The goal of a profitable hiring business is to recoup your initial investment as soon as possible. We looked at many hiring businesses before and the ones with a quick break-even often require a lot of capital up front and have considerable physical work. The rental of wedding dresses has a quick break-even and is not a lot of work but it does have other challenges. Here is how to get started.

The business
The dress hire business is a simple rental business, a person rents out a dress for a certain period of time and pays a fee (often a daily fee). This can be both a full time business and a sideline business where you can see clients after work. Once a fee has been agreed upon, it is standard practice to ask for a returnable deposit to cover any damage to a dress. Not only that but when someone has paid a deposit they tend to look better after something. Also make up a basic contract: name of person hiring the dress, time to return dress (and if there is a late fee) as well as wording to make the person hiring responsible for any damage to the dress.

It is also advisable that when you do this business you have some dressmaking or tailoring skills to do the fitting (which you can charge a bit extra for), although many people in this business do not have dressmaking skills and they simply refer the person to someone they know. Dressmakers are dime a dozen and should not be hard to find someone to refer them to do the alterations required.

The business does do well even when the economy is not doing too well as people often save for weddings.

Getting stock
This is what makes or breaks this business you need to get dresses that people will want to hire. You need to get familiar with the different styles, have modern styles and be able to cater to all body types.

Sketch credits: Ballgown: Angel Rivera, A-Line: Reem Arca on Wedding Bells Blog, Modified A-Line: Pricilla of Boston, Trumpet: Custom Couture, Mermaid: Claire Pettibone on Bridesfinds, Sheath: Orlando Magazine, Tea-Length: Wedding Dresses by Amee, Mini: Annette.

Sketch credits: Ballgown: Angel Rivera, A-Line: Reem Arca on Wedding Bells Blog, Modified A-Line: Pricilla of Boston, Trumpet: Custom Couture, Mermaid: Claire Pettibone on Bridesfinds, Sheath: Orlando Magazine, Tea-Length: Wedding Dresses by Amee, Mini: Annette.

Then comes another important decision: do you make or buy? I say it depends where you are positioned in the market. On the high-end then you are going to have to either make expensive gowns or purchase a gown that was specially made. You don’t want to be hiring out mass produced dresses.

On the lower end or more affordable end, things are a bit different; you can buy dresses off the shelf but also second-hand dresses. There is also another source of dresses and it is entirely your call as to whether you want to utilize this source, is buy dresses from China. There are a few factories that knock off famous dresses for cheap; the quality varies from seller to seller. This is for the more affordable end of the market as the Chinese often use cheaper materials in those dresses. If you don’t want to wait for the shipping from China you can buy ones that has already been shipped from China on bidorbuy. Here is one currently going for R1899 (there are cheaper available):

Wedding dress | Cute baby on bidorbuy

Wedding dress | Cute baby on bidorbuy

This is a good business for someone passionate about fashion or doing something related, maybe they did a fashion design course but don’t want to make clothing from scratch. Usually the metric we use for a good hiring business is to hire the asset out for 10 times to reach break even. Here you can reach breakeven in half the time. But it has its challenges: dresses have to be fashionable or you won’t get a lot of clients, there will be slow months during the year as weddings are somewhat seasonal (although not as seasonal as the matric dress business). But there are ways to get around that: make sure you know what is popular, increase rates during peak season to make up to the down season, if you notice that you out of dresses during a certain period that is an indication that you can raise your price a bit, otherwise you are leaving money on the table.

More Information
Here is an business plan written for the US market for a bridal gown shop, I don’t really advise using international business plans or long business plans. But you can use it as a starting point. Get some ideas, take out the valuable info and throw the rest away. All you need to get started is an action plan detailing the steps you need to take to make a success of your business.

Image credit: bridalguide


You have a business idea, where to next?
How to Start a Business from Business Idea