In the perfect world we could take a lovely old piece of furniture, clean it, repair it, paint it, and add touches that make it the most gorgeous piece to ever hit the marketplace. When we list it, we add the cost of the piece, the many supplies used, and charge a nice wage for all of the hours we spent as a furniture painting artisan. Yes, it’s very expensive, but it’s worth it!
But, in the real world, we know this isn’t going to happen. We price our piece so we can sell it. We know it’s worth much more but our customers typically won’t pay that much. It's hard to "educate' the masses.
I think this is a challenge everywhere! Not just in rural Idaho, saturated markets in big cities like Houston, in Australia or the United Kingdom… all around the world! How can we get a better price for our hand painted furniture?
I believe we have to set our prices within local market ranges but we can get the highest price possible. I have heard many in the furniture painting industry say, “Super Max Furniture Store doesn’t lower their price because of the area they are in.” That’s true, but these stores have an extensive advertising budget, wide-spread name recognition, and major sales campaigns. It's hard to compete with that.
We have to build our own brand to get a better price.
I found in our furniture painting business it took awhile to build our local recognition. Especially since we are a home-based business with no store front.
Here are a couple of ways we use to get better pricing:
As our customer base grew, I started bumping up our prices just a bit on every piece we finished and listed for sale. This really worked well for us to get pricing up to a better profit margin. A dresser we would have sold for $250 a couple of years ago we can list for $400 now and it still sells quickly!
We found a “niche” for the type of pieces we sell. At first, we bought every decent piece of furniture we found; tables, hutches, nightstands, bookshelves, chairs, etc. But, we quickly found our large dressers sold by far the best and for better prices. So we typically just purchase quality triple dressers for our inventory.
Buy better quality, name brand, high-end pieces and you can command a better price. A Thomasville will sell much quicker than a big box store piece.
Maximize your listing! I recommend that you really stress the details when writing descriptions... solid wood, hand painted, special finish, trendy color, dove-tailed drawers, color of paint, size, name of the piece, special details, vintage styling, etc. Make suggestions for different uses for the piece. I list all of our pieces on Craigslist and I honestly write a book! I don't know if they really read it all but it brings to mind that this piece must be something special.
Join local furniture painting groups in your area and discuss pricing to encourage others to raise the bar! The Furniture Painting Business Tips group has been establishing local Furniture Painting Collectives in many areas in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
We can all make a nice profit on our furniture painting businesses with a little research on local area pricing and building your own brand.