7 Steps To Create A Woodworking Business

woodworking ianclarke 11

1. Decide on your Woodworking Niche

Wood….what a wonderful material to work with…..so many different woods to choose from, each with its own characteristics and unique features.

You can fashion wood into a wide spectrum of beautiful products….from a huge kitchen dresser to an attractive pendant, or a bird box to a rocking horse.

Toys plans Cherry tree rocker pony

Pony rocker woodcraft.com

Now is the time to step back and analyse which spectrum of the woodworking universe excites you the most.

Whatever you choose, do enjoy your time in the workshop and be enthusiastic about what you make.

Having decided on a product there are two constraints that have to be considered. Firstly can you afford to buy the tools and equipment required to make the product.

Take a look at my post ‘Essential Woodworking Tools And Equipment‘ which suggests the tools you require to set up a furniture making workshop.

Secondly, do you have sufficient space to establish a large enough workshop?

See Point 3 below.

 

2. Do Your Research

Researching your chosen product falls into three parts….design, asking price and desirability.

Pinterest Woodworking projects that sell

Screenshot from Pinterest

Nowadays researching design is a comparatively simple exercise. Pinterest, Instagram, Etsy, Not On The High Street and the many auction sites are huge sources of inspiration for design ideas.

However you must create your own personal style, drawing upon the work created by others for inspiration..

Desirability is harder to evaluate. However if you search for your product on the above sites you will soon see whether you have much competition.

Strong competition is no bad thing, as it shows there is demand. You just have to make your product more desirable through an excellent finish, better functionality and an attractive price.

Another way is to search for a similar product on eBay. It will show you how many have been sold and the number of ‘watchers’.

3. Decide on a Location for your Workshop

There are three primary locations to consider….an Attic, a Basement or a Garage, although wood craft, such as jewelry, could easily be undertaken in a bedroom.

Here are the pros and cons of each location….

An Attic

Woodworking attic

Ted’s Woodworking

Pros  

  • Possibly a large open space

  • Power supply is readily available

 

Cons

  • Unacceptable levels of vibration and noise

  • Restricted access for materials, equipment and finished products.

  • Floor maybe unable to support heavy equipment

  • Slow evacuation possible in the event of fire

  • Dust extraction and ventilation systems would have to be installed

Basement

Woodworking Basement 1

Ted’s Woodworking

Pros

  • Solid floor can support heavy equipment

  • Power supply is readily available

Cons 

Many of the factors that apply to an attic also apply to a basement.

Wide choice of home lifestyle products, working from home furniture, outdoor living, pet supplies and much more….with great discounts


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Garage

Woodworking shop

Wood Profits

Pros

  • Solid floor

  • Electric supply readily available

  • Easy access for materials and finished products

  • Ventilation and dust extraction systems much easier to install

Cons

  • Sound insulation maybe required

  • Possible complaints from neighbours regarding noise and traffic

  • Do you need permission to pursue a woodworking business

4. Plan Your Workshop

There are two primary considerations to consider, the first being workflow.

Woodworking shop layout with flow

Workflow in Chuck’s shop

In a woodworking shop the work should follow logically from one operation to another without undue movement.

You can see what I mean in the illustration of this workshop layout of a garage.

 

 

 


Tool storage 1

cubly.com

The second consideration is being able to access your tools readily. Therefore a system of storage is essential.


5. Tips On Tools

  • Buy the best tools you can afford. It’s an investment in your future and your reputation. No craftsman can create outstanding work with inferior tools.

  • Only buy the tools you need to carry out the job in hand. You can always add to your toolbox as the need arises.

  • Woodworking Circular saws

    DeWalt circular saw

    The cost of tools is an allowable business expense, which will help to reduce your tax bill. Just remember to keep your receipts.

  • You don’t have a business without your tools, so do get them insured.

  • If you are travelling to your customers in a van with your tools in the back, it is wise to bring them into your home each night.

  • Engrave your name or initials on your tools. Identification marks can help identify tools in the event of a robbery

  • Always keep your tools sharp by using a bench grinder

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6. Other Things To Consider……
Woods

Buy the right wood at the best prices. You may have to go to two or three different suppliers. Firstly a high street DIY chain for rough sawn softwoods, maybe a different supplier for high quality planed and treated softwoods and finally a specialist supplier for a full range of hardwoods.

 

 

Decide which products you are going to make and obtain plans to make them. You can save a huge amount of time and make a professional product through following detailed plans.

There is no better source of plans than the 16,000 plans offered by Ted McGrath. You can see the quality by looking at my post entitled

Create A Lovely Plant Stand’

 

Ask the right price. Make sure you get a decent return on your labour. The only way to determine how much you can pay yourself is to record the time it takes you to make the product.

Test the market. Don’t spend money buying materials and working all hours building up stock, until you can estimate how many you will sell.

7. Selling Your Product

There is no use making a product unless you can sell it, so put your prototype up for sale and see what happens.

Online

Online is not the place to sell large items of furniture, but is ideal for wooden jewelry and small toys.

This is not an exhaustive list, but just a few ideas to get you started.

Etsy

Not On The High Street

Folksy

Zibbet

Amazon….search for handmade or gift ideas

Offline

The cost of transporting large items of furniture long distances becomes prohibitive, so it’s best to concentrate your marketing efforts on the local vicinity. Here are some suggestions.

  • Your locality probably has a monthly magazine where you can advertise your furniture.

  • Local magazines are always looking for contributors, so write a piece about your business or furniture making in general.

  • Street markets at the weekend or farmers markets could also be places to display your wares. Display photos of your work in a book, so potential customers can appreciate the range of your work.

  • Supply furniture to local hotels, antique and furniture shops on a sale or return basis, making sure your business card or brochure is nearby.

Get even more inspiration by visiting my Pinterest boards and Instagram site.

You may be interested in reading some of my other posts…..

Toy Automata to Whirligigs……the Ten Best Books

Wooden Toys….The Top Ten Books On How To Make Them Yourself

Working from home? Make yourself comfortable….we have a huge range of office furniture and storage solutions at very reasonable prices….


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