Hi there, Mrs. 1500 again. Last month, I asked you What is your Side Hustle? I got several very interesting responses, including one from Reader Nick. His original comment was “I make the most from flipping various items I obtain through yard sales (mostly video games and furniture).” I emailed him for more information about flipping furniture. I had already read his post about flipping video games, and I would not ever remember enough to make any money doing that. (As a kid, my parents bought us an Atari system. I remember fighting with my sister to be able to play it, but not because I wanted to play – I just didn’t want her to play.)
I got a little more information about it, and asked if he would write up a post to share with the class. Without further ado, here is Nick:
I have a riddle for you. What do you get when you cross a love for old stuff, countless hours spent watching HGTV, my wife, and a desire to create multiple income streams? I’ll give you a moment to consider.
Have you figured it out yet? Here’s the answer: my latest side hustle!
What We Do
Lately I have been OBSESSED with purchasing furniture. I look for this furniture everywhere: at yard sales, antique shops, online, even on the side of the road. I only have a few requirements for the furniture. It must be solid wood, in good enough condition that it can be restored, and above all, the price must be right (much like real estate, the money is made in the purchase price).
Once I purchase the furniture, the real magic takes place. That magic comes in the form of my wife, Tiffany. Tiffany has been honing her skills as a finish painter for as long as she can remember. Recently, she has added woodworking skills to her bag of tricks. My penchant for haggling and scouting out good furniture, combined with her array of finishing and reconstruction skills has created our favorite new side hustle: refinishing furniture.
You Can Do It Too
I may have scared you off a bit with the talk of my wife’s serious skills. While it is true that she is extremely talented, talent is not really a prerequisite for this side hustle. All you truly need is a desire to hunt out items that others have given up on, and the discipline to put some time into refinishing the item.
Here are the basic steps we take with every item:
1. Find an item and purchase it for as little as possible.
2. Rough up the surface of the wood with a palm sander.
3. Throw on a coat of paint.
4. Sand off the paint in a few spots.
5. Stain or glaze the spots that you sanded.
6. Apply a coat of Polycrylic clear coat spray.
7. List the item on Craigslist or a similar site.
The style that we strive for with each of our items is sort of “Country Rustic”, which is a very popular look where we live. If you finish your item in a different style, some of the steps may be different or not required. Spend some time getting a feel for the style that sells well in your area and start honing your skills to finish that style. Remember, people are going to pay for your stuff because it matches their style, but they don’t have the time or knowledge to do it themselves.
How Much Can You Make?
Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten the main reason most of us spend time on side hustles: income. Like any side hustle, income from refinishing furniture is highly variable. There are a lot of factors involved including purchase price of the original piece of furniture, refinishing skill/style, availability of similar items in your market, time spent on the side hustle, and many other factors.
In general, you should be able to make a pretty good return on your money. We typically buy items for less than $50 and sell them for $100 or more. When we are focused we can do this several times per month. You probably won’t be able to replace your full-time income with this side hustle, but if you are diligent you can make a nice chunk of change. As an added bonus, refinishing furniture can be really fun! So the next time you see a piece of old furniture don’t think of it as a piece of junk, think of it as a possible investment!
This guest post was written by Nick. Nick is a recent college graduate trying to find his way in the crazy corporate world. He is a happy husband, a proud father, enjoying life in Utah. You can connect with Nick on Twitter.
Join the 10s who have signed up already!
Subscribing will improve your life in incredible ways*.
*Only if your life is pretty bad to begin with.