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How to Start Your Own Refurbishing Business

Bringing new life to something from the past – whether it’s a 1950s Harley-Davidson motorcycle or a mid-century media console – is not only a learned skill but an art. While some do it simply for the love of old things, many have found great joy (and big profit) in sharing their restored creations with the rest of the world with their own refurbishing business.

Have you always wanted to sell your restored wares, but don’t know where to start? Whether you repair vintage cars and motorcycles, refurbish antique furniture, or build large art pieces with upcycled finds, here we take a look at the four major steps in starting and successfully running your own refurbishing or restoration business.

Need an easy, affordable shipping solution for your refurbishing business? Get instant, competitive quotes from feedback-rated carriers who deliver nationwide. 


Unlike other small businesses that can be run from a home office or kitchen table, restoration businesses take space…and lots of it. Ideally, your own backyard or garage is big enough to build and store your renewed wares. But what about those who live in apartments (or who need their garage and outdoor space for their intended purposes)?

restoration businesses on instagramA look inside the workshop of Echo Peak Design (left) and Pinhead Metalkraft (right).

If you don’t have access to a garage or backyard (or if the zoning laws in your area won’t allow you to run a business in a residential area), there are still plenty of online options that offer flexible and affordable space to rent. A quick search for “studio space” or “DIY workshop” in your local area is a great place to start.

For auto enthusiasts, Garagetime makes it easy to rent garage space, lifts, and specialty tools locally. Additionally, Neighbor is a perfect resource for those who need to store project cars, furniture, and other business inventory right in their own neighborhood.


When it comes to sourcing materials for restoration projects, especially for a refurbishing business, keeping costs down and protecting your profit margin is critical. For this reason, most restorers decide to source locally from junkyards, garage sales, and flea markets. But this method can be limiting, especially when there are so many incredible pieces and parts up for grabs across the country.

Expanding your location search on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist can be a great way to find cheap and free materials. And if the perfect credenza, engine, or barber chair is a few states over, simply use uShip to find a transporter going through the area who can pick up your item and deliver it right to you.

Facebook marketplace itemsPictured: Facebook Marketplace is a great place to find cheap (and sometimes free) furniture, auto parts, and other large oddities locally and nationwide.

For auto restorers hunting for very specific parts that can’t be found at the local junkyard, eBay Motors is an extremely convenient resource where one can sort through and buy car or motorcycle parts from sellers across the country. Need to ship an engine or transmission? We can help with that too.

Looking for auto parts for your next restoration project? Find all the engines, transmissions, and gear you need on eBay Motors, then have it shipped with uShip.


Once you have your finished product, the next step is getting in front of buyers. There’s no denying that the best place to do this is online. Not only will selling online allow you to reach tons of potential buyers, but it also gives you a digital storefront that’s open 24/7. Talk about making money in your sleep.

Top Places to Sell Refinished Goods Online:

refurbished furniture and truckReloved Home Designs on Etsy (left) and a restored Ford F-100 on eBay Motors (right). 

Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest are all great social platforms for getting your items in front of a wider audience. Established sites like Etsy and eBay are ideal for sellers looking to quickly list and make sales. The right selling strategy will depend on your business goal, but having a presence on multiple sites is recommended for maximum exposure.

See how one Etsy seller turned her struggling storefront into a successful online business with the help of uShip. Read Amanda’s story


Once you’ve found a buyer, you’ll need a way to safely ship the finished product at the best rate.  It can be hard for small businesses to find competitive shipping rates, but uShip makes it easy to get instant pricing from carriers who deliver nationwide.

uShip carrier (Ian Second Chances Transport) on Twitter The best part? With thousands of feedback-rated carriers on uShip, it’s easy to find a transporter who not only has experience transporting your restored items, but also has a passion for what they’re shipping. And, really, isn’t connecting with fellow enthusiasts the real reason you got into this business?

Are you looking for a fast, affordable, and secure way to ship your refurbished or restored items to buyers nationwide? Access instant shipping estimates and affordable rates from uShip’s network of feedback-rated carriers today.