How To Start A Woodworking Business?

//How To Start A Woodworking Business?
How To Start A Woodworking Business? 2016-03-25T05:41:16+00:00
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  • #2028700

    markdhanu
    Participant
    Post count: 1

    Woodworking Business

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  • James Wright
    Participant
    Post count: 108

    WOW that is a broad question. but as with any biz it comes town to what are you selling and who are your customers. once you nail down those two questions find out where your customers are and how you can show the quality of your product!

  • MrStripeyShirt
    Participant
    Post count: 1

    From what I've seen

    I’ve been knocking this idea around allot myself lately. I live in the greater Sacramento area in California, from what I’ve seen, the successful ones in my area are dual purpose shops, they will mill and sell local lumber as well as fine furniture. The trees are sourced from local arborists, they toss them 100-200 bucks for a load of walnut (or the like), which they then cut and sell for $11-$13/lb ft wet or $15-$22 dried. Their business model enables them to be working on projects all day, and have people drop in to buy wood.

    My plan is to start with a bandsaw mill while working my traditional job and see how quickly I can recoup purchased cost, all while starting to sell smaller items online through Etsy.

  • Mike in TN
    Participant
    Post count: 261

    As James said, that is a broad question. I pondered the same questions years ago in order to try and maintain my sanity while working for a government contractor. What I found was that it depends on so many factors that you will have to spend a great deal of time looking at yourself (interests, skills, creator, businessman, solo or supervisor, mass production or custom, etc.) and the market ( web based, local, retail, wholesale, products, etc.) and any assets you may already have that would give you an advantage (equipment, location, materials, etc.). Location is a major factor since it has a lot to do with the market, and availability of materials and employees. Shipping creates more problems if you are producing bulky products.

    Remember that creating objects and running a business, while not mutually exclusive, are definitely not the same and many a fine woodworker simply didn’t have the qualities necessary to run a successful business. And many a woodworker who loved the work turned their beloved hobby into a business only to hate the long hours, dust, customer demands , and financial uncertainty. Having said that, there are so many potential business models dealing with woodworking that you have a lot of  options. Do you want to teach woodworking to others? Do you want to produce large quantities of simple products for wholesale? Do you want to operate a storefront or gallery to market direct to the public? Do you want to do custom work on commission or do speculation one-of- a-kind original pieces?  Could you write books or articles on the subject? Do you have the ability to do videos on the subject? Each option has potential but you have to take a rather cold-hearted look at all of your options. It does no good to follow your creative heart and destroy the family savings in the process. Speaking of family, don’t forget that others may be taking the ride with you and that should figure heavily in your decisions.

    I did create a few crafts for sale years ago and discovered pretty quickly the actual production, compared to the entire business process, was relatively simple but the frustrating and time consuming part was the actual sales process. Other woodworkers I have talked to have told me that working on a commission basis is an almost guaranteed business failure unless you have other sources of income.

    Looking to woodworking business models from the past can give some hints but be aware that market conditions have changed. Cabinet shop operation from colonial times may be appealing but they didn’t have to compete with Ikea and neither can you .  Above all else, customers need to know that you exist, that you have a product or service that is of value, and that product or service is, at least, competitive. Then you have to be able to complete the entire transaction. You might think I left out “production” but you can still have a business without production if you are teaching, or selling the products of others.

    My personal model ended up as a solo operation, limited production runs of a few traditional style ( craftsman, shaker, colonial) solid wood (walnut, cherry, oak) quality furniture products that are traditionally stand alone (as opposed to collective pieces such as suites, dining room tables and chairs, etc.) sold locally directly to the public, along with teaching woodworking to a limited number of students in house. My model has never been put into practice but retirement from my previous job actually makes it more reasonable option. I am really quite content to be a hobby woodworker at this point in my life.

    Have fun

  • lucyajones
    Participant
    Post count: 2

    Do you need a formal business plan a long document, printed on expensive bond paper, and reviewed by accountants, bankers, consultants, and lawyers? Well.probably not. BUT, if you are going to make a major investment or borrow money to get started, you really need a business plan before you start. If you are going to cut off your old income quit your job before starting your craft business, you need a plan (or a psychiatrist). That business plan should not only cover what and how you are going to do business but should also have goals and measures – to objectively know how it is working – is it going according to plan (okay to invest more) or not meeting goals (is it time to cut the losses?

    In my case it was simple. I had been making furniture for friends and family, and people asked can you make one of those for me?I had done a small amount of work for pay even with my full-time job. When I retired, I simply started to advertise my services on my website, building things similar to what I had been doing all along, from the same shop, with basically the same equipment. If you have a hobby that can be expanded, then just do it.

  • braham
    Participant
    Post count: 1

    To start, I want to share with you one of the best collection of plans, for sure are easy to read and understand for anyone.
    Detailed designs with A to Z instructions makes woodworking super fast, super easy and super fun! Save time.
    You can check it out here: https://tinyurl.com/y7vastm8

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