We recently drove quite far to pick up a dresser from a furniture flipper we have purchased from in the past.
When we arrived, even though it was priced very cheaply, we both knew immediately it wasn't the quality we like to purchase and it was in pretty rough shape. So, we told the seller it wasn't what we wanted and didn't purchase it. Yes, we wasted our morning but were glad we didn't bring it home, even though we need more pieces in our inventory.
My husband, Frank and I both work our furniture painting business full time. All decisions are usually made in agreement with each other. It's a good thing we think alike most of the time!
There are times we run across a good deal on a piece and it's hard to walk away from it but we have decided that for our business we have to stop and think before we buy! To help make our decision we developed some criteria for what we purchase and want to sell.
Things we consider when looking for pieces of furniture to buy are:
Type of Piece: When we first started furniture painting we bought anything and everything! Due to having a small workshop space we quickly found that we needed to buy only what we could easily store - before and after painting - and sell quickly. We started purchasing large, triple dressers and buffets and decided to target this niche market. So, when we go hunting for pieces this is what we stick to purchasing. We pass on great deals on small tables, bookcases, beds, etc. They just don't fit in our space well so we don't buy them. We will do custom orders on these pieces but they must be picked up right away.
Quality: I love advertising quality name brands when I list and post a piece for sale. It catches the eye of discerning customers! But, there are often great, well-built pieces that don't have a trademark so we look for good solid construction, types of drawer slides and hardware used, and the quality of wood and materials used in the piece.
Condition: We aren't a carpentry shop so don't purchase pieces that need a lot of repair. Repairs take time and cost money. When looking at a piece we look for missing or broken parts. If they can be easily and quickly repaired and if the parts are easy to replace we will purchase a "less than perfect" piece. I know that many furniture painters say scars and dings add character but if there are just too many scars that can't be easily sanded out, we pass. We go for a "classy hand painted finish" so a lot of scars and dings doesn't work with our style. Speaking of style...
Style: We often run into great pieces that just don't have the look we like. They can be high-end, well made, and in great condition but if it doesn't reach out and grab me, we don't buy it! With the style of painting and waxing we do, we love those pieces from the 1970's and 80's that have a lot of detail, ornate design, or great hardware! This is purely a personal preference on our part.
Price: It doesn't matter if a piece is absolutely perfect for us, if it's priced too high, we pass! We know we make our profit when we "buy" the piece so we have a guideline on how much we will spend on a typical dresser or buffet. We are doing this to make money so we know our price points on every piece we look at purchasing.
In the past we have purchased pieces that we just weren't proud to sell, no matter how pretty we made them. Now we stick to our criteria and it works for us. Even it means driving a long distance and wasting hours, we are always happy when we know we've made the right decision not to purchase something just because it's for sale.
We have built our business brand and reputation on what we sell and so it's a matter of not letting our guard down when we go picking and hunting!