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How to Start a Knife Sharpening Business in 8 Simple Steps [2023 Update]

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A dull knife makes work slow and frustrating, from hotels, restaurants, and cafes to home kitchens and wood shops. And when the blades are highly priced, it becomes necessary to contract knife sharpening businesses.

The US knife sharpening industry trends show a growth rate of 6.5% from 2021 to 2028. This offers an opportunity to start a knife sharpening business and earn extra money.

But before you launch into it, you should possess good business knowledge and an in-depth understanding of the industry. This detailed guide explains all you need to know about starting a knife sharpening business.

How Profitable Is Owning a Knife Sharpening Business

The knife sharpening business is lucrative, as is almost any business related to food.

Knife sharpeners earn an average of $19.62 per hour. You can earn more depending on your location, target market, operating costs, and whether you’ll offer other services like selling knives and organizing knife skills courses.

Although things like rent, knife sharpening tools, and marketing may impact your profitability, you can explore a mobile knife sharpening business. You don’t have to start with all the tools, which reduces your startup costs and offers a high earning potential.

What You’ll Need to Start a Knife Sharpening Business [& Associated Costs]

Starting a knife sharpening business requires the right tools and resources. We’ve made a list of what you need and their associated costs.

  • Knife Sharpening Equipment: You’ll need high-quality tools like sharpening stones, sharpening machines, sharpening steels, and grinding machines. The prices could range between $100 to $3,000, depending on the type and brand.
  • Business Registration, Licensing, and Permits: Depending on your location and the structure of your business, you’ll need to register your business and obtain the necessary permits and licenses. It costs between $100 to $500.
  • Insurance: Your business needs general liability insurance to protect it from damages and potential claims. You’ll invest an estimated $500 to $1,000 per annum.
  • Training and Skill Development: If you don’t already have knife-sharpening skills, taking a course would be helpful. It costs between $200 to $1,000, but YouTube videos give premium info away for free.
  • Workspace: If you’re starting an on-site knife sharpening service, you should factor in rent, setup costs, and utilities like electricity and water. These may cost around $3,000.
  • Marketing and Advertising: You should budget between $500 to $2,000 for digital ads, website creation, business cards, and promotional materials.

Do I Need a License or Certificates to Start a Knife Sharpening Business?

There are no specific licenses or certifications for a knife sharpening business, but it’s necessary to obtain a business license or permit.

You should also check your local zoning regulations, as some areas may require food safety certification if you want to sharpen knives for food businesses.

Why You Should Consider Starting a Knife Sharpening Business As a Side Hustle

Are you seeking motivation for delving into knife sharpening services? Below are some compelling reasons to get started.

  • Requires Low Time Commitment: You can dedicate a few hours each week and extend this time as the demand for your service increases, making it easier to combine with your main job or other activities.
  • Minimal Startup Costs: You may not need to rent a workspace or hire employees immediately. The business can kick off with the essential tools you need to sharpen knives.
  • Possibility of Having Repeat Business: Culinary enthusiasts and people in industries that require the use of knives will always seek professional sharpening services. They’ll come back and refer friends and neighbors if they’re satisfied with your skills.
  • High Chances of Cross-Selling: You can sell additional products and services like kitchen knives and knife maintenance tools to boost your revenue.

How to Start a Knife Sharpening Business in 8 Simple Steps

Here are some important steps you should follow to start your new business on the right foot.

Step 1: Do Market Research

Market research helps you find out whether people in your area want to sharpen dull blades. This will also underline whether to specialize in sharpening serrated knives, western knives, or both.

You’ll also get information about your competitors and how the market works. The entire information from your research will form the basis of your business plan.

The plan doesn’t have to be complex; a one-page template is enough to capture the important details.

Step 2: Register the Business

Choose the type of business structure that suits your business plan. Although a sole proprietorship is the most common structure for a small business, you can also consider a partnership, LLC, or C-corp before making a final decision.

Research the business laws in your location and obtain the necessary licenses, permits, and insurance to operate legally and protect the company.

Step 3: Secure Funds

You may not need a lot of money to start your business, but there are avenues to raise capital.

You can use your savings, ask family and friends, or get an SBA-guaranteed or a bank loan.

While raising capital, you should also open a business bank account and then contact an accountant to help you manage your business finances.

You can also use accounting software to track income, expenses, taxes, and so on.

Step 4: Purchase Equipment and Supplies

Consider getting equipment that matches the type of knives you plan to sharpen. For a start, you’ll need a guided sharpening system and wet stones for freehand setup.

You can also lease or rent equipment if you don’t have enough funds. As the business progresses, you can invest in more sophisticated equipment.

Other items you’ll need include safety gear, office furniture, and a vehicle if you’re planning to run a mobile workshop.

Step 5: Set Up the Workplace

Whether you’re renting a space or starting from your garage, you should ensure there’s ventilation and good lighting.

If it’s a rental building, ensure it’s at a central location, can accommodate the equipment and supplies you’re getting, and complies with the safety standards in your area.

Step 6: Establish Pricing

You can determine your price points based on the type of knives sharpened and the condition of the blades.

But you should also look at your competitors to get a range of prices and then compare it with your running costs. You may establish a competitive price that’ll earn you more profits.

Step 7: Develop a Marketing Plan

Now, it’s time to let people know about your business. You can leverage social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Online directories like Google My Business and Yelp can also help.

You should consider traditional methods like attending networking events to spread the word about what you do, distributing fliers within the neighborhood, or visiting local restaurants or the local market to offer your services.

Step 8: Hire Employees

At first, you may have to fill in multiple roles. But as the business grows, you should consider hiring employees to maintain excellent customer service.

Things to Consider When Building a Knife Sharpening Business

When building a knife sharpening business that’ll stand the test of time, there are some critical factors to consider.

1. Can You Run a Knife Sharpening Business By Yourself?

You can operate a knife sharpening business all by yourself, especially if you’re considering it as a side hustle or small-scale business.

It allows you to set your preferred schedule, control your business operations, and reduce overhead costs.

But if you decide to scale up, you’d have to hire more capable hands to meet the demand of customers.

2. How Much You’re Willing to Invest

Although sharpening knives is a low-cost business, you still need to invest some money in basic equipment and supplies, training, and marketing.

A time will also come when you have to purchase complex machines or specific sharpening systems to meet the needs of potential customers.

3. The Level of Competition in Your Area

The knife sharpening industry is generally competitive. But you should consider the level of competition in your area.

The information will help you determine the range of services to offer and the right marketing strategies to deploy.

Inspiration: Knife Sharpening Business Ideas

Do you want to stand out of the crowd and beat your competition? You should check out these knife-sharpening business ideas:

  • Mobile Knife Sharpening Service: Quit waiting for new customers to come to you; meet them on-site in their homes, restaurants, culinary schools, farmer’s markets, or food fairs. All you need is a vehicle to transport your tools.
  • Subscription-Based Knife Sharpening Business: Do you want to keep your customers glued? You can get them to sign up for regular knife sharpening and maintenance. In return, you’ll offer on-demand door-to-door pickup and delivery.
  • Knife Sharpening Courses: You can package basic knowledge of knife sharpening into a course and sell it to culinary enthusiasts and professionals. You can also offer workshops at different levels to match the skill level of potential clients in terms of knife sharpening techniques and knife care and maintenance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Sharpening Knives a Good Business?

Yes. The expenses are minimal, and you’ll make more money from repeat customers, especially people who use expensive knives, cutting tools, and scissors.

What Degree Is a Knife Sharpener?

A knife sharpener degree depends on the type of blade. Most outdoor and kitchen knives require a sharpening angle between 17 to 20 degrees.

Similar Businesses to Consider

Here are similar businesses to consider:

Wrapping Up

A knife-sharpening business would make a great side hustle for people seeking flexibility and financial freedom. If you’re skilled with blades, you’ll quickly build a positive reputation and attract more customers.

If you enjoyed reading this article, don’t forget to share it with your friends and family members. Who knows? They may find something that interests them here.

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