Honestly, how hard is it to start a sharpening service?

Starting a sharpening service isn't hard. There are two primary tasks you'll need to accomplish to get started: Set up your business so customers can find you and you can accept their sharpening orders, and then learn how to sharpen knives. 

It took me two days to set up my sharpening service. This included building my website, setting up business listings with Google and Yelp, building my social media pages, designing and ordering business cards, getting set up with Square Point of Sale, and so on. 

If you apply the right amount of curiosity and dedication to learning how to sharpen knives, it will take you about six to eight hours to learn how to sharpen knives professionally. If you've got good hand-eye coordination, or pre-existing experience with knives, you'll learn even faster. 

Know Your Motivation

The words "hard" and "difficult" are relative. When someone asks me if it's hard to start a sharpening service, my answer is "It depends on how motivated you are." If you're less motivated, it will seem a lot more difficult than if you have strong motivations to start your sharpening service. If you have strong motivations, you will find the work required to start your sharpening service can be easily accomplished in just a few days. These are some tips you can use to better understand and then harness your motivation:

  • List out, in excruciating detail, what you can accomplish with an extra $1000 a month that you can earn from sharpening knives in your neighborhood 
  • Explore the market potential for a knife sharpening service in your area by talking to people about your idea to start a sharpening service. You can also research other sharpening services near you and begin to understand your competition. If they're successful, you can be successful too. If there aren't any other sharpening services, that's even better because it means there's probably a lot of dull knives in desperate need of sharpening! 
  • Visualize your future self - one year from now, what could your life look like? 
  • Compare your options - weigh the per-hour income potential from starting a sharpening service to other side-hustle opportunities like Grub Hub or Lyft. According to an article by thestreet.com, Uber and Lyft drives make an average income between $8.55 and $11.77 per hour. If you start a sharpening service, you can expect to earn between $30.00 and $70.00 per hour. How is this possible? It's because you'll own your own business and you're not getting paid after a giant corporation takes its cut of the profits. 

Pick The Right Business Strategy 

The amount of energy it takes to start your sharpening service will also depend a lot on what kind of sharpening service you choose to start. If you're going to create a mail-in sharpening service and attempt to attract people from all over the country, you will need to invest significantly more energy and other resources than someone who chooses to start a local sharpening service. There are six primary strategies people use in the sharpening service industry: 

  • Immediate sharpening service - think sharpening knives at a farmer's market or a hardware store
  • Drop off / pick up location sharpening service - find a place where customers can drop off their knives. Then you pick up the knives from that location, sharpen them, and deliver them back to that location where the customer can pick them up at their convenience
  • Pick-up and delivery service - pick up people's knives from their homes or businesses, sharpen them at your home or place of business, and then deliver them back to your customers 
  • Mail-in sharpening service - customers mail you their knives and then you mail them back after you've sharpened them
  • Knife exchange service - trade out your customers' dull knives for pre-sharpened knives periodically (works best for restaurants)
  • Mobile sharpening service - combines key elements from several of the above business models 

By harnessing strong motivation and leveraging the most appropriate business model for your lifestyle to use for your sharpening service, you can easily find success. When I decided to start my sharpening service, I had very strong motivation because I was desperate to earn more money. I had a good understanding of the sharpening industry already because of my job at Wicked Edge, which definitely gave me a leg up. Plus, I already knew how to sharpen knives which is how I decided to start a sharpening service in the first place. I wrote Start a Knife Sharpening Service because I wanted to share my knowledge to give you the same advantage, if not an even greater advantage, because there was still a fair amount of struggle I had to go through to learn what worked and what didn't, and you can read all about it and learn how to avoid my mistakes.