Dan, that is some great advice.
I'm also starting my own upholstery biz as well. The shop I worked at got sold and we moved everything to the owners house. 6 months later everything is at my house now, as I did more work at his house on the machines than he did.
I'm doing most of what you suggested. I always give the customer a little extra, the cheese on top if you will. Hopefully as I do more jobs I will build a good rep.
I agree about starting in these slow times on custom car interiors, but I'm hoping it will be negated with the large amount of marine(boat jetski etc) work that is down here...