How to open a restoration workshop

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Usually, people try to repair a thing that has become unusable, or, in case of unprofitability or impossibility of repair, they get rid of it by buying an analogue for it, that is, they simply replace it by sending the old one to a landfill. The situation is quite different if the product is especially expensive as a memory or as a historical value (in other words, antiques), then they cherish it and try to keep it in good condition in every possible way. Antiques have a special value that increases with time, their natural decomposition and death are unacceptable for the owner, while the important point is to preserve the original appearance, the thing should look old, keeping its history, and not look new. These subtleties make the work of a restorer similar to the work of a jeweler, who scrupulously studies the subject, develops a clear work plan, 

Such work is a kind of art, aimed at preserving another art, it is painstaking work, verified and professional. A real restorer can only be one who has spent time on training, who has studied all the features, who is ready to diligently and for a long time to look for solutions. Only a true master has the right to touch a product that needs restoration, because his main task, like that of a doctor, is not to harm, while performing his task with high quality.

However, they restore not only historical monuments that have universal value, but also simple things that are dear only to its owner. In this regard, there is a demand for the restoration of an object that has undergone the pernicious influence of time or some ordinary failure. The old grandmother’s bed, which was bought during the time of Nicholas the First, although it is of no value, is protected by the grandmother’s family as the history of the family, but then a small child spills non-wipe paint on the back of the bed – the thing is damaged, has an unpleasant appearance, the grandmother lies down in hospital with a heart attack. To remedy the situation, the family turns to restorers who can work with old items. 

The essence of the work of the restoration workshop is not only to eliminate the modern flaws that have appeared and preserve the previous state of the object, but also to select materials that will preserve the originality of the product for as long as possible, while the product must be properly transported so as not to be destroyed during transportation. There is always a demand among the population for this type of service, but it cannot be called stable and very large; due to the high prices for restoration services, only relatively wealthy people or institutions that store cultural monuments – museums, galleries, libraries, turn to them, however, they often have their own masters. 

Opening your own restoration workshop can be fraught with some risks, because existing competitors almost always have their regular customers and a well-known name in relevant circles. The market needs to be carefully studied, since the cost of investment is quite high, and losses in case of failure will also be significant, so you should not try to start such a business if the consumer already has a wide choice of restoration workshops. 

However, many of these institutions are engaged not in restoration, but in repair, which in the language of restorers has a pejorative connotation – the real restoration is carried out by a master with many years of experience, and not a recent graduate of a carpentry vocational school, of which there are many in the so-called “restoration centers”. An inexperienced specialist will only spoil the item, which in the end will have to be carried by a professional, the cost of whose services will increase significantly. Therefore, if the quality of work performed by competitors does not please the end consumer, you can safely enter the market, having, of course, real restorers-masters among your employees. The most important competitive advantage of such a business is often not even the price, but the quality of work.

The activities of the restoration workshop to one degree or another fall under the following codes (OKPD 2) 74.1 Specialized design services, (OKPD 2) 95.24 Repair services of furniture and household items, (OKPD 2) 95.25 Repair services of watches and jewelry and ( OKPD 2) 95.29 Repair services for other personal and household goods; more accurately will be reported at registration, depending on the range of services provided. 

You can register both as an individual entrepreneur and as a legal entity (it’s no secret to anyone that after an individual entrepreneur, the most optimal form of a business entity is an LLC). Registration takes place in a standard way, it will require about 20 thousand rubles from a novice businessman and will offer in return the opportunity to use a simplified taxation system. The main nuance of registering a restoration workshop is obtaining a license from the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. You can do without it if you do not intend to work with cultural heritage sites. That is, a license is needed only for working with monuments of culture and history of public importance, there are no such requirements for the restoration of private things,

The cost of the license is calculated depending on the number of types of restoration work provided and can reach several hundred thousand rubles, requires confirmation of the high qualification of the staff and makes high demands on the level of the workshop, but also gives the right to participate in state tenders for an order with a high cost. In the end, having proven itself well, you can become an enterprise that works only for the state, and fulfills private orders only as a small additional income; but by this time a lot of time will have passed, so this method should not be considered as a start of a business. 

First of all, you need to concentrate on finding customers who are represented by ordinary people who have antiques that are subject to restoration, conservation or restoration. Large volumes of work can be provided by antique shops and stores, which also do not always have their own capacity for restoration, but have many products that need to be worked on to give them the desired look and condition. 

Cooperation with dealers of antiques cannot be discarded, they even need to be searched for on their own and offer conditions that may be of interest to them. In a large city, this should not be a problem, since the antiques trade is a very profitable business, and many even aspiring entrepreneurs seek to open such a business without having the opportunity to restore their goods. 

In order to provide the consumer with quality services, you need to find a good master, experienced and professional. Finding such a person can be quite difficult, since many of them already work in restoration shops or provide such services on their own; working for an entrepreneur will deprive them of part of the income, so they can only be interested in having a large client base, which will allow the restorer to work much more than if he promoted his services himself. And one professional is not enough to complete all orders – customers will wait too long for completion simply because the items are in the queue. We need at least two who can ensure the restoration in the right time with minimal delays. 

With further expansion, the staff should increase as needed, and not only craftsmen will be hired – the basis of the restoration workshop, on which it rests, but also other support staff. The workshop will require a carpenter and a cabinetmaker, they will perform the simplest tasks, serve as apprentices for restorers and gradually learn the restoration business themselves. 

In order to provide all possible types of services, in addition, you need to hire an artist and a designer, their functional duties also imply the presence, if not experience, then a real ability to be creative in their professional field, ordinary individuals have no place in the restoration workshop. This is rather a minus for an entrepreneur who is only interested in short-term profit, since such staff and payment will require appropriate. But the executive team must be a close-knit team that loves its work and is able to do it efficiently and even, no matter how incompatible with business it may sound, with soul. 

As in any creative team, the principle of TQM management is very effective here – focusing on a person, focusing on the quality performance of one’s duties and maintaining one’s reputation as an entrepreneur and employer will be a good guarantee of the company’s prosperity. 

Do not forget about the support staff: loaders, administrator and appraiser. Loaders will be required when transporting large-sized objects – furniture, sculptures and large paintings; the administrator will receive incoming calls and simply answer the questions of visitors who have come in, as well as accept items for restoration, making appropriate notes, giving customers receipts and picking them up when the item is handed over after the work is completed (all organizational and administrative duties can be performed by the entrepreneur himself) ; an appraiser will be needed in the event of the proposed organization of additional income through the antiques trade, the appraiser will also have to find out the approximate cost of the item being accepted for work, because in the case of exorbitant figures, it is recommended to obtain insurance against a mistake in the work of the master. Perfect, if the appraiser can also perform administrative duties. But bookkeeping is best outsourced.

The workshop does not have to be located in the central area of ​​the city, because there are few such establishments, and here the client does not care about the location of the enterprise. People do not notice advertising of such a specific company exactly until they need such services, but if they have such a need, they will find the workshop themselves. In this case, it is not worth conducting an aggressive advertising campaign, it is enough to limit yourself to leaflets in antique shops (if you can agree) and create your own website. All this will cost about 30 thousand rubles. 

Now about the room. It should include a small office where the receptionist sits and takes all the notes, a warehouse that stores items in line, all materials and tools, and, in fact, the workspace itself. The minimum is 70 m 2 (in monetary terms, taking into account the fact that the premises are rented in inexpensive areas of the city in terms of real estate – from 50 thousand rubles), the maximum is practically unlimited depending on the amount of work (no one excludes that for restoration someone someday it can drag a multi-meter sculpture, although this, of course, is practically unrealistic, but you still have to work with large objects). The room itself should be bright, ventilated and spacious, have large doors for the possibility of bringing in furniture and large paintings. 

You also need to take care not only about the permissions of the fire service, but also seriously address the issue of protecting the workshop, because sometimes very expensive copies will remain in it at night, which sometimes exceed the cost of the entire business. 

Against this background, it is also best to insure against all types of damage to property – from a simple fire to natural disasters. In addition, you should consider buying a van, perhaps on lease, for transporting large objects, which you can decorate with your own advertising.

Types of restoration work can be divided into two types – work with stationary objects and with transportable ones. The restoration workshop deals mainly with objects that can be brought to the workshop. These include:

  • Painting and graphics (including icons)
  • Sculpture
  • Textile
  • Hardware
  • Books
  • Furniture
  • Watches and jewelry
  • Porcelain, crystal (and tableware in general)

Of course, with the appropriate qualifications of the craftsmen, it is also possible to make visits for the restoration of monuments, monumental painting and other similar objects. In order to ensure the full functioning of the workshop, you will need the appropriate equipment:

  • First of all, you need to purchase complex workplaces for restorers – these are tables that have basic equipment.
  • vacuum tables. Designed to work with paper; book vacuum tables stand out separately, which differ from the standard analogue of the ability not to open the binding of the restored book; and tables for working with fabric. Some models have a built-in paper washer.
  • Lamps. They differ from conventional light sources by equipping with a magnifying glass and an ultraviolet lamp.
  • Presses. They are also a separate tool for working with rare books and allow you to sew bindings.
  • Low pressure tables for painting and graphics. Full-fledged models have the ability to lay out depending on the desired format of the restored canvas.
  • Leaflet machines. Eliminates folds and missing portions of documents.
  • The panel of creation and control of vacuum. Allows conservation of objects – temporary or permanent.
  • Passe-partout cutting machine. The name fully conveys the principle and list of his works.
  • Machines for topping up losses. A kind of chemical laboratory that allows you to restore damaged paper documents.
  • Wash baths. Necessary in the process of some types of restoration to prepare objects for work and to clean surfaces.
  • Tools and materials
    • Acidity level meter (pH)
    • steam pencil
    • Restoration resin
    • Scouring machine
    • Luminescent film
    • Aerosol Generator
    • steam generator
    • Spatulas
    • Purifier
    • Restoration case.

A complete set of all equipment will cost about three million rubles. It is possible to reduce the cost of investments by excluding one or another type of restoration from the list of services offered, thereby reducing the overall cost of purchases, but this will not satisfy the needs of all customers. However, if it was possible to hire non-universal master restorers, then it would be advisable to exclude any services. 

All activities of the restoration workshop are divided into four types. The first is classical restoration, that is, work with antiques that require particularly careful maintenance. Such orders will come rarely and it is not necessary to focus only on them. 

The second is a quick restoration, which just ensures the restoration of things dear to the heart of a private client, which are a rarity for him. 

The third is art-design, which is not so much a restoration as a transformation of a modern thing according to the client’s desire: artificial “aging” of furniture, covering equipment with various materials and other similar services. Can become one of the main sources of income. 

And finally, the fourth is modding, which for some is even sacrilege, because it modernizes an old thing, turning it into a modern and sometimes even more functional one (the process, frankly, is the reverse of restoration). 

The last two activities will be carried out for the most part by artists and designers, as well as less skilled carpenters than restorers. In order for a designer to develop a good project, appropriate graphic editors must be installed on his computer, which also cost money. The entire executive team will receive a percentage of the amount of the completed order, for example, restorers will take up to 70% of this amount, designers and artists a little less. 

Such an undertaking will pay off in a few years due to the large amount of initial investment and possible downtime in the first months of operation. In general, demand can be highly floating, which will leave you without income in one month, but will bring good revenue in the next. 

However, the cost of restoration work starts from three thousand rubles and reaches several hundred thousand (it consists of the hourly wage of the master, consumables and remuneration for entrepreneurial talent), so well-organized work and at least some fame in the city will allow monthly on small orders even during periods of downtime to cover the cost of maintaining the workshop. At the same time, even a relatively long order in terms of execution time rarely takes a professional more than a month of work. 

But you should not forget about the reserve funds that may be needed in the event of a complete lack of orders, since some staff need to pay wages monthly, the cost of rent, utilities and burglar alarms will also not be delayed. Large annual expenses await the entrepreneur who decided to save himself from risks and insure his activities. 

But despite all these difficulties, the work of a restoration workshop can bring an entrepreneur, albeit inconsistent and very different in different months, but quite a good profit.

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