Getting Started in Woodworking Business

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Well thought out answer. Most people miss many of these points when starting out. Been guilty myself - in other businesses.
makesawdust wrote:

That last point is _really_ important. Most of us ignore the cost of selling and forget how much cheaper it is to sell over-and-over to the same client.

Again automation of basic steps and repeatable performance. Many businesses ignore this - it's costly to ignore this.

Again good analysis - even if you are looking at something else - apply the lessons here. i.e. once you tool up and develop methods to do things a certain way - moving off center can be costly.

Don't confuse Marketing and sales - this fellow doesn't: Marketing is the art of having what you can get rid of. Sales is the art of getting rid of what you have.

Scott:
You sure know your stuff. Maybe you should be a business consultant... Or are you?
If anyone is having a bad time of it - they should read your post. Think for a few days -- while they work -- or not -- then re-read it.

--
Will
Occasional Techno-geek
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Hi Will,
Thanks for your kind remarks. I worked in upper management (I recentl resigned from my job, and am now in-between positions), but buil cabinents when I was in my early 20's. I'm actually considering doin something like this on a part-time basis myself after my new woodsho is set up. We have younger children, so I appreciate the benefits o stable income and solid benefits, but it would be great if I could d this to finance my tool habit and maybe put a little extra in the bank too.
In my community, there are several high-growth areas where the averag new home prices are $277k to $333k, with a total of 9000 housing start expected in the Treasure Valley in 2005. In this price range I believ that there is an expectation by the customer for a certain level o quality beyond what a typical finish carpenter can provide with onsit construction; but this price range doesn't really accomodate tru custom touches. We're building a new house right now that will b worth about $350k when finished, and I learned first hand that to sta withing $100 to $115 per square foot price range in our area, yo either have to do the custom work yourself, go without it, or plan o spending a lot more money. This fact, coupled with the work I hav seen from local finish carpenters, is basically where the idea o semi-custom upgrades that are reasonably priced came from. By no mean do I make this comment to deride the work of the finish carpenters have seen (I spent two years looking at houses/builders before we brok ground). They do a good job, but there are limits on what can b produced on a job site, and they need to work fast if they want to ear a decent wage.
My first "sales-pitch" will probably be the contractor with whom we ar working on our new home; I only want to build 4 or 5 mantles a month, s if I can land just two or three smaller contractors for customers, I'l be set. I think that when he sees the mantle that I built for ou home, he'll be sold.
Additionally, I thought that by standardizing general sizes (basin everything on a 36" wide gas fireplace, which is pretty standard), could prepare a "design form" that a builder could give to hi customers; the builder would then fax the completed form to me. Th form would allow the customer to chose from three mantle shelve (tops), three architraves (middle parts), and three pilaster (columns). This marketing piece would also have color photos o different elements assembled together to give the home owner an idea o what the finished mantle will look like. The same concept could easil be applied to front entry door surrounds. And in this model I would b invisible to the home owner, and would never be in a position to eve have to respond to requests to change this or that.
By pre-building and priming a selection of components, one coul provide delivery of product within a very short time frame contractors would find this very valuable, and it could be a grea selling point when soliciting new customers (finding reliable subs is hard task for contractors in a booming market). By making multiples o a given part, one will save a considerable amount of set-up time. Final assembly of the components into a semi-custom mantle would b very easy and fast, and basically entail just glueing and nailing th pieces together.
As part of my service, I'm planning on delivering and installing th mantles. With the design I worked out, installation only require three ledger boards and seven finish nails.
I'm also planning on being prepared to provide for free a mantle to builder who is truly interested in my service, if I have to. I'm jus going to factor this type of expense into my marketing budget. Eac year there is a Parade of Homes in my area; it's a big deal wher builders open show homes to the public (and other builders who chec out the competition). If I end up providing any gratis product, I'l probably tie it to the Parade of Homes so I can at least get a som signage displayed as well.
Will, if you think that you are going to move forward with this type o model, I'd really enjoy hearing about your experiences, ideas and what you learn through the process. My reasons are a little selfish, as there is no reason to re-invent the wheel through trial and error. Anyway, my email address is scott-AT-gemstateelk.org (replace the -AT- with @).
Regards,
Scott
--
makesawdust


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Something to consider doing is building kitchen cabinets if you have the abilities to do it. You will need to contact the builders and contractors in the area and sell yourself to them but I would think there'd be more demand for that than furnature as far as steady support for your family and needs to tide things over until on your feet with a buisness venture. CC

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I've considered cabinets but right now they're a dime a gross up here. Plus, working out of a 2car garage, I don't have a lotta room. The architectural millwork and mantles that another person suggested is a good possibility for my situation.
Thanks for the suggestion
Will

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