Regardless of the quality of your furniture, it loses its aesthetic appeal or even gets damaged over time. These damages can be from liquid spills, children, pets, or even normal wear and tear. When this happens, your DIY attempts to fix the furniture may not only worsen the damage but result in some long-term injuries.
Furniture repair typically requires the use of chemicals and handheld tools, which pose a high risk of injury if handled improperly. Such injuries include respiratory issues due to exposure to toxic chemicals and wood dusts, and various disabilities involving majorly the loss of one or multiple fingers. Fingers are involved in more than 90% of the non-occupational amputations. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reports that emergency rooms perform more than 10,000 work-related finger amputations annually.
Therefore, employing the services of a professional furniture repair contractor near you may not only save you the cost of replacing your furniture but also reduce the chances of you becoming an injury statistic. To determine that a furniture finisher nearby is qualified to handle your repairs, obtain answer to the following questions:
Are You a Licensed Furniture Repair Contractor?
There are no specific state-level licensing requirements for furniture repair contractors. However, some states require contractors to obtain a general contractor's license once the total value of a project exceeds a particular amount. For example, in California, a contractor must obtain a state-issued license for any paid work that costs more than $500. In North Dakota, a license must be obtained for the alteration or repair of any real or personal property that is to be sold or rented if the repair costs more than $4,000. On the other hand, states like Illinois, Missouri, and Colorado generally leave licensing to local governments. As such, even though furniture repair contractors do not need to obtain a state-level license in these areas, they may be required to obtain a local-level license before they can ply their trade in some of these states' counties, cities, and municipalities.
As such, before you hire a furniture repair contractor near you, it is advisable that you find out whether there are any specific licensing requirements for your locality. You can do this by contacting the consumer protection agency that is responsible for your state of residence. If your area requires furniture repair contractors to be licensed, you can confirm the validity of your contractor's license through the National Association of Contractors Licensing Agencies' licensing information website.
Are You a Bonded and Insured Furniture Repair Contractor?
In 2019, a worker died from a work-related injury every 99 minutes. Injuries in the workplace are an unfortunate reality, and even the most professional furniture repair contractors are prone to them. Data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that upholsterers and furniture finishers reported a combined total of 440 nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in 2019. These injuries typically include cuts, lacerations, abrasions, and eye injuries, and they are usually caused by hand tools. It is estimated that hand tools are involved in 8% of all workplace compensable injuries. Given these statistics, the importance of hiring an insured and bonded furniture repair contractor cannot be overstated. Hiring an insured furniture repair contractor means that you cannot be held liable for any injuries that the contractor may incur while fixing your furniture. If your contractor is not only insured but is bonded too, then you will also be properly compensated if your furniture is not repaired per the terms of any agreement reached between you and the contractor.
Before hiring a furniture repair contractor near you, request copies of the contractor's insurance and bonding certificates. Make sure that the insurance plans include workers' compensation and general liability, and that the bond is enough to cover the cost of your project. You should also contact your local consumer protection agency to find out whether there are any other insurance and bonding requirements that must be met by furniture repair contractors in your area.
What Kind of Work Are You Specialized In?
Furniture repair can be done through various methods, which include:
- Furniture Restoration: this usually involves light cleaning and cosmetic repairs on the furniture, in a way that its structural integrity, value, and outer appearance are still maintained.
- Furniture Refinishing: this involves stripping the current finish on the furniture and applying a new one. This type of repair can be done on different types of materials and surfaces, like wood, glass, metal, paint, and plastic. However, it has to be done carefully, especially if a chemical stripper is used, otherwise, the furniture can lose its value. Refinishing generally requires more expertise than restoration
- Furniture Recovering: furniture recovering simply involves either putting new fabric over the furniture's old fabric or completely replacing this outer fabric without touching any of the furniture's internal components
- Furniture Reupholstering: furniture reupholstering involves completely tearing down the furniture and replacing every single damaged part. This may include the furniture's fabric, padding, frame, springs, cushions, and any other damaged parts.
Always make sure that the furniture repair contractor nearby you intend to hire is experienced enough to perform the type of repair that your furniture needs. Even though many professional furniture repair contractors are capable of performing each of these types of furniture repair, it never hurts to confirm this from your contractor.
Who Will Do the Work?
Furniture repair contractors generally learn on the job. As such, there is always the possibility of your furniture repair contractor having at least one apprentice. Always ask your contractor whether these apprentices' involvement in your repair job will perform any actual work. Make sure that any apprentice that is actively involved in fixing your furniture is properly insured and bonded.
Do You Offer a Warranty?
When you hire a professional furniture repair contractor, you are typically offered a workmanship warranty. This warranty is a guarantee that your furniture was properly repaired, and it assures you that your repaired furniture will serve its intended function for a specified period without any problems. Note that warranties typically have terms and conditions that must be adhered to, otherwise they can be voided. Therefore, when you ask your furniture repair contractor whether you will be offered a warranty on the job, it is also a good idea to ask whether this warranty will be issued in writing.
Will This Job Require a Permit?
Furniture repair work does not significantly alter the footprint or structure of your home and therefore it does not generally require a permit. Nevertheless, because local governments are responsible for setting permit requirements, it is always a good idea to contact the local building department office near you to find out whether you need to obtain a furniture repair permit in your locality.
Will You Provide References?
One of the ways you can differentiate between a qualified furniture repair contractor and an unqualified one is the contractor's willingness to provide you with references. A professional furniture repair contractor will readily provide you with at least three references as well as â€œbefore and afterâ€ pictures of furniture that they have repaired. You can also utilize third-party websites like Better Business Bureau and Google Review to get reviews and opinions on your furniture repair contractor.
Do You Have a Business License?
Before a furniture repair contractor near you can legally conduct business, this contractor must have a valid government-issued business license. This license indicates that the contractor's business is not only officially recognized by the relevant governmental authorities, it is also authorized to operate in that government's jurisdiction. Furniture repair contractors typically either own or work for a category of businesses that are referred to as small businesses and these types of businesses account for approximately 47.3% of all United States employees.
Always make sure that your furniture repair contractor has a valid business license. You can contact your state of residence's Office of the Secretary of State to find out the specific business licensing requirements for contractors in your area. This office can also help you verify the validity of your furniture repair contractor's business license.Â
What Are Common Furniture Problems?
Some of the most common furniture problems that can be fixed by a professional furniture repair contractor are:
- Faulty drawers
- Loose and wobbly chairs
- Scratches and stains
- Uneven tables
- Stripped screws
- Loose veneer
- Fabric wrinkling
- Fading leather/fabric
- Busted handles
- Insect damage
How Much Does Furniture Repair Cost?
The cost of fixing your damaged furniture generally depends on the extent of its damage. The average cost of furniture repair in the United States is $300 - $500, however, you can end up paying as low as $100 or as high as $800. Some common furniture repair cost estimates are:
What Are the Factors That Affect the Cost of Furniture Repair?
The extent of damage to your furniture and the type of repair required are the factors that affect the cost of furniture repair. These factors determine the amount of materials that will be needed for the repair and the amount of time your furniture repair contractor will spend on the job. Cosmetic repairs like buffing out scratches or fixing a wobbly chair leg do not require a lot of material and will therefore cost you less than refinishing or reupholstering, which usually requires materials like strippers and fabric.
What Qualifications Should Furniture Repair Contractors Have?
Although furniture repair does not have any mandatory educational requirements, furniture repair contractors typically have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Some of them also further their education by taking wood technology and furniture design and manufacturing courses at technical schools and community colleges. Furniture repair contractors generally improve their skills through on-the-job training at the hands of more experienced contractors. Some professional furniture repair contractors also obtain professional certifications from trade associations like the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are currently about 16,220 furniture finishers and 29,420 upholsterers employed in the United States.
Do You Need a Handyman or a Furniture Repair Contractor?
Although you may be tempted to hire any handyman near you to fix your furniture so as to save costs, you should always hire a professional furniture repair contractor for the job. Furniture repair has to be done precisely and with expertise, otherwise, your furniture could end up worse than it initially was. Handymen do not have the training necessary for this, while professional furniture repair contractors do. Therefore, you should always hire a professional furniture repair contractor to fix your damaged furniture, especially if it is an antique or if it has sentimental value to you.
What Are Common Post Furniture Repair Expenses?
Furniture repair does not typically have any post-repair costs. The cost of any materials needed for the job or for disposing of any debris that may be generated by the job is usually calculated into the total cost of these repairs. However, if your contractor determines that the extent of the damage to your furniture is too much, you may have to replace it. The cost of getting new furniture generally depends on the type of furniture that needs replacing and also on your personal taste.
Does Homeowner Insurance Cover Furniture Repair Expenses?
Your homeowner's insurance will only pay for your furniture repair if your furniture was damaged by a peril that it covers. Common examples of covered perils are fires, lightning strikes, water damage, wind and hail damage, theft, and even falling trees. According to the Insurance Information Institute, 5.7% of all insured homes in the United States filed an insurance claim in 2018, and more than 98% of these claims were as a result of property damage. Note that homeowners' insurance policies typically only cover sudden and unexpected damages. Therefore, if it is determined that the damage to your furniture does not belong to this category, it is very likely that your homeowner's insurance will not cover the cost of fixing it. In light of this, you should always go through the fine print of a homeowner's insurance policy before you pay for it. This way, you have a clear idea of the types of perils that the insurance company covers, and the circumstances under which it will pay for any damages to your home and property.
Can I Use Digital Payment to Pay My Furniture Repair Contractor?
Like many small businesses, furniture repair contractors near you would accept digital payments because they are considerably more convenient, faster, and more secure than physical methods of payment. Nevertheless, you should always confirm that your contractor is ok with this form of payment. If your furniture repair contractor prefers cash payments, then you should always collect and document a receipt of payment.