Q about a career in Cabinetmaking/Joinery


First of all, my hats off to those of you who regularly post on this group. It's been a great place to dig for answers to many of my woodworking questions. Thanks everyone!
Ok, onto my post. I'll try to keep this brief...
I'm seriously thinking about leaving my current job, moving back to Canada (my home country), entering a 6 month Joinery/Cabinetmaking Entry Level Trades Training program, and starting an new career in that field. At the moment I'm wait-listed for the program, so it's only a matter of time before the day comes when the ball will begin to roll. I have very little apprehension about the career change as my current job was only ever supposed to be temporary (1 year of teaching English overseas has turned into 6) and I was never that interested in it from the start.
Woodworking is something that I've always enjoyed and have been doing since I was very young. So after I recently turned 30 I realized, "this is it...life is passing me by and it's time I got started on a career that I'd love as opposed to something that is only there to pay the bills."
Enough about me. Who I really want to hear from are those of you who have been working in the field as professional cabinetmakers, CNC operators, wooden boat builders, etc. I'm curious about your thoughts on your careers, job-satisfaction, apprenticeships, job related health concerns, working conditions, and anything else you might care to share. Of course any advice or questions on fine tuning my career would also be greatly appreciated.
Looking forward to reading your replies...
Steve
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Go for it! Steve I am a keen amateur woodworker and really enjoy what I do. And the business is building up through word of mouth. Just landed a 4000 euro 5,657.42 CAD contract for cabinets and a table. It just requires honesty and confidence. I do hope you dream comes true. It will all be down to your own efforts Go and see people spend time with them and bring a box of sample woods and finishes. Clients really like that.
have a look at what I do. http://www.connoraston.com
Connor
wrote:

--
www.connoraston.com
If I cant make it - I'll Try!
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"connor aston" wrote in message

Nice site, nice work, nice shop!
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 12/13/05
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I was semi-pro for about 10 years (you make enough money to support your habbit but not enough to quit the day job) before I went full time. I love the work. Do you want to be an employee, or business owner? Big differences here. You should establish some sort of a reputation first, before venturing out on your own. I find that I spend almost as much time running the business as I do making things, and I don't have any employees. I do love what I do. robo hippy
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks called to see a prospect last night looking for a sleigh bed. . . . HELP!!!!

--
http://www.connoraston.com

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Just a couple of things to remember along the way.
1) The hardest part of running your own business is the ability to say NO to customers. As much as you are going to be confident and eager to do a project, go with your gut..ANY apprehension, walk away from it. There will be more opportunities coming your way.
2) Lose the idea that "being Your Own Boss" is fun. You'll find out soon enough that you're working for a prick, one who will ask you to rise to heights that you would never consider if you were to be working for somebody else. When, however, a project is completed, you get paid, no hassles, deadline was met, you get an incredible feeling of accomplishment the likes of which you cannot buy. Nothing feels better that getting a referral.
3) Never make promises you can't keep. Customers hate that shit. Don't over-spend on tools. Rentals are a great way to get to know a tool before you make a choice.
4) Tools are needed to do the jobs. They're not intended to be collectors items.
5) ALWAYS draw up a proposal/contract/invoice and ask for enough of a deposit so you won't have to stiff your suppliers.
6) Send a cheque for 1500 Can$, to me for this advice.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Robatoy wrote:

Under promise, over deliver.
Think you can finish it by Tuesday? Promise the following Friday, and thrill the customer by delivering it on Tuesday.
Barry
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Steve,
Definitely take it slow before heading out on your own. A lot of cabinetmakers struggle to keep up with the business side (either because they have too many or too few projects).
Remeber that running the business takes a set of skills you build over time, just like woodworking, business is no different. You'll need to know things like:
What kind of customer do you like to work with? What price-point are you comfortable working in? Do you have a niche or speciality the appeals to you?
One of the most important things to remember is that "word of mouth" business doesn't mean you don't tell people about yourself. A lot of cabinetmakers are sitting on a list of 50 people who'd love to tell their friends and neighbors about them. Once you've built up a network of satisfied customers, a simple postcard is all it takes to bring in a little more business.
Brian http://www.cabinetmarketing.com
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Great advice . . my thoughts exactly.
On Mon, 23 Jan 2006 18:51:04 -0000, B a r r y

--
http://www.connoraston.com

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Being your own boss is great. It's also being your own employee that sucks.
Robatoy wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Steve,
I would like to reply, please send me your REAL email address.
Don Dando

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks for the offer Don. I do actaully check that email address regularly...
Steve
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
This is great! Thanks everyone for all the positive feedback so far...
To give you a little more info on where I'm at:
Being self-employed isn't that terrifying. For the last five years I've been self-employed in Japan running my own language school. But the opportunity to open my school was literally thrown in my lap along with 75 students (my former employer went bankrupt.) It's been a great ride, but I never intended to make a career out of teaching English and now I'm feeling ready to move on. After two years of soul searching, I think I know what I want to do back in Canada...
After I graduate from the 6 month Joinery program I intend to apprentice for four years to get my Canadian Red Seal. Additionally I've been studying CAD in my free time and would like to incorporate those skills into my career. Not sure where I'll end up working but sticking around BC would be nice. Of course starting another business sounds appealing, but I'll wait and see when the time comes...
Steve
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.