What is UP my friends and fellow busybees. Today, we ask the age old question for our painted and refinished furniture pieces… to pricedrop or not to pricedrop, that is the question. I did a podcast episode which was Episode #12: Pricing Your Painted and Refinished Furniture where I went through how I figure out what to charge when pricing my pieces for sale and all of the things that I take into account when doing so. So if you haven’t listened, I will link that in the Show Notes and then come back to this episode because I want to go over all of my strategies for figuring out what to do when a piece has been sitting for quite awhile after being listed, and different approaches you can take.
I want to put a disclaimer here that these are just my personal approaches, and there's many ways to skin a cat so if you do something different, that’s totally fine! As long as it’s working for you and your business or your sales, then go hard and I am always open to hearing others’ approaches as well, so feel free to send me an email which is always in the show notes of each episode or send me a DM on Instagram @MelDidItHerself and I would love to chat.
So I always like to go into a listing having a timeline in my head of my expectations and have that determined before even posting. This just helps me to stick to my initial plan and not have any emotions guiding my decisions if a piece I thought was going to sell quickly and I was really excited about ends up sitting with not a lot of action for awhile, and I start to get salty about it. Ultimately, depending on how long it has been sitting, how big the piece is and how many pieces I have sitting in my house and thus don’t have a ton of extra room for it to sit and take up space, I will lower the price a bit on my pieces. But there are a lot of other things I’ll do first, or other approaches I’ll try out.
I don’t like to let pieces sit stagnant for too long. This is why I recommend having a timeline in your head for how long you’ll have it up, listed and unsold before you either relist the item or make any other changes to it or the listing. I really like using Facebook Marketplace to list my items if they don’t already sell off of my Instagram when I’m showing pieces that I’m working on and people DM me to claim it. I like the Marketplace platform because it has a built in feature where it automatically notifies you after an item has been listed for 2 weeks and asks you if you want to relist it. And then, after you renew it multiple times, it will offer the option to Delete & Relist without having to go in and manually do it. I used to also list my items on Kijiji and you had to go in and do all of that stuff manually at the time, and it ended up costing more time than it was worth so I just stopped listing items there.
So if an item isn’t selling, there could be a few reasons for that, and I like to do a bit of a deep dive to try and determine which reason it might be for that certain piece. Sometimes it really depends on luck for things to sell - it could be well priced, beautiful, would go perfectly in some spaces, but if the people who have those spaces aren’t looking at the listings then or aren’t at the point where they want to re-do their space, then it just might not sell right away despite everything else being the perfect storm. I have had multiple pieces sit for well over a year or more and then when the right person comes along, they are SO excited to get the piece and are so happy with it. So let that be a reminder the next time that you are trying to speed a sale along.
First things first is to go into the ad to make sure that you’ve completed all the key pieces in the listing. So make sure you didn’t forget to add the relevant tags or keywords to the ad, that you have a good descriptive title, have all of the information needed in the description itself, and that it’s listed under the proper category. In theory, it should all be there but sometimes we make mistakes and sometimes if you’re rushing the listing process, it’s easy to accidentally click the wrong thing and that could result in it not showing up in the places where people would be searching for the thing you have listed.
And before we go on, I wanted to throw a quick reminder in here that I have released my free guide and checklist to starting your own painting and refinishing furniture business. If you’re someone who has thought about making over furniture for profit and have wanted to take that step but just had no idea where to start, you’re going to want to grab this to get you on the right path. A lot of times people can start to do these kinds of furniture flips and then find themselves falling into selling them casually and then wanting to go more official with it as a business as well, so if that’s you, you’ll also really want to get your hands on this to make sure you didn’t miss anything when setting things up. Grab it today to start you off on the right foot on your own furniture refinishing ride!
Another good indicator of how the ad is performing is to look at the insights of the listing, which should be available regardless of what platform you use. On Facebook Marketplace, it shows how many views, saves and shares the listing has gotten and it helps give an idea of what’s happening and help you decide which route to take. For instance, are people even clicking into it? How many messages have you gotten about it relative to the amount of views? Has anyone saved the ad? How many saves relative to the amount of views/messages? If there are a ton of views, a ton of saves but you haven’t gotten many messages or inquiries about the piece, it could potentially mean that it’s on people’s radar but they aren’t willing to take the plunge at that price.
If there hasn’t been a ton of views on the listing, your approach could be to just try and get some more visibility on it before you look at lowering the price. One way to do that is by Relisting the piece so that it goes to the top of the category, and relisting it at strategic times when you assume people will likely be looking on the platform or for those kinds of items. And that might require some trial and error to figure out just by testing days of the week and times of day. Typically I think Fridays or Saturday mornings are a good time to do it because, you know, people get up on Saturday morning and take things slow and do some shopping while sipping their morning coffee or whatever… who knows what the reason is.
Also certain times of the year may just be more or less busy in terms of people searching to buy furniture in general. I have found that in the new year is when people are typically looking to buy more, likely with the changeover of the new year and having sat around in their homes more over the holidays and deciding what new things they want or what they want to switch out. Summer has also historically been a little slower for me, specifically August, so I’m assuming people are usually off on holidays and vacation while the kids are out of school so a) spending less time at home and also b) spending more of their disposable income on those kinds of things.
Sometimes a good way to get visibility is, in fact, to lower the price because it then goes in the Lowered Price category. However, also consider the fact that the price could not be a factor at all in why it has not yet sold and fixing the actual thing first could mean you get as much money as you had initially intended to get for it. What I mean by this is if the piece wasn’t getting seen by people because it wasn’t tagged with the right keywords, or maybe the photo had poor staging or lighting or whatever, the right people just may have not been seeing the listing and the price could have not ever been a factor at all.
Also, some people may also inherently assume that a piece that is inexpensive is indicative of a lack of finesse or quality too, so just chopping your prices might be working against you (and it is definitely working against the community of refinishers as a whole if you are drastically undercutting the general prices that are in your area and devaluing the art/service as a whole). Also a heads up worth noting is that if you do change the price of an existing listing on Facebook Marketplace, it does show that on the public side of the listing, whether you lower or raise the price. If for whatever reason you don’t want that to show, you would need to delete and relist the piece manually by creating a whole new listing and going through that process again.
Okay, so we have talked about two options to do when a piece isn’t selling: adapt or change the listing itself, or lowering the price, whether it be marginally or substantially. Another option worth considering, like I just mentioned, is if you need to take new photos of the piece. Or maybe even just rearrange the photos of the piece so that there’s a different one that is the first featured photo to grab the attention of the potential buyer and reel them in. This can sometimes be hard to be objective about because our ego can get in the way, but really try to take a step back and put yourself in the buyers shoes and ask: is this a good depiction of the piece? Is the photo well lit? Did the items I staged it with work well with the piece, and accentuate it rather than distract from it? Is the photo too far away, or too close up so you can’t see enough of what it is? If there’s substantial room for improvement, or maybe you just get a stroke of creativity and inspiration and think of a better way to stage the piece, then a great approach is to reshoot and restage the piece and try it out.
The last thing you can do if a piece just doesn’t seem to sell is to redo the piece. It’s unideal because of the sunken cost already in terms of time and product and thus money spent to refinish it initially, but if you think that it could make the difference or you just don’t have the space for it to sit any longer, this could be an option. Particularly if it’s a super distinct piece with bright colours or patterns or whatever that would highly limit the piece from fitting into most spaces, changing it up and doing something a little more neutral or one that could fit into more spaces or is less of a specific style/look that would fit more decor types could help. Whether we like it or not, neutrals like white and grey and black do tend to be ones that often sell because they can just work in most spaces and don’t draw too much attention as compared to something like a hot pink, so that is always an option as well.
And something you may not know about me… I love little motivational messages. They literally always get me fired up, and I keep a running list of ones that are especially catchy or speak to me in the Notes app on my phone. So I’m going to end every podcast episode with one of those that I have noted down over the years, in hopes that you leave our time here each week feeling inspired, motivated, and ready to take on whatever comes your way that week.
So this week’s Mel’s motivational message is: Nothing happens if nothing happens.
And this one's a little bit ironic because sometimes even if you have a piece sitting for a really long time and you do nothing other than relist the piece a few times, it will inevitably sometimes still sell. I actually recently sold a dresser that had been sitting for well over a year and I didn't want to lower the price because I had gotten new hardware for it and it was a very particular size so I had to pay a decent amount for it, so in order to keep my profit margins where I wanted them to be, I knew I had to keep the price as is. I had really envisioned it in a nursery because it was pink so I did know that was limiting, too.
Every now and then I would post a reminder of pieces that I currently have available on Instagram because I keep a highlight on my profile of available pieces, and one of my followers messaged me and decided to buy it.. to put in her baby's nursery, which is exactly where I had envisioned the piece going.
It was such a reminder and a good validation that sometimes it just takes the right buyer to come along, regardless of when it happens, for that piece to end up where it's meant to be.
So all that to say, typically nothing happens if nothing happens. But also... sometimes something happens if nothing happens.
If you're looking at your business as a whole, at the pieces you're working on or the pieces you think you're working on but you're not really working on them that hard... nothing happens if nothing happens.
So all it takes is that initial action, that first step on whatever it is, whatever that thing is that you're putting off because you want to make sure you're so prepared and know everything there is to know about the thing before you get started. Just get started, because nothing happens if nothing happens.
There is literally 100% chance that you will not accomplish that thing and you will not do a good job at that thing if you don't start that thing and just try.
So remember that nothing happens if nothing happens-- and that goes for your life more generally, too. If it's a matter of cleaning the house, or doing the laundry, or asking out that person that you've been eyeing or whatever it might be... nothing happens if nothing happens.
And a lot of these motivational messages can be so *painfully* simple and plain-- some people might be ripping out their hair being like "fucking DUH" and if so... fair enough. But I think they're great reminders.
Another exciting thing I wanted to let my loyal busybees in on is that I am in the process of planning out a weekly newsletter for those who love furniture makeovers and are always looking for inspiration. It’s called the Friday Furniture Focus and, as the name states, will be sent out every Friday with a weekly Q&A featuring some furniture refinishing friends I’ve come across on the internet, furniture refinishing tips and tricks, furniture pieces that I have come across on Instagram that are totally inspiring me that week, and lots more. If you’re interested in receiving it, head to my website and you can just scroll down and sign up at the bottom of the page and keep an eye on your inbox for weekly education, inspiration and motivation because I am just getting started on this furniture refinishing ride. And there’s lots more where that came from!
Alright, that’s it for now, I appreciate your time, and I’ll catch you guys next week!