I’ve blogged many times about my love of Craigslist, and how I’ve used it to save money over the years. Over the last six weeks or so, I’ve been flipping furniture on CL and am shocked at just how profitable that can be. Spefically, when you are wheeling and dealing mid century modern furniture. Let’s look at a few case studies shall we…
Case Study 1:
Girl Ninja and I had been using a black ikea cube bookshelf thingy as a storage space behind our couch. I hated how cluttered it always looked and decided it was time to look in to getting an actual credenza for our space. I came across this guy for $120 on CL. I offered $90 and the seller accepted.
After realizing it was waaaaaay too small for our space, I decided to put it up on CL for $350 and see what happened. I’ll tell you what happened. Someone paid me $350 and bought it.
Case Study 2:
I made $260 in profit from my first credenza so figured it was only logical to roll that money in to another credenza. One that better fit our space. I paid $250 for this Lane Rhythm credenza…
I did a little refinishing. About 30 minutes worth of work, sanding down the top and staining it to make it shine. I sold it for $650 less than 24 hours after buying it.
Case Study 3:
I wanted to dabble with two tone furniture, so I was on the hunt for a mid century dresser. Found this guy for $200 on CL (paid $150 for it after negotiating)…
I put about two hours worth of work in to this guy. Doing some light sanding, priming, and then painting, with leftover white paint I had on hand. This is what it looked like when I was done…
I was super happy with the end result and felt like I just Pinterested the crap out of the dresser. I posted it up for $400, and it sold quickly.
Case Study 4:
I had a tree taken down in our backyard a couple years ago and saved one of the rounds that was leftover, figuring I could make something cool out of it. Originally my plan was to make it a centerpiece for our dining room table, but then I decided to turn it in to a live edge, side table. I paid about $45 for some hairpin legs and simply screwed them in to the bottom of my tree round. This was the final product…
I posted it up on CL for $180 and it sold shortly after listing it.
Case Study 5:
I paid $65 for this credenza.
Can you believe it! $65 for this diamond in the rough. The seller was using it as storage for his kids toys in their playroom. He decided he wanted it gone. Within 20 minutes of him posting it, I was on my way to meet him and take it off his hands. It had an ugly wood base that had pretty nasty water damage to it, so I hammered off the ugly bottom and was left with the picture you see above.
I got the bright idea to buy some mid century modern angled legs online and dress things up a bit. The legs and angled brackets set me back $90. That’s right, I paid more for the legs than I did for the actual credenza.
I rubbed the piece down with some teak oil to bring out the woods natural tones and this is what it looked like after…
My total investment was about $165. I probably could have sold this for about $800 on Craigslist, but a friend of mine loved it and needed a new TV stand. I gave him a friend deal and sold it to him for $400.
Profit: $240 (could have been $600+ if I posted on CL).
Case Study 6:
Found this mid century dresser on Craigslist Sunday morning for $200…
I didn’t do a single thing to the dresser. I reposted it on Craigslist as soon as I got home for $450, and it sold six hours later for $450.
Case Study 7:
If you haven’t noticed the theme, I like to stick to credenzas and dressers that could be used as credenzas. It was time to mix things up a bit so I decided to flirt with a new piece.
I saw this coffee table listed on CL for $60 (I paid $50 for it)…
I brought it home, staged it, took some photos and back on to Craigslist it went. It sold 24 hours later for $200.
Case Study 8:
Picked up this Broyhill Brasilia Tallboy dresser on Sunday for $200…
Haven’t done a single thing to it (except stage it and take some photos). It’s on craigslist right now for $750, and should sell somewhere between $500-$750. I may end up keeping it though because it’s so freaking pretty. I mean look at it…
So beautiful, and a pretty rare piece at that.
Case Study 9, 10, 11, and 12:
Picked up this Lane Acclaim credenza for $450 on CL…
I sanded down the top and stained it to make it shine. I posted it for $800 on CL and had a slew of people wanting to come see it. Girl Ninja freaked out and pulled a trump card saying I wasn’t allowed to sell it. So for now, this is the credenza that we are keeping behind our couch 🙂 Unless I can find someone that is willing to pay me $950 for it, then I’m gonna trump her trump and sell it 🙂
Here are a few other pieces I could sell for a couple hundred more than I paid for them, but Girl Ninja has trumped…
Paid $220 for this white leather chair, could probably sell for around $400…
Paid $150 for this mid century leather chair. Should sell for $300-$400.
Paid $250 for this desk and chair. Posted it for $500 and had multiple people asking to come see it. That was before Girl Ninja told me I wasn’t allowed to sell it…
In the last month, I made about $1,700 by simply buying furniture on Craigslist and selling it a few days later (or sometimes the same day) for double or triple what I paid. And that’s without even trying. It just kind of organically happened. I bet I could triple that income if I really got serious about it.
If you’re interested in flipping on Craigslist here are a few pointers I have for you:
1. Look for crappy ads. Most of these items only had a single cell phone picture of the furniture piece and there was barely any description of the item. Craigslist posts like these tell me the person just wants the piece gone and doesn’t care about getting top dollar. If the furniture is staged and has a detailed description, the seller probably knows exactly what their piece is worth, so there isn’t much room for profit.
2. Always offer less than what they listed the piece for. ALWAYS! Most of the time I can save $25 to $100 by simply asking the seller if they’ll consider taking less. About half the time they agree, the other half they stay firm. Any money you save on the purchase, increases your profit come time to sell.
3. Stage your photos and use a nice camera to take pictures (your 12mp cell phone camera isn’t going to cut it). You’ll notice each of my listing photos are edited to really make the piece stand out. I increase the contrast and sharpness, bring out the natural colors of the wood, and blur the background to make sure the furniture stands out as the focal point. Great photography translates to great profits.
4. Don’t budge on price. You’ll notice in just about every instance I negotiated a lower purchase price from the seller. But I’ve never once budged on my asking price when I’m the one doing the selling.
By the time people have taken the time out of their day to drive to my house and see the piece, I’m almost positive they are emotionally attached to the piece. They ask if I would consider accepting less, and I respond with something like “Sorry, I’ve gotten a handful of other emails on it and am confident it will sell for asking. But I understand if you want to pass. No pressure either way.”
They fear missing out on it, and they end up paying me full asking. Worst case, they walk away, and the next day someone else is knocking on my door to pay full price.
5. Look often. Craigslist gets thousands of new listings every day. I’ve gotten very good at sifting through CL to discover the diamonds in the rough. Search terms, sorting by newest items, and putting the layout in “grid mode” will be your biggest helpers. There is an art to Craigslisting and if you spend enough time on there, you’ll figure it out.
Now get off my blog and go make yourself a little extra money!