There comes a day in everyone’s life when that old college frat house couch is doomed for the curb and you find yourself browsing the aisles of your local furniture store dreaming of a more comfortable place to rest your body.
If this day has not come for you yet, don’t worry it will.
But, even if you find yourself fond of your old furniture perhaps there is something that drives you to want to get into the online furniture business.
After all just because that day hasn’t come for you yet does not mean it won’t come for someone.
So, why not make a little extra cash and start a small business selling furniture online?
Furniture is a relatively easy venture.
Let’s face it, everyone needs furniture so it’s one of the few items you can buy and sell with little to no worry about buyers. The question is, how do you find the buyers in the first place?
You are going to need a website but you won’t always have to buy one. Many sites such as Craigslist, Facebook, BackPages and Ebay can be used with little to no experience.
A word of caution: Sites such as Craigslist can lead you to people’s homes or people to yours but with even the slightest bit of safety precautions, you will be fine. Often time, even the largest of furniture can be hauled outdoors as to not let a stranger in your home or, if you prefer, smaller items such as chairs and sometimes nightstands can be taken to a neutral area away from your home or a second party. Craigslist crimes are extremely rare, but sadly they do happen. All you have to do is listen to your instincts, meet in public as much as possible, and don’t be afraid to bring a friend or two. After all, you are going to need help carrying that giant armoire you’ve had in your garage for ten years right?
Honest and Open Sell
The first thing you want to consider is what people are going to think when seeing what appears to be a perfectly good bit of furniture online for a reasonable price.
Is there something wrong?
Is it broken?
Is it ripped?
Did an animal (or heaven forbid a person!) urinate on it? More likely than not none of these things are true (the last bit at least I hope) but if there are any damages it is better to be up front about them than to try to hide them.
The general population is far from stupid and with the invention of social media, we do like to talk. If you get a reputation for selling bad or misused furniture then no one is going to purchase a thing from you, even if you have a legitimate piece to sell.
Be 110% honest with the condition of the furniture.
If you are selling a couch with a small rip in a seam then tell the potential buyer. Take many photographs from various angles including the “warts and all” parts and be up-front in your description.
If a chair wobbles then it wobbles and for all you know that may be exactly the type of thing a thrifty “DYI” furniture repair enthusiast is looking for.
Another thing you want to look out for is the color and style of the item. Color especially can be very important for someone in the design of their home and if they are looking specifically for a yellow chair but you fudge and say it’s a light orange you may not be on their best side, come time to pick up the item.
Remember to photograph in all the angels of the furniture you are selling. Each and every single photo should reflect everything about it, including its flaws, colors, and elegance. So don’t be afraid to take and post several shots.
Tips On Final Transactions
Be forward with how you wish to be contacted about the sale. If you prefer text to phone calls make sure that is clear directly from the start.
It is a good idea to have multiple forms of contact such as a phone number as well as an email, just be sure to respond as quickly as possible.
For this reason, some people prefer a text to an email, but with today’s smartphones either/or usually will suffice.
Once you have made the contact and have a buyer DO NOT hold on to an item before any money has exchanged hands.
It’s understandable to perhaps wait a day in order for someone to be available for pick up (especially an item large enough to INVOLVE a pickup) but by no means should you wait weeks on a simple prospect while a perfectly good buyer has money in hand ready for purchase right now.
Also, if you have anything of mechanical or electronic use (such as say; a message chair) make sure you have a way to test it before the sell in order to avoid any misunderstandings.
Double and triple your item before posting so you will not miss a thing in your description. Again, the more honest you are, the better you will ultimately be received.
Tips on Buying Furniture To Sell
If this is a business you will want to pursue there is a chance that you will soon find yourself on the other end of the selling process. If this is the case be sure to remain as open and honest about purchasing your new furniture as you are about selling.
Look for Craigslist and Ebay ads for cheap and/or free items the people are looking to get rid of to make some more room in their homes and snatch them up. Be upfront about your intentions and never use anyone’s misfortune to your own advantage.
Just like when selling or when buying furniture make sure you respond to any inquiries as quickly as possible. Again, try to meet in public as much as you can or at least with friends and just play it safe. But remember, crimes are extremely rare and if precaution is taken you will be just fine.
Personally, I don’t like to waste my time buying and selling. I’d rather sit back and collect commissions from selling other people’s products.
Buying and selling furniture can be a lucrative endeavor that can make you a little extra money, or, if done correctly, can set you up a nice little nest egg.
Everyone needs furniture so why not be a part of the game? After all, when the time comes to get rid of that old couch wouldn’t you rather it go to a good home and earn you a little extra cash rather than retire it to the curb?
Just make sure you’re honest about all those stains. Good luck and happy furniture hunting!