If you have a knack for business, enjoy working on furniture, and can make old pieces look great, then a start-up in upholstery could be an option for you.
Many people connect with pieces of furniture they would like to restore. As an upholsterer, you can make this happen. You’ll need to deliver quality restorations that look great and function well on time.
This post offers the steps to start your upholstery business, followed by a few points to consider and a collection of resources to become familiar with the industry.
Steps to Starting an Upholstery Business
1. Make Sure Running a Business Is Right For You
You must understand what it takes to run a business and if it’s the right fit for you. From my experience, it’s not easy, and it’s not a 9-5 job where when it’s quitting time, you’re done for the day!
Owning and operating your own business can be rewarding, but getting to that point may take time and effort.
See the link below for more and to know you are on the right track!
For more, see Business Startup Considerations.
The research you do before starting your upholstery business is a big step. The more thorough you are, the better the results, and you’ll avoid mistakes and surprises.
One of the best ways to get accurate and expert information is by speaking with people already in the industry. You’ll gain tips and insights you can use to start your business. How do you get a hold of these people, and will they talk to you? In a separate article, I have outlined a series of techniques you can use to get inside information about any business you’re planning to open. I suggest you spend some time on the step because the information can be priceless.
See An Inside Look Into the Business You Want To Start for more.
Understanding your target audience is another step. First, you must thoroughly understand the people you’ll be dealing with. When you understand your customers, you’ll be able to set up your business to their preference and win your advertising business. You’ll know how to make offers that appeal to them.
For more, see, How To Understand Your Target Market.
3. Setup Considerations
In this process step, you’ll need to have a vision of what your business will be like once it’s open to the public. Naturally, as you’re doing research, your vision may change, and that’s OK, but for now, start with a vision and make adjustments if necessary,
Answering the following questions may give you a clear vision.
- Will you operate as a full-time or part-time business?
- Will you operate out of your home or commercial location?
- Are you planning on doing everything yourself or hiring a team?
- Are you planning on buying old furniture, restoring it, and reselling it, or will you be focused on a service type of business?
- Will you focus on furniture or automotive upholstery?
Questions like the above help you clearly understand the type of business you’re considering. The start-up phase is easier when you’re clear because you’re not wandering from idea to idea.
4. Choosing The Right Business Location
As with any business, you want to ensure demand for your service in the area where you plan to locate your business; you’ll also want to ensure the market isn’t saturated.
When there is a lot of competition, it will be difficult for you to get any business unless you can bring something to the market that the competition doesn’t offer. With this type of business, the leading edge would be the restoration quality.
For more, see Choosing The Best Location for Your Business.
5. Choose a Business Name
You’ll want to spend some time considering the business name you choose because it’s the name you’ll have most likely for as long as you are in your business; therefore, you want to name that is catchy, memorable, and available to register. In addition to your business name, you’ll want to match a domain name for your website.
6. Business Registration
Before any physical activity takes place, you’ll need to register your business and apply for any permits that may be needed. The size of your business and your goal will determine the type of business structure you should choose, whether a sole proprietorship or a limited liability company.
I suggest you become familiar with the types of structures and consult your lawyer or an accountant to determine the best step for your situation and goals.
See, How to Register Your Business for all the details.
7. Create Your Corporate ID
A corporate ID consists of a few components that are the face of your business which include business cards, your logo, your business, sign, stationary, promotional items, etc. make sure your design is professional because when dealing with customers, your design will appear on your business, sign, invoices, and website.
In addition, you want to leave a good impression on your customers so they know they’re on dealing with a professional, and when customers are happy dealing with you, they’re more likely to refer others to get their furniture reupholstered by you.
See A Complete Introduction to Corporate Identity Packages for more.
8. Estimating Your Start-up Cost
You will want to be as accurate as possible when estimating your start-up cost because if you estimate too long, you may run out of money before you open your doors to the public, and if you estimate too high, your operation may look too risky.
Start by listing the issues you’re aware of, and as you’re researching costs, other issues may appear, and you can update your list.
For more, see, Estimating Start-up Costs: Are you Missing Anything? Also, see, Business Expenses To Consider.
9. Writing a Business Plan
A business plan is a document that will help you during the start-up phase and keep you on track once your business is open and in operation. You will need a business plan if you’re planning on getting a business loan. The bank will not even process your loan application without a professional business plan,
A few options for creating your business plan include writing one from scratch, using a template, using software, or hiring a professional.
See the link below for more information about creating a business plan.
For details, see How to Write a Business Plan.
10. Set up Your Banking
For step ten, it’s time to consider the bank you will use and set up a separate account to keep your personal and business finances separate.
It’s worth pointing out that when you’re considering a bank, consider the banker you’ll be dealing with because, with a good relationship, they can help you when you’re in a financial bind and offer valuable advice.
11. Get the Funding for Your Operation
If you need a loan to start your business, it’s time to make copies of your business plan and make appointments with banks to discuss your options.
Before speaking with the bank, I suggest you see the link below to become familiar with what’s involved in getting a start-up song loan.
For ideas, see our article, Getting a Small Business Loan.
12. Software Setup
Getting the right software can help you manage your business and organize your work to be more productive.
I suggest searching for reviews for any software package you’re considering to see what other people have experienced before making a purchase.
See the links below for the sad latest search results for business and a Postrio
13. Get The Right Business Insurance
You will need business insurance whether you’re starving in a commercial location or from your home. Any incident that takes place on your premises can be disastrous without the proper coverage.
You can get more information from the link below and speak with a qualified insurance broker to ensure you have the proper insurance.
14. Choose Suppliers
Choose your suppliers wisely. They can help streamline operations, especially if you’re planning a larger operation. When you’re cut off from supplies, you won’t be able to fulfill your promises to your customers and complete jobs on time.
See, How To Choose a Supplier for tips and insights.
15. Physical Setup
It’s time to set up the physical location of your shop. You want the layout to be organized and allow you to operate efficiently. The more organized your shoppers, the quicker you can complete jobs and the more satisfied you’ll be while you’re working.
Setting up your office.
The majority of your time managing your business will be from your office. Therefore, you want to ensure it’s fully equipped and organized so that you’re productive while working there.
See, Here are Considerations for The Setup of Your Office for the details.
Your Business Sign
Naturally, you want your logo as part of your business sign. You want it to be legible from a distance and a professional business sign because that’s the first thing people will see before dealing with you.
For more, see, All About Company Signs.
16. Creating a Website
Your website should be your main online property. It’s one way to connect with your customer and a marketing tool to build your customer base.
Your website must be mobile-friendly and fast.
For those interested in your work, you can build your portfolio on your site with before and after photos. Potential customers need to have confidence in you to be comfortable giving you the job. You can also post tips for taking care of your furniture and bringing a new look and comfort to bring new life into your old furniture.
17. Create an Exter al Support Team
A support team is people you don’t employ. Instead, they are a team of people that you use as needed. These professionals include lawyers, marketing consultants, graphic designers, accountants, financial advisors, web designers, etc.
Building your team takes time, and you don’t have to wait to use them until your team is complete.
Once your team is in place, you will have a group of people you can depend on for professional services and advice after a few months or years.
For more, see, Building a Team of Professional Advisors.
18. Hiring Employee
It’s a good idea to do everything yourself during the start-up phase to keep costs down.
Meeting payroll is a huge expense for new businesses. However, when you have positions that need to be filled, choose the right person for each available and don’t overhire.
For more, see, How and When to Hire a New Employee.
At this point of the post, you have the steps to start your upholstery business, and now it’s time to look at a few considerations about your operation.
To succeed in this type of business, you must have quality work. It’s the work that will bring in customers and repeat business.
- When you can turn something old and worn out into something that looks better than new and feels comfortable, you’ll start to build a reputation as the place to go for furniture restoration.
- Another idea is if you have room to store furniture, you can visit garage and estate sales to find furniture you can restore and resell. This option will keep you busy during the slow periods and allow you to bring in extra revenue. This idea also allows you to show your work to potential customers.
Getting Customers Through The Door
This is a low-cost start-up business you can start from home. You may even want t to start by providing a few very low-cost or free jobs for friends and neighbors to get the word out. Once people can see what you can do, they will start to spread the word, and you’ll start to build a customer base.
For a list of tips, see our article How To Get Customers Through the Door, to find a few ideas you can use.
More Marketing Ideas
Marketing is a continuous function for any business. As a business owner, you can get into the habit of marketing your business and always have your business cards so you can offer them a business card when you meet new people.
There are many techniques to market your business. Find the ones that appeal to you and use them to build your customer bases and increase revenues.
See our marketing section to spark your creativity for more ideas to market your business.
The profitability of this business is high. Most of the profit is in your labor. Material, foam, and accessories are not expensive unless the material is something extravagant.
A habit of getting into is to keep your expenses as low as possible without sacrificing productivity or quality.
To start, you want your pricing within market range and then adjust as necessary.
If you want to raise your prices, it’s a good idea to add value, and if you plan to lower your price, you don’t want to lower your prices too much, or people might view your service as low value.
Every business has challenges, and the upholstery business is no exception. You may want to
See the latest about the challenges of running an upholstery business.
In the following sections, you’ll find resources to help you understand the upholstery industry.
Most links lead to search results, and that’s by design, so you always have the latest information at your fingertips.
Trends and Statistics
In addition to gaining an overview, looking at trends is one way to determine whether the upholstery industry is rising or declining.
See upholstery business trends and statistics for the latest.
Top Upholstery Businesses
When you study the top upholstery businesses, you can tell if your missing a service or provide one the competition is missing. You’ll also gain an idea of pricing and can look at other businesses’ quality of work from before and after photos.
I suggest you spend some quality time studying top upholstery businesses.
The Future of The Upholstery Industry
When you consider the future of your industry, you might find something you can use in your business.
For example, a new type of flexible material with foam built-in may give better results for some types of furniture, and you can plan to use this before it becomes available, giving you a head start.
You may already be familiar with the tools for upholstery, but it doesn’t hurt to see what is available on the market. You might find something that can save you time and effort.
See the latest search results for upholstery business tools.
It’s beneficial to know the terminology in the upholstery industry. Of course, you will pick it up with experience, but the information is available, and you can learn it now.
See the latest search results for upholstery business industry terminology.
A Day In The Life
You can learn what other people have experienced in the upholstery industry. Although your experience will differ, you can understand what to expect if you are unfamiliar with the industry.
For an overview of others in the field. Search results or a day in the life of an upholstery business owner
Businesses Listed For Sale
Before starting your business from scratch, you may want to consider purchasing a business for sale. Then, when you find a good fit, you can start earning revenue from the day you take over because the business already has customers.
You may want to consider starting a franchise since a successful franchise comes with brand recognition and a proven business plan. Of course, you will pay ongoing franchise fees, but you will get something in return.
It doesn’t hurt to see what’s available for an opportunity in the industry.
Knowledge Is Power if You Use It!
Information is powerful, as you know, and below you’ll find information to improve your knowledge in the upholstery industry.
You can use forums to stay updated with information, participate in discussions, and contribute when possible.
- See the latest search results for the top upholstery business industry forums.
Courses are another option to improve your skills and knowledge in the upholstery industry.
There are options to take courses at a local educational insinuation or take self-study courses. You can see what’s available using the link below.
- See the latest courses related to starting an upholstery business.
- View the latest courses related to an upholstery business
If you subscribe to many blogs related to upholstery and when the information flows to your email, you can unsubscribe to the ones that don’t offer any value. When you finish the process, you’ll have a list of hand-picked blogs that deliver a constant stream of valuable information flowing to your email.
- upholstery business blogs to follow
Books can offer useful information. Creating y a library can be invaluable, offering information on your bookshelf whenever needed. See the books available for upholstery from Amazon below.
The news is another option for getting information related to the upholstery industry. There are many sources to find news. I prefer Google News, and you find the information list on the site from the links below.
- See Google’s news search results related to the upholstery business industry.
- News search results related to an upholstery business
YouTube offers information and tutorials related to upholstery which I suggest you watch. Consider it a time of leisure like a movie night and you can pick up tips and insights even if you are experienced in the industry when you keep an open mind.