Two chairs that are about to be rupholstered using high grade Naugahyde vinyl

What to Look for When Choosing an Upholstery Service


Upholstery Services

Currently, there are over 20,000 furniture repair and reupholstery companies in the United States.

The industry employs approximately 27,000 workers. If you're looking to have your commercial furniture reupholstered or repaired, this gives you a lot of options.

Restaurants, in particular, can benefit from using a company that provides furniture upholstery services. Because of the quantity of furniture they usually have in their establishment and the wear and tear on them if there is a high level of traffic. They can save money by having the restaurant's furniture reupholstered instead of buying new pieces.

Choosing the best upholstery service for your business needs may be overwhelming. But there are certain qualities you can look for in a good upholstery repair service.

Depending on what furniture upholstery service you need, it's important to understand what an upholsterer can do and the services they can provide. This will assist you in choosing upholstery repair services to give your restaurant or bar the upgrade it needs.

What Is an Upholsterer?

The materials that form the soft coverings of sofas, bar stools, booths, and other furniture is the upholstery. It includes fabric, padding, webbing, and springs. Other materials have been used throughout the years.

Modern furniture uses foam and metal springs for greater durability. It is the materials used inside the furniture that determines how comfortable it is. Using high-quality inner layers will help furniture last longer. 

It is important that when reupholstering furniture that you find a good upholsterer that will not compromise on quality by using inferior inner parts.

An upholsterer makes, repairs, refinishes, restores and reupholsters coverings on furniture, vehicles, and other items. 

Their upholstering services may include padding, repairing springs as well as the fabric covering. They can provide their services in-store or off-site.

Some upholsterers may provide services to various industries. However, they often specialize in one or more of the following areas:

  • Residential upholstery - traditional and modern
  • Commercial upholstery
  • Automotive material repair
  • Specialized industries - airline and marine upholstery

An upholsterer's skill level will determine the quality of work provided.

Skills of a Good Upholsterer 

A typical day for an upholsterer may include:

  • Measuring, cutting, and sewing fabric then applying it to furniture frames with staples, glue, and tacks
  • Removing and replacing old padding, filling, and worn or broken springs
  • Examining furniture and assessing the repairs needed to the frame, springs, or upholstery
  • Client consultations to determine fabric and alterations required
  • Cost estimating of projects for fabric and labor costs

A skilled upholsterer will also have several years of experience. They would either be college-trained or completed an apprenticeship under an experienced upholsterer.

This training would include learning about furniture types from antiques to modern or contemporary, as well as fabrics and repair methods. Methods using modern techniques, that will help your furniture last longer.

Keeping up-to-date with industry trends also means providing clients with fabric selections that include a wide variety of classic, natural colors to graphic prints and designs. 

They should have the ability to strip and rebuild furniture, not just recover new material onto an old frame that may need repair. They should check for damage to the furniture's frame, tighten any loose parts, repair minor damages and then cover the item. This should include the use of quality materials fabricated with great workmanship. This will ensure your furniture is as good as new.

Attention to detail is also an important skill for an upholsterer. This will allow them to provide recommendations upon examining a piece of furniture. They should also be able to explain the process they will undertake to repair or reupholster your furniture. 

Part of providing good service to customers is getting the job done efficiently with as little wastage as possible. This will save the customer money. They should also know how to work with any type of material without damaging it.

An important skill would also be their ability to be honest enough to let you know if it's worth it to have your furniture upholstered or if you're better off purchasing a new piece.

Commercial Upholstery Services

There are a variety of services that a commercial upholsterer can provide. As a restaurant owner, you should choose the company that can provide the services you need. Commercial upholstery services include:

  • Precision repair
  • Touch-ups
  • Updates
  • Refinishing services
  • French polishing

Restaurant furniture might suffer from wear and tear due to the high volume of traffic at their establishment. Restaurants can save thousands of dollars by repairing and restoring damage to leather, vinyl, and plastic surfaces instead of replacing their furniture.

Some typical restaurant upholstery repairs might include replacing damaged, worn or outdated fabric coverings. This may include repairs to the leather covering, tufting or replacing failing or missing buttons.

Replacing sagging, uncomfortable or rotten foam. Repairs to the inner material may also include the replacement of springs, remodelling, or tightening frames and joints.

Barstool seats and backs often get damaged and need repairing. Dining chairs should be recovered when faded or torn. They also sometimes need to have their leg pressure redirected. This involves reducing the pressure on the back legs of hard wooden chairs.

Refurbishing of booths may also become necessary. You should not only focus on ensuring your customers are comfortable, but that they are safe as well. Your upholsterer should ensure they conform to health and safety regulations.

Fabrics and foams should comply with fire retardancy standards, especially as restaurants use cooking equipment.

Some companies also specialize in disaster restoration services. They recondition furniture damaged by fire, smoke or water.

These services can be done on-site and on your schedule which will limit any disruption to your business.

Reupholstering Vs. Purchasing

Reupholstering can be expensive, especially if you hire an experienced upholsterer. Hiring a qualified person will ensure that they provide a great reupholstering job. Make sure your furniture is worth reupholstering because restoring a cheap piece is a waste of money. 

If your furniture is older and sturdier, the initial expenditure spent on reupholstering it will eventually pay for itself. Your furniture will last until you're ready for another fabric change or it needs minor repairs.

This is important considering that you may have limited options when purchasing.  Purchasing may be cheaper, but the price may also reflect the quality of the item you purchase. Many pieces of modern furniture are mass-produced and may not stand the test of time.

This is just one of the many benefits of reupholstering.

Benefits of Reupholstering

The cost you save reupholstering can be put toward other items or equipment you may need at your restaurant. It also allows you to get exactly what you want. This includes fabric type, color and even altering the furniture's initial design without compromising the frame of the piece of furniture being reupholstered.

It's also a way to preserve items that are special to you or have a significant history, especially if the piece tells a story about your restaurant. Reupholstering not only restores but also adds value to an antique piece of furniture. No matter how old your furniture, it will look like new.

Reupholstering also helps the environment, as it is a form of recycling. It provides a great alternative to throwing out your old piece of furniture that will eventually end up in the landfill. 

Things You Should Look for When Choosing an Upholstery Service

Certain qualities can determine if an upholstery repair company can provide a good service. Here are a few things you should look for before hiring an upholstery company.

Experience -  Choose a company that has been in business for a long time and has skilled technicians with at least 10 years of experience. They will be better equipped to handle your project. Take a look at some of the company's previous work so you know their standard of quality. Choose a company that has a history of quality work and good reviews.

Service - Ensure the company specializes in the service you need. Not every upholsterer will provide services for commercial establishments. If they do, ensure they have a clear understanding of what you want for the furniture that is being reupholstered.

Cost - The lowest cost isn't always the best. Affordable rates should not mean compromised quality. However, the upholstery company should provide an estimate before working on the item. An experienced company can give you an accurate timeframe of how long the job will take. They should also be able to tell you if there will be any additional repair or parts needed and an overall cost of same.

Compare costs among various service providers and list the pros and cons of each include this list of qualities when comparing companies. 

The average cost to reupholster a dining room chair can range from $150 to $300 each.

The average cost to reupholster a bar stool can range from $50 to $500 each.

The average cost to reupholster a restaurant booth can range from $344 to $1,019.

Factors that may affect price include style, age, condition of the piece, and the amount and type of fabric to be used.

Guarantee - A good company will provide a guarantee for their work. They should let you know what you should use to clean or care for your newly reupholstered furniture. Before hiring a company, you should find out if they will guarantee their work or if they provide a warranty.

Research - Ask friends, family, colleagues or neighbors that may have used a re-upholstery service. If they haven't, review the company's website for customer testimonials or reviews. Look for stellar reviews. You can also use Google, Yelp, Angie's List, Better Business Bureau, and Facebook. Make a note of how they have responded to customer complaints in the past. They should try their best to address customer concerns. This shows they care.

Fabric stores, antique shops, and interior designers are also a great way of getting recommendations. You can also ask the company for references. Follow through by calling them to find out the experience they have had with the company.

Learn More About the Company - Part of your research should also include visiting the upholstery company's workshop. A company with a clean, well-maintained, organized shop reflects their attention to detail. You might also want to choose a shop that is close to your location for ease of delivery and ongoing consultations if required.

Terms and Conditions - Have a clear understanding of the company's terms and conditions. Do they provide contracts? Is a downpayment required? If the company requires that you sign a contract, review and sign it before to ensure you're comfortable with the terms, conditions, and costs. Also, ensure the contract outlines how the work will be done and the timeframe in which it will be done.

Consultation - A good upholstery company will have an in-depth consultation with you. Use photos to help them understand your vision. be specific and clear about your expectations. Ensure they know what you want and that they can recommend the best way they can provide it. Let them show you examples of similar pieces they have done. 

A Cost-Effective Option

Using an upholstery service is a cost-effective option for restaurants that need to have their furniture repaired, or simply want a fresh, new look.

It is important to choose a company that provides commercial upholstery services. Some may even have extensive experience refurbishing restaurant furniture such as booths and bar stools.

Richardson Seating Corp provides reupholstery services for restaurants and bars in Chicago. They specialize in refurbishing bar stools, chairs, tables and also have a variety of replacement parts. 

Contact us today so that we can make your restaurant look like new.

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