Tips and Procedures
Learn how to restore appliances to the appearance and function they had when new.

Starting a Small Business


Major appliances are a necessity that will last for many decades to come. Providing the machines and servicing them is a good business opportunity in all communities, big or small.

The author has been running a small family-operated appliance leasing and service business for over 15 years and has noticed the following interesting trends:

  • Most potential appliance service and leasing customers would prefer to conduct business in the evenings or on weekends when they are home from work.
  • Many customers are looking for a small business owner that lives in their community that can take care of their appliances much like a family doctor.
    • Referred to by a friend
    • Same business number telephone exchange as their home number
    • Good reputation in the community
  • Customers appreciate:
    • Low prices for used appliance sales, leasing or service
    • The business standing behind appliances sold or leased or any service work
    • Technical discussion on what is wrong with their machines and what you are doing to fix them (even though they may not understand all of what you are saying)
    • Advice on what new appliances to buy based on your repair experiences

Check Mark Conclusion: A small home-based business can be started based on used appliances. If you enjoy working with machinery and fixing things around the house, read on. Mastering the repair and restoration of major appliances can lead to any of, or all three of the following small businesses:

  1. Used Appliance Resale
  2. Used Appliance Leasing
  3. Servicing Major Appliances

A logical sequence would start with restoring refrigerators and sets of washers and dryers to build your skills. Sell appliances from the lower half of your inventory until you have a collection of machines that would be suitable for leasing. Lease appliances for several years and then add servicing once you feel confident that you can repair nearly all of the problems that you could encounter in the field.

Start up costs can be kept very low for these businesses. Resource management information will be provided to help you efficiently manage your overhead costs.

Used Appliance Resale

A part time business can be started in your garage to restore used appliances for resale. You can start with external restoration (cabinets and consoles) and later, go for total restoration including internal components. Sell the appliances via the classified ads in your local paper. Soon your community will realize that you are in the appliance resale business (hopefully for the right reasons) and they will ask you to come and pick up their old appliances instead of sending them to the land fill or junk yard.

Appliance Leasing

Leasing used appliances reduces financial risk because you have less invested in the machines. You will depend on your restoration skills to present appliances to your potential lease customers that have the appearance and reliability of new machines at a fraction of the cost. Customers are willing to accept the used machines when you offer free maintenance during the lease. Personal computers are very helpful for inventory management, generating statements and general ledger accounting. Appliance leasing makes a good family operated business or a sole proprietorship business for evenings and weekends and allows you to keep your "day" job.

Servicing Major Appliances

After you have mastered the repair procedures for the appliances in this Web site, you are ready to start working on other people's machines. Restoring appliances for resale or leasing will provide good experience for repairing them in the field. Consider practicing on your friend's and neighbor's machines at first. When you have confidence that you can be successful at most jobs that come your way, hang out your shingle and start your own service business.

Facilities and Equipment

The following basic resources will get you started:

If you grow into appliance leasing, the following additional resources will be required:

Appliance Alliance

This Web site will act as the focal communications media for an alliance of small business owners (or aspiring owners) dealing in major appliances