How To Make Money From Your Woodworking Passion
Do you wish you could turn your woodworking passion into a full-time job?
We all need a job to keep a roof over our heads and pay the bills. For most of us, it’s usually not in an industry we’re passionate about or that makes us excited to get out of bed. But it doesn’t have to be that way. So, why not turn your hobby of woodworking into a career?
Keep reading for our guide on how to take your woodworking to a new, profitable level.
It can be a great experience owning your own business, but there are some basics to cover before you leap. Any business will tell you handling everything outside their product/service is hard.
You’ll be a woodworker, but you also need to take on tasks like:
- Marketing & sales
- Customer service
- Web design & IT support
All those tasks, and more need balancing, while you still need the time to make your products. The need for these tasks increases over time, so at the start focus on the most important. Focus on tasks that make money, reduce costs, and/or are necessary (e.g taxes).
People forget their current salary isn’t always the whole benefits package they get. There are taxes and insurance that don’t show on your paycheck.
In general, these extra expenses can be anything between 25-50% of your salary. Your state and your employer’s benefits package determine this.
So, say you currently earn $40,000 and you think your company pays 25% on top. You’ll need to earn $50,000 from your woodworking business to keep your current income level.
Once your business takes off, you’ll likely need to expand your staff. How many employees you need will depend on:
- the size of your business
- the size of your steady customer base
- what equipment you use
Hiring employees as you grow is a great way to free up time for yourself. But, with employees comes management responsibilities. You need to motive staff and resolve issues, which is tricky when you’re new to it.
What Should You Sell?
Your passion might be new age sculpturing, to succeed you need marketable products. They need to appeal to a mass market in other words. Here are some examples of what sells well and you should offer customers a variety.
Even in this digital age, there is still a marketable love for books. Because of this, there are always people looking to buy wooden bookshelves.
They’re not only desired for residential use, but other organizations also need them like:
- Daycare centers
You can offer ready-made or “flat-pack” options in set styles. On top of this, you could add customization options or take bespoke orders. You could even sell woodworking plans for people to give it a go at home.
You might not think it but unique cutting boards are very popular. Some people want a nice traditional rectangular board in high-quality wood. For others they’re looking for something more uniquely shaped like:
For some, these boards are decorative to add a little charm to their kitchen. You could offer a lot of variation and customization in this area.
Another item to consider is device stands. Wood is durable and sturdy but can have an elegant finish. A lot of people want quality wood pieces for their homes.
Things like stands for TVs, tablets, phones, and more. You can also create shop displays for merchandise. Also, consider items like key or jewellry holders.
Puzzles & Toys
Wooden toys and puzzles are classic items that remain popular today. Think of games like chess and Jenga, they always sell well. You can also make toys like:
- Dollhouses & furniture
- Trains & tracks
- Alphabet blocks
There are a huge number of toys out there to choose from, and they’ll always be popular with children.
Extra Business Tips
Here are some extra tips to bear in mind.
You could make the best wooden items in the world, but you need to promote them. People need to know you exist or you won’t make any sales.
Before starting new woodworking projects, carry out market research. This helps you work out who your target audience is, and what products they’re looking for. You’ll also find out the best places to market to them.
Put up signage where it’s allowed, set up a website, and make use of social media. If you need to, then pay for advertising as well to drum up interest. Any investments you make for marketing will pay off in the long run.
Produce items that add value to your target customer. If you’re making toys, that’s great, but consider educational options. Parents are more likely to buy products that help their children learn.
Make sure your contact information is up-to-date. You need to make it convenient and easy for people to get in touch. Be approachable and open when customers have questions about your products.
The easier it is to do business with you, the more likely customers are to buy and keep coming back for more. Get this right, and your steady customer list will keep on climbing.
It might seem too exclusive to filter customers but it’s a must. For people who only care about the cost, it’s not always possible to make them happy. You need to let them know the time and effort that goes into your products.
Your costs cover materials sure but also expenses like employee pay and rent. Most established woodworkers say taking 50% of your cost upfront is a good idea. You can’t finance other people’s projects.
If the customer won’t pay that, then the risk isn’t worth their business. After all, if they cancel the order without you taking any money, you’re out of pocket for the time and materials. Remember this, you don’t have to feel guilty about turning down nonprofitable work.
It’s common for people to try to buy things they can’t afford. Don’t get yourself into a sticky position where you lost business and you’re out of pocket. There’s a lot of people who will pay for quality work, that’s the business you want to target and hold onto.
Treat Your Work as a Business
You need to know your costs and cover them, including things like:
- Waste Disposal
- Woodworkers supply and materials
- Woodworking tools
You need to pay for all these items before you make a profit. Any fees you have to charge, charge them, and don’t apologize.
Also, look to build up collaborative relationships in the industry. Talk to interior designers and architects; they’re always looking for fine woodworking. Establish good relationships here will bring in a steady stream of income.
Make sure your website is up-to-date and stands out. It should be simple to use, but use vivid, high-quality images of your work. It needs to tell users who you are and what your work stands for. If you can’t manage a website, hire someone. It’ll be vital if you want to compete in this digital world.
Always look to better your business like taking classes or getting extra qualifications. An online search is a great way to find relevant classes. After all, the better your skills and methods, the better quality your work will be.
It might be worth taking a business course too. This will help you understand and master your business needs outside of woodworking.
Only Do It If You’re Passionate
If you’re not passionate about this, it’s not a good idea to try to make a full-time woodworking career. Without that passion and love, the other parts of running a business will soon wear you down.
You need to accept there will be difficult challenges when starting a business. You’ll need to get up to speed with things you don’t have much experience with. But if you’re prepared for challenges, a woodworking business is a huge opportunity.
What you charge for your work is a personal, individual thing. But it’s an important step when starting your business.
If you set prices too high, you won’t sell your items. If you set them too little, you won’t make any money. Consider things like material costs, labor, overhead, and selling expenses.
Long Term Pricing Strategy
As your business takes off you’ll want to work out how you’ll factor in extra costs that come from growth. Track your time each week, this way you can see what you’re spending time doing. You need to make sure you have enough time to making products for you to sell.
Using a steady cost calculation method will make your pricing life easier. If you price at the beginning will save time down the line. And as we said before, don’t apologize for your pricing. You want to produce quality work but also make money, and you can with a careful plan.
Making a Woodworking Business Work For You
So, there you have it! Now you’ve read this guide you know what to expect when taking your woodworking passion to the next level.
Starting any business is a huge step, so make sure you have the passion to make it work. It’s not all about holing up in your workshop making great wood pieces. You’ll need to do all the other, less exciting parts of running a company too. But, if you plan, do your research, and are ready for hard work, it could be the best thing you ever do.
If you’re looking for woodworking tools and plans to get you started, contact us today. We’ve got the knowledge and resources to point you in the right direction.