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How long....?

Started by DeLight, March 03, 2015, 06:27:15 am

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Hmm, I'm starting out Part-Time focusing mainly on Marine Upholstery, and just posted a small FREE Craigslist add with a few pics of previous jobs I had done and BAM, my Phone and Texts have been so plentiful I've started to turn people away.  I can't and won't book more than 6 weeks in advance cuz with my other job I just don't want to not deliver.  My AD clearly states that this is NOT my full time job and I WILL be slower than some of the PRO shops but my quality of work is as good or better than some.  If I WAS full time I do not think lack of work would be an issue.  I'm in a 700,000 metropolitan area with a dozen lakes in close proximity.  4 other Upholstery businesses with ads on Craigslist.  My prices are a bit more competitive than theirs since I don't have any overhead, employees and NOT totally dependent. But...If I was I realistically believe I could have brought in $12,000 the last quarter based on what I turned away due to not having the time.  I have a friend in a city 4 hours away that I gave 2 jobs to that were basic jobs  and we met 1/2 way so I could give him the seats and panels and he could make some extra cash.  My ad promises Fairness, good prices and quality work.  When they call I ask a LOT of questions and if I don't get the answers I'm looking for I turn them down.  I guess since I'm not making a living at it that makes it easier to do. LOL!!!  But...sometimes you just know when a person is gunna be more problem than their worth.  I'm just learning this upholstery business, but I've owned and operated several other businesses in the past and have found one common thread in owning your own business.  DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU WILL DO!!!!  If you do...you will be successful!  Be up front about that and you'll be ok.  Be prepared to accept it if you screwed up and be prepared to enforce it if the customer wants to weasel out of it.  OH and one other thing.  If it ain't in writing...it NEVER happened!!!


Welcome to the trade. I started out new on this island and therefore is very seasonal. I do furniture upholstery and opened shop 2.5 years ago. The first year I introduced myself to all the designers, cabinet makers and the shipyard. I advertised in the main newspaper and made a bunch of flyers geared to different profiles such as, realtors, dentists, doctors, and designers and I hit the pavement and introduced myself to everyone. I put my business cards everywhere. I also got the website up. My first season was average, my first winter was tough. This year I was booking July 2015 in January. I do everything but need to figure how I can afford hired help and still make a living. It is very different here. This winter is great, I booked customers who are either remodeling or rebuilding their homes and I am redoing all their furniture over the winter months. This way they save on storage, I keep busy and they have all new furniture when they return in June. So if you get out their and get exposure, you will succeed. Like everyone said, don't miss phone calls and have fun.



It depends... not what you want to read, I'm sure, but it really does depend on a lot of things. 

I started my own business after spending a lot of years slugging it out in someone else's shop (make your mistakes with someone else's money).  In that time I patiently amassed the machinery I felt would be important to crank out the sort of quality work I ultimately wanted to do.  With every paycheck I added a new tool or put money aside to buy more expensive pcs. of equipment.  I also put money aside to "bankroll" my shop for a solid year.

I knew I  had all the technical skills and I knew I had most of the necessary equipment/tools, but what I didn't have was "recognition"... the bankroll was key!  I can't stress that enough.  Having the "bankroll" allowed me to say, "NO" to the garbage I didn't want to do because I knew I had the funds to pay the bills without the necessity of taking on garbage work.


Bobbin, sounds like you had a vision and made a plan. But more than that you were motivated to make it work.

Never stop setting goals.
There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.


It's not so much about skills, the real thing is about having the tools and the MONEY to get through the first year/two.  A lot of people have the skills, but precious few of them have the BUSINESS PLAN in place.  And the "business plan" is ALL about the money, you guys.  Set yourself up to weather your first year/two. 

I don't care where you live and I don't care how much dough you think you "have".  If you don't have the money HONEY, sit down, pay attention, and LEARN.  The deck is stacked in favor of the Big Boys, the guys who're important on K Street.  Get used to it, and Gene will tell you all you "need to know" lol. 

Refresh our collective memory, Gene...  precisely how, exactly,  did you get to your vaunted, successful business position?  Hmm?


Congratulations on the new Biz, and that's ok don't be discouraged as you have already evaluated. So! you figured and assumed correct, We all have to continue testing or gauging what and how we proceed.
Asking questions to better our specific task for the day (or tomorrows plan ) as a coffee and sometimes a following day will open better view for the process or task.
I am going to assume your experience to be good.

ps: Its a while before one can understand how you are an important part of the tool, Slow down gauge yourself and provide other quality tools that promotes your most elite efforts.
           This thought through and built in inspiration itself will carry you through tougher times.

Good Day


It occurs to me that Blue Flamingo's posts pretty much sum up the plight of the whole upholstery profession in general.

The most common complaint that we make/hear is: No young people are getting into the business. So therefore, the trade is a dying one.

Why aren't any young people getting into this biz? Because as some of us have stated, it may take 3 years or more to start making a decent profit. In this day and age, people can't afford to take that long. They need to hit the ground runnin' right out of college, or even right out of high school.

It seems like the only people that are getting into this work, are mid-lifer's who are transitioning from another career that they've become burnt out on.

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban


Pretty close there but I have to make some mention, the last part
"Do what ya say your going to do" is big in my world because no matter its your loss as you agreed.
I find that some take on a projects without equipment or proper restraint to do it correctly giving in to "there" productive cost.  I never agreed to this process quite the opposite, I am basing this mostly in heavy equipment repair and maintenance in my prior to double nickel age career.
In the edu arena as I recall there wasn't any tech schools that I went to or many that I new of really that had any upholstery and I was in the automotive, Its totally different now "totally".
As before I mentioned me not knowing any training, I should make it clear I am sure on all the coast there always has been some type training. I had recently or a couple years ago found that some State colleges had degree courses and these were day time, News to me? might have been Tennessee or Arkansas though it make sense some places that processed textiles on a national scale would need some formal lead education.
I am usually always in agreement with ya Sofa weather you know it or not, I had previously looked into an automotive interior instruction and believe it was down the road in Houston, But I thought it was to far for me to stay at your shop and drive there daily ;D  I think Acoustic Edge was the name, but anyway there is many now I see with www.wyotech.edu or www.uti.edu scattered all over the Country and while these are auto trimmers they will at some time take on other roles as business is business
My prizes are three Girls and until they became smarter than I which was early in there life,
I encouraged them to Lead and Educate themselves with the ""ability"" to support themselves then make decisions with others coming into there lives. You Go Girl was long ago used in my house.

Good day all