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    13 Replies Latest reply on Oct 31, 2011 5:52 PM by sydbarrettsyd

    Starting a Woodworking business

    StanleyMade Newbie

      I have worked in the IT industry for 20+ years, starting as a programmer then working my way up to management and project management. I'm having problems finding a new IT opportunity so I thought I'd try something different. I'm a woodworking hobbyist for over 30 years and completed several projects for my home, family and friends. I have a small shop in my 2-bay garage and interested in starting a business providing custom furniture, cabinets, tables, etc... I'm not much of a salesman and I have some reservations as a result. Although, I'm very meticulous, extremely good with details and planning. I should be able to use these attributes in a business

       

      Any suggestions on how I should start?
        • Re: Starting a Woodworking business
          DomainDiva Ranger
          Contact some interior designers and invite them over to see your work.
          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • Re: Starting a Woodworking business
            Lighthouse24 Ranger

            A few suggestions . . .

            If you live in (or have a friend/relative who does) a relatively high traffic area, set some of your finished work on the driveway early on a Saturday morning, along with an unfinished piece that you can be working on. People passing by looking for garage sales, taking their children to activities, etc. will be able to see at a glance that you do woodworking and have things for sale. Those who are interested (either in one of your items, or in some light carpentry or finish work will stop to talk.

            If you have any spring home and garden shows, flea markets, or craft malls in your area (and if booth space is affordable), consider setting up a display at one or more of them.

            To build your "sales" skills in any of those settings, practice engaging people in conversation. One technique (when people stop by) is to introduce yourself and ask for an opinion about one of your items. ("I'd really like your opinion about something. Could you take a look at this and tell me what you think about it?") Then show them the item (one you think they'd be likely to buy or want), and ask them what they think about its quality, usefulness, craftsmanship or whatever is relevant. Then ask what they think you should set the price at. If it's a lot higher than the price you set in your mind, you can offer them a good deal on it as a thank you. You may make a sale without "selling." If the price they set is lower, you can simply thank them for their input (if that happens several times, of course, you'll learn that your prices may be high -- so you can ask follow-up questions to find out what is lacking, and learn if there's something else you should be making/doing). Either way, you'll be gaining experience at "reading" people's interests and at interacting with potential customers -- without having to "hard sell" them.

            Hope that helps. Good luck with your enterprise!
            • Re: Starting a Woodworking business
              SME_ally Adventurer
              Hello StanleyMade,

              I too made a career change recently. My suggestion for you is to attend some woodworking/furniture trade shows. There you'll get to meet lots of folks in the industry. Try to meet both vendors and buyers. Ask questions as if you were in grade school. You'll get many ideas on how to start and grow your business through those conversations. Make sure you bring your business cards.

              Make some video tutorials and post on Youtube and the like. If you get positive feedback and traffic then you can set up a site online to market your services. Showcase what you have already built with photos and colorful descriptions. Also have a section that offers free video tutorials (include the vids you have on Youtube). Maybe offer abridged versions of the tutorials for the public and the full versions available to those who register. Keep your content fresh at least on a monthly basis (weekly would be better).

              If your site gets high traffic and lots of folks view your videos, then you should approach national/local hardware stores and tell them about your high traffic site. Propose that you can advertise their brands through your videos and site for a fee or maybe get free supplies in exchange?

              I'm sure there are many other woodworking hobbyists who would love to
              learn to build something. Some may even pay for a monthly subscription
              to learn?

              I hope you can write about your progress here as I'm sure the community would be very interested.

              Wish you the best of luck!!
              • Re: Starting a Woodworking business
                ChairDude Newbie
                Hi. A few years back I got into building outdoor furniture. I always had a hard time pricing the custom stuff, so the outdoor furniture thing was based more on volume and sales strategies than on "onesy-twosy" high-end projects. Once I got into it, I found that establishing a manufacturing process that an hourly employee can master in a short time was the first challenge, then figuring out how to sell my products was the next challenge. There are lots of approaches to selling outdoor furniture, and I found that instead of getting a lot of orders from one place, I was able to get a few orders from many places. There's too much to go over in this blog, but if you want to know more about the outdoor furniture business, check out my site called outdoorfurniturebusiness.com. I wrote a 240-page ebook about my experiences, and it covers everything from manufacturing to sales. Best of luck with your venture!
                  • Re: Starting a Woodworking business
                    Tracker
                    Hi ChairDude,

                    I tried emailing you through your site but go an error page display so don't know if it went through to you. Purpose of my email: Have you thought about publishing a hard-copy/print version of your book that can be sold via Amazon, Barnes & Noble etc? I've published my own business books and also have three publishing imprints for working with client/authors.

                    Your book sounds like it would have a pretty broad commercial appeal and it may make sense to publish as a book available in hardcopy. If interested to discuss the best way to reach me initially is via email through my website (the one in my profile for this online community and my corporate site I'll put below). I don't mind to give you some guidance on how to publish it yourself or if we can be of assistance--to discuss that with you as well.

                    Dennis Lowery
                    www.AdducentInc.com
                  • Re: Starting a Woodworking business
                    vnavguys Tracker

                    I own a woodworking business, if you contact me directly I will give you all your brain can stand. I am an expert and I know what works. I sell online through a ecommerce store front.
                    Ken
                    • Re: Starting a Woodworking business
                      phanio Pioneer

                      Couple of suggestions:

                       

                      1) Why not put together a couple of pieces and buy space at a local flea market.  That should get you great exposure as well as some orders.

                       

                      2) I have found that rich people or those that want to keep up with the Jones but don't really have the money to do so - will look for custom pieces from individuals like yourself.  They look for quality, customized pieces at reasonable prices - thus, you might want to find some richer neigborhoods and put out some flyers.

                       

                      3) Create a few peices and maybe even some designs then create a simple website that displays some of these pieces and tries to capture contact information from buyers who are intertested.

                       

                      Best of Luck

                       

                      Business Money Today

                      www.businessmoneytoday.com

                      • Re: Starting a Woodworking business
                        popeye123 Wayfarer

                        If you have IT experience, why don't you try to incorporate it into your furniture building.  Build a website that targets key words for your local market. Targeting regional key words should not be that difficult and it would give you some traffic and exposure, plus it would be a great way to display your work, and e-mail links to local contacts. This is in addition to the great suggestions that you already received.

                        Good luck.

                         

                        Pete.

                        One for all and all for one

                        Band Posters

                        • Re: Starting a Woodworking business
                          sydbarrettsyd Wayfarer

                          Thanks for the feedback!

                          About the workshop: I don´t have the place to work and find the cost of renting a shop to high so I was thinking to rent it by day, so to keep the cost (when there is no income) the lowest possible...