To answer ‘how to start a woodworking business from home,’ we have to cover some ground.
Where you begin depends really on where you are at the moment.
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A lot also depends on the ‘kind' woodworking business. Is it a quaint workshop in a garden shed? Do you want to setup in your garage? Or do you want something on a greater scale.
For the sake of clarity, let’s tell you that this post is about starting a small woodworking business from home.
We are talking about the kind of setup where you can take on small to medium projects, or make woodcraft's of your choice, and make a very good income from this kind of a home based setup.
We will also talk about how you can scale and grow your endeavor. You can start at a level you desire and then work things from there.
Let’s take one thing at a time.
Your Current Knowledge & Skill
Are you someone with existing woodworking skills? Like a hobbyist or an amateur woodworker? If not then you first need to start at learning the skill from a reliable source.
“Do not try woodworking on your own if you don’t have prior experience. It can be dangerous and cause serious injury.”
You need to learn under the supervision of another woodworker. You can get this training from another woodworker in your community who is willing to take you on as an apprentice.
The second great source of woodworking education are community colleges. They often run courses like this & at convenient times for people who might have jobs or other engagements during the day. You can find a great set of woodworking experts & teachers at these community colleges, and also get a chance to meet other wonderful people with same interest as yours.
The environment of going to a woodworking class can be engaging & inspiring, which is a great thing in any learning process.
If You Are A Hobbyist/Amateur Woodworker
If you are already somewhat versed with woodworking, you have 2 choices. Do what we just wrote about i.e. work as an apprentice or join a woodworking class to learn more.
Or, you can start experimenting, expanding & growing your skills yourself. With practice you can get good enough at making crafts you can sell.
Several amateur hobbyists are already skilled enough to sell the woodcraft's they make.
If You Are A Professional Woodworker
If you are already a professional woodworker then keep reading further. You will speak about some great woodworking resources that all woodworkers must have.
What To Make/Jobs To Do
Make Your Own Products And Sell
We are partial towards making certain woodcraft's of choice & selling them yourself. Doing that gives you a great degree of freedom in your work. You can work at your own pace, & make the things that interest you. You also have the freedom of setting your own prices & profit margin.
The theory we like to propagate is that of a business model that thrives on making simple & yet high profit woodworking crafts. These woodcraft's can be anything really as long as they have the following characteristics:
- They are small crafts that are relatively simple to make.
- They can be made in quick time, ideally several pieces over a weekend.
- They are high selling & popular items.
- They have a history of being in demand.
- The cost of making is low. The selling price is relatively high & the profit margin is generous.
- They can be sold online & can be shipped with ease.
These crafts also do not require many advanced & expensive tools either. You will earn more/hour of your work. Specially recommended for woodworkers who are just starting out.
You can find great projects to start out with & make good returns on them. READ OUR POST here for more information.
Taking On Custom Woodworking Jobs
This is another way to go. Put out ads in the local newspaper, put out flyers or work on word my mouth recommendations.
If you have the skill & the tools to perform a set of woodworking jobs, you can. You should be ready to work with your customers, be ready to handle custom orders & take on orders that take a longer duration to finish.
You can start on a low key with custom woodworking jobs as well. For example, I read about someone who started out a woodworking business installing door & window frames because that’s what he had a lot of experience with. And he did get a lot of business as well, made a good income because they were all quick & fixed rate jobs.
Typically, custom wood working jobs are for professionals who are capable of handling all kinds of jobs. Read MORE about how to deal with customers here.
Tools & Space
Let’s get to the next important point & that is tools & space for a woodshop. Contrary to normal belief, a huge space is not required. A 12X24 is adequate & a 20X24 is ideal for more kind of woodworking projects. We need to remember that we are setting up the woodworking business from home, and space will often be a constraint.
The same goes for the tools. You do not need a dazzling array of commercial grade power tools. But you do need the basic ones.
The thing with both woodworking tools & space for a wood-shop is that it all depends on where you are starting from. You can even start with just a few hand tools if you want. You get the picture.
Important Woodworking Issues
Budget & Costs
If you are just starting out, you need to have a budget to setup. Once again, the advantage is that you are starting the woodworking business from home.
The minimum expense you are looking at, starting from the scratch, is about $1000. If you already have some things in place, this cost can be much less or none at all.
The same applies to the continuing cost of the woodworking business. Wood is your largest expense as raw material. That includes plywood, veneer, etc. There are many more materials that you need to buy on a regular basis including tool accessories that wear out like bits & blades.
Logically speaking, if your bits & blades are getting worn out, it means that you are doing plenty of work, and can afford to buy the new ones. But it never hurts to save money where you can, now does it…
Whenever you work in a niche you can charge more for you work & make more money. Read about the importance of working in a niche here.
Branding is important. Just because you are running a woodworking business from home, doesn't mean that you cannot have a wonderful professional and impressive image for your business.
Build a brand for your woodworking business. For example, never operate without a business name & choose a good one to begin with. Click here to read more about choosing a business name.
The next things in branding involve having business cards, business stationary, letterheads & stamps. Have a small & niche color brochure printed out if possible. These days all these things do not cost much & there are many capable people online ready to do this for you cheaply.
Even if you are making your own high profit woodcraft's & selling online, branding will make you more money. People will see your logo, your profile write up & they will see a business that is reliable & professional. Reliable & professional goods always get a better price.
Packaging is an equally important part of branding. Your packaging can be as simple as a brown cardboard box. But with decent build quality & great quality printing, it can be the classiest packaging as well. A classy packaging tells the customer it’s a classy product he’s bought & probably worth more than he paid for it!