Do You Want to Start a Cabinet Painting Business?

25 Nov

Jennifer Alwood is running a very successful cabinet painting business.

She shared this BIZ TIP:

“I NEVER give a bid/price for my work in person. Human nature is to UNDERbid when a client is standing right there looking at you for a price…. ESPECIALLY if it is someone you already know. Give a range of cost if you have to, but go home, figure out what’s an accurate estimate and email it (you need a paper trail, no texting prices!!!). This is just one tiny morsel of wisdom from my “Cabinet Painting for an Income” webinar. Trust me, I’ve made mistakes, I want to help YOU to do it right.”

The live webinar ran on Nov. 4th, but you can still purchase the recorded session here for under $50: http://themagicbrushinc.com/cabinet-painting-income/

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We’re not getting any kickbacks on this webinar- we just want to help people move toward their dream of owning their own business!  If you’re thinking about doing something new in 2015- this might be a great first step.  Please let us know if you sign up for this webinar, and what you think about it!  We’d love to see our Old Village Paint customers thriving in a new business…

Happy Thanksgiving friends!

Grow Your Painted Furniture Biz #5. Facebook Profile VS. Facebook Page

18 Nov
 A well-run Facebook Business Page can do amazing things for your business!  It can help people find you, help you showcase your beautiful painted furniture, allow your fans to interact with and brag about you…
And, setting one up is FREE.
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What we wanted to cover today is the difference between a profile or personal Facebook account, and a page used for a business.
For a business you’re going to need a Facebook Page.  If you’re thinking “no I don’t, I just use my personal page for myself and my business.” You need to reconsider.  It’s against Facebook policy for people to use their personal profile to try to promote their business.  If they find out, they can, and will shut your profile page down.  And then it is very hard to get things up and moving again.
So, what can you do with a business page? Well, it has lots of great functions that were specifically created for business owners.
  • You can be “liked” (not “friended”) by your fans and then your updates will show up in their news feed.
  • You will have access to “insights”, that is, your page will keep track of visits and what people click on etc.  Your personal profile does not have this option.
  • You can run adds off your business page that will get your content out to a larger group of people (yes, this does cost money).
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So, what should you do now? Well, if you really intend to market using Facebook you should decide to start a Business Facebook Page.  Do a little research.  And decide how much time each week you think you could invest in updating your Page.  This isn’t going to work if you set it up and just check back in every few months. You are joining a community of people that want to interact, not just a faceless group of buyers.
There are lots and lots of “how-to” articles online about Facebook marketing, as well good old fashioned books and even classes.  Don’t be overwhelmed! Decide to take small steps, and enjoy moving forward in your business!  If you have questions, let us know, we’d be happy to share what we’ve learned.
To find your nearest dealer click here…  http://www.old-village.com/locator/index.php
To purchase Old Village Paint online click here…  http://colourcupboard.com

Perfectly Clean Brush Tips

11 Nov

It’s so frustrating to get ready to dip into a beautiful can of paint, only to realize that your brush is stiff and unusable.  Here’s how to eliminate that problem!

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Perfectly Clean Brush Tips

1. Use a soaking container.  Your container should hold different liquid depending on what type of paint you are cleaning out of your brush.  If you’re painting with latex, it can be lovely, simple, warm water.  If you’re using an oil based paint, you’ll need a solvent, like paint thinner.  Let your brush soak in one of these containers for 30 minutes to overnight depending on your schedule.  You should also use a wire or rod to hang your brush on so that the brush bristles don’t touch the bottom of the container and bend permanently.  You could use anything from a coat hanger to rebar, just as long as it will fit through the hole in your paintbrush.

2. Rinse, rinse, rinse.  Swish your brush around in your soaking container.  Now that your brush has soaked a good bit of the paint out, you can rinse it under a hose or in your sink.  Rinse until the water is clear.

3. Use a wire brush.  Now that your brush is mostly clean use a wire brush to finish the job.  Brush in a  downward motion starting at the top of the bristles, down to the the tips.  This removes any stuck or dried paint. Now you have a beautiful, clean brush. In a pinch you can use a fine tooth hair comb if you don’t have a wire brush.

4. Dry well.  You can hang or lay your brush out to dry.

Now, you’re ready for your next project with a squeaky clean brush.

Inside Nitty Gritty Tips From A Successful Owner: Grow Your Painted Furniture Biz #4

4 Nov

Denise from Salvaged Inspirations wrote the post “How To Price Your Painted Furniture” that was super duper popular a few weeks ago. We gave her a call and decided to pick her brain for you—to help you be more successful in your current business. (Or your dream business that you are considering starting!)

What types of furniture are most popular with your customers? Dressers, hutches, dining tables, desks, head and footboards. I think you can have success selling any of these, people use these. Two toned furniture- a stained top with a painted bottom, I find that’s very, very popular. Rather than painting it one color, or staining it, mix the two. Shabby chic, distressed, and French provincial are very popular styles. If you’re painting or reselling a type of furniture that really inspires you I think you’ll find your market, and your buyers.

Which types of furniture are most profitable? Larger pieces- with a little more detail or customization are most profitable. And, it takes me the same steps to paint a night table as it does to paint a dining room table, and the large piece is more profitable. If I customize furniture by adding trim, unique hardware, or change out glass for chicken wire or a mirror- do something to make it stand out from the norm, those pieces are most profitable and sell quickly. Do keep in mind your initial expense for piece. I’m always on the lookout for a piece at a great price. A dollar saved is a dollar earned. It takes SELF CONTROL. Sometimes its very, very hard, but ask yourself, are you going to make money off of it?

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Where do you find the furniture you re-do? Many times a client will bring me a piece- from a family member like an in-law and it will have sentimental value for them, but not match their décor. I’ll restyle it so they can use that in their home. I also find pieces at yardsales, thrift stores, flea markets, the Restore run by Habitat for Humanity… I love buying at the Restore- all proceeds go back into the community. I love reusing for the environment. Many of my favorite pieces have been curb-shopped. We have times in our community when residents have permission to put large pieces on the curb and the city comes by and picks them up. I look for sturdy, well built pieces and I stop and load it into the back of my van. Those are my favorite pieces. The transformation is amazing, and I’m a big believer in reusing– I love it! I love giving something life that might have ended up in the landfill.

How do you decide what paint color to use? I get color inspiration by looking a the piece and envision what it will be. I try to let the furniture dictate what color it wants to be. The size, the shape, the detailing can help me decide. I get very inspired by my surroundings. I’ve been inspired by the fall foliage lately. Everyone is inspired by color daily, it has the power to change your mood from good to bad. It can feel intimidating to choose a color, I like to keep in mind- it can always be changed. If you’re stumped- use a photo editor or free online editor- take a pic, upload it, and try on different colors and see what you like best. That’s a great tool for people who are visual. I do use that on occasion. If a piece of furniture is not speaking to me- I use an editor. (For further tips here’s her blog post on exactly how to use an editor to preview different colors.)

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What do you wish you had known when you were starting out? To start and run a healthy successful business, you can’t do it all on your own. You need people to make it work. I’m the type of person who has a hard time asking for help, I try to be self sufficient and do everything on my own. Having a support team is crucial, I can’t lug a solid wood dresser up a flight of stairs by myself. In a new venture you will doubt yourself, so connect with encouraging people. Clients, customers, repair people, even competitors can be great supporters, and you should support other entrepreneurs too, the community is so important. Now, I realize accepting a helping hand is not a bad thing, its actually empowering. Sometimes it is hard to reach out and ask for help- but you can’t be an island.

Huge thanks to Denise for giving us some of her time, and being open enough to answer our questions. Happy painting to everyone!  Please write in and let us know what you want to hear about next!

How We Got Started: Grow Your Painted Furniture Business #3

28 Oct

Chuck and Kathy Moore are successful business owners in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. They own The Country Cupboard, specializing in handmade, hand painted primitive country furniture.  But they didn’t burst into business overnight.  Here’s a look at how they got started, how their business evolved, and some tips for other painted furniture business owners.

It all started when Chuck decided to make a shelf for their home.  Before, he had only cut out small things out of wood, like a pumpkin, for Cathy to paint for their home.  But Chuck built a shelf–successfully, and Cathy picked up some paint at a local store, which happened to be Old Village Paint.  They loved the finished product! Soon Chuck was building other furniture, and Cathy was painting it with OVP.  Their business grew slowly. It was years until they opened a shop, and several more years until Chuck quit his job and began building furniture full time.

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Tips & tricks:

I asked Kathy some questions, to learn from their success!

What are the most popular furniture colors your customers want right now? “Black, valley forge mustard, and the new England red. Several years ago it was village tavern blues. The number one color now is black.”

What piece of furniture is most popular? “When flat screen TV’s came out, we started to get a lot of interest in furniture for those.  We adjusted our business to do special orders, some people want doors on these tables, or not, a spot for dvd players, etc.  Our standbys are jelly cupboards, and anything that people need a custom size — everyone seems to have a piece of furniture they need that fit into a very specific place in their house.  We let customers know on our website that the size of any of our pieces can be adjusted to fit their needs.”

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What do you enjoy most about this business? “I enjoy working for ourselves, if we have to take a business trip- we can do it.  I really like getting the furniture to the customer and hearing the feedback. We just got an email yesterday- from a woman who  bought a piece from us in 2009 , and she wanted some shelves to match it. I remembered her.  Isn’t that great?”

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Kathy tells me with pride that everything they make is solid wood, nothing is sprayed, it’s all stained and painted by hand.  And they take care of every part of the furniture building and shipping process.  Chuck picks up the lumber himself, cuts and builds the furniture, they paint it, then pack it up to ship.  They want to be sure it gets to the customer in perfect condition.  This special care ensures they have great products, and their customers have noticed.

What is your process for painting furniture? “Stain, paint, distress, hand rub wax.”

What do you wish you had known starting out? “I wish we would have done this when we were in our 20’s! We never would have taken the chance back then, but when I see what we can do with hard work, and how we enjoy it… I wish we would have done it a long time ago . We started this in our 40’s. Working together- its wonderful. I say, the only way you fail is by not trying.”

Thanks to Kathy for sharing with us.  Happy Painting!

How To Price Your Painted Furniture: #2 in Our Grow Your Painted Furniture Business Series

21 Oct

Wow! We had a huge explosion on our blog last week from our post “How To Grow Your Painted Furniture Business.”  So, we’ve decided to make this topic into a series!  If you have a specific question or challenge about this type of business you’d like us to address- let us know in the comments section!

We’ve already got several interviews with very successful painted furniture business (PFB) pros scheduled, and we can’t wait to share their tips and tricks with you in the next few weeks.  (If you haven’t already, you might want to sign up to receive a weekly notice about new blog posts).

Last week we included a link to this article: How To Price Painted Furniture- but the information is so good, we wanted to highlight some of it this week.  Denise is the author of this article, and she owns “Salvaged Inspirations” –her own business! Yay!

“I’ve been painting/re-styling furniture full-time for almost 2 years now. Prior to this, I did a lot of projects for myself, family and friends, so it’s really exciting to be doing what I love as a business.” Here’s some of her tips for pricing.

1. The basic formula: (cost of piece) + (supplies used) + (time/mark-up) = $$PRICE doesn’t always work. And this is especially true if you’re just starting out. There are so many variables and factors to consider… and for all of you who asked, here are my thoughts on just a few of them…

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2. Punching a Time clock.  The other week, M-M-M innocently asked me how many hours it took me to complete a piece of furniture. I shrugged my shoulders because I didn’t have an exact answer. Some pieces I finish quickly and other pieces seem to take me forever!

I’m well aware that in any venture, time equals money. The longer it takes me to find, prep and paint a piece of furniture, the less profit I make. However for now, I need to let my business grow organically while enjoying the process and creativity… without punching a time clock to determine my pricing. I know that in time,  my furniture painting techniques and skills will become faster and profits will continue to increase.

If punching a time clock is going to discourage you from moving your business forward, consider looking at your pricing strategy differently. Enjoy the process andknow the gap between time spent and pricing will soon close organically.

 

3.  A Dollar Saved is a Dollar Earned.  I’m always on the look-out for furniture I can refinish. And I look  for the lowest price and best deals possible. I also keep track of the cost of supplies used for each job. This information is then factored into my asking price. The old saying “A Dollar Saved is A Dollar Earned” is very true in a furniture painting business. If I find a great piece for $25 at a garage sale rather than pay $125 for a similar piece online, my dollars saved have turned into income.

If you can minimize your initial expenses without sacrificing quality, you will earn more per sale.

4. Increased Confidence = Increased Income.   As my skills develop and I gain more experience, my confidence level is growing.  I’m feeling comfortable asking more for my one-of-a-kind pieces and painting services. Also, I find I’m not as quick to lower the price on items that don’t immediately sell.

As your skills and confidence improve, so will your income!  This  is a natural progression. If you’re just starting out, be kind and patient with yourself. Everything takes time and that includes growing confidence in any new venture.

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5. Pricing What Sells Fast.  I created a chalkboard from a $5 mirror and sold it for $100 + delivery within hours of posting it online. After it sold, I received numerous requests asking if I had any others just like it. The old adage of supply and demand applies in every business. I could have priced it a little more aggressively but more importantly, I wish I had duplicated it!

If you notice an item is selling quickly and in demand, price accordingly. By the way… if you know where I can buy these corner pieces… please let me know!

 

6. Compare Yourself to Yourself but Don’t Compare Yourself to Others.   I find it extremely beneficial to network with other furniture painters. Networking and developing friendships with other DIY’ers and business owners encourages me to learn, grow, gain inspiration, and gauge asking prices. But I sometimes fall into the trap of comparing myself to all the fabulous talent out there!  As my very wise sister likes to remind me; compare myself to myself and not to others. I may or may not be pricing my painted pieces for the same dollar amount as the furniture painter who’s been painting for 20+years… and that’s okay.

Keep yourself focused on developing and improving your skills and business while enjoying your own path and journey.

7. Location & Market.   Know your area and your target audience. If you paint a piece of furniture and placed it in a NYC Boutique, it may quickly sell for $1200. If you shipped that same piece of furniture to a Flea Market in a quiet rural town, it may take 2 months to sell for $200. Take your location, venue and target market into consideration when pricing your furniture.

 

8. Passion + Purpose = Profit.  I didn’t start this business as a get rich quick venture. I LOVE thrifting for great furniture bargains, salvaging for fabulous furniture finds, painting and re-styling, meeting wonderful clients for custom jobs, staging, photographing, blogging and writing tutorials. This is all FUN for me! I can spend an entire afternoon painting yet it feels like 45 minutes has flown by.

 

Are you in it for the love or the money? If your in this business for the money and you’re not loving what you do, you will most likely have a difficult time. I’m a believer that Passion + Purpose =Profit… IN ANY BUSINESS!

A huge thanks to Denise for being willing to share her tips with us! Read more of her experiences over at www.salvagedinspirations.com

Start or Grow Your Furniture Painting Business

14 Oct

Paint can truly transform a piece of furniture.  From a grungy, dated eyesore, to a beautiful cherished family treasure.

Perhaps you’ve transformed a few pieces and you’re considering making it into a part time or full time business.  How exciting!  Or maybe, you’ve been painting furniture and selling it for a while, and you’re ready to grow.  Sending good vibes your way!

tbootbenchOur friends over at The Country Cupboard talk about their business: “My husband and I started our own small business several years ago. We wanted our handmade furniture to have an aged and primitive look to it. We needed to find a paint that was easy to use but that would also give us the authentic colors we were looking for. Old Village Paint has met all our expectations as well as our customers. We also sell the paint in our store for customers that want to finish their own project. There is no other paint that can match your quality. Thank you for such a time honored product.” Kathy and Chuck Moore (The Country Cupboard)

Here are a few awesome articles waiting out there in cyberspace for you.

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Painted Piece Redone in Rittenhouse Ivory over Black.

If you’re in the painted furniture biz- you’re into restoration, redemption, change, and beauty.  You can see something in a piece, even before the first touch of sandpaper and paint.  Good luck as you courageously move ahead with your business plans! (Thanks to Donna Latour of the Tole Booth for the photo)

We’d love to know- what resource has helped you if you are in the painted furniture business?  Leave your ideas in the comments so that everyone can benefit!

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