Description of Job
• Repair broken pieces of furniture.
• Make minor fixes to torn upholstery.
Things break, and upholstery tears, but a major piece of furniture, a valued heirloom, or merely a favorite couch may be worth repairing to save the cost of buying a new piece.
The two principal challenges are deciding whether a broken piece of furniture
can be repaired and whether the repair makes economic sense. If the total cost of
removal of the item, labor, parts, and return of the piece is appreciably less than
the price of a new one, you have business to perform.
Be especially careful if you are working on an heirloom or antique; don’t
accept a job you are not capable of doing properly, and don’t accept liability for
an item of extraordinary value.
Know the Territory
You’ll need to have basic repair skills and access to dependable specialists for jobs
such as welding broken frames, cutting a custom piece of wood or metal, and
reupholstering. In a way, this job could be compared to being a contractor on a
house: Much of the work consists of assembling a team of capable subcontractors.
Some jobs can be done in the homes of clients; assemble a mobile workshop
for house calls. Otherwise, you will need a truck or require that the client arrange
for pickup and delivery.
How to Get Started
Advertise your availability at community centers, home and houseware stores,
and antique stores.
You’ll need a set of basic tools. You can rent many specialized devices or subcontract out unusual tasks. Other expenses include promotion and advertising.
How Much to Charge
Charge an hourly rate plus the cost of materials; give your clients an estimate of
the number of hours a job should require and notify them if the price will change
Legal and Insurance Issues
Special notes: In dealing with your client’s property, seek to limit your liability
for damage or loss to the actual replacement value of items in your possession.
You should protect yourself against claims for sentimental value or loss of use.