Starting A Woodworking Business
Turning a hobby into a business is how a lot of successful businesses get started. Most hobbies can be transferred from hobby to business quiet easily, with little effort, all that changes is the hobbyist makes things to sell to others rather than making them for him or herself. The list of hobbies that can be turned into a business is virtually endless from making greeting cards, flower arranging to painting. As long as there is a market for the products, and there’s always a market for custom made products, a business can be made from a hobby.
Woodworking fits the bill perfectly. Starting a woodworking business falls well into the category of a hobby that can be transferred to a business with little effort. There’s a huge market for custom made wooden products from children’s toys to garden furniture.
You don’t have to be a master carpenter to make quality wooden products; most woodworking hobbyists have the skills to make unique quality wooden products and can easily make money woodworking by making products to sell.
A quick walk around craft fairs will show you that many people are already doing this. I always pay particular attention to handmade wooden products when I visit craft fairs and I’m always amazed by the wonderful products people make and they don’t last long because people snap them up. The demand for unique wooden products is huge and constant. So many people want unique hand crafted wooden products in their home and are prepared to pay for them.
There’s no need to put yourself under any pressure if you decide to start a wood working business, just make something you enjoy making in your own time and when you’ve finished sell it. You can sell at craft fairs or to neighbours and friends. I’m not talking about building a huge woodworking business, although that’s more than possible, I’m talking about making an extra income from doing something you love in your own time.
If you can build wooden furniture or toys you can start a woodworking business and earn an extra income for you. If you’ve been a woodworking hobbyist for some time you will probably have all the tools you will need to make products. One of the great things about making money from your woodworking skills is you will soon build up enough cash to buy some heavy machinery giving you more options. This alone makes cashing in on your woodworking skills is a good idea.
When I tell my students this they laugh. Why do they laugh? Because they believe only other people have the knowledge and skills to make wooden products to sell. And they are wrong; they have the skills to make nice furniture for themselves so they can do it for others for a price. Most people underestimate their skills and lack the confidence to make things for others when they are more than capable of doing it.
If you’ve been thinking of trying to earn money from your woodworking skills but are afraid to take the leap then there’s an easy way to start that involves no pressure. I’d start making garden furniture first because it doesn’t require any delicate finishing or expensive machinery and it’s always in demand.
Garden furniture is a big seller, just wander through the big stores and see how many tables and chairs are for sale. We all love to spend time in our garden and we like our garden furniture to be robust.
The way to get off the start line is to look around at the table and chairs sets that are for sale, choose one type you like and get hold of some plans. Then simply go to your garage in your spare time and start to make a table and chair set. You’re not competing against the big stores because none of them have the unique products you can make.
Remember that while you may be building the furniture to sell it’s still your hobby so there’s no rush, no deadlines so take your time just as you normally would if you were building it for yourself. You’re using your woodworking skills to produce some unique garden furniture that the big stores can’t compete with. There are plenty of people who will always buy cheap but there are also lots of people who appreciate quality unique furniture and are more than willing to pay good prices to get it. These people are your market.
Put a price on handmade furniture usually presents a problem for those who are just starting, they are afraid to price higher than the big stores. Don’t be, like I’ve already said the big stores have not got a single piece of the furniture you have made. Mt pricing strategy is simple and effective. I work out how many hours I’ve put into making it, charge that, then add on a premium for it being unique and handmade and there’s plenty of people who are happy to pay the price.
Once you’ve built your table and chairs, or whatever you choose to build the next stage is selling it. This is easier than you think. First set a price for it; as I’ve already mentioned don’t be swayed by the prices the stores are selling the cheap mass produced items for, yours is unique. So set a price that takes into account how long it took you to build and then add more money on top for the unique craftsman built product.
Craft fairs are a great way to sell items that are handmade. People who attend craft fairs are looking for unique products, they don’t want the mass produced stuff that everyone has, and they want to be different. They are looking to buy quality handmade items and they expect to pay extra for them. As well as attending craft fairs you can display your items to your friends and neighbours. I know lots of people who make a decent amount of regular money from their woodworking skills who started making things for their friends and neighbours.
Friends and neighbours also have friends who also have friends, believe me this develops into a huge market just by word of mouth and the fact that you are making the items personally and so people have to wait for them makes them all the more desirable. So if you’ve been thinking of making money with your woodworking skills then I’d advise you to have a go. The worst case scenario is that you are stuck with a table and chairs set which I’m sure you can use.
is written by Shaun who teaches carpentry and is the author of the blog For more great woodworking advice visit his blog and get a free woodworking book.