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Consignment Furniture Store

Give furniture a second life by selling it again.

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Business At A Glance

Consignment Furniture Store

Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? Yes

Business Overview

A furniture consignment shop can stock everything from a 100-year-old highboy to a 10-year young sofa. Just as in clothing, the trend these days is toward recycling, finding delightful ways to make everything old seem new (or just beloved) again. Furniture is one of the fastest-growing segments of the resale industry, with more and more nonfurniture consignment stores either adding furniture to their inventories or opening a second, furnishings-only location.
So if you love interior design, you’ve got the nose for sniffing out both antiques and good quality, then a consignment furniture shop could be the business for you. You’ll take clean, well-loved furniture and accessories, and display and merchandise them for their owners, splitting the profits when you make a sale. You can take on more than sofas and tables–like any good home furnishings or antiques shop, you’ll also stock prints, paintings and decorative. You’ll also spend a fair amount of time going out to people’s homes to appraise furniture pieces, then taking them back to your shop. Because you’re taking the items on consignment, you don’t pay anything for your inventory until it’s sold, which makes this business ideal for the startup entrepreneur. Some consignment shops mark items at a set price, then have the owners pick them up if they don’t sell within a given period of time.
Others mark down merchandise 10 percent for every month it remains unsold. The advantages to this business are that it’s creative, your startup costs are small compared to most retail operations, you get the satisfaction of helping your customers get great buys for little money, and you never know what fascinating piece is going to walk through your door at any moment. The key to a successful consignment shop is an atmosphere that’s clean, fresh and stylish, so you’ll need a talent for display and merchandising. You should also have a good eye for quality as well as current fashion, and you’ll want to know something about antiques and collectibles. And you’ll need the savvy to properly price your merchandise so that shoppers get the discount they expect and you and your consignors make a profit. To complement all this, you’ll need people skills, and last but definitely not least, you’ll need the muscle–or the on-call assistance–to load heavy furniture onto your truck from consignees’ homes and then from the truck into your shop, then back out to customers’ vehicles.

The Market

Your customers will be the same sorts of people who shop at antiques stores and other home furnishings outlets. The trick is to attract their attention and sell them on the benefits of shopping with you. Besides routine advertising methods like local radio and newspaper ads, you can host furniture and collectibles shows or talks for local women’s groups, give seminars or workshops on furniture design, antiques and collectibles for colleges and community centers, and hand out fliers in front of your shop. Shopper ads in your local Pennysaver-type publication are also a terrific advertising tool.

Needed Equipment

You’ll need a shop and not a whole lot else as far as display furnishings–a few glass cases for small collectibles should do it because you’ll have plenty of tables and dressers on which to display larger items. You’ll also need sales tickets and tags, a supply of shopping bags and tissue paper for wrapping collectibles, and a cash register. A computer with an inkjet printer and retail operation software will be a big help but aren’t necessary for starters if you can’t afford these things. Stock up on antiques and collectibles reference books; you’ll also need a reliable pickup truck for collecting furniture from consignees’ homes and a few furniture dollies and carts. In some states, it’s illegal to sell used mattresses, so be sure to check with local authorities before doing so.

Entrepreneur Magazine is South Africa's top read business publication with the highest readership per month according to AMPS. The title has won seven major publishing excellence awards since it's launch in 2006. Entrepreneur Magazine is the "how-to" handbook for growing companies. Find us on Google+ here.

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Home Products & Services

Hot Tub Installations

You’ll have more clients hot on your trail once they see your hot tub installations.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Hot Tub Installations

Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Hot tubs make a great addition to any home. However, the focus of this new business opportunity is not aimed at hot tub sales, but at the installation of hot tubs. In order for a hot tub to properly work and be safe for the occupants, it must be installed correctly, including the electrical hook-up and a solid foundation base. Starting your own business that specializes in the delivery and installation of hot tubs is a great little business venture to launch. You can charge a flat fee or hourly rate for the installation service. Potential customers for the service can include hot tub retailers who require additional installation contractors and homeowners who are moving and require their hot tubs to be relocated. Income potential range: $25 to $40 per hour plus delivery charges.

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Home Products & Services

Treehouse Kits

Create cool, treetop hideaways for kids.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Treehouse Kits

Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Time to mix childhood memories, business, and profits. That is exactly what can be achieved by starting a business that manufactures treehouse kits for the do-it-yourself homeowner to purchase, assemble, and install. The treehouse kits can be packaged and sold to retail outlets on a wholesale basis or directly to consumers via advertising the treehouse kits for sale on the Internet, in newspapers and publications, and by establishing a display model that can be exhibited at trade shows. Seek to build a joint venture with companies that are already in the business of manufacturing and wholesaling children’s toys and playground equipment, as there will be the possibility to capitalize on their customer base, distribution channels, and business expertise and experience.

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Home Products & Services

Decorative Partition Screen Manufacturing

Separation can be a beautiful thing when you put your carpentry and artistic skills to use.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Decorative Partition Screen Manufacturing

Startup Costs: $10,000 – $50,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and creative talent, starting a business that manufactures and sells decorative partition screens may be just the moneymaking opportunity you’ve been looking for. Partition screens are commonly used in homes, offices and even outdoors as an added decorative flair or to divide and partition the space.You’ll need basic knowledge of carpentry, artistic talent and the desire to succeed in this business. Once completed, there are numerous ways to market the screens, including:
  • Selling the screens to specialty retailers on a wholesale basis
  • Placing the decorative screens in retail stores on a consignment basis 
  • Selling the screens to residential and commercial interior decorators
This is truly a unique and inexpensive home based business opportunity to start that can be operated on a full- or part-time basis. In terms of product pricing, the first step is to check out the competition. A general pricing formula is to take your material and labor costs, which add up to the product cost. Then figure out your markup (anywhere from 50 to 100 percent) and multiply it by your product costs to equal the wholesale or retail selling price.

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