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Shoe repair business

Photo by José Ramírez on Unsplash

Shoes are an item that everyone needs and they are quite expensive. Because of this, most people would rather repair shoes when they are getting old than throwing them out and buying new ones. A shoe repair business is always in demand. 

Starting any new business can be difficult and the more planning you do the better your chance of success. 

We will take you through the main steps you need to take to make a success of a shoe repair business. 

  • Do some market research

Before planning to open a shoe repair business you need to look at the market in your area. The demand should always be there but you want to make sure there are not too many other people doing the same thing. 

A bit of competition is fine but if there is a shoe repair business on every second corner you might have a problem. Walk around the area you plan to work in, see how many similar businesses there are and how busy they are. 

You can also speak to people in the area and ask them if they use this service, how often, and where they go. You might even ask if they are happy to tell you, how much they pay. 

  • Learn the trade

You can’t offer the service unless you have the skills to do the job and do it well. You will need to learn how to repair shoes and related products. Perhaps you could work for someone in the business and learn from them. This will give you experience and you can save some money to start your own business. 

If you have the internet you could learn a lot online and for free. There will be several sites that will explain the different parts of the process. A great place to look is YouTube, they have plenty of excellent videos. Here is just one example. 

  • Decide on the services you will offer

Shoe repairs include fixing heels or replacing worn-out soles, fixing seams, and correcting the colour on older shoes. Most shoe repair services will also fix bags and purses, belts, and other items. The same skills and tools are needed so it makes sense to do both. 

You could also offer a shoe shine service to people that pass by. Waterproofing is another service you might want to look at. 

You could even think about doing other repairs and alterations to clothing but it probably best to get the shoe business up and running properly first. 

  • Draw up a budget

You don’t need a lot of money to start a shoe repair business but there are certain tools and materials as well as other startup costs you need to consider. Try to think of all the expenses you will have to cover and how much money you have to start the business. 

Draw up a budget and stick to it as much as possible. It is a good idea to budget a bit of money for things you might have forgotten.  

  • Buy the supplies you need 

You will need certain tools and materials to run a shoe repair business. Once you know what you need you can shop around for the best prices. Some things you have to have and others are nice to have. You can always start with the basics and slowly build up as your business grows. 

  • Find a place to do your work 

You need a place to run the business. In most areas, you should be able to do this on the side of the road. You could also, if you have the budget, get a small shop or share a shop with a related business that is not in competition with you. 

The most important thing to think about is that the business needs to be in a busy area. If people see you  working they will remember you and hopefully come to you when they need shoe repairs or other services. 

  • Work out your pricing 

If you want to make a profit, which I am sure you do, you need to make sure your pricing is correct. You have to look at all your costs. These will include fixed costs (if you have them) such as rent, electricity, staff, and other costs. You then need to look at the cost of the materials that you have to use to do the job. 

One other thing you should consider is what your competitors are charging. If your service is much better you might want to charge a bit more. If you are trying to get into the market it might be a good idea to charge a bit less than other shoe repair businesses as long as you still make a profit. 

  • Market your business 

The first thing you need is a name. You want something catchy that people will remember. You can place some signage where people will see it when they pass the business. 

Once you are ready get the word out to friends, family, and neighbors. You might want to print some adverts to hand out. 

Another idea you can try is to use social media to market the business. You can do quite a lot without spending money. Many people look on Facebook and other social media when they need a local service. 

  • Deliver good service 

In any service business, your reputation is important if you want to do well. You need to offer a service that is really good. This will keep people coming back and hopefully get them to tell their friends. 

You also want to have a good relationship with your customers. Treat them with respect and be polite and friendly. This will make them want to visit your business and keep them coming back. 

  • Control your finances

You need to keep a close eye on the money coming in and out of the business. You can run it as a cash business if it is small but if you want to grow it should get a bank account. Keep a track of all the expenses you pay including the fixed costs and materials we discussed above as well as the money you receive. 

This is the only way to know if you are making a profit, if the business is growing, and if you have money to invest back into the business. Cash flow is very important to watch because if you can’t buy the supplies you need to do shoe repairs you will not be able to run your business and make more money. 

You also want to keep a close eye on your materials and tools. This is especially true if you have other people working with you. 

Final thoughts

As you can see there is a lot to think about and do when opening a shoe repair business. It is normally  best to start off fairly small, run a good business, and slowly grow it as you get more money. 

Always keep an eye on the competition and treat your customers well. If you do this and offer a good service, your shoe repair business should do well. 

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