Are you interested in starting a knife sharpening business from home? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a knife sharpening business with NO money and no experience. If you are looking for a small scale business to delve into; a business that is less stressful, less challenging and with pretty low startup capital, then you may want to consider starting a knife sharpening business.

This is one business that requires little startup capital and you can be sure to make good returns on your investment. Bear in mind that you can go into this kind of business even from the comfort of your home. Knife sharpening businesses basically help clients sharpen their knives, scissors and other sharp edged/blade-like tools and instruments. They can operate from a shop/kiosk or from their truck as a mobile knife sharpening operator.

Before launching this type of business, it will do you well to carry out your due diligence as it relates to market research, economic and cost analysis and of course feasibility studies. If you get things right before launching your knife sharpening business, it will not take you long before you breakeven and start smiling to the bank.

If you want to start your own knife sharpening business, all you need do is read this article and you will be well fortified. You can start your knife sharpening business from a small town in the United States and if you are consistent and creative, it won’t be too long before your brand becomes a nationally recognized brand.

20 Steps to Starting a Knife Sharpening Business

1. Understand the Industry

Knife sharpening businesses basically sharpen knives, blades and other relevant tools for customers and businesses such as hunters, butchers, households, caterers, chefs, fishermen, kitchen supply stores, home goods stores, hardware and sporting goods stores et al. This line of business is open to all and sundry and it is a business that can be done from a shop or from a truck (mobile knife sharpening).

The knife sharpening line of business is a trade that is as old as human existence. As a matter of fact, the knife sharpening line of business is pretty much active in all the parts of the world.

There are several registered and unregistered knife sharpening businesses in the United States of America responsible for employing loads of people and the industry rakes in several millions annually. No knife sharpening company can boast of having a lion share of the available market in the industry. The industry is open for competition.

The knife sharpening line of business has pretty low barriers to entry. This line of business is highly fragmented and any individual can start the business from any part of town without even registering the business.

The knife sharpening business will continue to blossom because more and more individuals and businesses will continue to engage knife sharpening businesses to help them sharpen their knives when it is blunt. From all available statistics, it is safer to say that this line of business is growing steadily despite the competitive nature of the business.

Some of the factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start their own knife sharpening businesses are that the business is easy to set up and the startup capital is indeed affordable; you can actually start your own knife sharpening business from the comfort of your house. All you need to do is to create a space or position a kiosk somewhere in front of your house.

Over and above, knife sharpening businesses all over the world are still enjoying good patronage particularly if they are well positioned and if they know how to network with stakeholders and reach out to their target market.

2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

The demographic and psychographic composition of those who require the services of a knife sharpening business is not restricted to individuals/households who own knives, but it also involves hunters, fishermen, butchers, caterers, chefs, restaurants, hotels, farmers, tailors, dressmakers and even kitchen supply stores, home goods stores, hardware and sporting goods stores that also offer knife sharpening as a bonus for their clients.

So, if you are looking towards defining the demographics of your knife sharpening business, then you should make it all encompassing; it should include everyone who makes use of knives, scissors and any blade-like tool or equipment.

3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On

There is no niche area in the knife sharpening line of business. Every player in the industry basically sharpens knives and other blade-like tools and equipment for their clients. They can either operate from a shop/kiosk or from a truck as a mobile knife sharpening business.

The Level of Competition in the Industry

Surviving in the business world as a knife sharpening business owner requires more than your expertise, knowing how to conduct your business but also how to network with key people that matters.

The level of competitions in the knife sharpening line of business to some extent depends largely the location of the business and of course your business style. If you can successfully create a unique concept for your knife sharpening business, you are likely going to experience little or no competition.

For instance, if you are the only knife sharpening business that specializes in sharpening scissors and heavy – duty blades et al in your location, you are sure of monopolizing that aspect of the business; your competitors can even sub – contract jobs to you to help them deliver.

4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry

It is important to state that in every industry, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by customers and the general public than 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 knife sharpening business brands in the United States of America and in the globe;

  • USA Sharp LLC
  • Razor Edge Knives LLC
  • Nebraska blades
  • Maloon’s Mobile Knife Sharpening Service
  • Brooke Cutting Tools USA
  • Smith Abrasives Inc
  • Wicked Edge Precision Sharpeners
  • Precision Knife Sharpening
  • Leonard’s Sharpening Service
  • Jorson & Carlson Co Sharpening Services
  • Northern Tails Sharpening Inc
  • Rolling Sharpening Stone
  • Westside Sharpening & Cutlery
  • The Blade Sharpener
  • D A Bucci & Sons Inc
Economic Analysis

If you are looking in the line of positively launching a business and maximizing profits, then you need to ensure that you get your economic analysis right and try as much as possible to adopt best practices in the industry you choose to build a business in.

Knife sharpening business is not a green business, as a matter of fact, you will come across several knife sharpening outlets and even mobile knife sharpeners when you go sourcing for a place to sharpen your knives, blades and scissors et al.

So, if you are mapping out your economic analysis, you should carry out thorough market survey and costing of the required equipment needed to successfully run the business.

Over and above, if you are considering starting a knife sharpening business, then your concern should not be limited to the cost of renting a facility and equipping the facility with knife sharpening machines and other tools, but also on branding and on how to build a robust business network. The truth is that if you are able to build a robust business network, you are sure going to maximize profits in the business.

5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch

If you want to start a knife sharpening business, you would have to start from the very scratch because you can hardly get the franchise of a knife sharpening business to buy. It is a business that is open to all and sundry with or without formal education.

With a knife sharpening business, you should just try as much as possible to secure a good shop facility that is close to a major road and a residential estate and then leverage on every marketing tool within your disposal especially the internet to market your services.

Please note that most of the big and successful knife sharpening businesses 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.

6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face

If you decide to start your own knife sharpening business today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – reputable knife sharpening businesses and other related businesses who are offering same services that you intend offering.

The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market; concentrate on households and individuals in your immediate community who can’t afford the high – end fees charge by already established knife sharpening shops.

Some other challenges and threats that you are likely going to face is economic downturn and unfavorable government policies. There is nothing you can do as regards these threats and challenges other than to stay positive that things will work well for you.

7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)

Generally, you can choose a general partnership, limited liability company which is commonly called an LLC, or a sole proprietorship for a knife sharpening business. Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small – scale knife sharpening business especially if you are just starting out with a moderate start – up capital and covering a community.

But if your intention is to grow the business and have clients across the United States of America through franchise, then choosing sole proprietorship 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, shareholders meetings and other managerial formalities.

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

If you take your time to critically study the various legal entities to use for your knife sharpening business with the ability to take on the national market, 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.

8. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the ideas Below

When it comes to selecting 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. Usually 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 opening your own knife sharpening business, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;

  • Gabriel & Gabrielle™ Knife Sharpening Shop
  • Cutting Edge® Knife Sharpening Shop
  • James and Jane® Knife Sharpening Shop
  • Sharp King® Knife Sharpening Company
  • Hilary Jenkins & Sons Knife Sharpening Company
  • Gaius Lionel® Mobile Knife Sharpening Company
  • Bonnard Erickson and Sons Knife Sharpening Ltd.
  • Zoe Goodman Knife Sharpening Company
  • The Edge Knife Sharpening Company
  • Precision Knife Sharpening Shop, Ltd.

9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You

In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is important to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your knife sharpening business.

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

  • General insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Liability insurance
  • Workers compensation
  • Overhead expense disability insurance
  • Business owner’s policy group insurance
  • Payment protection insurance

10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents

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

11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification

When it comes to the knife sharpening business, you do not need to have any formal training or special certification before you can be allowed to start a knife sharpening business. All you need is informal training that will give you the needed skills coupled with your own business and customer service skills.

On the other hand, if you come across any form of certification that can aid you to conduct your knife sharpening business successfully, then by all mean try and pursue such certification.

12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate

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, it won’t be long before the long hand of the law catches up with you.

These are some of the basic legal documents you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own knife sharpening business in the United States of America;

  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License
  • Business Plan
  • Non – disclosure Agreement
  • Employee Handbook
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Insurance Policy
  • Online Terms of Use (if you a website)
  • Online Privacy Policy Document (basically for online payment portal)
  • Company Bylaws
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)

13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital

Starting a knife sharpening business can be cost effective especially if you choose to run the business from your home, or a mobile shop. Securing a standard shop facility and purchasing knife sharpening equipment and supplies 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 source for fund to finance the business.

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

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

14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business

When it comes to choosing a location for your knife sharpening business, the rule of thumb is that you should be guided by the demand for such services. If you are able to secure a shop in a central residential location for your knife sharpening business, people can easily locate your facility.

It cannot be overemphasized that the location you chose to open your knife sharpening business is key to the success of the business, hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a shop facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of people and businesses with the required purchasing power.

If you make the mistake of renting or leasing a shop facility for your knife sharpening business in a not too visible or hidden location simply because it is cheap, then you must be prepared to spend more in promoting the business and perhaps giving direction to potential clients.

Most importantly, before choosing a location for your knife sharpening business, ensure that you first conduct a thorough feasibility studies and market survey. The possibility of you coming across similar business that just closed shop in the location you want to open yours can’t be ruled out.

These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your knife sharpening business;

  • The demography of the location
  • The demand for knife sharpening services in the location
  • The purchasing power of the residents of the location
  • Accessibility of the location
  • The number of knife sharpening business/shops in the location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community
  • Traffic, parking and security

15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs

There are no special technologies involved when it comes to running a knife sharpening business. All you need are knife sharpening machines, tools and relevant supplies. If you are going to be operating a mobile knife sharpening business, then you would need a van or a truck to carry your work equipment when you drive around town sourcing for clients.

You will also need a computer, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others if you want to operate from a standard shop facility and all these can be gotten as fairly used.

When it comes to choosing between renting and leasing a shop facility, the size of the knife sharpening business you want to build and your entire budget for the business should influence your choice. If you have enough capital to run a standard knife sharpening business, then you should consider the option of leasing a facility for your office.

As regards the number of employees you are expected to employ to kick start the business, it is important to state it is a business that can be run as a one-man show. You must be willing to occupy various roles like Shop Manager, Accountant, Sales Officer, Customer Services Officer and Knife Sharpener.

The Service Delivery Process of the Business

Knife sharpening business averagely is a one – man show, and most often than not, the services delivery process is anchored to the business orientation of the owner and perhaps his/her style.

But generally, a knife sharpening business operator that operates from a shop gets his or her knife sharpening machines ready, sets up his workstation and then opens his/her door to welcome customers.

Once a customer comes in with either a knife, blade, scissors, swords, hooks, cutlass, clipper blades and any other tools for sharpening, the knife sharpener assess the nature of job to be done and then charges them a fee. Once the fee charged is agreed on, then the knife sharpener goes to work.

If it is a mobile knife sharpening shop, all the knife sharpening equipment are kept in the truck and they drive from one residential street to another sourcing for customers who want to sharpen either their knife, blade, scissors, swords, hooks, cutlass, clipper blades and any other tools.

Lastly, it is important to state that a knife sharpening business owner may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility; the above stated knife sharpening business process is not cast on stone.

16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies

As a knife sharpening business owner who wants to operate on a large scale, you would have to prove your worth over and over again before you can be awarded any knife sharpening contracts from high profile clients such as kitchen supply stores, home goods stores, hardware and sporting goods stores that also offer knife sharpening as bonus to their clients.

So, if you have plans to start your own knife sharpening business, it will pay you to go all out to learn the trade from a competent knife sharpening company and acquire required the business skills.

So, when you are drafting your marketing plans and strategies for your knife sharpening business, make sure that you create a compelling personal and company profile and a rich catalogue of your previous jobs.

Here are some of the platforms you can utilize to market your knife sharpening business;

  • Introduce your knife sharpening business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure/catalogue to all the caterers, households, hotels, restaurants, BBQ restaurants, butchers, hunters, fishermen, tailors, barber shops, and corporate organization such as kitchen supply stores, home goods stores, hardware and sporting goods stores that also offer knife sharpening as a bonus to their clients amongst others in your area of operation
  • Promptness in bidding for knife sharpening services contracts
  • Advertise your business in relevant business magazines, radio and TV stations
  • List your business on local directories
  • Create different packages for different category of clients in order to work with their budgets
  • Leverage on the internet to promote your business

17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products

The factors that will help you get the right pricing for your knife sharpening business is to source for cheaper knife sharpening tools and related supplies, cut operational cost to the barest minimum and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your knife sharpening business brand name.

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

So also, if you are able to secure high volume and efficient commercial knife sharpening machines; machines that are efficient to run and maintain, then you will be able to get the right pricing and of course maximize profits from your knife sharpening business.

18. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win

The knife sharpening line of business is a competitive business, and you must come up with a unique and highly creative strategy to be able to outsmart your competitors in the industry. Part of what you need to do in order to stay competitive in the industry is to continue to create easier and cheaper ways of tackling the challenges in the knife sharpening line of business.

Organizations and people will always run to you if they know that you have a better option especially as it relates to giving them neat and effective knife sharpening services at affordable prices.

19. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers

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 services delivery, they can hardly source for alternative service providers or products.

If you can continue to improve on the quality or your knife sharpening jobs and your customer service delivery, then you won’t struggle to maintain loyal customers.

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 a loyal clientele base, you should purchase a customized CRM software. With a customized CRM system, you can easily stay in touch with your client.

20. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity

If your intention of starting a knife sharpening business is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.

No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and brand boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market.

Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create corporate identity for your knife sharpening business;

  • Place adverts on both print (newspapers and magazines) and electronic media platforms
  • Sponsor relevant community based events
  • Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your business
  • Install your billboards in strategic locations all around your city or state
  • Engage in roadshows from time to time in targeted neighborhoods
  • Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
  • Contact caterers, households, hotels, restaurants, BBQ restaurants, butchers, hunters, fishermen, tailors, barber shops, and corporate organization such as kitchen supply stores, home goods stores, hardware and sporting goods stores that also offer knife sharpening as bonus for their clients amongst others in your target areas by calling them up and informing them of your knife sharpening business and the services you offer
  • List your knife sharpening business in local directories
  • Advertise your knife sharpening business in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site
Ajaero Tony Martins