Furniture upholstery businesses remove old furniture materials and replace with new materials. Customers typically include those with antique furniture or those that do not want to spend extra money on new furniture. Turn your upholstery or sewing expertise into a small business by catering to those who want to update their furniture. Run your upholstery business on a part-time basis or full-time depending on the needs of your customers and the time you have to dedicate to the business.

Step 1.

Apply for a business license to start an upholstery business in your area. Contact the small business administration or county clerk's office for business licensing information. Apply for an employer identification number (EIN) by contacting the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Use the EIN on business documents such as state and federal tax forms. Purchase business insurance to protect upholstery materials and equipment and company vehicles from damage or theft. Business insurance may also be used to cover legal costs associated with a lawsuit or settlement.

Step 2.

Lease commercial office space or create a home office to store upholstery equipment and supplies, customer files and business invoices.

Step 3.

Purchase upholstery equipment and materials such as a hammer, nails, seam rippers, fabric-cutting shears, knee pads and fabric samples to show clients. Contact wholesale fabric stores or fabric manufacturers to order specific fabric as needed.

Step 4.

Contact local antique furniture dealers, furniture makers and fabric shops to market your services to their customers. List upholstery services in local business directories. Attend small business networking events, home-improvement trade shows, antique trade shows and arts fairs to increase awareness of your business.


Create a website that includes before and after photos of upholstery projects. Include customer testimonials and business contact information.


Do not attempt to upholster furniture unless you have experience in upholstery or as a seamstress as you could cause permanent damage to furniture.