We recently purchased and picked up a dresser from a local lady that had been trying her hand at painting furniture without a lot of success. She was discouraged and decided to sell her inventory. Her workspace was in her garage was honestly a total disaster with drawers, hardware, tools, and paint supplies scattered everywhere. There were a few pieces she had finished and had posted for sale. They were sitting in the middle of this clutter. Sadly, there was dirt and dust along with a variety of “stuff,” like ashtrays full of cigarette butts, sitting on the tops. It was pretty easy to see why she couldn’t make a go of her business.
We had also visited another “shop” to look at some pieces. It was on the corner of a busy little town known for it’s antique stores. The owner had made an appointment with us to meet her and we waited for over an hour for her to show up. Once she arrived, we could hardly thread our way through isles of dirty pieces of furniture and antiques. It was almost dangerous to be in there! There were numerous projects in various stages of finishing and you could tell they had been sitting for months. She kept making excuses about being so busy she couldn’t get her projects finished. She also told us her business practice was to give customers a three to six month deadline. She is no longer in business.
Why does this bother me?
I kept thinking in both cases of the customers and the bad impression they could get of furniture painters. Do they think we are all like this? Will they avoid purchasing a hand painted piece in the future and stick to the slick, clean, organized big name furniture stores? If so, we all lose.
We paint furniture as our business. We don’t have a shop so everything is done in our garage. Not a large space for storage, painting, staging, and showing. Our customers often come to our garage to pick up pieces. It’s important to us to make a good impression because so much of what we sell is to repeat customers, referrals, and custom work.
Put your best foot forward to welcome your customers! First impressions mean everything to the success of your business.
Your workspace is a reflection of your work habits. Where do you like to do business? Are you comfortable with dirt and clutter when you shop? Probably not.
Let's reflect our pride in our work by presenting a comfortable shopping experience for our customers.
Sweep your floors! Paint splatters are expected but dirt and debris isn’t!
Organize your paint, supplies and tools on shelves or in cabinets.
Put your tools and supplies away after using them.
Cover your finished pieces and keep them in an accessible area so customers can look at them easily.
Is your yard in good shape?
Decorate your entry way for the seasons.
Are you delivering to your customers? Make sure your vehicle is clean and good repair.
Believe it or not, customers will pay more if they see they are buying from a reputable, clean, organized business.