Tips for finding upholsterers

By John North

Whether you’re looking to repair a couch, chair or something as simple as drapes, finding a good upholsterer can be challenging and frustrating. With more than 23,000 upholstery shops nationally, your Better Business Bureau can help you pick a reputable one.

So what is an upholsterer? An upholsterer refinishes, repairs, restores and reupholsters furniture and many other items. Upholstery entails providing furniture, especially seats, with padding, springs, webbing and fabric or leather covers. Upholsterers offer on-site and/or in-store furniture reupholster and repair services.

Over the last year, your BBB recorded almost 73,000 inquiries about upholsterers across North America. Locally, almost 1,100 inquiries were recorded about this industry.

When choosing an upholsterer, your BBB offers these tips:

• Do your research. Get recommendations from friends and family. If they’re pleased with the upholsterers they use, most likely you will be, too. Also, check with fabric stores, antique shops and interior designers. They may be able to provide you with a list of trustworthy and reliable upholsterers.

• Visit and compare several upholstery shops. Check prices and don’t settle for the lowest price. The lowest price may mean poor quality and service.

• Find out how long the upholsterer has been in business.

• Make sure the upholstery shop is clean and well-maintained. A shop that’s organized and clean will most likely pay more attention to detail when it comes to your item.

• Look for an upholsterer that invests in high quality equipment. As a customer, you want to get the best service/product.

• Ask for references and call them. While at the shop, ask to see some of the work that’s been completed or is currently being worked on.

• Keep location in mind. Find one close to home, work or school.

• Get everything in writing.

• Be clear and specific about your expectations and requirements. Be sure to show the upholsterer pictures of what you want done or explain to him or her in detail.

• Ask about warranties and guarantees.

Remember, factors that can affect repair costs are style, age and the condition of your piece, as well as the amount and type of fabric to be used.

If you have any questions regarding upholsterers, you can always get help from your BBB, such as a list of BBB accredited upholsterers and business reviews of ones you’re considering. For more information, visit or call 800-776-5301.

By John North

John North is president/CEO of the Better Business Bureau in Dayton.

John North is president/CEO of the Better Business Bureau in Dayton.