Start a Refurbishing Business

Refurbishing or refurbishment in general terms means  to renew, restore, re-equip or renovate to a new condition and/or appearance. This can be both a product (buying goods, refurnishing and reselling) or a service business (offer refurbishing as a service with re-upholstery being a common example of this).

Last time I spoke about choosing a business idea I said choose a category. This is just one of that. South Africa’s cost of living has increased way above wage or other type of income increases, petrol, electricity prices are out of control. Many people are feeling the pinch. This will drive refurbishing for two reasons: people can’t afford to buy new and (1). will have their existing items refurbished (2) will buy a refurbished product rather than a item because (a) they cannot afford to buy the item new or (b) prefer buying a refurbished quality brand name item vs. cheap brand new.

This trend extends not just to consumer, businesses such as pubs who replaced pool tables every few years are now having it covered.

How to choose a refurbishing business
I have spoken many times about supply chain and value chain analysis in the past. We look at the life cycle of a product not just before but after consumer has used it: manufacture > distribution > wholesale > retail > consumer > secondhand > refurbishing > recycle. I’m not going to use treehugger language today like “reuse-reduce-recycle” but this business is also good for sustainability and the environment.

Here are a few consumer ideas:
Couch upholstery
Car seat fixing and covering
Refurbishing and reselling of wheelchairs
In general stick to high value items that is worth your time.

Market Need
Indications from the ground a long time ago pointed to a pinch. Now I’ve been saying this for a long time, that I don’t know how people – especially the poor are even surviving, but the fact that major media houses (who are usually way behind the curve) started 2022 highlighting the high cost of living should tell you we are in trouble. We’ve seen the increase in homelessness (with people sleeping on pavements along major routes) but don’t hear about it in mainstream media unless it hits the middle class. We are in the type of pinch where people are thinking long and hard about whether they really need to buy something and many are refraining. Any business to lower the cost of doing things is a good business for this year and even the future.