Here in Bulgaria there a quite a few shoe shiners offering their services in town and cities, and they get good business. There is always someone who wants their shoes shined either on their way to an interview or business meeting, meeting up with someone on a date, or generally just want the service because it is there!
Shoe polishers are also know as a bootblack or a boot polishers. These services that are offered simply consist of cleaning and polishing footwear for customers for a fee.
Shoe shining as a public service is a dying art and there is still lots of money to be made from this to those who want to try it.
The materials you'll need:
- Two fold up chairs (One for you and one for you customer)
- A foot rest (a guitar foot rest from a music shop would do)
- A small sandwich board with your fees written clearly
- A set of shoe brushes
- A variety of boot and shoe polish
- Various grades of sandpaper or wire brushes
- A dauber or sponge
- A range of cloths
- Liquid Dressing
- A supply of water
With these at hand just find a spot where lots of pedestrians walk and you have a business set up.
Guidelines as to what services are expected:
Services will also include removing dirt using a brush. Removing any grime, old polish or wax from leather footwear by using a brush or sponge dipped in cleaning fluid or soapy water.
After the cleaning a coat of polish is applied using a dauber. Then the polishing of the leather using brushes and cloths is administered.
With suede type footwear brushing with sandpaper or wire brush is made to revitalise the material like combing hair. A dressing or dry wax is then applied by hand or dauber and a final brush to end to remove the excess.
Fabric based footwear needs and application of liquid dressing to restore appearance of cloth.
Edges of sole and heel needs some sole dressing, again applied by using a dauber or sponge. You may also use dye or tint to finish of with a professional touch.
Lots of the dosh you make will be from tips and it is a good business idea to build up relationships with your customers by talking and communicating with them. Firstly this will encourage them to tip you and secondly you will get repeat business, there is the third advantage, referrals and recommendations to others for the excellent shoe shining services you provide.
Finally just a point of trivia.
Lee Travino the famous golfer and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva both started off a a shoe shiners, Luiz went on to be the President of Brazil!