How To Sell Used Furniture Online To Make The Most Profit

How To Sell Used Furniture Online To Make The Most Profit

Selling used furniture can be a very lucrative business. Thanks to popular shows like Fixer Upper, people love redoing their living spaces and always looking for the perfect piece to fit in a new room. 

But not everyone has the time or ability to repurpose furniture so they look for these special pieces for sale. 

And that’s where you come in! 

Maybe you love restoring old furniture into something usable again. Or maybe you love the artwork behind designing new looks. Or maybe you just love the hunt for pieces that have a history and shouldn’t be thrown in the trash. Whatever your reason is, you have a passion for redoing furniture – now you just need to figure out how to make a good profit from it. 

Which is where we come in and show you how to do just that. 

In this post we are going to cover

  • The best places to find used furniture
  • What to look for when buying furniture to resell
  • The best platforms to sell used furniture
  • How to make a higher profit by offering shipping for your furniture
  • How to sell your furniture on eBay 

What to look for when buying furniture to resell.

Let’s start with finding good pieces. 

Good Bones. 

First off, the piece has to have good bones. 

What does that mean? Think of an antique table compared to something from IKEA. Not to knock IKEA, but it’s not furniture you can repurpose and make any money. 

You want quality. That’s why many antiques are so desirable because they were made well and last forever! 

When you are looking for furniture pieces to resell you want real wood. You don’t want something made with particle board. 

One example of a dresser with good bones is that it’s made of real wood and the drawers have dovetail joints. This can mean the piece is well made and could be an antique. 

Quality Brands

Like anything you buy, there are brands that are known for their quality and are sought after, and cheaper brands. 

To make a profit in this business you want to be searching for the good brands

Here are a few brands that are high quality to look for (but the list goes on!)

  • Baker
  • Broyhill Furniture
  • Basset
  • Stanley Furniture
  • Woodbridge Furniture
  • Kincaid Furniture
  • Lexington
  • Klaussner
  • Barlow & Tyrie
  • Bernhardt Furniture
  • Magnussen Home
  • Pottery Barn 

This list is just a place to start, but not conclusive. More important than the brand is to find the good bones that we talked about above. 

The best places to find used furniture to flip

Now you know what to look for in furniture, but where can you find this furniture?

The best thing is good used furniture is everywhere! 

If you ask a veteran furniture flipper what their biggest hurdle is, it’s most likely NOT finding good pieces. 

People get rid of things for cheap of even free all the time!

FREE furniture? 

Absolutely! 

People are constantly updating their old spaces or moving to a new house and need to get rid of things quickly. 

They don’t want to wait for someone to come buy it so they either list it for free, donate it, or put it by the road for someone to pick up. 

Ways to find free furniture

Scroll reselling apps like OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace and use their free category or search for free and look what’s available. 

There are also sites like freecycle where people list their items for free because they don’t want them to go to the landfill. 

Browsing the trash is another way to find items for free. 

We don’t go out of our way to dumpster dive, but just from walking to our downtown we’ve found some crazy things on the side of the road to resell.

We found this set of chairs next to a dumpster and sold them on Facebook Marketplace for $150.

Sell Used Furniture

And this fabric chair we saw on our morning walk and went back and picked it up. Melissa spray painted it and was going to sell it, but we decided it complemented our AirBNB well so we put it in there. 

Sell Used Furniture

How to spray paint a fabric chair

Best platforms to sell used furniture

If you landed here chances are you know how to find the furniture – now you want to sell it and make the most profit! 

Here are some of the best platforms for selling furniture: 

OfferUp

OfferUp is easy to use for your potential buyers. They can search for the type of furniture they are looking for (like end tables, dresser, bookcase, etc) and then the items that are local will pop up. 

Facebook Marketplace 

Facebook Marketplace is similar to OfferUp in that it’s easy for the buyer to search for items. 

We found this bed on the side of the road and sold it on Facebook Marketplace for $150! Someone put $150 in the trash! 

flipping furniture

All we did was dust it off and take pictures and post it on Facebook Marketplace.

But more recently Marketplace has been less friendly to sellers. They are showing more of the items that can be shipped through the app and also the items that are promoted. 

Organic reach has plummeted recently for sellers trying to sell their items on Facebook Marketplace. 

Not surprisingly, Facebook wants you to pay to play on their app.That’s been their strategy for years so it doesn’t surprise us that it’s leaked into Facebook Marketplace. 

Check out this video on how to get more views on Facebook Marketplace.

eBay

This may come as a surprise to some furniture flippers, but eBay is our favorite place to sell furniture! 

Why is that? 

Your local reselling app like OfferUp has about 30,000 – 40,000 registered users in your area. 

Ebay currently has 183 million active users on their site. 

Now that doesn’t mean all of those people are looking for a newly repainted farmhouse dining set, but that does mean there are a heck of a lot people who are! 

But there is a key to selling on eBay that we think a lot of furniture flippers are missing out on – Offering shipping for their pieces. 

We don’t specialize in furniture flipping, but we have done a few pieces here and there and have been able to sell them for a higher profit because we offered shipping. 

Take this set of end tables.

Sell Used Furniture

Melissa picked them at a yard sale for $50 and we sold them on eBay for $395 + $85 for shipping. 

And she didn’t even touch them with paint! 

She thought about it, but they were unique enough that we listed them as they were and someone saw them on eBay and wanted them in their house. 

These went in two separate boxes and were shipped through FedEx. 

Shipping furniture

Flipping furniture locally can be a good source of income, but by offering shipping you open up your potential client list to so many more people. 

Think about today’s world. 

How many people want unique furniture pieces delivered to them. 

They can scroll on their phone looking for the exact piece they want instead of driving from store to store looking for the “perfect” piece. 

Most people don’t want to spend hours or days looking for the right item. 

And let’s face it, most people don’t even want to go to the store anymore. 

eBay sales grew 33% last year due to more people shopping online than ever before. 

“But will buyers really pay for shipping?”

Heck yes they will! 

We sold a phonograph a few years ago and the buyer was actually through global shipping. He paid as much for shipping as he did for the phonograph because he fell in love with it and wanted it in his collection! 

Melissa also painted this set of night stands and sold them on eBay for $300 plus $150 for shipping

Sell Used Furniture

Freight shipping furniture

If there has been one life changing moment in our flipping business, it was the day we figured out freight shipping. 

And that day was almost 5 years ago. 

We had just been pushed into flipping full-time (my job decided to give me 30 days notice of losing health benefits so we made the leap), and I knew I had to make more to provide for our family of 5. 

Flipping was always a side income for us, but the minute it became our main source of income I had to take it serious. 

I needed to figure out a way to make more profits in the same amount of time that I had so that I could still be present in my family and help Melissa with 3 kids that were 3 and under. (it was craziness at home!) 

So I decided to take a dining set that I had listed locally on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace and list it on eBay. 

I figured if it sold I would do the legwork to figure out how to ship the thing! 

I had this dining set listed locally for $750 (we paid $350 for it at an auction). 

It sat for 3 months with no takers.

After looking at a few comps on eBay, I listed it on eBay for $2,500, and within 3 weeks got an offer for $2,200 and took it!  

Sell Used Furniture

The buyer also paid an additional $500 for shipping! 

So I put the set on a pallet and freight shipped it across the country. 

That was my A-HA moment that there was something to this freight shipping thing. 

I couldn’t get $750 locally, but someone was willing to pay $2,700 to have it delivered to them! 

5 steps to get started with shipping furniture

1. Determine if your item is eligible for a large box to be shipped with FedEx or UPS, or if it needs to be shipped freight.

Some large items don’t need to be shipped freight, they can be shipped using Fed Ex or UPS. We ship out large boxes all the time.

To ship a large item with FedEx* and UPS**, it can’t exceed 150lbs, 119″ in length, and 165″ in length and girth combined.

The length and girth formula is simple. Here’s what you do:

• Measure the length, height, and width of the package.

• Length and girth equals length plus twice the width and twice the height.

Girth = (2 x width) + (2 x height)

You can ship a large item up to 165″ in length and girth, but both these companies charge a large package surcharge for any package over 130″ in length and girth. Most of the time anything over the 130″ is going to be cheaper using a freight shipping.

2. Gather your shipping materials.

Once you have determined if you are going to use large package shipping or freight shipping, you need to gather your packaging materials.

If you are using a large box for shipping, you will need to locate a large enough box, or build it by combining two boxes together.

Here is a short video on cutting down boxes and putting them together. This one uses smaller boxes, but the idea is still the same.

You will also need whatever padding you are using. Foam, bubble wrap, or packaging peanuts all work great. (Don’t use peanuts on something to heavy or fragile. They aren’t as secure as the foam or bubble wrap).

If you are using freight shipping there are three main materials you will need:

– Pallet

– Straps/Tie Downs

– Cellophane wrap

You will first need to find a pallet or build one. They are pretty easy to find — a lot of businesses just throw them away. I never pay for mine, I just go to a couple local businesses to grab one when I need it.

The next thing you need is straps/tie downs. This allows you to secure the item to the pallet so it can’t move anywhere.

After the straps, you will need cellophane. This helps to wrap the item and help prevent damage.

3. Secure the item to the pallet or in the box.

Once you have your packaging materials together, it’s time to package the item.

If using a large box, be sure to use 2″ of padding between the box wall and the item. Use 3″ if it’s a fragile item. On a big heavy item, I prefer to use foam as the padding.

If palleting the item, you will first need to think about how you are going to move it once it’s securely attached to the pallet. You can get some companies to pick it up from your house. uShip is a great resource to find freight companies who will pick it up from your house or business and their prices are usually pretty competitive.

If you are going to drop off the pallet at the freight terminal you can build the pallet directly in the bed of your truck or trailer and the freight company will unload it for you when you drop it off.

To pallet your item, take your pallet and place it where you want to package up your item. Then place the item on top of the pallet and secure it with the straps. Once it is secured, wrap the whole item in cellophane. If it’s multiple pieces you can also wrap them individually and then secure them all together. Here is a crib I shipped out. I packaged it up right in my truck bed so I could deliver it to the freight terminal.

freight shipping

I used to think that I had to crate everything that I shipped freight, but that isn’t always the case. Cellophane can work well for some items. If an item is fragile I might build a wood crate for it, like I did for this carousel horse.

I wanted to be sure I could give it good padding since it was more fragile than some of the other stuff we ship out.

4. Measure and print label.

Once you have your item packaged, then you need to do the final measurements and print out your label. You need to measure the height, length and width then put it into the shipping calculator. It will automatically calculate your length and girth {Girth = (2 x width) + (2 x height)}, and determine if you get the surcharge for over 130″ and makes sure you are under the 165″ limit.

To determine the weight of a box, I like to use a flat parcel scale with a detachable reader. It makes it easier to see the weight if it is a large item.

Or if your only option is a house scale, you can use the old fashioned method. 😉

If your item is palleted, it obviously isn’t easy to weigh, and you really don’t have to have an exact weight. When you are printing your label, over estimate what you believe the weight to be and you will be fine. As long as you are over, you will not get charged more. If you underestimate, they can come back and bill you more once they weigh it and ship it.

5. Drop off the item, or schedule a pickup.

Once your item is packaged or palletized with a label on it, all that is left is to drop it off at the shipping provider you are using.

If your freight company is picking it up, you have to arrange a time together.

If it’s a large box and you are using FedEx or UPS, you can have them come pick it up from your doorstep at an extra cost as well.

$50 Teak Turned Chairs Turned into $1,300!

Teak furniture is pretty big down here in Florida. It’s a very sturdy wood that  lasts forever. They actually use it for furniture in beach homes and in making boats. 

But this type of furniture can get worn down from the weather. Most of the teak we’ve picked up looked…well, really awful. It will be faded and rough looking and to the untrained eye, look like a dead piece of furniture that should have it’s next home in a landfill.

It can easily be passed up if you don’t know it’s worth.  

But there’s a neat little secret about teak. All it needs to come alive again is a pressure wash and some teak oil to make it look amazing!

We recently picked up a set of teak chairs for $50 at a yard sale. These were being sold super cheap because they didn’t look too great. Many people walked by this set of chairs and never gave them a thought.

But not me!

I handed them $50 gladly! When I got home, I did a quick power wash and used some oil and they came alive again!  

flipping furniture

It took very little work to make them like new – and my $50 turned into $1,300 a couple months later when I sold them on eBay!

Recycling furniture will definitely keep the planet cleaner and can put some fast cash in your pocket! 

People Pay Big for Creative Pieces

If you are like me, you love your home and like to feel comfortable in it. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone with that feeling.  

But let’s face it, custom furniture isn’t made the way it used to be. In fact, it’s extremely difficult to find custom furniture at all.

But just because it’s hard to find, doesn’t mean there aren’t people still looking. It’s no mistake that Chip and Joanna had one of the most watched home renovation shows on the planet. 

Why? Because people love to make their homes amazing and comfortable and they love to make it custom to their own preferences! 

But they also know it costs money to get what they want. 

With that said, there are literally thousands of people around the world who are hoping to find that perfect piece of custom furniture to fit in that specific space in their home. 

And they aren’t afraid to pay big bucks for it!

Our friend and Flipper U member Becca Stevick is an expert in finding inexpensive or free furniture pieces. She then takes the piece, puts her expertise furniture repurposing skills to work, and makes a great living for herself!

She does some amazing pieces and is so creative!

We love to sell used furniture, but repainting it is not one of our big strengths so we didn’t really talk about it much, but Becca is fantastic and has recently created an e-book to help others get better at their techniques. 

You can check out her book Painted Profit here.

Ready to start making more money with furniture flipping? 

Flipping furniture is a fun and creative way to make an extra income (or even full-time income). 

If you want to take your flipping biz to the next level and offer shipping on your pieces, check out our free webinar to see how it’s possible

FURTHER RESOURCES

$1 Flip Club Challenge – Turn $1 Into $100 In 7 days

FREE Workshop How To Turn Your Passion of Flipping Items Into A Profitable Reselling Business

Flipper University

Painted Profit E-book by Becca Stevick

RELATED POSTS

From Business Grad to Full-Time Furniture Flipper

Gorgeous Distressed Bedside Tables Furniture Flip

How to Identify and Restore Teak Wood 

Selling on Facebook Marketplace: How We Turned $115 Into $2250 In One Hour!

 

FOLLOW THE FLIPPING ADVENTURE:
Rob Stephenson
[email protected]

I grew up in Central Florida and have lived here my whole life. I first got into buying and selling items when I was 16 years old, and have been hooked ever since. It has mostly been a hobby that makes some extra cash, but sometimes it serves as my main income as well. I don't plan on stopping any time soon. I find too many fun toys for my family (or myself), and just love the whole process.

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