What does Upholsterers Do?
An upholsterer is a skill tradesman that specializes in creating coverings for furniture and seats in vehicles. They work with their hands to shape fabrics of all sorts to suit a variety of purposes. Oftentimes these covers may be simply utilitarian in nature. Other jobs may require adding decorative elements that improve the aesthetic appeal.
Upholsterers Skills and Abilities
This job requires a strong aptitude for working with your hands. You will need to learn to measure and cut accurately and also how to join fabrics together. The fabrics you will be working with have different properties, and knowing the appropriate material to use in each application is also necessary. You must be able to create seams using industrial sewing techniques, and you will need to be able to work with adhesives and fasteners of all sorts. You will also need standard business skills. Interacting with clients requires some customer service abilities. You must understand pricing and material sourcing, and you will also have to follow billing procedures and charge the appropriate taxes for your work.
All upholsterers fit and install the fabrics they work with onto the frames of seats and other objects. The two most common types of upholsterers work with standard household furniture or with vehicle interiors. Job duties depend on the type of work you will do. In a furniture shop, the wooden frames may require you to reshape or reinforce them. You may also need to create completely new frames. You will need to install covers that match the interior design objectives of your clients. Communication is critical in determining the color and texture of fabrics to be used. If you are working with vehicle interiors, the disassembly of the vehicle interior is required. The material you select for your coverings will need to match the rest of the vehicle, and you will need to be able to reinstall everything again once the job is complete.
Upholsterers Tools and Technology
Standard hand tools are essential. These can be wood working tools for modifying furniture frames or automotive tools for removing and installing interior pieces. Expect to stock your tool box with plenty of saws, hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches and sockets.Specialty tools allow you to focus on the specific tasks related to the fabrics. Industrial sewing machines are needed to create high quality stitches. Specialty pliers allow you work with fasteners that hold your fabrics together. You will also need cutting and measuring tools for creating the shapes in the fabrics.Most shops also rely on standard business software. Online inventories keep your supplies organized, and most need accounting tools to manage finances. Effective marketing requires an internet presence and an attractive website. Some more sophisticated businesses make use of computer aided drafting and design software.
Education and Training for Upholsterers
A high school diploma is all that is required to enter this field. A good attitude and strong work ethic is usually all that is necessary to be successful. Most upholsterers learn their trade through work experience. As your competency improves, expect more work opportunities.
The median annual wage for these professionals is about $31,900 nationwide. Top earners make upwards of $50,000 a year, but you should expect much lower wages throughout your apprenticeship. On the lower end of the pay scale, new hires earn a mere $19,900 annually.
Upholsterers Jobs by Geography
This is a stable industry with steady employment and work opportunities across the country. More will be found in urban centers where work is more common. In areas where severe weather causes damages, their skills will be in higher demand. On the west and east coasts, the northern states offer the best job opportunities. Washington and states in the New England area have a higher need, and upholsterers are paid more for their work. Good opportunities exist in Illinois and North Carolina as well.