How to Start an Upcycling Business
Upcycling businesses have taken off in the last few years, especially as people become more aware of sustainability and the potential of upcycling. If you’re looking for a small business idea that could really resonate with potential customers, selling upcycled products is one of the best business ideas to consider.
What is Upcycling?
Before we dive into upcycling businesses, let’s first establish a definition. Upcycling is when you take an older product and modify it into a new one. This could range from cosmetic changes such as a coat of paint and making minor repairs to more extensive changes to turn something old into something brand new.
Can You Make a Business from Upcycling?
There are many people running successful businesses based on upcycling products. Such a business is definitely possible, and it can be a great way to take something old and give it a new life by using discarded materials to create something new. There are a variety of products that can be upcycled and sold, including furniture and clothing. And the key to ensuring your success is knowing where to sell handmade items locally or online.
Why You Should Consider Starting an Upcycling Business
There are many reasons to consider starting an upcycling business, such as:
How to Start an Upcycling Business | 17 Simple Steps
If you’re thinking about upcycling as a side business, here are some steps to get you started. There are many types of upcycling businesses, so it’s really about what resonates with you. For example, you could start a furniture upcycling business, clothing upcycling business, textiles, and art upcycling business depending on your interests.
1. Research Your Competition
Before you get started purchasing scrap pieces and old furniture, it’s crucial to look at other businesses offering similar products. Look at their price points and any information you can find on online sales, shipping, and more. This will help you price products more accurately.
2. Choose a Niche
With any new business, having a niche is instrumental in differentiating you from others and staying unique compared to the rest. Some niches can include creating textured artwork from fibers and waste materials, restoring wooden furniture with a shabby chic look, embroidering on clothing, and more.
3. Create an Upcycling Business Plan
A business plan is a great way to solidify your business idea and make it more tangible. It helps you understand costs and profits better and how you plan on selling items.
Some items to include in your business plan include:
4. Pick a Name and Brand Your Upcycling Business
Upcycling success is based not just on your product but also with branding and marketing. Come up with a catchy name for your business to start with. Creating branding materials such as a logo, tagline, and more can help your business stand out.
5. Know Your Target Market
Before you start selling upcycled products, do some research on your target market. What are the prices they can afford, what do they value, and how can your products meet their needs? This will help you sell furniture and other products more effectively.
6. Form a Legal Entity and Register Your Business
You can form a legal entity and register your upcycling business to make things official. Depending on your situation, there are many types of legal entities you can choose from. If you’re a sole proprietor, you can operate as one or a limited liability corporation (LLC). You can also register corporate entities as if you’re planning on scaling quickly.
7. Get Your Taxes in Order
Taxes on your upcycling business will vary based on what state you’re filing from. The general rule is that you’ll need to file taxes on any revenue you’ve earned if it exceeds $600 in the year.
You may also need to pay state and federal taxes based on the type of entity you file as. But, again, taxes can be challenging depending on the type of business, so if you’re unsure, it’s always best to work with a tax professional that can guide you accordingly.
8. Set Your Prices
Now that you’ve researched your competitors and target market, it’s time to start thinking about pricing. When pricing a product, you should consider the cost of the product, including its purchase price, raw materials needed to upcycle it, the time the entire process took, and any taxes and shipping fees.
9. Consider Startup Costs and Ongoing Business Expenses
Shipping costs and other business expenses can creep up if you’re not careful. Before diving in, think about how much money you are willing to spend in the beginning to create your products and how much you’re expecting to make. Consider ongoing purchases and expenses and shipping costs as well to project how long your business can operate before it makes a profit.
10. Set Up a Business Bank Account
A business bank account helps with separating expenses and ensuring you’re able to track expenses and costs. You can also get a business credit card to start purchasing raw materials and products to help you keep track of how much you’re spending for your business.
11. Get Permits and Licences
If you’re selling upcycled furniture products like farmhouse chairs, reclaimed wood, and other types of recycled products, you may need to obtain a resale permit. You may also need a business license for an upcycling furniture business as it may require a workshop.
12. Purchase Business Insurance
Business insurance can help protect your business by covering you for general liabilities and issues. For upcycling furniture businesses, in particular, business insurance could be helpful depending on the types of materials and work you’re doing.
13. Create a Website or Choose Where You’ll Sell
You can either choose to sell through your own website or use a third-party platform to sell products. Both have their pros and cons, so you’ll need to weigh up what works best for you. If you choose to create your website, you’ll be able to pocket more of the profits. You can use basic website builders like Wix, Squarespace, and Shopify.
You can also sell online via third-party platforms through your own shop on Etsy. But before you get going find out how to start a small business on Etsy so you can optimize your digital presence on there. Amazon also has its version so it is will pay off to know how to sell on Amazon Handmade to bring in profits. Other avenues to grow your own business and sell your products can include wholesale orders with other shops and selling at
14. Buy the Necessary Equipment
Buying products to upcycle will require scouting many different sources for raw materials to find furniture and more. Some places where you can find products could include:
15. Sort Out Your Production Line
As your business grows, it’s essential to consider how your business will grow and what you’ll need. This could be employing staff to help out on admin tasks and assisting with making products to expand your product line.
16. Market Your Business
Marketing your business will help you gain more customers and reach your ideal customer. You can market your business through the following channels:
17. Increase Your Profits
As you create more upcycled products and reach customers, increasing your profits should be a priority. In addition, you can expand your business by offering different types of products, bespoke services, and increasing advertising to grow your customer base.
Is an upcycling business profitable?
An upcycling furniture business or other kinds of upcycling business can definitely be profitable. However, profits will vary depending on the type of product being sold, the raw materials and cost of upcycling furniture, and where the products are being sold.
It’s challenging to establish an average profit because of the variations, but items can be sold from a small amount to upwards of hundreds of dollars and more with larger profit margins.
How does a furniture upcycling business make money?
A furniture upcycling business makes money by finding old furniture and making it into new furniture, by making it into shabby chic style, or creating unique furniture pieces with rust oleum paints, chalk paint, and more. An upcycling furniture business makes its money by selling these products directly to customers or through wholesale orders if possible.
What is the difference between upcycling and recycling?
With recycling, products are taken as is and used without really modifying them. With upcycling, the product is taken and altered to create something new.
Image Credit: Depositphotos
Mobile apps, especially those designed for Android and iPhone, have quickly become ubiquitous in today’s society and culture. Many people spend the majority of their time using applications on their phones than on a computer.
These apps can effectively replace desktop software such as Microsoft Word or Excel. It has important implications for businesses because there is potential for a mobile app to increase efficiency and productivity.
According to research, mobile apps have been shown to drive greater adoption rates of new technologies across organizations, resulting in better customer satisfaction and revenue generation capabilities. It’s possible because employees are increasingly using apps to browse the internet, purchase items, and book travel. It’s important for businesses to adapt to this new trend because many of these activities were done with a PC before this shift occurred.
It Builds Brand Identity
As a business owner, you make your revenue through traffic, and you can do that with marketing. And marketing can help you build the brand that you can show to your customers. A brand tells people what a business is about and what it can offer its customers.
Through this identity, people will recognize your business and its reputation. Brand growth implies that your business is gaining popularity, which compels people to be curious about what your business offers.
One thing you can do to grow your business is advertisements. An advertisement is a well-known strategy, and it usually leads to more traffic and more profit. It has been done for a long time already. The idea is to draw more people to your business and engage them frequently.
But how do you do that? There’s a lot of ways like TV advertisements, posters, billboards, but the most popular nowadays is the online platform.
Almost everyone has an online presence, and with a smartphone, a person can interact with services using mobile apps. Mobile apps make information gathering and service offerings much easier and more accessible.
That’s why more and more businesses nowadays are opting to invest in a mobile app to grow their brands. Through app stores, you can advertise your mobile app to increase your customer base and keep them engaged in the products and services that your business offers.
It Can Improve Customer Engagement
Mobile apps can increase customer engagement and retention in several ways. Apps can enhance the overall time a customer spends on a brand site, which is a potential boost in sales. Mobile apps can also prevent your customers from purchasing products from other brands.
There are a lot of studies about it too. Experts say that more or less 46% of users are less likely to shop around for other options when they are using a specific brand’s app. Also, they suggested that with a specific company’s mobile app, customer purchases increase significantly both online and offline.
A good example to look at is Domino’s Pizza. With the utilization of their mobile app, they increase their sales. The company’s app has already been downloaded over 10 million times by users, and it has increased their sales by nearly 25%. In fact, mobile app sales have already overtaken desktop sales for the company.
Another industry that highly benefited from mobile apps is the loan industry. By having the accessibility of loan services, you can now take out a loan or see if your loan debt can appear on your credit report.
It Retains and Increases Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty is essential if you want your business to thrive. Market research suggests an almost 93% chance of customer retention when a company provides excellent service to its clients. With that in mind, you should focus on giving your customers the best possible experience when visiting your site or using your app.
Of course, the first thing you should look into is your app’s accessibility. Experts suggest that when a company doesn’t have a website or an app, 70-80% of its customers are lost. As a business owner, you should know that effective digital marketing has to be fluid, requiring constant updates and new techniques to maintain relevance in the digital market.
That said, mobile apps make customer usage and accessibility much easier. Smartphone users have already surpassed six billion, and if you don’t cater to that demographic, you’re losing a lot of money. A mobile app allows your customers to access your online store or business platform conveniently.
With a superb mobile app and customer service, you can keep a significant portion of your customer base engaged in your services, and there’s also a huge chance you’ll get their loyalty.
There are many reasons why you should invest in a mobile app, but the listed above are the most important ones you should consider. By investing in a mobile app, you’re taking advantage of a massive demographic and keeping them engaged and loyal without the use of manpower or building new branches for your business.
Sometimes the client-accountant relationship evolves over time due to fickle fortune, changes in business or other reasons. When it does, accountants must recognize it in order to continue to help these clients achieve financial security, minimize legal risks and avoid potential liability claims.
As the saying goes, “There is no friend like an old friend.” The same may be true in your professional life, as long-standing client relationships are often the most satisfying. They reinforce what it means to truly be a professional, guiding and advising clients across the arc of their working lives and, ideally, seeing them achieve financial security and peace of mind.
While this is a common enough scenario, it is by no means inevitable. Over time, the accountant-client dynamic evolves, whether due to advancing age, fickle fortune or changes in the family or the business, to name a few. It is in these changes that the risk of professional liability lurks. Change is not intrinsically bad, of course, but when it is not recognized, the practitioner risks losing contact. By clinging to what was, rather than addressing what is, you will not be able to help the client plan for what shall be.
According to data gathered by professional liability insurance carriers, practitioners are statistically at a higher risk of claims being asserted by the clients with whom they have worked the longest. No friend like an old friend, indeed.
The following examples are based on real-life situations, gathered from decades of professional liability claims. (The names and businesses have all been changed.)
Swimming in New Waters
For decades, Bill Often, CPA, handled tax compliance for his client Precious Properties LP and its general partner, Mr. Grant Land. Land pursued deal after deal over the years, cleverly spotting real estate development opportunities and almost always coming out ahead. For each new tax year, Bill’s firm issued a standard engagement letter that contemplated end-of-year planning and preparation of returns.
Along came a deal in which Land spied an opportunity for a Section 1031 exchange – his first foray with this strategy. He informally asked Bill to help him play by the IRS rules, in real time, as the deal unfolded. This was a new role for Bill after all their years working together. Without so much as a handshake with Bill, Land launched himself into his first 1031 deal. Land was also consulting with counsel and, at one point, another CPA firm. Bill was aware that Land was taking advice from multiple sources, which appeared sensible given the novelty and high stakes.
As the deal played itself out, Land’s approach to Section 1031 compliance was somewhat erratic, with frequent changes in his proposed financing structure and his plans for use of the replacement property. Critically, no oral communications were documented and the email trail was spotty. In the end, mostly due to poor communication, there was an unexpected whopper of a tax bill for Precious Properties. Land was displeased, and he expected to be made whole.
The attorney and the other CPA firm that had briefly consulted Precious Properties were nowhere to be found near the financial crater; but there was Bill, scratching his head and wondering how this had all blown back onto him. With no engagement letter addressing his 1031 consulting role, Bill was exposed. After decades of increasingly informal communications with Land, Bill had not felt the need for a deal-specific engagement letter. Nor had he felt the need to see that notes of meetings and phone calls were created.
Looking back, as the deal raced along, Bill should have been on the sidelines calling the plays, if not in the huddle. But it was never made clear between these two old colleagues exactly who was responsible for which decisions, nor when they needed to be made and communicated. This late-career innovation by Precious Properties caught Bill by surprise, and he was not nimble enough to adjust. He relied on well-worn patterns of behavior, and that kept him from seeing change for what it was. It proved to be a costly omission.
Caught in a Carbon Copy
The next example involves a long-standing, now-elderly client who, in the course of updating and restructuring his estate plan, created a trust for his grandchildren. An estate attorney drafted the trust, but at the client’s request his CPA was “cc’d” on the draft sent by counsel to the mutual client for review. The CPA glanced through the trust instrument, billed a few tenths of an hour for having done so and then filed it away. Sometime later, a flaw in the trust came to light, and both the attorney and the CPA were held to account. The CPA believed that no formal (or even informal) communication had been necessary to distance himself from responsibility for what amounted to merely an introductory review of the draft.
In this situation, the long and casual client relationship impaired the practitioner’s sense of risk management, leaving him exposed. What might he have done instead? Perhaps the CPA should have sent a quick email thanking the client for forwarding a copy of the trust “for my information,” and adding “the propriety and legality of the document are, of course, up to counsel.” This simple recital would most likely have held the wolves at bay.
Other situations in which changes in the accountant-client relationship impair risk management can derive from client success stories, such as accumulating wealth, sale of a business or new investments. Each of these situations necessitates ongoing mastery of the tax code, awareness of potential conflicts of interest (involving business partners and/or family members), adequate staffing and clear lines of communication with the client. The flip side of this coin involves client setbacks, such as business failure, spousal divorce or business breakup. After years of relating to one another against the backdrop of a particular status quo, working with a long-standing client as he or she goes through a stressful life event should cause the practitioner to see the client as if through new eyes. If not, you put yourself at risk of missing both the perils and opportunities that may be present. The risk of conflicts of interest should come into view (as in good times), as should the risk of overextending the limits of your particular skill set (as in good times).
Lest you shrug off this lesson and consider yourself always on top of your clients’ circumstances because you send them an annual tax questionnaire, consider how little thought clients (well, at least some of them) invest in this annual ritual. Consider how much more information you actually receive through a telephone call or a meeting of one kind or another. (In either case, take notes!)
Does your questionnaire include, “Are you beginning to show signs of dementia?” I didn’t think so.
What are your business goals for the new year? If I’ve learned anything in the past few years, it’s that you should lean into your hardships because, in many cases, they end up being the biggest blessings in your life. No one ever proclaimed that running a small business was easy, but the hard work and challenges are well worth the effort.
2022 Business Resolutions
Following are seven business resolutions you can make—and keep—in 2022 that will help you build a solid and successful company.
1. Start a Business
Yes, you can start a business in 2022! Are you overwhelmed by the enormity of it all? Break it down into smaller steps. Step one (even if you’re starting part-time) is to make sure you take the proper legal steps. (Also, save all your receipts since startup costs are deductible in your first year of business.)
2. Hire Employees
Will 2022 be the year you hire your first employee? Do you need full-time or part-time help? Finally, will you offer benefits? These are all questions you need to answer before starting the hiring process.
3. Expand to Another State
If you’re considering adding new locations, expanding your company’s presence across state lines can help you reach new markets and boost profits. Before you make the move, you need to:
4. Marketing Goals
Is your marketing strategy still stuck in 2021? Now is the time to revamp your marketing priorities and strategize reaching today’s consumers.
5. Intellectual Property
If you’ve postponed applying for intellectual property rights, you’re putting your business at risk.
6. Change Legal Structure
There are many reasons why companies might decide to change or “convert” legal structures. The owner might want to sell stock or bring on partners. Or the company might want to take advantage of the lower corporate tax rates. Whatever the reason, converting legal structure depends on whether your home state allows conversions of legal entities. In states where conversions are not allowed, the company must dissolve the current entity and form the company as a new entity. Check with the Secretary of State’s office in your state to find out if you can file for conversion or if you must file for dissolution.
7. Closing a Business
Unfortunately, many small businesses have closed in the last few years. If this happens to you, it’s crucial to close the business legally, or you can be liable for the company’s activities, taxes, and financial agreements. To shut down a business:
Good luck in the coming year, and let us know how you’re meeting your goals.
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