Make $500 per week in just a few hours selling used furniture. It works!!
Whether buying and redoing or simply buying and selling there is money to be made.
Your market is essentially unlimited
All my life, until recent years anyway, it seemed to me that I could never make enough money. It wasn't for a lack of working hard, if long hours and determination had done it I should have been rich. No, it was something more complicated than that. It seemed to me as If I was under some sort of strange curse one that would allow me to get only so far in my chosen profession and then wham some sort of wall, a glass ceiling if you will, ever present and preventing me from reaching any further form of financial success.
As I bemoaned the fact over coffee with a friend one day, he began to explain and ultimately convinced me that my major problem was a lack of diversification. His theory was simple. There are only so many hours in any given day, during that time there are only so many people seeking the goods or services provided by anyone in business and consequently only so much money that could possibly be made by that person or business during that period. The key he said was to redouble your efforts by attempting to attract that same amount of limited customers to a totally unrelated business simultaneously with your primary business thereby producing not one but two streams of income that could be earned at the same time . Then "boom" you had the solution to your dilemma, more money!
Armed with that information, my task was simple or at least seemed so. Find a second way to make money. At the outset it looks to be a forthright and fairly simple statement and it is in theory. As a practical matter however it proves to be a little more difficult. Don't get me wrong it is not that there aren't enough opportunities out there. They are aplenty, late night cable television is filled with them, Multilevel marketers selling everything from vitamins to face cream to cleaning products abound in the market place offering you the opportunity to make untold sums by simply selling a small amount of their product each month and recruiting others to do so. It is not my purpose to decry or affirm the legitimacy of those organizations but from my limited involvement with them it appears that their products are basically sound and their marketing methods logical. What I can say is they did not work for me. Yes there are people who are successful in those kind of endeavors but percentage wise they are a very, very small number and from what I can see the rest are the same kind of personalities running around from month trying to sell this or that essentially to each other in their latest effort to make it to the top of the heap in the coffee or vitamin or shampoo world. Sadly and simply it just doesn't work more often than not.
I also looked into part time work. You know stocking shelves at the local big box store after pulling full duty all day at my real job. I even tried it for a while and it didn't take long at all to see that while there is some extra money to be made. it is really disproportionate to the number of hours you end up investing each week, valuable time that could be spent with family which for me is sort of what this is all about anyway, having the time to spend with those I love. No, part time work wasn't going to get it done either. There had to be a simpler easier way!
As it turns out, I stumbled onto the idea that did eventually point me in the direction of making more money and became the basis for this hub and my subsequent book totally by accident . My girl friend is a true blue "yard saler" nothing makes her happier than getting up a 6:30AM on a crisp fall morning and with newspaper and coffee in hand, heading out to hit every yard sale, estate sale and rummage sale within a 30 mile radius of home. Admittedly,she is not only a bargain hunter but a "finder" as well and has, over the years, returned home with some super good deals, many of them either like new or actually new, still in the package.
In the winter months when yard sales aren't prevalent, she likes to take in the thrift stores around town and from time to time will convince me to join her. It was on one such trip that I had my epiphany. A few years ago, right after Christmas, we were looking around a local Goodwill Store and stumbled on to an old chest, it was solid wood but scratched up and dirty. It has a $60 price tag. She saw it first and walking toward it began to talk about how beautiful the piece could be redone. I could see the potential but frankly I wasn't really interested. Yes it would be pretty redone and yes it was inexpensive enough but to redo it would take some time and I was trying to focus on making more money not taking on a hobby. As we continued to look around the store she talked more and more about the piece until out of desperation as much as anything, I agreed to buy it in an effort get her to stop talking about it. Buy it we did and I took it home, unloaded it in my workshop and there it set for the next 3 or 4 months collecting dust.
I wish I could say that I initially came up with this plan, tweaked and developed it, then put it into action but to do so would simple be an untruth. No friends I fell into this as simply as if I had fallen out of a boat. On a warm spring afternoon out of boredom as much as anything, I decided to go out and work on the old piece a little. My thinking being if I got it done over, I could use it in the house somewhere.
I wiped the old piece down, sanded the areas where the finish was rough, filled some cracks and bad spots with putty and over the course of the afternoon prepped it and got it ready for the new finish. That night I got on the Internet and looked around a little searching this key word or that pertaining to redoing old furniture. What I found was amazing. There was site after site and photo after photo of old furniture that had been redone, much of it in bright and vibrant colors and many before and after instructional videos. I began to see words like re-purposed, up-cycled, shabby chic and distressed and it didn't take me long to see that I was far from the only person that had an interest in this sort of thing. Simply put it was a strong and healthy, growing movement and it was just getting started.
Admittedly, the information added fuel to my fire and motivated me to get out in the garage and get the old piece done. I discussed it with my girlfriend and we decided to paint the piece in a beautiful "colonial red". We went to the big box store, picked out a color that we thought was pretty, took it home and having already prepped the piece, applied a few coats of paint and it was finished. Before you start to decry the possibility of your doing this by saying "yeah but I can't paint" don't. What I would come to learn pretty quickly by trial and error is you don't have to. There is a booming market out there filled with do it yourself types and well as people who want to buy pieces with the sole intent and purpose of redoing them to resell. I will talk about that in a little more detail later but suffice it to say that there is a strong market filled with buyers out there who will buy from you, allowing you to make a good profit and all you have to do is find the piece, buy it, get it home and wipe it off.
With our piece completed our next task was to decide what to do with it and more our of curiosity than anything, we decided that we would give selling the piece a try. Initially we disagreed pretty significantly on what we should ask for the piece. I, knowing what we paid for it and exactly how long it had taken me to prep it and paint it (not long at all, probably 2/3 hours total) felt as if $250 would be a fair price. After all we would be more than doubling our money taking into consideration what we paid for the piece, any material cost, and even my labor at $20 per hour, more than I could make working any part time job I had looked into.
My girlfriend on the other hand felt as if the piece was worth twice that and based her opinion primarily on what at piece of that size and quality would command at a local furniture store or antique dealer. She felt that even at as much as $500 we would be well under what a piece like that could be bought for anywhere else. In retrospect, I should have listened to her and I learned a valuable lesson. The value of any given piece has nothing and I do mean nothing to do with what you pay for it. There will always be people on either side of the equation, motivated sellers who have a piece or pieces that they want to get rid of and thus are willing to let it go at a great price and equally motivated buyers who are looking for a project piece and are willing to pay for it based solely on what they think or better yet know that they can get for it in their market. Your job if you will, your ability to make money, is to provide the service of bringing the two together. It is not a difficult proposition and can be done on a regular basis by following some simple rules. Each time you do, the likelihood of your making money will increase.
We settled on $350 and as I would learn, that was too cheap. Here is another important fact. If your pieces are selling very quickly IE: 30 minutes after initial exposure, you need to raise your price, normal marketing time should be 24 to 72 hours and as long as your pieces are moving in that time frame, your pricing is about right. Remember you can always lower your price, even exploit the fact that you are placing it on sale but you simply cannot raise a price after placing a piece on the market. To do so is a deal killer plain and simple.
We decided that our best bet at marketing inexpensively would be the Internet, Craigslist, yard sale pages like Bookoo.com and social media, Face book in particular. We started with Face book and as it turned out that would be all we needed. The piece sold at full price in less than an hour. We were ecstatic having made a clear profit of well over $200 in about 3 to 4 hours time all in!
Attempting not to be overzealous, I told myself OK maybe this was a fluke, lighting won't strike twice but the sheer prospect that it wasn't and it might put us right back out there looking for another piece to buy. We did, we redid it, placed it on the market (again Face book) and again sold it quickly. We repeated the process no less than 10 times before really stopping to take a breath at which time we were sold on the fact that this was not a fluke but rather the "real deal." So much so that we stopped using my personal Face book page started a business page and began to buy and sell there on a regular basis.
The ensuing 4 years have been unbelievable, we have built and sold two Face book pages both of which today support vibrant, active on going businesses and in deference to those two proprietors no longer redo anything for sale. We simply get out and look and buy and sell. Their businesses have morphed into companies that pretty much do it all, they buy and sell, buy, redo and sell, and redo for others for a fee. Much of what we buy now we resell to them. The rest to others like them who have discovered that old furniture is a real money maker and a market not likely to dissipate anytime soon.
In closing here are some key things to remember :
1. Your market is essentially unlimited. Anywhere and everywhere you go, people need furniture.
2. Your sources for purchase are plenty, Goodwill, The Salvation Army, thrift stores, rummage sales, Craigslist, local newspapers, Penny Pincher, Penny Saver, etc. Even Face book today is filled with more and more area yard sale pages.
3.Persistence is key. You don't have to work all day everyday, far from it, but you do need to spend a specific period each day devoted to looking, buying and posting items for sale. For me that period is from 1 to 2 hours per day Monday through Friday. I have a personal goal daily of buying enough that I believe reselling will result in a profit of approximately $100 daily. Most weeks I hit my goal, some I exceed it and a few fall short, even still, when all is said and done, I am pretty much where I want to be.
The bottom line is this, there is money to be made and you can make it. You don't have to kill yourself working long hours, sell soap, face cream, or annoy your friends and relatives. What you do have to do is employ the oldest and most time tested of business principles. Buy low and sell high!
If you would like to check out my business Face book page to follow us and see how we do what we do. Feel free to "like" us at Middle Georgia Furniture Brokers, Macon, Ga..Please don't hesitate to post comments or ask questions if you like.
Good luck and happy buying and selling.
More by this Author
I have previously written about my prison stay, more of a what to expect type hub. This is written to give a little more in depth view of how to handle yourself and avoid potential pitfalls.
I started a facebook based business really by happenstance, but it has really taken off. You can do it to.
The population of our federal prisons continues to swell, and more people are faced with doing time. No one is prepared for this experience their first time.