Woodworking is a popular and profitable career that includes many creative skills. It includes careers as diverse as carpenters, sign makers, and even artists. If you want to start a woodworking business, take the steps below to get on your way. This process will help you prepare for your career and ensure you have the capital to stay open until you find a good customer base. The following steps will provide you with all the help you need to get started in your new woodworking business.
1. Know How Much You’re Likely to Make
Before starting a woodworking business, you should know how much you will make. According to Salary.com, an average woodworker makes about $48,951 in salary. That refers to an individual woodworker and not a business. Furthermore, wages may be as high as $60,804. As a result, your income may vary heavily based on several factors, including your business size.
A sole practitioner will make more money on each gig but can only take on small jobs. For instance, you may work as a carver or furniture maker and make good money. However, larger businesses, such as building companies, will make far more. For example, a company with active woodworkers can make $200,000 to $300,000, depending on your work type and customers.
That said, the top 90% of woodworkers make over $71,000 yearly, making this an advantageous career option. If it sounds like the job for you, it is vital to practice your woodworking skills first. Mastering a few techniques can help you specialize in a specific job or diversify into multiple woodworking markets to make more money.
2. Practice Your Skills
Woodworking skills can help you produce gorgeous and unforgettable work for your clients. But, of course, these skills vary depending on what you create and what business you start. Just a few different methods you may want to master when creating a woodworking business include:
- General Woodworking: Measuring, cutting, nailing, and using wood to build various objects. Mastering these essential skills can help you advance in more specialized capabilities.
- Woodcarving: Carving a piece of wood to create sculptures, ornamental objects, and more. This skill is helpful if you get into wood decorations, furniture, and general building.
- Woodturning: Cutting wood with a lathe to produce rounded and attractive wooden items. Learning this ability can help you make beautiful fence posts, decorative wood products, and more.
- Wood Burning: Skillfully burning wood surfaces to create written designs, including company brands and customer names. An excellent woodworking method to learn for decorative objects.
- Scrollsawing: Producing intricate shapes in wood with a freehand saw that produces tiny radius cuts. This technique is great for more intricate designs and three-dimensional structures.
- Wood Mosaics: Inserting wood pieces into veneer and laminating the result to produce layered results. This skill lets you make beautiful and stylish looks for your clients.
Mastering these skills can help you advance your career and produce high-quality results for your many customers. It can help you figure out which methods you enjoy the most. Knowing where your skills lie can help you find your niche, which is critical in woodworking.
3. Get Certifications
You don’t need a woodworking certification to start your business. However, getting one shows your customers that you take your career seriously. It also shows that you’ve received specialized training to handle various skills. You may choose multiple certification options based on your career path. For example, the Woodwork Career Alliance (WCA) provides help and certification for woodworking professionals.
They provide an EDUcation program that includes hands-on training and evaluation of your skills. You can track your skills in this program and gain certifications in many woodworking methods. This option is particularly good if you plan on hiring multiple employees with specialized skills. Note that the WCA is just one training option, and there are many different types you can consider.
4. Raise Capital to Start Your Business
Woodworkers must raise capital to pay for various expenses before they start their businesses. You may apply for personal or business loans and grants to get this funding. You may even find a venture capitalist willing to give you money for a controlling interest in your company. Expect a startup cost of at least $3,000 to $5,000 for your woodworking business when investing in:
- Materials such as wood and other essential items
- Tools, such as saws, lathes, and wood burners
- Work area, even something as small as your garage
- Business cards to hand out to potential customers
- Registering your business with the state and federal governments
- Applying for taxes and getting an employer identification number (EIN)
- Buying business insurance to protect yourself
- Creating a business website to market your firm
- Producing signs and other branding materials
- Advertising your company in your area
When starting your business, you need to decide if you want a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation. Woodworkers typically have either a sole proprietorship or a partnership with one or more other woodworkers. Larger businesses, like an LLC or corporation, cost more money and usually aren’t necessary for woodworking.
5. Opening Up Your Shop
At this point, you’ve done most of the hard work, and your business is nearly ready to open. However, it is important to take a few more steps before your big opening day. These will help ensure that you market your woodworking business more effectively and reach a broader range of customers in your area. The steps that you need to take when setting up your woodworking business include the following:
- Picking Your Niche: Know what kind of products you want to make and focus your skills there. For example, you may want to create birdhouses, decorative objects, statues, practical objects like storage boxes, or even build homes, depending on your interests and capabilities.
- Producing Some Woodworking Items: Create some woodworking objects that show off your skills and spread them throughout your shop. For example, carve beautiful structures or lathe gorgeous pillars. These products show customers how well you work and make this experience easier to handle.
- Completing Safety and Training Programs: Make sure you follow all OSHA safety training guidelines for yourself and your employees. Provide extra work training for any employees who need it to ensure that they can create high-quality woodworking projects.
- Advertising Your Big Opening Day: Make sure that you spend money advertising your business in your area, including your first day. For example, radio and television advertisements can help spread the word, as can newspaper flies, email campaigns, and other vital steps.
- Creating a Good Payment Plan: Decide how much you want to charge your customers for each of your woodworking projects. Prices should be based on the work hours you put into it, the quality of your work, the materials, and your experience in woodworking.
- Producing an Inventory Management System: You need to carefully track your materials and products using inventory management systems. These include software that tracks your wood, saws, sanders, and much more. Teach everyone on your staff how to handle these processes.
- Setting Up a Payment System: Do you want to have a cash-only business? This option is wise if you don’t want to mess with online payments or debit cards. However, these payment methods expand your potential income and help you sell products on the internet: a vast market for woodworking.
After you follow these steps and open up your shop, it is open to continually market your company online in various ways. Digital marketing has become so critical for businesses, even woodworking teams. For example, you can create online profiles on sites like Facebook and Instagram and share photos of your work and interact with customers to develop a bustling online presence.
You also need to reach out to art fairs and other groups in your community to spread your business’ name. These organizations can help by providing a platform where you can share your skills. For example, art fairs may let you rent a booth where you can show off your best work and connect directly with customers. Even if you don’t make many sales, you can get your name out in the public.