Register a Company
- Register your company with Lawpath in just 10 minutes.
- Simple step-by-step process with instructions
- On-demand phone, email and chat support
We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!
Does the freedom and creativity of opening your own alterations business appeal to you? Starting a business can be overwhelming with so many legal, financial and practical aspects to consider, but the good news is that you don't have to face them all at once. In this guide, we discuss what you need to consider before opening your own alterations business.
An alterations business provides a clothing alterations service to customers. You or a seamstress make changes to clothing to fix or improve the garments, such as:
Straightforward steps for setting up your own alterations business:
In order to start an alterations business, you need general sewing skills and knowledge around clothing design and fabrics. You need to be able to use a sewing machine, with the ability to move onto an industrial version of the one you have now.
To start charging for alterations you will need to have skills in:
You will also need a business plan and an idea of how you're going to market your services.
Depending on the scale of customers and projects you want to take on, you will need:
You may also need accounting software to keep track of:
Working in alterations does not require a formal qualification. Your success depends on your work experience and skills.
If you are still learning, there are a variety of courses for every skill level. There is a wealth of information online – you can find a plethora of free instructional videos on YouTube, or find sewing and alterations content on the following paid online learning platforms:
Alternatively, if you learn better in a hands-on environment, then a sewing class might be for you. Generally, these are guided workshops with a handful of other people.
If you want to elevate the profile of your business, having a qualification in fashion or dressmaking can be beneficial. TAFE has a variety of courses that cover skills such as sewing, pattern cutting, screen printing, digital design skills and fashion drawing.
Before you start working, you will need to consider how you are going to structure your business.
It is likely your alterations business fits one of the following models:
You will also need to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN) so you can invoice customers.
It is important to have a range of legal documents for your business signed before you start trading.
If you need additional legal documents or advice, you can find these services offered by a range of online legal providers.
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
With an alterations business, a mix of physical advertising and online advertising can help you find customers.
Most alterations businesses charge per article of clothing. Small, uncomplicated jobs are usually listed at a fixed price.
Here is a rundown of how much alterations typically cost:
|Alteration type||Item||Price to charge|
|Hems||Trousers and jeans|
Skirts and dresses
Jackets and coats
|$15 - $25|
$15 - $25
$20 - $30
$35 - $50
|Take in or let out||Trousers and jeans|
Skirts and dresses
Jackets and coats
|$25 - $30|
$15 - $33
$30 - $45
$40 - $50
|Zips||Trousers and jeans|
|$18 - $25|
$18 - $28
$30 - $45
Jackets and coats
|$10 - $30|
$25 - $45
|Straps||Alter length||$10 - $33|
Complex alterations for formal attire such as tuxedos, ball dresses, wedding and bridesmaids gowns usually require an assessment in person before you can quote the customer.
How can I start a sewing business with no money?
Some will start their alterations business from home to cut back on expenses like commercial rent. You can also use your personal sewing machine in the beginning and move up to a commercial grade machine as your business grows.
How can I improve my tailoring business?
Alterations are one of few services left that are dependent on local customers. If you can outperform other businesses in your area, then you will earn a bigger market share. A few ideas are:
Is a tailor and a seamstress the same?
The short answer is no. A seamstress works with hemlines, fabrics and seams, whereas tailors create and alter custom-made garments. The term "seamstress" specifically refers to a female, whereas "seamster" is the male equivalent. "Tailor" is generally considered gender-neutral.Back to top
Here's how to use your IT skills to start your own network engineering business.
Get all the important details on starting your own curtains and blinds business.
What you need to know if you're looking to launch your own auto electrical company.
Start your own signage business with this step-by-step guide on how to find a business niche, pick the right business structure and market your products.
How to set up a thriving tutoring business in Australia.
Ready to start your online clothing rental business? Here are the most important steps to take.
From finding the right niche to marketing your business, here is a comprehensive guide on how to build a profitable fencing business.
How to start a not-for-profit organisation that your community can depend on.
Love working with numbers and helping businesses? Here’s how to start a financial auditing firm.
finder.com.au is one of Australia's leading comparison websites. We compare from a wide set of banks, insurers and product issuers. We value our editorial independence and follow editorial guidelines.
finder.com.au has access to track details from the product issuers listed on our sites. Although we provide information on the products offered by a wide range of issuers, we don't cover every available product or service.
Please note that the information published on our site should not be construed as personal advice and does not consider your personal needs and circumstances. While our site will provide you with factual information and general advice to help you make better decisions, it isn't a substitute for professional advice. You should consider whether the products or services featured on our site are appropriate for your needs. If you're unsure about anything, seek professional advice before you apply for any product or commit to any plan.
Products marked as 'Promoted' or 'Advertisement' are prominently displayed either as a result of a commercial advertising arrangement or to highlight a particular product, provider or feature. Finder may receive remuneration from the Provider if you click on the related link, purchase or enquire about the product. Finder's decision to show a 'promoted' product is neither a recommendation that the product is appropriate for you nor an indication that the product is the best in its category. We encourage you to use the tools and information we provide to compare your options.
Where our site links to particular products or displays 'Go to site' buttons, we may receive a commission, referral fee or payment when you click on those buttons or apply for a product. You can learn more about how we make money here.
When products are grouped in a table or list, the order in which they are initially sorted may be influenced by a range of factors including price, fees and discounts; commercial partnerships; product features; and brand popularity. We provide tools so you can sort and filter these lists to highlight features that matter to you.
We try to take an open and transparent approach and provide a broad-based comparison service. However, you should be aware that while we are an independently owned service, our comparison service does not include all providers or all products available in the market.
Some product issuers may provide products or offer services through multiple brands, associated companies or different labelling arrangements. This can make it difficult for consumers to compare alternatives or identify the companies behind the products. However, we aim to provide information to enable consumers to understand these issues.
Providing or obtaining an estimated insurance quote through us does not guarantee you can get the insurance. Acceptance by insurance companies is based on things like occupation, health and lifestyle. By providing you with the ability to apply for a credit card or loan, we are not guaranteeing that your application will be approved. Your application for credit products is subject to the Provider's terms and conditions as well as their application and lending criteria.