Living in the 4th largest metropolitan area in the UnitedStates offers many opportunities to furniture painting business owners! But, there are also a few challenges. We found when we purchased a pick up truck and offered the service of delivery to our customers our business more than doubled. But, along with this service opportunity we realized we needed to use caution for our safety. I am lucky because my husband is my partner. Having a male help with deliveries is definitely a huge plus.
We post our pieces for sale on Craigslist, Facebook marketplace and many other buy, sale and trade sites. It's important to be cautious when giving out information about your location, especially when you are selling from your private residence.
Get to know your potential customer. Most inquiries come through Facebook, text or email. Establish a relationship with the person contacting you. Try to get a feel for their situation and who they are. Don't be afraid to "chat" back and forth. Be vague about giving out too much of your personal information until you feel confident in dealing with them.
Check them out. If they contact you through Facebook, check out their profile. You can glean a lot of information from this action alone.
Request their address and cell number. Share this information with someone else before going on your delivery.
Be aware of your surroundings. Once you have their address, google it. In many cities there are areas you should use caution before going into them. I google the address and also view the home. If it's a two-story home or apartment building, I remind the customer that delivery is to the first floor only. Some will not enter a home when making a delivery but we have no problem doing this. Many of our customers appreciate us for wheeling their new big dresser into the room and setting it in place for them.
Common sense is your best guide. If you have customers coming to your private residence have them view the piece in your garage if possible. Leave the garage door open during this time. Always have a male present. Tell your neighbors you are having a customer coming. We have a neighbor that will walk by our garage if he feels someone is at our home longer than they should be!
When in doubt or feeling uncomfortable, just don't do it. There will be another customer. I can honestly say, we have never been in a situation where we have felt unsafe. Maybe by taking precautions ahead of time has given us confidence in knowing our customers. I also think it gives them confidence in dealing with us!
Thank you to the members of the Furniture Painting Business Group for their comments and suggestions.