How to Start a Business in Selling Furniture

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Some enjoy furniture shopping and others don't. As the owner of a furniture sales store, your customers need to enjoy looking through your store. The Tampa Bay Business Journal reports that revenue, even back in 1999, can generate millions of dollars for one small furniture store with 4,000 square feet.

  • Assess start-up costs. Costs will include furniture, warehouse space, staff salaries, website maintenance, and advertising. Entrepreneur.com estimates the start-up costs of a used furniture store is from $50,000 to $100,000. The size of the store, and the quality and quantity of the furniture will determine most of the costs.

  • Determine the style of furniture provided. Your company should offer a variety of unique looks, with each piece complementing the others. Ikea, for example, offers minimalist bare-bones furniture at a discount. John Widdicomb furniture, on the other hand, offers ornate pieces with steep price tags. Decide on the brand of furniture your store will showcase.

    Consider your demographics when selecting a furniture style. If you will be setting up shop near a college campus, maybe dorm room furniture on the cheap is the best route.

  • Create showroom ambiance. Customers who enter the store want a clear picture of how their house can be shaped by a piece of furniture. Complement each desk or chair with a background that matches its aesthetics. Victorian settees should have heavy drapes and curvy desks to match. Sleek minimalist Scandinavian furniture should have a subtle color palate of black and white with few additional pieces placed in the room. Do not clutter different pieces of furniture together, leaving the overall look and feel to the imagination of the customer. You need to be part salesman, part designer.

    Place brochures next to each room, outlining details and costs of the furniture in the room. The brochures can be an additional sales pitch even after the customer leaves the showroom.

  • Keep in contact with customers. Request that customers sign a guest book when entering the showroom that includes their email address. Maintain a newsletter that offers insight on new furniture and discounts. A customer may not buy any furniture on the first trip, they will likely return to your store if they receive reminders and notifications periodically.

  • Design a website. Usually, only one person will go furniture shopping and will report findings to their spouse or roommate. It's quite common to hear, "I'll have to run it by my" wife or husband for large ticket items. A website will allow you to carry your sales pitch into their homes,, especially if the spouse does not want to come to the showroom.

    A website also expands your customer base. Offer inexpensive delivery: while this will cut into your profit margins, it will entice people in other states to purchase the item if the cost no longer exceeds the cost of furniture they could find locally.

    According to "The Small Business Start-Up Kit," the cost of a website in 2008 costs $1,500 to $4,000 to build, depending on the features.

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