Beginner’s Guide on Starting a Furniture Restoring Business in the United Kingdom
In today’s day and age of minimizing waste and our impact on the planet, refurbishing furniture is a good business venture. If you have the skills, starting a furniture restoring business in the United Kingdom is one area to explore. Each of the activities you’ll be involved in will require some level of understanding of the industry legislation. However, the UK offers any entrepreneur with passion an opportunity to provide the best products without contravening the rules.
Here’s a guide on starting furniture restoring business in the United Kingdom.
Furniture restoring business requires some level of training and skills. You must know carpentry to fix broken items, such as undoing stuck drawers or resetting legs. Refinishing comprises stripping away paint or old finish, sanding, and applying a coat of paint. On certain items, you might do reupholstering—the substitution and recovering of fabric-covered items. Other pieces of furniture might require all three tasks to bring them back in good shape.
Different people have specialized in particular areas in the UK, such as restoring antiques, furniture refinishing, or repairing office furniture. There are some close relations between furniture restoring and repair businesses.
The furniture has seen steady growth in the recent past, with the industry predicted to grow even further. This type of business often thrives when the economy is distressed since customers tend to have furniture repaired rather than buying new ones. Mainly, the furniture refinishing business may target any number of varying markets. Companies that deal with antique restoration will attract antique collectors, families with antiques passed down, and museums.
Skills of a Good Furniture Restoring Business
Now for you to flourish in this business, you must at least possess some of the following traits:
- Upholstery skills: providing furniture upholstery and reupholstery services to give you an upper hand in your business offerings.
- Woodworking skills: having some carpentry and woodworking skills is beneficial within this business.
- Attention to detail: you must exhibit some high-level attention to detail. This will include matching an exact shade of stain to ensure perfect alignment between two pieces.
- Creativity: to get the right solution to furniture repair takes some creativity and resourcefulness. Therefore, as a business owner, you must invoke innovation and creativity to get more work from clients.
Business Registration Process
Starting furniture restoring business in the United Kingdom is relatively easy if you have all the legal requirements. However, before you think of starting one, you first must have a clear idea about the industry regulations.
Develop a Business Plan
A business idea can only come into reality when you put it into action. By creating a business plan, you then make that idea into existence. Having a business plan gives you multiple advantages from financiers and suppliers. Ensure that your business plan explains more about your financial and operational strategy.
Choose a Business Structure
If you have plans to expand your business, then forming a company would serve you right. In the UK, we have different types of structure, form a limited partnership, a sole trader, to a limited company. Each of the business entities has its legal requirements where one must fulfill to continue operating.
Register Your Furniture Business
Before you begin company registration in the UK, you must first find the perfect business name. The name must be unique and resonates with your customers. The Company House is the authority responsible for United Kingdom company incorporation. For a company, you must have several pieces of information available which may apply accordingly:
- Details of the share capital –for a private company limited by shares.
- Details of company directors and their addresses.
- At least one SIC code explaining the activities your business will be undertaking.
- A registered office address.
Do Market Research
When starting furniture restoring business in the United Kingdom, you must understand the demand for your services. Then, again, you must be aware of the competition in the area your furniture business is located. All will depend on the services you offer, your skills, and your expertise. Depending on your niche, you may target local antique dealers or amateur collectors, and the public and provide a wide range of restoration services.
Market Your Business
For your business to be known, you must market to your potential customer. You can target antique dealers, auction houses with promotional literature about your services. It would help if you took ‘before-during-after’ photographs of some of the pieces you’re working on. Then you can include them in your brochure. Having a website can significantly be helpful as you can feature some of the photos and include some narrative descriptions. The social media platform is another option you can promote your business.
Pricing Your Services
For you to earn some decent profit margin, you must get the pricing right. You must ensure that the price you’re charging your client will be enough to cover the operating costs, including your drawings. Try to consider the following:
- The hourly charge out rate. Charges will vary from the different types of work.
- Determine whether you’ll add a mark-up to services and goods that you buy-in.
- Establish the prices charged by your competitors. Again, ensure you set your prices broadly in line with your competitors.
Choose a Niche
When you plan on starting a furniture restoration business in the United Kingdom, you must have an idea of which niche to follow. Within this industry, there is a range of services that you can offer, including.
- Repairs to ceramic, brass, silver, glass, among others.
- Leatherwork like replacement of desk leather.
- Remember specializing in one area gives you a chance to ask for higher prices and enjoy higher profits.
Apply for Business Licenses and Permits
Every business premise will legally operate when it has a license or permits. Each type of business has its own regulations when it comes to the issuance of a license. You must check with the local authorities about which license applies to your furniture business.
Licenses, Permits, and Regulations
Furniture restorers use some possibly harmful substances and methods in carrying out their work. Therefore, the corporate service provider in the UK is obliged to comply with health & safety regulations, as well as environmental legislation. They aim at making the workshop a safer environment for both you and any employees they have. In the UK, we have vital areas where legislation is probable to affect your business.
What Licenses Will You Require to Have?
Ideally, there are no licensing requirements involving specifically furniture restorers. However, as an entrepreneur, you should be aware that you may need an environmental permit if you spray solvent-based paints, lacquers, and varnishes as part of the restoration. Again, you may require having a pollution prevention and controlling permit. The government website has all this information available.
If you plan on starting furniture restoring business in the United Kingdom, ensure you search through this legislation. For instance, in Wales, you must register with Natural Resources Wales if you produce over 500kg of hazardous waste within 12 months. Moreover, you must obtain an export license if you deal with ‘cultural goods’ and antiques over a particular age and value. The Export of Goods (Control) Order is the authority in charge of issuing the license. Under the Arts Council Export Licensing Unit website, you’ll get several guidance publications for exporters.
Now, suppose your area of specialization is prohibited goods from endangered species of plants or animals. In that case, you should get acquainted with the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) licensing rules.
Note that you may also need to have a license relating to the possession-including temporary possession.
Trading in Antiques
According to the Cultural Objects (Offences) Act, it is illegal to deal with any object you’ve acquired illegally expressively.
Disposal, Storage, and Use of Possibly Hazardous Substances
The British government has specific regulations that cover the use, storage, and sale of hazardous substances. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) guides entrepreneurs to assess the risk of using and storing potentially harmful products. They have put out measures to reduce the risks. Again, if you’ll be using paint stripping products containing dichloromethane (DCM), then a professional conservator must assess the product.
If you’re into the business of furniture restoring, then you must obtain insurance cover. Begin by contacting your insurers or insurance broker to explain to you precisely what it entails. Some of the areas that it might cover include:
- Employer’s liability
- Goods in transit
- Professional indemnity
- Premise contents and stock materials
- Public liability
You can always contact 3E Accounting whenever you need any form of assistance.