What Does An Upholsterer Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

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Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Upholsterers

Upholsterers make, repair, or replace upholstery for household furniture or transportation vehicles.

Salary
$37870
Becoming One
Easy
Education
No degree required
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth
Low

Personality





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Upholsterers make, repair, or replace upholstery for household furniture or transportation vehicles.

  • Fit, install, and secure material on frames, using hand tools, power tools, glue, cement, or staples.
  • Measure and cut new covering materials, using patterns and measuring and cutting instruments, following sketches and design specifications.
  • Build furniture up with loose fiber stuffing, cotton, felt, or foam padding to form smooth, rounded surfaces.
  • Make, restore, or create custom upholstered furniture, using hand tools and knowledge of fabrics and upholstery methods.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Upholsterers draw cutting lines on material following patterns, templates, sketches, or blueprints, using chalk, pencils, paint, or other methods. They fit, install, and secure material on frames, using hand tools, power tools, glue, cement, or staples.

A typical day for an Upholsterer will also include:

  • Discuss upholstery fabrics, colors, and styles with customers, and provide cost estimates.
  • Build furniture up with loose fiber stuffing, cotton, felt, or foam padding to form smooth, rounded surfaces.
  • Measure and cut new covering materials, using patterns and measuring and cutting instruments, following sketches and design specifications.
  • Stretch webbing and fabric, using webbing stretchers.
  • Make, restore, or create custom upholstered furniture, using hand tools and knowledge of fabrics and upholstery methods.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Upholsterers also pick up and deliver furniture. They may also collaborate with interior designers to decorate rooms and coordinate furnishing fabrics.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Upholsterers adjust or replace webbing, padding, or springs, and secure them in place. They might also maintain records of the time required to perform each job.

In addition, they discuss upholstery fabrics, colors, and styles with customers, and provide cost estimates.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them remove the covering, webbing, padding, or defective springs from workpieces, using hand tools such as hammers and tack pullers.

To some Upholsterers, it is also their responsibility to sew rips or tears in material or create tufting, using needles and thread.

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What is the job like

Job satisfaction

High

Is this job meaningful

Average

71% said they were satisfied with their job and 52% said they found their job meaningful.


Jo Griffiths
BJ Upholstery

Hard graft! Planning and organising the smoothest way to complete a job is always on your mind. As every job is unique you do have to mentally plan the process to make your day efficient. There are many different aspects to reupholstery. These can include; cutting, sewing, ripping out, measuring, designing, upholstering with staples or tacks. Finishing with trim wrapping and shipping back to the customer.

Pros

One of the biggest pros of my job is that I get to undertake creative and rewarding work every day. Upholstery is such a practical job that I will rarely find myself repeating the same tasks each day and my work gets to stay fresh. Having such creative control over what we do allows us to really develop our own unique styles that we can embed into the work we do for our customers. The fact that no two pieces of furniture are ever the same allows me to always find new challenges and work with new materials, further expanding my knowledge, experience, and skillset.

Cons

Often I can be working long days, especially when we have a high number of customer orders or when we are working to a tight deadline to have a project finished for a specific customer. These days can also feel longer due to the amount of practical work that’s involved in our industry. Moving furniture, finishing wood and other practical tasks can be incredibly energy consuming. Though as a whole, seeing the end result and bringing a smile to faces of the customer is the ultimate reward for this hard work.

Advice to students wanting to work in Upholstery

Apply yourself practically! Often it can be the case that upholsters will focus on certain areas of the trade and neglect others. One such area is Sewing, many in our industry will commission other people to sew for them, but I would stress that in order to be adaptable to any type of project you need to be somewhat of a practical all-rounder. From sewing and pattern matching to having good woodwork skills, the practical elements of the trade are the skills most useful. After all, these are what will define the quality of your work. If you do not possess a great skill set then you will be limited in what you can do which will encourage customers to use other upholsterers for their furniture.

Aside from the practical there is a more academic element that should be focused on when training to be an upholsterer. This is mathematics and perhaps more specifically, angles and measurement.. When working to restore furniture there are a whole host of reasons that this is important. Without this key knowledge, you could easily find yourself wasting materials in an attempt to get fabric cuts and wooden joins correct. As a whole, if you apply this knowledge when honing your practical technique you will almost certainly be able to develop into an all-round upholsterer that can deliver high quality results to your customers.


Pros

Suitable for people who like practical and hands-on work.

Suitable for people who want to work in a supportive work environment.

It is easy to get into this career. Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required to get started.

Normal working hours (40 hours per week).

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to help and teach others.

One of the lowest paying jobs.

How much do they make

Average salary

$37870 per year

Average hourly wage

$18 per hour

Entry-level Upholsterers with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $23,590 to $28,920 per year or $11 to $14 per hour.

Salary by experience Annual Hourly
Highest (Top 10%) $54,630 $26
Senior (Top 25%) $44,970 $22
Median $36,250 $17
Junior (Bottom 25%) $28,920 $14
No experience (Bottom 10%) $23,590 $11

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Upholsterers based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Local Government $79000 $37.98
Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing $57280 $27.54
Traveler Accommodation $44990 $21.63
Other Motor Vehicle Dealers $43870 $21.09
Specialized Design Services $42730 $20.54
Support Activities for Air Transportation $40440 $19.44
Motor Vehicle Body and Trailer Manufacturing $39680 $19.08
Truck Transportation $39320 $18.90
Ship and Boat Building $38610 $18.56
Management of Companies and Enterprises $38370 $18.45

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Upholsterers work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Upholsterers including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
Furniture and Related Product Manufacturing 12180 $38020 $18.28
Personal and Household Goods Repair and Maintenance 5620 $37740 $18.15
Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturing 1830 $36330 $17.47
Automotive Repair and Maintenance 1330 $37650 $18.10
Ship and Boat Building 980 $38610 $18.56
Other Furniture Related Product Manufacturing 490 $34130 $16.41
Employment Services 350 $30940 $14.88
Other Miscellaneous Manufacturing 340 $34680 $16.67
Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing 320 $57280 $27.54
Textile Furnishings Mills 310 $35740 $17.18

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
17%

40 hours
61%

More than 40 hours
22%

Working schedule

89%

0%

11%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
0%

Every day
0%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
0%

Every day
20%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
22%

Every day
48%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
74%

Once a year
14%

Once a month
4%

Once a week
0%

Every day
8%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
4%

Slightly competitive
8%

Moderately competitive
35%

Highly competitive
19%

Extremely competitive
34%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
26%

Once a year or more
12%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
62%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
52%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
10%

Once a week or more
16%

Every day
22%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
80%

Once a year or more
20%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
80%

Once a year or more
20%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Easy
You may need some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience. Most careers in this difficulty category usually don’t require a degree. However, you will need a few months of on-the-job training with experienced employees. Similar careers include Customer Service Representatives, Security Guards, and Bank Tellers.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
44%

High School Diploma or equivalent
56%

Post-Secondary Certificate
0%

Some College Courses
0%

Associate’s Degree or similar
0%

Bachelor’s Degree
0%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
0%

Master’s Degree
0%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
0%

Doctoral Degree
0%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant majors

Upholstery/Upholsterer

A program that prepares individuals to apply technical knowledge and skills to install springs, filling, padding, covering and finishing on items such as furniture, automobile seats, caskets, mattresses, and bedsprings.

Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
10%

1 month
10%

1 to 3 months
0%

3 to 6 months
13%

6 months to 1 year
0%

1 to 2 years
49%

2 to 4 years
0%

4 to 6 years
15%

6 to 8 years
0%

8 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
3%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
12%

1 month
33%

1 to 3 months
15%

3 to 6 months
3%

6 months to 1 year
22%

1 to 2 years
0%

2 to 4 years
8%

4 to 10 years
8%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Builder

People with this personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

The Builder
95%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
14%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
24%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
14%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
33%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
29%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

They also like starting up and carrying out projects. They like leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk-taking and often deal with business.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
48%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
48%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
33%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
48%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
62%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
48%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ


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