Industry sector: Consumer services

Furniture restorer: Cash sales

'Cash sales' means all income from your main business activity which is received at the time of sale. While some of your customers may pay you in cash, remember that Cash sales can also include:

  • cheques if you accept them
  • debit and credit card payments
  • PayPal and other electronic payments - perhaps if you sell your own restored and recrafted (made from reclaimed materials) items on eBay

To prepare your cash flow, you need to estimate how much income you will receive over the next 12 months, including VAT. To do this you will need to work out how many pieces of furniture and other items you are likely to work on, how much you will charge, and when you will receive the money. You will also need to decide on any services you will offer and what you will charge for them (for example valuations for probate or insurance purposes).

There are a number of things to consider when you make your estimates.

Type of business

Think about the type of business you want to run:

  • who will your customers be - for example members of the public, amateur collectors, heritage organisations, businesses such as antique dealers and auction houses
  • where will your workshop be
  • will you have a retail area - perhaps for selling items that you have purchased and restored on your own account - and/or sell items online
  • will you offer a collection and delivery service

Your services

Will you offer both restoration and conservation services? (Restoration aims to restore an item to as close to its original state as possible - for example replacing a missing chair leg or piece of carving. Conservation aims to repair any damage and halt any deterioration in an item and to treat it so that its life is prolonged.)

What range of furniture or other items are you planning to work on? You might decide to offer restoration and conservation services for a wide range of different types of antique. Or you might specialise in, for example, furniture needing veneer and marquetry repair or replacement.

Will you subcontract out any work which you don't undertake yourself? For example, you might not be skilled in upholstery work but can use the services of an experienced local craftsman or woman.

Your materials

Where will you obtain your materials from? If you plan to work as a conservator-restorer you will be using old wood and other materials as much as possible so as to maintain the integrity of the object (the British Antique Furniture Restorers' Association insists that members use old materials in their work). These can be both difficult to track down and very expensive. You will also need to think about storage space - many restorers keep stocks of old furniture to break up so that the wood and other elements can be re-used.


Give some thought to how you'll work out your prices:

  • what will your pricing policy be (you must at least be able to cover your costs, overheads and drawings)
  • will you offer discounts, for example to regular customers such as antique dealers, stately homes or museums
  • will you offer credit

To help with your decisions, click on the checkpoints for guidance. Once you have worked out a Cash sales figure add it to the relevant field in your cash flow forecast.