How to Start a Wallpaper Business

Wallpaper businesses specialize in selling and installing wallpaper and other wall treatments for customers.

Ready to form your LLC? Check out the Top LLC Formation Services.

Learn how to start your own Wallpaper Business and whether it is the right fit for you.

Start a wallpaper business by following these 10 steps:

You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your wallpaper business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.

Check out our How to Start a Business page.

STEP 1: Plan your business

A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:

Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.

What are the costs involved in opening a wallpaper business?

You should usually start out by securing all of the legal business creation paperwork (LLC, etc), state and local licensing, and business insurance. If you plan on having an installation team, you’ll need to check out contractor licensing as well.

A wallpaper business will need a storefront and warehouse space for a showroom and storage. Rent and utilities will also contribute to upfront expenses. You can also include phone, internet, and website creation and hosting for your business in your upfront costs.

Next, you’ll need to stock your business with the wallpaper and accessories to have on hand. You can start with a modest order and always order more as needed.

Finally, prepare to spend money on advertising, especially at the start. You’ll need to really circulate your business’s name. If people don’t know you exist, you’re destined for a dead end.

What are the ongoing expenses for a wallpaper business?

A wallpaper business’s restock costs and rent/mortgage on the building will be some of the most substantial ongoing costs. Phone, internet, utilities, and advertising will also factor into ongoing costs. Business insurance for your company, as well as your staff, and salaries will round out the continued costs.

Who is the target market?

Since you’re selling wallpaper and other wall decorations and accents, your target audience may vary. Wallpaper installers will frequent your store once they know they can get specialty designs at competitive prices. Your other target group will be the DIY enthusiasts who are looking for more options than what’s offered at a generic store.

How does a wallpaper business make money?

Wallpaper businesses make money from the wallpaper and wallpaper materials they sell, as well as installation jobs, if offered.

How much can you charge customers?

Wallpaper costs can range quite a bit from dollars per square foot to over $100 for special wallpaper designs and materials. If your business also performs installs, the national average for wallpaper installs falls around $6 per sq. ft.

How much profit can a wallpaper business make?

Wallpaper costs can range quite a bit from dollars per square foot to over $100 for special wallpaper designs and materials. If your business also performs installs, the national average for wallpaper installs falls around $6 per sq. ft.

How can you make your business more profitable?

Wallpaper costs can range quite a bit from dollars per square foot to over $100 for special wallpaper designs and materials. If your business also performs installs, the national average for wallpaper installs falls around $6 per sq. ft.

What will you name your business?

Choosing the right name is very important. Read our detailed guide on how to name your business. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.

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STEP 2: Form a legal entity

The most common business structure types are the sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation.

Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your wallpaper business is sued.

Form Your LLC

Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC

Have a Professional Service Form your LLC for You

Two such reliable services:

You can start an LLC yourself and pay only the minimal state LLC costs or hire one of the Best LLC Services for a small, additional fee.

Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.

STEP 3: Register for taxes

You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.

In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!

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You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.

Learn how to get an EIN in our What is an EIN guide or find your existing EIN using our EIN lookup guide.

Small Business Taxes

Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).

You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:

There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.

STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card

Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.

Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.

Open a business bank account

  • This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
  • It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
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Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.

Open net-30 accounts

When it comes to establishing your business credit, net-30 vendors are considered the way to go. The term "net-30," which is popular among vendors, refers to a business credit arrangement where the company pays the vendor within 30 days of receiving goods or services.

Net-30 credit terms are often used for businesses that need to obtain inventory quickly but do not have the cash on hand.

Besides establishing business relationships with vendors, net-30 credit accounts get reported to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.

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Recommended: Read our guide on the best net-30 vendors so you can start building business credit now, so you never have to worry about cash flow in the future. Keep in mind that poor cash flow is the #1 reason businesses fail!

Get a business credit card

  • This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
  • It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.

STEP 5: Set up business accounting

Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.

STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses

Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.

STEP 7: Get business insurance

Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.

There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.

Learn more about General Liability Insurance.

Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.

STEP 8: Define your brand

Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.

If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
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Recommended: Get a logo using Truic's free logo Generator no email or sign up required, or use a Premium Logo Maker.

How to promote & market a wallpaper business

Wallpaper businesses need to tap into a specific market. Utilize all of the traditional advertising methods you can when first starting out.

Then, as you get to know your initial customers, ask about how they found you. Advertise in the publications and forums your customers read and are part of. Consider trade magazines and style/design magazines.

Use social media to show off your style ideas. Many customers will be interested in what you have to offer based on the pictures you post. And, always promote your website, both online and in print. Allowing customers to pre-shop on your website is more likely to generate actual sales.

How to keep customers coming back

Given the special nature of your business, you’ll probably have some repeat and frequent customers. Let them know early and often how important they are. Offer rebates on large orders. Or, set up a frequent buyer’s reward option.

Even free items, such as shirts, can foster loyalty among your customers. Word-of-mouth recommendations will also drive more customers to your door.

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Still unsure about what kind of business you want to start? Check out the latest Small Business Trends to help inspire you.

STEP 9: Create your business website

After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.

While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.

Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:

  • All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
  • Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
  • Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.

Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.

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Recommended: Get started today using our recommended website builder or check out our review of the Best Website Builders.

Other popular website builders are: WordPress, WIX, Weebly, Squarespace, and Shopify.

STEP 10: Set up your business phone system

Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.

There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use.

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Recommended: Find the best phone system for your business; check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2021.

Start A Wallpaper Business In Your State

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Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.

Is this Business Right For You?

A wallpaper business owner should have experience in selling and installing wallpaper, customer service, and small business management. A good store owner should also have a keen eye for art and style and even graphic design.

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Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?

Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!

Entrepreneurship Quiz

What happens during a typical day at a wallpaper business?

Wallpaper businesses spend most days selling and ordering wallpaper and related materials. Customers will visit your showroom to see what styles are available and to place orders or buy in-stock materials.

Contractors and remodeling professionals will probably know what they want, but they may need assistance with special orders.

If you offer installations through your store, you’ll be setting up material orders and staging future jobs for your installers.

What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful wallpaper business?

Wallpaper businesses attract homeowners looking to transform their homes and professional remodelers who are looking to satisfy their customers’ needs. Your job will be to work with both. Your communication and customer service skills will be utilized regularly. Make sure you are knowledgeable about the products you sell.

Ideally, you will have experience installing wallpaper. Your personal experiences using various wallpaper products will translate well in diagnosing the right products for each person’s specific wallpaper job.

You should also have some knowledge or experience running a small business. Business management is a skill you’ll want to hone. Properly managing your money, supplies, and people is critical for long-term success.

What is the growth potential for a wallpaper business?

Wallpaper, as a home decor medium, is still popular and often used in homes throughout the world. Unique patterns and styles are available to transform home interiors within a few hours. With homeowners implementing many different styles of design for their homes, wallpaper provides an excellent backdrop. Although trends ebb and flow, wallpapering should continue to be a popular option, and a wallpaper business can succeed and grow with the right business plan.

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Take the Next Step

Find a business mentor

One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.

Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.

Learn from other business owners

Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.

Resources to Help Women in Business

There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:

  • Funding
  • Events
  • Guides
  • Support

If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.

What are some insider tips for jump starting a wallpaper business?

A wallpaper business can offer greater selection and personalized service to professionals and DIY homeowners. Make sure you advertise heavily to both groups when you’re first launching your business.

  • Consider trade publications for advertising your professional wallpaper installers.
  • Home and style magazines and local newspapers are great for homeowners.
  • Launch a website which shows all of the styles of wallpaper you offer, including special orders.

How and when to build a team

As a retail business, you’ll want to have some sales staff on the floor from the start. Three or four sales associates allows for some rotation in scheduling. You’ll also want to have an install team in place from day one. This team could start as just a small team, and you can form new install teams as orders pick up.

Next Steps

Get more ideas with our Business Ideas Generator.

Check out our How to Start a Business page.

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