Do you want to start a furniture upcycling business? If YES, here is a guide on how to start a furniture upcycling business with no money or experience.

There are diverse niches areas in the recycling industry and one of them is furniture upcycling or better still furniture recycling business. This business is highly profitable because there is hardly any country or city that you won’t find used and old or abandoned furniture.

What you would need to launch a furniture upcycling business are furniture making tools, machines and equipment, a good knowledge of where to collect used, old and abandoned furniture, where to sell your upscaled furniture, the legislation guiding the industry as well as strong entrepreneurial skills and determination.

How to Start a Furniture Upcycling Business – A Detailed Guide

Industry Overview

Upcycling is a form of recycling that focuses on transforming an unwanted item or material into a quality, visually improved and valued product. It can be an old piece of furniture that you strip back and repaint which turns it into an individual furniture piece that would otherwise have gone to the landfill. Old and abandoned furniture can constitute nuisance in our communities if they are not recycled and re-used.

The Furniture Repair and Reupholstery industry that furniture upcycling business is a subset of is composed of establishments that reupholster, refinish, repair and restore office, home and antique furniture. Like many other industries involved with repairs, this industry experiences generally countercyclical demand.

During times of economic distress, cash-strapped consumers and businesses favor repairing furniture over replacing it. When the economy expands and disposable income levels rise, households and businesses are more compelled to purchase new furniture rather than repairing existing items.

As the US economy has experienced strong growth over the five years to 2019, industry operators were able to capitalize on positive macroeconomic conditions and the recent trendiness of “upcycling,” or repurposing old furniture as a means of saving money, profiting or aiding the environment.

Over the five years to 2024, however, the economy is expected to continue expanding, while the industry will likely return to its countercyclical nature and experience decline.

The Furniture Repair and Reupholstery industry is indeed a very thriving industry in most countries of the world. It is a major sector of the economy of the united states and it generates over billion annually from 24,924 registered and licensed Furniture Repair and Reupholstery companies.

The industry is responsible for the employment of 34,980 people directly and indirectly. Experts project that the Furniture Repair and Reupholstery industry to grow at a 6.5 percent annual rate. There is no establishment in this industry that has a dominant market share in the United States.

The Furniture Repair and Reupholstery industry has come to stay and the good part of it is that it enjoys the support of environmentalist since it is a means to preserve the earth from degradation, greenhouse gas emissions and environmental pollution.

Establishing a furniture upcycling company requires minimal startup capital and it is indeed a profitable venture. The market for upcycled furniture is large and can accommodate loads of investors. Some of the factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start their own furniture upcycling business could be that the business is profitable and they can easily get support from the government.

Just like any other business, if you are able to conduct your cost analysis, market research and feasibility studies before launching your furniture upcycling company, you are more likely not going to struggle to grow the business.

Over and above, starting and operating a furniture upcycling company can be demanding, but the truth is that it can be rewarding at the same time. One good thing about the industry is that it is open for both big time investors who have the capacity to start the business on a large scale and aspiring entrepreneurs who may want to start small.

Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

The demographic and psychographic composition of those who make use of upscaled furniture range from low income earners to even medium income families. From small scale businesses to medium scale businesses.

List of Niche Ideas Within Furniture Upcycling Business That You Can Specialize in

Basically, there is no clear – cut niche area in the furniture repair and reupholstery industry, although a furniture upcycling company can decide to specialize in either home and office furniture upcycling or automobile furniture upcycling. But on the average, almost all furniture upcycling companies engage in upscaling all forms of furniture.

The Level of Competition in the Furniture Repair and Reupholstery Industry

Irrespective of the line of business you decide to pitch your tent, you are still going to compete with others and furniture upcycling is not an exemption. The Furniture Repair and Reupholstery industry is an emerging market that is yet to be fully embraced globally, therefore there is little or no competition in the industry at the moment.

Although, there is a relationship between emerging players as they cannot do without the other. Since the industry is a multi-stage one, there is need for collaboration among the players in order to have a win-win situation for all the players.

Without a shadow of doubt, there are loads of big – time investors that have stakes in the industry; but one thing is certain, there is room big enough to accommodate all players.

So, if you enter the industry today, you should brace yourself for collaboration and prepare for serious competition in the nearest future as soon as the Furniture Repair and Reupholstery industry enters its boom period, this period will definitely arrive especially in the developing world in little time when recycled product is seen in the same light as new and “virgin” materials.

List of Well – Known Brands in the Industry

In every industry, there are always brands who perform better or are better regarded by customers and general public than the others. Some of these brands are those that have been in the industry for a long while and so are known for that, while others are best known for how they conduct their businesses and the results they have achieved over the years.

These are some of the leading furniture repair and reupholstery industry cum furniture upcycling companies in the United States of America and in the globe;

  • Hunterdon Furniture Restoration & Upholstery
  • Angel Upholstery Furniture Repair
  • Sun Upholstery Furniture Restoration and Repair
  • Kirk’s Auto Upholstery
  • New York Interiors
  • Ancor Professional Upholstery Inc.
  • Upholstery Restoration & Select Fabrics
  • Marine Canvas & Upholstery LLC
  • The ReBorn House | Upholstery, Restoration, Repair & Design Studio {Shop & Services}
  • Niola Furniture Upholstery Service – Furniture Repair Shop, Furniture Reupholstery Services in Minneapolis, MN
  • CLS Custom Upholsterers & Furniture Refinishing
  • Solutions Furniture Repair Inc
  • Nip n’Tuck Upholstery
  • Universal Upholstering
  • Jax Furniture Refinishing & Upholstering
  • Kostas Upholstery LLC
  • Souder’s Furniture Repair Refinishing & Upholstering
  • Ablyss Upholstery and Refinishing
  • Antonio’s Leather & Upholstery Experts

Economic Analysis

When starting a furniture upcycling business, you just have to get your costing cum economic analysis right if your intention of building the business is to generate profits, grow the business, expand and start competing at national level.

When conducting costing and economic analysis for your furniture upcycling business, you just have to critically examine these key factors; place, products, pricing, and promotion. As a matter of fact, you would have to continue to review these key factors at regular intervals while running your business.

As a furniture upcycling business owner, you just have to have a proper grasp of your competitive landscape if indeed you want to maximize profits and be in the frontline of the industry.

It is important to note that purchasing of materials is one of the most important factors contributing to the overall cost of operating a furniture upcycling business and should be considered as a major factor when carrying out your costing and economic analysis. This is why standard furniture upscaling companies would prefer getting their raw materials directly from the manufacturer or wholesale distributors as against buying from a retail market.

Buying a Franchise Vs Starting a Furniture Upscaling Company from Scratch

If you are looking towards starting a furniture upcycling company, you would have to start from the very scratch simple because you can hardly get the franchise of a furniture upcycling company to buy except you want to partner with an established furniture repair and reupholstery company.

Besides starting a furniture upcycling company from the scratch is less stressful when compared to other related businesses which usually require detailed groundwork before launching the business.

With furniture upcycling company, you should just try as much as possible to secure a standard facility in good and easily accessible location, secure your business license, purchase the required furniture making tools, machines, equipment and trucks and then leverage on every marketing tools within your disposal, especially the internet, when it comes to marketing your upscaled furniture.

Please note that most of the successful furniture repair and reupholstery companies around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success.

Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face

If you decide to start your own furniture upcycling business today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established furniture repair and reupholstery companies in your target market location. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market; concentrate on startup production companies who need raw materials from a furniture upcycling company.

We are aware that like many other industries involved with repairs, this industry experiences generally countercyclical demand. During times of economic distress, cash-strapped consumers and businesses favor repairing furniture over replacing it. When the economy expands and disposable income levels rise, households and businesses are more compelled to purchase new furniture rather than repair existing items.

Best Legal Entity to Use for This a Furniture Upscaling Business

When considering starting a furniture upcycling company, the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business can grow; some furniture upcycling company companies design their business for city wide market, some for state wide market, while others for national market.

Generally, you can choose a general partnership, or limited liability company for your furniture upcycling company. Ordinarily, general partnership should have been the ideal business structure for a small – scale furniture upcycling company especially if you are just starting out with a moderate startup capital in a small neighborhood supplying upscaled furniture to a handful of businesses and furniture retailing shops/companies.

But if your intention is to grow the business and have your active presence in major cities all across the United States of America and other countries of the world, then choosing sole proprietor is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC or even general partnership will cut it for you.

Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. It is not so for sole proprietorships and general partnerships. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholder meetings and other managerial formalities.

These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your furniture upcycling company; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners and investors’ expectation and of course taxes.

If you take your time to study the various legal entities to use for your furniture upcycling company, you will agree that limited liability company; an LLC is most suitable. You can start this type of business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or an ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.

Upgrading to a ‘C’ corporation or an ‘S’ corporation will give you the opportunity to grow your furniture upcycling company so as to compete with major players in the industry; you will be able to generate capital from venture capital firms, you will enjoy separate tax structure, and you can easily transfer ownership of the company.

Catchy Business Name ideas Suitable for a Furniture Upscaling Company

Usually, when it comes to Choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. Typically, it is the norm for people to follow the trend in the industry they intend operating from when naming their business.

If you are considering starting your own furniture upcycling business, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;

  • Caddy & Paddy® Furniture Repair and Reupholstery, LLC
  • Piston Jones® Furniture Upscaling Company, Inc.
  • Robert Heinze & Sons™ Furniture Repair and Reupholstery Company
  • Neon Heritage™ Furniture Repair and Reupholstery Ltd.
  • Green Haven® Furniture Upscaling Company
  • Capsid Lane® Furniture Repair and Reupholstery Company
  • Silver Lining® Furniture Upcycling Company
  • Josh Jemez© Furniture Repair and Reupholstery Company
  • The Furniture Upscaling People Company
  • Gordon Clarus® Furniture Repair and Reupholstery, Inc.

Insurance Policies

In the United States and of course in most countries of the world, you can’t be allowed to operate a business without having some of the basic insurance cover that are required by the industry you want to operate from. Hence, it is imperative to create a budget for insurance policy cover and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your furniture upcycling business.

Here are some of the basic insurance policy covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own furniture upcycling business in the United States of America;

  • General insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Liability insurance
  • Equipment and Auto Insurance
  • Risk Insurance
  • Hazard insurance
  • Workers Compensation
  • Overhead expense disability insurance
  • Business owner’s policy group insurance
  • Payment protection insurance

Intellectual Property Protection/Trademark

If you are considering starting your own furniture upcycling business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successful run the business without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.

On the other hand, if you just want to protect your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even operation concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO.

Is Professional Certification Needed to Start This Business?

Apart from the results you produce as it relates to furniture recycling, professional certification is one of the main reasons why some furniture upscaling companies stands out. If you want to make an impact in the furniture repair and reupholstery industry, you should work towards acquiring all the needed certifications in your area of specialization.

You are strongly encouraged to pursue professional certifications; it will go a long way to show your commitment towards the business. Certification validates your competency and shows that you are highly skilled, committed to your career, and up-to-date in this competitive market.

Here are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own furniture upcycling business;

  • ISO Certified Furniture Recycler
  • Master Upholsterer Certification
  • Biocompatibility Certifications for Upholstery
  • Recycling Industry Operation Standard (RIOS) Certification

Please note that some states in the U.S ensure that all furniture upscaling companies obtain the appropriate business license, permits and certification.

List of Legal Documents You Need to Run a Furniture Upcycling Company

The essence of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations.

If you do, the long hand of the law will catch up with you faster than you expect. These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own furniture upcycling business in the United States of America;

  • Waste Material Dealers License
  • Business Incorporation Certificate
  • Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration for haulage trucks
  • Appropriate driver’s licenses for drivers
  • Assistant’s licenses for assistants
  • Health inspection Certificate
  • Proof of ownership, proper identification and vehicle license
  • Copy of license for the service support facility (recycling plant) and/or a recent inspection report
  • Tax Payer’s ID
  • Fire certificate
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License
  • Business Plan
  • Non – disclosure Agreement
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Employee’s Handbook
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Insurance Policy
  • Apostille (for those who intend operating beyond the United States of America)

Financing Your Furniture Upscaling Business

Starting a standard and well – equipped furniture upcycling business with the capacity to supply upscaled furniture for large furniture retailing companies can be capital intensive especially if you choose to launch a large furniture upcycling company with an active presence in your state.

Securing a workshop and purchase of equipment are part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital, but if you choose to start the business on a small scale, you may not have the need to go source for fund to finance the business.

No doubt when it comes to financing a business, one of the first things and perhaps the major factors that you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business.

Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for startup capital for your furniture upcycling business;

  • Raise money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
  • Raise money from investors and business partners
  • Sell shares to interested investors
  • Applying for Loan from your Bank
  • Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from, government, donor organizations and angel investors
  • Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends.

Choosing a Suitable Location for your Business

Starting a furniture upcycling company comes with its own challenges; it is a business that cannot be started in any location of your choice. As a matter of fact, you will not be allowed to start a furniture upcycling company in a residential estate in the United States of America.

The only location you can be allowed to start your company is a land designated for such business and it is usually in the outskirts of town, but your showroom can be in the heart of the city.

It cannot be overemphasized that the location you chose to start your furniture upcycling company is key to the success of the business, hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consist of businesses with the require purchasing power, and a location that has minimal hurdles to cross especially as it relates to construction of a standard furniture upscaling plant.

It is important to note that a business facility in good location does not come cheap hence you should be able to allocate enough fund for leasing/renting in your budget. If you are new to the dynamics of choosing a location for your furniture upcycling business, then you should feel free to talk to a business consultant or a realtor who has a full grasp of the city and perhaps country you intend starting your furniture upcycling business.

Technical and Manpower Details

After the construction of your furniture upscaling plant, the next thing to do is to install all the necessary equipment and machinery required to run your company. It is important to state that this equipment can be purchased as fairly used if you are operating on a low budget.

When it comes to choosing between renting and leasing a facility for your furniture upcycling company, the size of the furniture upcycling company you want to own, and your entire budget for the business should influence your choice.

If you have enough capital to run a pretty large and well – equipped furniture upcycling company with a standard furniture upscaling plant, then you should consider the option of long lease or out rightly purchasing a land. As regards the number of employees that you are expected employ to kick start the business, you would need to consider your finance before making the decision.

Averagely, when it comes to starting a standard furniture upcycling business on a large scale, you would need the services of the following professionals; Chief Operating Officer (you can occupy this position), Chief Upholster, Transport and Logistics Manager, Marketing and Sales Executive (Business Developer), Accountant, Carpenters and Upholsters, and Truck Drivers.

Over and above, you would need a minimum of 10 to 15 key staff members to effectively run a medium scale but standard furniture upcycling company.

The Service Delivery Process of a Furniture Upcycling Company

Basically, a furniture upscaling company goes all out to either source for old and condemned furniture or they wait for the owners of the old furniture to bring it to their workshop.

After the used and condemned furniture are assembled in the workshop, they are accessed to know the type and amount of materials that are needed to upscale the furniture. Once this is determined, then they can go ahead to purchase the materials and reupholster, refinish, repair and restore the office, home and antique furniture.

After the upscaling process is complete, the furniture is packaged and then shipped or transported to customers or displayed in their showroom.

Marketing ideas and Strategies

The fact that the entry barrier for starting a small-scale furniture upcycling business is not on the high side means that there is bound to be more players in the industry no matter the location you choose to start yours. In essence, you must come up with creativity and innovation if you must carve out a market for yourself in your community, city, state or country.

So, when you are drafting your marketing plans and strategies for your furniture upcycling company, make sure that you create a compelling personal and company profile. Aside from your qualifications and experience, it is important to clearly state in practical terms what you have been able to achieve in time past as it relates to furniture upscaling.

This will help boost your chances in the market place when marketing your services. Here are some of the platforms you can utilize to market your furniture upcycling company;

  • Introduce your business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to households (especially low-income households) and startups who would need to start their business with upscaled furniture
  • Advertise your business in community based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
  • List your business and products on yellow pages ads (local directories)
  • Engage in roadshow from time to time in targeted neighborhoods (as it applies to getting old and condemned furniture from residence)
  • Leverage on the internet to promote your furniture upcycling company
  • Engage in direct marketing and sales
  • Encourage the use of Word of mouth marketing (referrals)
  • Leverage on the internet to promote your business
  • Join local chambers of commerce around you with the main aim of networking and marketing your product; you are likely going to get referrals from such networks.
  • Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing for you.

Factors That Will Help You Get the Right Product Pricing

One key factor that will help you sell your reupholstered, refinished, repaired and restored office, home and antique furniture at a price that is highly attractive is to ensure that you source your startup capital from sources that won’t put pressure on you or give you high interest rate, and also to source for your furniture making materials from cheaper sources.

Another strategy that will help you sell your furniture at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum, and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your products and services.

You can also try as much as possible to work with independent contractors and marketers; it will help you save cost for paying sales and marketing executives.

Possible Competitive Strategies for Winning your Competitors in The Furniture Repair and Reupholstery industry

The Furniture Repair and Reupholstery industry is an emerging market that is yet to be fully embraced globally, therefore there is little or no competition in the industry at the moment. Since the industry is a multi-stage one, there is need for collaboration among the players in order to have a win-win situation for all the players.

Without a shadow of doubt, there are loads of big time investors that have stakes in the furniture repair and reupholstery industry; but one thing is certain, there is room big enough to accommodate all players.

So, if you enter the industry today, you should brace up yourself for collaboration and prepare for serious competition in the nearest future as soon as the recycling industry enters it boom period, this period will definitely arrive especially in the developing world in little time when recycled product is seen in the same light as new and “virgin” materials.

Above all, ensure that you build your furniture repair and reupholstery workshop based on the latest technology and your operation process is simplified so as to maximize profits from the business.

Possible Ways to Increase Customer Retention for a Furniture Repair and Reupholstery Business

When it comes to business, no matter the industry that you choose to pitch your tent in, one of the easiest ways to increase customer retention and perhaps attract new customers is to produce results and satisfy your customers always. If your customers are satisfied with your products and service delivery, they can hardly source for alternative service provider or products.

Statistics has it that one of the major reasons why clients source for alternative service provider or product is when there is a drop in quality. Another reason is poor customer service.

No doubt one of the strategies that you would need to employ in order to generate repeated sales from your customers and also to retain them is to ensure that your customers always have their orders delivered on time and your customer services does not fluctuate.

The truth is that if the services and customer service fluctuate, you are likely going to struggle to get your customers coming back; people usually go for products that are of good quality. You can also make uses of promotional ideas such as loyalty schemes, and direct marketing.

Ensure that you offer your customers incentives if you want to retain them and of course continue to generate repeated sales from them and also attract new customers.

Part of what you need to do to achieve this is to track progress, results or outputs with the aim of improving on them quickly as the case demands. When it comes to managing your customers, and building loyal clientele base, you should purchase a customized CRM software.

With a customized CRM system, you can easily stay in touch with your clients (you can carry out quick surveys, you can introduce new products and prices to them without any hitch, you can felicitate with them on their birthdays and other anniversaries, you can keep track of their progress, you can send bulk sms and customized e – mails and above all, you can easily receive compliant and feedback from them).

Strategies to Boost Your Brand Awareness and Create Your Corporate Identity

If you are in business and you are not deliberate about boosting you brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portrays your business to be. One of the secrets of larger corporations is that they are willing to spend fortunes to boost their brand awareness and to continue to communicate their corporate identity the way they want people to perceive them to be.

If your intention of starting a furniture upcycling company is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand by selling your office, home and antique furniture all across the United States, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.

Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create corporate identity for your furniture upcycling company;

  • Place adverts on both print (newspapers and magazines) and electronic media platforms
  • Sponsor relevant community based events/programs
  • Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your business
  • Install your Bill Boards on strategic locations all around your city or state
  • Engage in roadshow from time to time in targeted neighborhoods (as it applies to getting old and condemned furniture from residents)
  • Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
  • List your furniture upcycling company in local directories / yellow pages
  • Advertise your furniture upcycling company in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site.
  • Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles and furniture collection trucks are well branded with your company logo et al.
Solomon. O'Chucks