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I’ve been Flipping Furniture for the last eight years and thought I’d share some helpful tips with anyone who’s thinking about doing the same and for the flippers that need some help boosting their profits.
First of all, I absolutely love what I do! I love taking old things and making them new again. Over the last couple of years I’ve learned a few things that have really made what I do even more fun and made my business more profitable. Below I’ll list some basic steps to help you get started. These are the things I’ve done and that continue to work for me.
- First, remove all hardware and remove door hinges or tape off.
- Proper prep is essential. Clean your piece with Fusion TSP or some type of degreaser, scuff sand and fill scratches with wood putty. This will make all the difference in how well your paint sticks and how your piece looks.
- Clean out the inside of drawers and cabinets. If drawers or cabinets are stained I first try sanding. If sanding doesn’t remove it, I clean it well and apply a coat of penetrating stain, darker than the stains. If sanding removes the stain or you have no stains I use Fusion Hemp Oil to bring the wood back to life after a good cleaning. If your drawers or cabinets are beyond staining, cleaning or sanding I recommend painting the bottom of the drawer or lining the drawers with paper or fabric. Remember that you want return business and to be recommended by others. If you don’t do proper prep and and someone buys a piece, takes it home and paint starts coming off, you’ll have an unhappy customer!
- Quality Paint/Colors – Use a quality paint and make sure the piece is covered well. Take the extra steps to make sure that once your piece is completed that you’ll see no visible areas of the previous finish. I’ve chosen Fusion Mineral Paint because it’s easy to work with and provides a very durable finish. I do about 30 pieces a month and have never had a customer complain about their piece not being durable. And, believe me, you don’t want to be redoing pieces over and over and have unhappy customers.
- Colors – Every area of the country is different when it comes to what colors sell the best but personally I don’t think you can go wrong with staying neutral. Colors like White, Off White, all shades of Gray and Black. If you are just starting out staying in this family of colors should help you start selling your pieces quickly. Also, start researching other furniture flippers in your area. Watch what colors are selling. If by chance, you take a risk and paint something a color and it doesn’t sell, paint it again. This has only happened to me twice in 8 years, thank goodness, but within 2 days of repainting those pieces they were sold. You live and learn.
- Hardware – If hardware is in good condition and matches your piece make sure to give it a good cleaning before putting it back on after painting. If you decide to use the existing hardware but would like it to be a different color using a good quality spray paint like Rustoleum or Prima Decor Wax Works wonders!
- Stage your Pieces – This is super important. People need to be able to see that piece in their homes and it makes them see you as a professional.
- Pictures – Make sure to take the best possible pictures. No pictures of children, animals or you in your jammies. Pay attention to your lighting and the angle of your pictures. Take pictures from the front, side, top and do closeups on any special details your piece has. I also use an app called Enlight to affix my logo to all my images. If you don’t have an image I recommend getting one. Lauren at Restored 316 did my logo and she’s also the creator of the template I’ve used for my website. I highly recommend her.
- Pricing – You’ll need to do a little research to find out what different pieces are selling for in your area. When I first started I tried to price just under other flippers in my area so that I could get established and get followers. Today I still try to price my pieces as reasonable as possible. I figure in what I paid for the piece, how many hours it took me to complete it and I check the average price that piece refinished sells for in my area. My best advice is DO NOT under value your pieces. Refinishing pieces takes alot of time, work and materials. If you price too cheaply, people will think something is wrong with your piece, or you’ll burn out from working hard and not making enough money.
- Selling – I recommend posting in many places and see what works in your area. I personally post on Facebook garage sale sites, the Facebook marketplace, my website and Etsy. Make sure to give a clear description including things like solid wood, dovetailed drawers, measurements and price. I always try to be as considerate to people as possible even when they offer me a whole lot less than what a piece is worth. You never know who your next customer will be. I put FCFS (First Come, First Serve) on all my posts. I also try to communicate with my customers if I have more than one person interested. I DO NOT hold pieces unless it’s been paid for in full and I have a scheduled pickup or delivery time. Holding pieces for people has never worked out well for me. I’ve passed over many potential buyers to hold for people that never show up. Remember FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE.
- After the Sale – If you are selling pieces from your home or a shop make sure to give the customer a receipt, care instructions and your business card. If you don’t have business cards order them ASAP. Vistaprint has great pricing on business cards and an easy to use design tool to make them. One of the ways I’ve gotten followers is by starting my own Facebook page for my business. I try to post pictures daily of what I’m working on and pictures of new pieces coming in. If someone buys from me I always tell them about my Facebook page and I also have it on my business card. No matter what, when I talk to anyone about a piece I always, always make sure they know about my Facebook page even if they don’t purchase from me. They could be your next customer.
- Record Keeping – This is extremely important for tax purposes, pricing your pieces in the future and to help you see exactly how much money your making on each piece. I’m an Excel junkie but I’ve recently switched to QuickBooks and love to see how much I’m making each month. It gives me the motivation to stay busy.
I hope these tips will help you decide if you want to be a Furniture Flipper or help you be more profitable if you are already one.