Make Money From Selling Your Used Furniture Online
These 15 insider secrets from two sellers will help you get started in the furniture selling (and buying) business
There has never been a better time to shop for furniture and home décor. If a homeowner takes a fancy to a leather couch, he or she could either go to a home store and buy one off the floor, or start browsing online for scores of possibly more affordable options. In the same way, if a homeowner is looking to sell a piece he or she no longer needs, doing so online is a quick and hassle-free (not to mention profitable) way to go about it.
In both instances, homeowners stand to win because these options give furniture buyers the potential to save money, and sellers to make money—all online, and mostly on social media. Whether you’re one or the other, or both, you’ll need these insider secrets to make sure you get more bang for your buck.
IF YOU'RE A SELLER...
Get a feel of the market.
Architect Allen Oblena, who also sells “rescued” furniture online, suggests you make observations based on the engagement of the market online. “Sometimes, I would test the market and post feelers and see if those items get traction,” adds Allen. This would also help you determine the price range acceptable to the buying community.
Have a specialty.
Torto Canga is a designer furniture enthusiast who concentrates on selling midcentury and vintage furniture online. Some of the pieces he sells include authentic midcentury Eames, Arne Jacobsen, and Knoll chairs. “It’s something that I collect and am passionate about. My mentality is that if I don’t get to sell them, then I would not mind keeping them,” says Torto. It sure would be easier to sell something you’d like to have for yourself, wouldn’t it?
Give discounts, but within reasonable limits.
There is nothing wrong with respectfully declining when someone tries to haggle beyond what is acceptable, Allen advises. How it works in online communities such as Manila Furniture, Art and Collectibles (MFAC) Buy and Sell on Facebook is that buyers are allowed to offer a lower price than the asking price, but they risk being outbid by another member.
Offer good deals.
Add value to your customers’ purchases, Allen says, “be it an actual item or simply useful information.”
Factor in variables.
In Allen’s case, the additional cost for repairs and refurbishing can make an impact on the selling price of an item. “If you can cover everything, like any other business, you’ll set yourself up for a good payday,” Allen says.
Encourage repeat business.
Make sure client is happy with their purchase, Allen says. Don’t charge exorbitant amounts that would discourage current customers from doing business with you in the future.
Take beautiful photos.
In Allen’s experience, a well-composed photo certainly goes a long way. His expert tip: use the grid on your camera.
Got something rare? Do your research.
“Read articles and blogs about the history, designer, year of production, and how to identify markings on a piece,” suggests Torto, who shares this passion with his wife, Meryll. “We use design and furniture books as reference. Visiting other websites and online auction houses that sell vintage pieces also helps in determining the price of a certain piece. The more information you have on a piece, the better you are able to tell its story and price it,” Torto adds.
Maintain your credibility.
Allen underscores the importance of building relationships. “Being transparent with your buyers is a must. If the item I am selling has certain issues such as scratches and imperfections, then I tell the buyers upfront,” explains Allen. Whenever possible, Allen recommends personally meeting buyers not only so you can get to know them better but also so that you can show them the actual condition of the pieces you are selling.
IF YOU’RE A BUYER…
Look for reputable groups online.
Allen recommends joining groups like Manila Furniture Buy and Sell, MFAC, Declutter MNL, and for the picker-types, Pinoy Antiques, Junkshop Pickers Tiangge Buy and Sell. In a reputable group like MFAC, for instance, Torto says everyone acts with a sense of courtesy and respect, so lowballing is avoided.
Again, do your research.
Here’s why Torto says doing a bit of research is important: just because a piece is secondhand does not mean you will be getting it at a lower price. In which case, Torto says, “Try to purchase branded furniture as they are most likely to be made with better quality materials.”
Buy in bulk to get better deals.
A seller is more likely to give a discount if you buy more than one item.
Do an actual inspection to see if quality is consistent.
Most selling groups have very strict guidelines for posting photos, making sure members use clear photos, take snaps of the front, back, or bottom, and give dimensions. But when in doubt (and especially if the piece is selling at a high cost), visit the seller and inspect the piece in person.
“I think that negotiating for lower prices is the same online and offline. You can probably make a fair and respectable offer for an item you like, and from there, try to work out an agreeable price with the seller,” shares Torto.
Remember: it’s not always just about saving money.
As Torto puts it, “MFAC is not so much about saving but rather getting better quality items. I can go to a department store and buy a couch for P30,000, but I can also go to MFAC and buy a used couch manufactured by a reputable company and made with better quality materials for the same price.”
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