When it comes to side hustles ideas and ways to make extra money, online opportunities like blogging and affiliate marketing tend to get the most attention. But there are plenty of other opportunities that offer great potential and the possibility to start making money right away.
Flipping used items is a great way to make extra money (see my list of the easiest things to flip for profit). One of the best ways to make money with flipping is to specialize in flipping furniture.
As a furniture flipper, you can take something old and unwanted and turn it into something beautiful and valuable.
Today I’m happy to publish an interview with Virginia. Virginia is a stay-at-home mom to 4 daughters, and she has a lot of experience with flipping furniture. She and her sister have a Facebook page Lil’ Rustique Elegance where they sell furniture.
How to Make Money by Flipping Furniture
Virginia was kind enough to answer my questions. You’ll find her responses below, and if you’re considering a furniture flipping side hustle I’m sure you will love this insight.
How did you get started flipping furniture for profit?
“I’m a stay-at-home mom of four so I’ve always been trying to find one way or another to make extra cash from home! My sister heard about flipping furniture from someone and thought she’d give it a shot.
“She actually did really well right away, so naturally, this piqued my interest!
“I was a little nervous the first time I found a piece of furniture to flip. It was just a small antique entryway table that I painted white, distressed…and it sold in a few hours.
“From that sale on, I was completely hooked!”
→ Related reading: How to Start a Side Hustle
What types of furniture do you look for?
“I look for anything that is unique, real wood, and preferably old! I prefer smaller pieces, like nightstands, small dressers, sofa tables…stuff like that. I tend to avoid previously painted pieces and furniture that needs a lot of work because that tends to cut down on my profits in the end.”
Where are your favorite places to buy furniture to flip?
“Most furniture I find on Facebook garage sale pages. Sometimes I will look up garage sales to go to, but with 4 kids in tow, it’s just easier to hunt online!”
How much time do you spend looking for the right pieces?
“It really depends. Generally, it doesn’t take me more than a couple of days to find a cool piece of furniture if I’m really trying, but sometimes there just isn’t anything exciting for sale. That’s why it’s a good idea to buy whenever you see a good deal so you always have inventory.”
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What type of work do you typically do to the pieces that you’re flipping?
“The most I have to do before painting is cleaning. I clean the pieces really well, and then if it’s a really shiny wood I will scuff it up with sandpaper before painting, that gives the paint something to grip on to. I use good quality furniture paints that can be applied over previously finished surfaces without needing to completely sand down to bare wood.”
How/where do you sell the furniture once you are done with it?
“My sister and I have a Facebook business page where we sell all our pieces. When our page was still small we would also post on our local garage sale pages. Now that our page has lots of followers we don’t need to post our finished pieces anywhere else!”
→ Related reading: Selling Apps: 17 Apps and Websites to Help You Sell Your Stuff
When you were first getting started, did you have trouble knowing how to price your finished pieces?
“Absolutely! That’s one of the most difficult parts when you first start flipping. You want to make a profit but you’re afraid to price too high. We took a course that helped us learn to price to make real profit. I still get a little nervous with custom pieces when I send the customer my quote. I think it’s just learning to be confident in the worth of your work and realizing that people pay good money for quality!”
→ Related reading: 40 Exciting Hobbies That Make Money
Do you deliver the furniture?
“Yes, we offer delivery, but we charge for it. Customers love the service and it really opens up our business to so many more people who wouldn’t have a way to pick up the furniture themselves.”
What skills do you think someone should have if they want to make money flipping furniture?
“Honestly, I would never have thought I would be good at flipping furniture. I didn’t consider myself very creative or artistic. Anyone can start flipping furniture. I believe it’s an art that can be learned with practice. Everything I learned about painting furniture was from YouTube tutorials and following people who were doing it. I do think that to be successful you need to be concerned about consistently producing excellent quality work, figuring out what people are looking for, and build good relationships with your customers so they keep coming back.”
What mistakes have you made along the way?
“Oh boy, where to start! Multiple times starting over on a piece because I didn’t take the proper steps before painting it and it ended up with bleed through or other issues. We used to not have customers sign a contract and at times I would end up doing extra work for customers free of charge on account of that. I’ve tried painting a piece without taking out the drawers to save time and ended up gluing the drawers shut when the paint dried. I could go on and on!”
What supplies, equipment, and tools are needed?
“To get started, all you need is a good quality paint brush, furniture paint, and a piece of furniture! As you start to learn new paint techniques you’ll probably end up buying special products that help with antiquing, glaze, waxing, distressing…etc, but you really don’t need a lot of special tools to get started.”
How much money do you think someone should have on hand to get started?
“Like I said above, if you can afford a good paintbrush, some paint, and a piece of furniture, you have enough money to start your business. I’d say $100 – $150 would be more than enough.”
What do you love about flipping furniture, and what do you dislike about it?
“Flipping furniture is extremely rewarding. There is a huge sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in turning something boring and unattractive into something that makes people go “wow!!”. It’s also really therapeutic for me, it’s the one “adult” thing I do that’s for me, and what mom doesn’t need that?!
“There really isn’t much to dislike about it, but if I have to say something, it would be the unexpected issues that arise from a piece that was supposed to be a super easy project. I like to be able to start a piece and finish without fixing anything, but it doesn’t always go that way.”
Thank you to Virginia for taking the time to answer these questions and provide so much insight on this side hustle. Below I’d like to share some of my own thoughts about the opportunity of flipping furniture and summarize the basic steps if you are interested in getting started.
Why It’s a Great Side Hustle
Although there are plenty of side hustle possibilities to choose from, there are several factors that make flipping furniture a great option.
1. Start Making Money Right Away
Some side hustles allow you to start making money right away, and others (like starting a blog) will require some patience before you start to make money. When you’re trying to decide which side hustle is right for you, I think this is a major factor that you need to consider.
If making money in the short-term is very important, you should probably focus on a side hustle that makes it possible to start earning quickly. As a furniture flipper, you can find your first piece and flip it in a matter of days.
2. Work on Your Own Schedule
This is a very flexible money-making opportunity that makes it possible to work around your existing schedule. Virginia is a mother of 4, so I’m sure she has plenty of things going on in her daily life. If you have a full-time job, this is something you could do in your free time around your other responsibilities.
Not only are the hours flexible, but you could also put in as much or as little time as you want. When you have the time you could find a piece and finish it. If you’re busy you don’t have to be doing anything. And if you have extra time or want to make more money you could try to find several pieces to flip.
→ Related reading: How to Make Money by Selling Your Stuff
3. Low Start-Up Costs
As Virginia mentioned, there is not much that you need to get started. Just some paint, a paintbrush, and a piece of furniture are all you really need (and the furniture can be found for cheap or even free). You don’t need to invest a lot of time or money to get started. Try it out and see how it goes. Without a large investment you’re not committed to it.
4. Plenty of Opportunity
Old wood furniture is not that hard to find. You may even have a piece or two in your own house or apartment that could allow you to get started. Yard sales, thrift shops, flea markets are all great places to find furniture. You can also use websites like Craigslist and Facebook.
In addition to finding the furniture, there is also plenty of opportunity in terms of selling. There is a big market for flipped furniture and websites like Facebook make it possible to get enough exposure to easily sell your pieces.
5. Potential to Turn into Something Bigger Than a Side Hustle
If you have some success with your furniture flipping side hustle and you want to turn it into something bigger, that’s a possibility. Putting more time into it, finding more pieces that are ideal for flipping, learning new techniques, and gaining exposure (like Virginia and her sister have done with their Facebook page) will make it possible to make more than just a little extra cash. You can also take custom orders to take your business to the next level.
6. Satisfying Work
There is something pretty cool about taking an old piece of furniture and upcycling or repurposing it. As a flipper, you’re not only extending the life of a piece of furniture, but you’re also providing your customers with a great piece that will be a part of their home.
What You Need to Get Started With Furniture Flipping
Getting started can be easy and inexpensive. Let’s take a look at exactly what you need to start making money.
- YouTube videos – If you don’t have experience painting or refinishing furniture, free YouTube videos can give you all the instruction you need to get started.
- A quality paint brush
- Quality paint (Virginia recommends Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Fusion Mineral Paint)
- A piece of furniture – Find a piece of wood furniture in your home, or check yard sales, flea markets, thrift stores, Facebook or Craigslist.
- Truck (optional) if you want to offer delivery.
READ NEXT: 25+ Easiest Things to Flip for Profit