Everyone needs furniture. Whether you're talking about college students or doctors, everyone's home or business needs furniture. There are lots of opportunities when starting a furniture business. Various decors and themes, specialty items and accessories make the furniture business endless as far as the kind of product you can provide to customers. To truly have a successful furniture business, however, you need to narrow down your initial inventory and fill needs other furniture stores in your area aren't meeting.
Determine the kinds of furniture and accessories you want to sell. Perhaps you're only interested in selling office and business furniture, or maybe, you want to be a bedroom super store. Some furniture stores specialize in hard-to-find themes and decor. Your choice may reflect your own taste and interest, or you may identify a need in your community that is not fulfilled by other community furniture stores.
Write your business plan. Contact your local Small Business Administration representative for help (see Resources). Your business plan should include your goals, mission and methods. A tentative budget should also accompany your business plan. With your completed business plan, you are more apt to obtain financing from various entities including grants, loans and investors.
Identify an available location for your business. If you choose to run your business online exclusively, you will only need a warehouse location. However, if you want to run a business with a storefront and showroom, you will need a location that is commercially zoned and in a higher traffic area of your community. You can build a fantastic showroom, but if people don't ever drive by it, your exposure is limited.
License your business with your city and county, if required.
Find wholesalers and purchase your inventory. Shop around to get the best prices possible. While buying in higher quantities may get you better rates, it may be out of your financial capabilities in the beginning. Don't overextend when building up your inventory.
Keep records of everything. Inventory all of your merchandise. Maintain records of purchases and accounts payable and receivable. Keep track of all taxes due and pay them regularly.
Visit other stores. Take note of things they do well and things you don't like about their stores. Utilize what you learn in your own store.
Purchase a delivery van or truck. In the beginning, it's wise to purchase a gently used vehicle. If you already have a truck, a trailer might be just as wise of a purchase for furniture delivery. Remove any traces of the past owner and apply your furniture store's name to the vehicle.
Don't purchase pieces simply because they are cheap if they don't fit with your designated theme.