Upholstery As A Career

I"ve been doing upholstery for most of time since 1966. There have been times I've enjoyed it and times that I wished I was doing something else. Upholstery is not a high paid trade and it is a lot of hard physical work (not as hard as digging ditches or the like) But all in all, upholstery is a good trade.

Nowadays, when I see so many people out of work, I thank God that I have paying work to do. Upholstery supports my family. It also gives a good sense of being productive and building a good reputation. It gives me a chance to meet a lot of really nice people.

I find being a self employed upholsterer one of the most challenging jobs, and yet a very rewarding occupation. It is challenging in that a very large amount of my time is spent in "non-paying" work (i.e. making out estimates and work orders, answering the phone, waiting on clients, paying bills and doing the bookkeeping, checking stock and ordering fabric, figuring out what supplies to order and when, figuring out how much foam to order and for what jobs, scheduling when I will be doing what jobs, figuring out when to bring in what job, cleaning up and reorganizing the show room, making sure the prices are up to date on fabrics, doing cutting layouts for the job I'm working on, etc. Sometimes an enormous amount of time gets eaten up by these various tasks. Some days I get very little, if any, upholstery work done. Sometimes I have to neglect the some of the above tasks just so that I can get some jobs done so that we can pay bills. I'm fortunate in that my wife helps with some of the bookkeeping, ordering fabrics, helping with the clients and some other jobs that she can help with. It would be much harder if I was trying to do it all on my own.

It is rewarding in the my time is my own. If I need to take time off to help my wife or my children, I can. I have no office politics to deal with. I can treat the clients as I would want to be treated. I feel good about my relationships with my clients. I can frankly tell a client when I'm not able or am not willing to do the job as they want it. I can spend time building relationships with clients. Some of our clients become like good friends. When I'm talking with a client, I can talk about whatever I want to.

All in all, especially in this tough job market, I am thankful to have a relatively secure job. Upholstery is a respectable occupation, one that I can be proud of. I don't have to hang my head in shame, or do things that go against my conscience.  I am truly blessed in doing what I do.