can be challenging to find that balance.
Well, there you have it! Some frequently asked questions when it comes to flipping furniture. Maybe some of that information will help you if you’re looking into refinishing furniture as a new hobby!