How to Start an Upholstery Business

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How to Start an Upholstery Business Business Overview:

Learning how to start an upholstery business is the perfect part-time job for an entrepreneur who enjoys working with fabric to beautify a piece of furniture. The term upholstery applies to any fabric used to cover chairs and couches as well as seating and other surfaces on boats, cars and airplanes. While boats and cars typically are upholstered with leather or vinyl, home and office furniture is upholstered with softer fabric and uses foam for cushion. If you do not have any experience, an internet search for "start upholstery business" will turn up plenty of results that can help you get started. You do not need a storefront for your business but you will need a workshop area large enough to work on several pieces of furniture simultaneously. You will also need some special tools and equipment as well as a stock of commonly used supplies. Look online for upholstering kits that will come with all the tools you’ll need to get started and add items like screwdrivers, drills and pliers to make sure you’re able to make most repairs. Customers will typically supply the fabric but you should have a relationship with an upholstery fabric supplier so customers can purchase fabric through you if they choose. Business ideas like this one are great part-time ventures as you can take on as much or as little work as you feel comfortable with. If you will only work on items on the weekends, be sure to give your customers an accurate turnaround time. However, if your full-time business is furniture repair, adding upholstery repair to your list of services will greatly increase the value of your business and will build your client list.

A Day in the Life of an Upholstery 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 checking on your current projects. You will work on items and either deliver them yourself or notify your customers that their items are ready to be picked up. You will spend some time marketing your business by distributing flyers around town.

About Your Customers:

Your customers will be individuals or office managers who need furniture items reupholstered or need upholstery repair.

What You Need to Start:

  • Upholstery skills
  • Upholstery tools and supplies
  • Work space
  • Marketing materials
  • Computer with finance software

The Good:

  • Upholstery services will always be in demand.
  • Start-up investment is relatively low.
  • You can easily run this business part-time and from home.
  • You can charge top dollar for excellent work.
  • You are likely to see repeat and referral business.

The Bad:

  • There is plenty of competition in this industry; you will need to position yourself correctly to gain some of the market share.
  • You need to have some training with upholstery before working on other people’s furniture.


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