Anyone here have a profitable woodworking business?
  Re: Anyone here have a profitable woodworking business? by FloridaRetiree (Reason I ask is that...)
“mr_skittle” Wrote:I've quicky learned to ask about budget in the first 5 minutes so as not to waste both our time.
I had a kitchen remodel shop basically stop talking to me because he demanded that I give him a budget number, even though I told him I had no idea what the project would cost, when I pulled a number from my butt, it was too low.

We found another contractor who was willing to educate us. Maybe people who can be educated about such things are few and far between.
Dave Arbuckle was kind enough to create a Sketchup model of my WorkMate benchtop:
  Re: Anyone here have a profitable woodworking business? by FloridaRetiree (Reason I ask is that...)
Most of the people I have run into in that situation,just don't understand. Pick a number any number. If they are making $30 an hour they think you should only be charging $25. What they fail to realise is their employer probably has to charge at least $90 an hour just to break even. Workmans comp, social security tax, building and office help and on and on for a long time. They have never done it and just don't get it. It can be a difficult job to educate them.
  Re: Anyone here have a profitable woodworking business? by FloridaRetiree (Reason I ask is that...)
Employees can be tough on that front too. They are charging xxx/ hr, I make xx/hr. They don't see all the overhead that goes into getting the job and servicing it.

If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.
-Jack Handy

  Re: Anyone here have a profitable woodworking business? by FloridaRetiree (Reason I ask is that...)
mine comes and goes.   in the last year I made something like 10 or 12 tables for a couple of fancy picnic companies ...picnics I couldn't afford.  Once they bought enough tables they didn't need anymore.

But it was decent money while it lasted.

I had another guy that had me making things for a house he was building, living in then planned on selling when it was done.  Then he started wanting me to make things for less and less, so I stopped working for him.  that's my price take it or leave it.

also small random stuff people are looking for off FB or Nextdoor or whereever, but that's just now and then.

And some handyman work here and there.

it pays for new tools and other toys I proly wouldn't buy otherwise.

Good thing I have a good paying full-time job.

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. - Philip K. Dick


  Re: Anyone here have a profitable woodworking business? by FloridaRetiree (Reason I ask is that...)
I've replied to this thread already....three and a half years ago. I think the world is very different now than even then. Realistically, with global supply chains (present day excluded) and cheap labor elsewhere, it is quite difficult to compete with mass-produced furniture available. Make no mistake, there ARE clients who want handmade (and American-made) furniture - or, for that matter, handmade furniture from their home community or country. I know we have a few overseas forum members and I'm sure the sentiment is the same there.

Many of us have built larger or more decorative pieces. Cabinets, dressers, chests, cribs, you name it. We can speculate as to their market value, but regardless of what we come up with it's almost certainly going to be at least ten times what a similar category thing costs at Ikea or Target. Again, there are clients who will pay for that, but they are orders of magnitude fewer than those who buy the flat pack alternative.

I think as a rule what makes the most money are the "boring" things - for me, that's cutting boards, cheese boards, serving trays, charcuterie boards (all the same thing, really) and small turned items like bottle openers or wine stoppers. It's far easier to quantify labor time and materials cost to determine a profit margin.

In any case, what I meant when I said that the world is very different now is a guy like Cam with Blacktail Studio. He makes primarily epoxy tables as far as I can tell, and he works with massive and incredibly beautiful live-edge slabs. I know his tables sell for quite a bit, but they do take a fair amount of time and the materials are not cheap. He has to pay to work with a commercial shop's wide belt, and transporting and working with things like that will eventually take a toll on your body (ask me how I know). But he's good at making videos (his wife was in marketing, so that probably helps) and he documents with professional-quality videos what he does on each video. After a few years on YouTube, this translates into over a million subscribers and roughly $500K a year from YouTube alone. So he might make money doing woodworking alone, but the vast majority of his income at this point is from YouTube - and that channel doesn't exist unless he makes the tables. It's hard to really grasp for me even though I have - you make some amount X from selling the fruits of your labor, but you make 5X or 10X from chronicling and sharing the process.

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