How to Start an Imported Furniture Business

Individual customers, large furniture outlets and retail businesses buy for resale from import dealers.

Dining room chair inventory for furniture import business.Dining room chair inventory for furniture import business.
Customers that buy furniture from an import dealer are always seeking interesting pieces. This provides a good opportunity for a beginning furniture import business owner who specializes in distinct types of furniture or furniture from exotic countries; such as India or Egypt.

Acquire a computer with high speed internet access, a professional looking website, printer, fax machine and modem. Write a business plan, or use business planning software to help you. Determine the market for imported furniture, and who your customers will be. If reselling, minimize the competition by focusing on reselling to locations that do not have large furniture outlets, especially small businesses and discount furniture stores.

Get start-up funds. You will need capitol to invest in furniture for resale, plus expenses for importing furniture to your location. Figure on capitol ranging from five to twenty-five thousand dollars. Start your business from home, which will eliminate the need to lease office space or hire employees, until your business grows.

Rent warehouse space. Choose a warehouse that is in a dry location; one with a temperature controlled environment, if possible. Furniture, once it is imported into the warehouse, may sit for a while until sold and needs to be properly stored in the meantime.

Determine what your niche is and buy what type of furniture is a best seller. Write what percentage of the market caters to your business. For example, specialty retailers may make up a higher percentage in sales, and this may or may not be beneficial to business. Observe the amount of individual customers who buy furniture from you, and see if this is of a higher percentage in general. Selling directly to designers and independent furniture stores may be more beneficial to some with bigger businesses.

Deliver furniture on time, dirt free and in mint condition. Inspect all the furniture that comes in before it goes back out for resale. Once the furniture is out the door, it has your company name on it, and word gets around fast if the quality of the furniture and business transaction in general was poor.

Focus on selling strategies. Hire a sales person to seek out contacts, and represent your furniture and business. Have your representative or salespeople cold call future customers directly on the telephone. Keep close tabs on all billing, orders and any type of paperwork. Keep up to date on new accounts, collection of accounts receivable, and expenses.

Decide if you want to have your furniture insured. Cargo insurance implies to all modes of transportation and imported items. Use a specific policy, or voyage policy, if importing items from oversees only periodically. Check customs regulations and import duties on furniture. Look into the additional costs for the total amount of furniture you will be importing. The higher the value of the goods imported will mean a higher percent paid by you in customs and import fees.

Things You Will Need

  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Fax machine
  • Modem
  • Business planning software
  • Start-up funds
  • Warehouse space
  • Sales people
  • Telephone
  • Manager

About the Author

Linda Stamberger began writing professionally in 1994, as an entertainment reporter for "Good Times Magazine." She has written online copy for The Volusia Community website and is the author of "Antiquing in Florida." Stamberger studied creative writing at Southampton College, where she won a partial writing scholarship.