How to Start an Alteration Business

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How to Start an Alteration Business Business Overview:

If you have a passion for sewing and enjoy helping people look better in their clothes, you should learn how to start an alteration business. Having experience in alterations, perhaps working for a tailor shop, will help immensely when you open your own shop. If you know how to sew but aren’t skilled in altering clothing, you can attend classes or learn from books the different areas of expertise you’ll need to open an alterations shop. You will need to know the basics like how to hem pants and skirts as well as more advanced projects like working with seams and zippers. An alteration business is one of the many business ideas you can operate from home if you set up your space properly. You’ll need an entire room dedicated to your business, preferably in the front of your house, as well as a dressing area for your customers. This can be a walk-in closet, bathroom or just a corner of the room with a curtain. You will also need a raised platform, full-length mirrors and a large table on which you will mark and cut fabric. Be sure to stock up on sewing notions like thread, pins, buttons, and zippers. Of course you can make a quick trip to the local fabric store for more unique supplies but having a good stock of notions on hand will ensure a faster turn-around time for your clients. Depending on your experience, you may choose to focus on a specific niche such as wedding gowns or suits. Once your business model is established, print up some fliers and distribute them around town. Concentrate on areas your target market frequents like clothing stores or dry cleaners. Also place an ad in the phone book to attract new business. As business picks up, you could recruit other home alterations experts to work from their homes. You would then need to work out a pick-up/delivery system to get the items to their homes and then back to you for clients to pick up. To really boost customer service and increase profits, consider offering delivery of altered items to the customers’ homes or offices. If time allows, you could do this yourself or you could hire a service to handle it for you. You’ll find that once you get a few customers, not only will they give you their repeat business but they’ll tell their friends and you’ll start to see plenty of referral business as well.

A Day in the Life of an Alteration Business Owner:

This article brought to you by Business Ideas! If you enjoyed this article, make sure to subscribe to the Business Ideas Newsletter to get ideas sent straight to your email inbox.Your day will begin by getting to work on any alterations you need to finish up. Unless your customers schedule appointments, you will spend your day helping walk-in customers. You can choose your own hours and operate this business part-time but you will need to have set hours that your business is open and be available to help customers during those hours. You will likely work on projects after your shop closes for the day.

About Your Customers:

Your customers will be individuals in need of expert alteration services.

What You Need to Start:

  • Sewing skills
  • Marketing materials
  • Dedicated area in your home to serve as your shop
  • Platform
  • Full-length mirrors
  • Sewing machine
  • Sewing notions
  • Computer with finance software

The Good:

  • There will always be a high demand for alterations services.
  • The start-up investment needed for this business is low.
  • You can easily run this business part-time and from home.
  • This business is easily scalable so you can add alterations experts to work for you as business demands.
  • You can offer additional services like pick-up and delivery to boost profits.

The Bad:

  • Competition is high in this industry.
  • It can take some time to attract your first few clients.


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