One of the most important steps to getting your woodworking business off the ground is to come up with a solid business plan prior to getting to work. Sure, the profits come once you actually start making projects and selling them, but there are many aspects of your business that you simply must plan out first. For example, you need to consider who your target customers will be, your niche within the woodworking market, your marketing strategies, and balancing your costs versus your profit margins. First, let’s discuss how to decide your target customer base.
Choosing Target Customers for Woodworking Businesses
Before you can decide what projects to create, you need to decide who will be buying your woodworking goods. Well, you actually cannot entirely control who will buy your goods, but you can optimize your projects to appeal to a certain segment of the population. For example, when you first start out with woodworking, you may want to cater to customers who desire more affordable, simple wood projects. Most middle class homeowners appreciate handmade furniture items that are functional, but not overly complicated or ornate. These projects are not difficult, and can be a great way to make money while building up your woodworking skills. Even better, many institutions like schools will gladly purchase very simple, but functional, outdoor benches and tables for their students.
Once you become better at designing quality wood projects, you may want to shift your focus to targeting more wealthy customers with higher end projects. For example, you may decide to create more artistic, expensive wood carvings and statues using on the highest quality woods. Depending on your skill level, I have found that more wealthy customers really appreciate the uniqueness that comes with each handmade carving or statue. Ornate handrails for staircases are also a particularly popular item among more wealthy clients.
Although woodworking is technically a niche in itself, we often strive to drill further down and specialize in a particular area. This allows us to eventually make a name for ourselves and establish a local brand. Many woodworkers decide their niche based on the type of wood that they prefer the most. For example, if you prefer tropical woods over laminates, then it has serious implications on the types of projects you will choose, the types of suppliers you will need, and the types of customers that will respond to your wood projects.
Knowing your wood of choice and customer base will also help you decide on the best marketing strategies. One of the first hurdles that any new business faces is getting its name and brand out there in the public eye. Many beginner woodworkers start out by advertising their services in local newspapers or on the Internet, but these are certainly not the only options. Feel free to give presentations at your local Chamber of Commerce, or even send out advertisements by mail to local businesses that might be interested in your services.
Knowing your choice of wood will also help you when deciding on a supplier that best meets your needs. You are free, of course, to simply purchase supplies at your local Home Depot, but you should eventually contact a supplier directly when your business is large enough to justify purchasing in bulk. Keep in mind that you need to vet suppliers to make sure that they are giving you the best deals and wholesale prices. Also make sure they carry your wood of choice, and that they provide you with quality raw materials. Remember that your expenses on raw materials will ultimately affect the prices that you must charge your customers.
Aside from wood, you will also need tools specific to the projects that you plan to create. The good news is that you probably already possess a lot of the tools in your garage to enable you to get started. You will want to upgrade to more powerful equipment as your business grows, but starting efficiently is one of the keys to success in starting a woodworking business. At the same time, please make sure that your equipment is durable and will withstand the type of work you decided in your business model. You do not want your tools constantly breaking or preventing you from doing a quality woodworking job.
Also bear in mind that you need to factor your time as a business expense. In other words, consider how much time you spend on each project versus the profits you could earn by utilizing your time in a different manner. Do not be afraid to hire help as needed to make sure your projects are completed in a timely fashion. One great way to get your business off the ground is to hire someone with less experience, and then train them on exactly how to create your niche product. After a few months, that person can then handle most of the woodworking and you can slide into a managerial position, if you so desire. Alternatively, it will afford you more time to go out and visit clients or advertise your unique woodworking projects.
If you keep these tips in mind, starting your home woodworking business should go smoothly. Keep your business on track, make a solid plan, and keep tabs on your costs and profits. With any luck, you will be on your way to starting a quality woodworking business in no time!