Can A Hobbyist Sell Items?
#20
  Re: Can A Hobbyist Sell Items? by BrentDH (I have never really ...)
Thanks for all the thoughts.  I knew I could get some valuable perspective from the brain trust here.

I think the most meaningful advice here was to determine WHY I want to sell things.  Affirmation was mentioned as a possible reason.  I hadn't thought carefully about it before but I think it is the affirmation that something I make is valuable to someone.  Even if I did make an effort to sell things I am not interested in a full time job of cranking out the same things over and over for 8 hours a day.  And unless you do something like that then the amount of income probably isn't worth the hassle.  I am leaning toward just continuing on as I have in the past, occasionally making something for friends and family.
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#21
  Re: RE: Can A Hobbyist Sell Items? by BrentDH (Thanks for all the t...)
(01-12-2022, 01:09 PM)BrentDH Wrote: Thanks for all the thoughts.  I knew I could get some valuable perspective from the brain trust here.

I think the most meaningful advice here was to determine WHY I want to sell things.  Affirmation was mentioned as a possible reason.  I hadn't thought carefully about it before but I think it is the affirmation that something I make is valuable to someone.  Even if I did make an effort to sell things I am not interested in a full time job of cranking out the same things over and over for 8 hours a day.  And unless you do something like that then the amount of income probably isn't worth the hassle.  I am leaning toward just continuing on as I have in the past, occasionally making something for friends and family.

Don't let the business side of it get in the way of having fun and learning new skills.  I have done a lot of projects for other people over the past 10+ years that I never would have been able to otherwise do.  I learned all kinds of new skills that now makes me a far more accomplished woodworker than I ever likely would have been just doing projects for myself.  The money was sometimes pretty good, other times not, but for me it has always been more about doing interesting and challenging projects far more than any financial reward. 

If you want to sell stuff, sell stuff.  Report the income and pay the taxes.  It's not hard when your sales are low and you have no employees.   

John
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#22
  Re: RE: Can A Hobbyist Sell Items? by BrentDH (Thanks for all the t...)
(01-12-2022, 01:09 PM)BrentDH Wrote: Thanks for all the thoughts.  I knew I could get some valuable perspective from the brain trust here.

I think the most meaningful advice here was to determine WHY I want to sell things.  Affirmation was mentioned as a possible reason.  I hadn't thought carefully about it before but I think it is the affirmation that something I make is valuable to someone.  Even if I did make an effort to sell things I am not interested in a full time job of cranking out the same things over and over for 8 hours a day.  And unless you do something like that then the amount of income probably isn't worth the hassle.  I am leaning toward just continuing on as I have in the past, occasionally making something for friends and family.

Something that I did not notice mentioned above is the thought to look around for woodworking or woodturning clubs in your area.

The clubs here often do demonstrations at various events or festivals. At many of these events, there is a for-sale table where club members who are participating in the event can sell their craft. The clubs do it as a way to broaden public awareness of woodworking and as an outreach to attract new members. It can be interesting to interact with the event attendees and to see how people react to what we have made.

One thing that is always a hit when there are kids attending is to give away small tops (the spinning kind) to kids who watch us make them. For some of the festivals, the tops tend to be so popular that the club gets members to make some in advance for distribution because we cannot keep up with the demand in real time.
"the most important safety feature on any tool is the one between your ears." - Ken Vick

A wish for you all:  May you keep buying green bananas.
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#23
  Re: Can A Hobbyist Sell Items? by BrentDH (I have never really ...)
The summer after my Freshman year in High School thick pine furniture was in vogue, so I got some air dried slabs from the sawmill across the street to make some coffee tables. I used a plane to get the top relatively smooth, then routed some grooves for a checker/chess board and drilled holes for cribbage. I used a draw-knife to make legs with branches from the woods where my first tree house still stood. I don't remember what finish I used but I did learn that shellac was needed before I used a black marker on the grooves. Anyway; I brought them to a local furniture shop and they offered to take them on commision.  No Way! You can buy them right now and sell them for whatever you want or they go back in the truck. A week later my Mom told me they wanted to buy more. A few weeks later I registered my business at the Town Hall (I still have the receipt around somewhere.)

I have been running my business as a Sole-Proprietorship ever since. I just file a Schedule C along with my 1040. I've used several Accountants over the years, but for the most part I've been doing my own tax returns. The biggest thing I learned from them is to keep every receipt and take daily notes of work related expenses, income and milage. For years I used a simple weekly recordkeeping book that kept a running total by tax category before I started using Quicken on an Apple II-E. (Do you remember floppy disks?)

Now a few things to think about. Your tools are yours. If you deduct the cost of a tool that isn't a replacement the business technically owns it and what happens to it when you stop your business is currently unknown. I don't think I'll ever fully retire, i.e. close my business, but anticipate there may be some years that I won't earn enough (after expenses) to file a schedule C.  I also do not carry inventory.  If there's extra materials at the end of a job they are returned for credit or thrown in the dumpster. (If I choose to then take them out, they are mine to do with whatever I please.)

Most Accountants will tell you (off record), that the reason you should have a business is not necessarily to report income, but to be able to deduct the expenses.
Sign at N.E. Vocational School Cabinetmaking Shop 1976, "Free knowledge given daily... Bring your own container"
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#24
  Re: Can A Hobbyist Sell Items? by BrentDH (I have never really ...)
A lot of advice here, worth considering.  One thing I didn't see is zoning where the OP plans to have the business.  If doing it from a residence in an area zoned residential, all you need is one neighbor to complain to be shut down in most areas.  Keep good records and record expenses including mileage.  Talk to your tax man and insurance man prior to setup and be prepared for the unexpected.  
One more thing is to know if you're doing it for fun or profit.  Most small endeavors won't make money for a long time if ever so be prepared.
Good luck, hope it works out for you.
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#25
  Re: Can A Hobbyist Sell Items? by BrentDH (I have never really ...)
Definitely talk to your insurance agent. My tools and shop are covered by my homeowners policy because it's a hobby. I seem to remember that my agent said that once I start selling things it's considered a business and homeowners doesn't cover. I'd need to get a business policy.

While you can slide by, if you have to file a claim and the insurance company discovers you're a business by their classification they'll deny your claim.

Cliff
You can only be young once
but you can be immature forever.
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#26
  Re: Can A Hobbyist Sell Items? by BrentDH (I have never really ...)
I ran a picture framing business out of my home.  No employees, so I did not get any commercial insurance.  I did rent a box at the local mailboxes franchise.  It gave me a commercial address, and someone to receive packages all day long. 

Unless your home is located in an area zoned "commercial" you do have to be circumspect about the business or one of your neighbors might complain.  And that would shut you down.

Also, the commercial address that the mailbox franchise will make you seem "professional" to potential vendors, some of which will not sell to consumers. 

I did have to get a resale certificate and I did have to pay the sales tax.  (Don't skip that; the state gets really pissed off if you do.  That does not mean you have to declare all of your sales, but certainly, 30% to 50% would go a long way to protecting you from the state.)

They could track my approximate sales by the amount of molding and glass I purchased.  But a major income stream was from hand decorating the matboards and that as "invisible" to the IRS.

In the upscale area where I lived at the time, my main concern was remaining under the radar to my neighbors.  There is always someone who is jealous and can make trouble.

Marketing your product is another area--but much more accessible nowadays with the internet. 

My sales were all word-of-mouth.  I also offered (at a premium) a picture hanging service which was not available from other vendors, and for some customers it was the deal-maker.
No animals were injured or killed in the production of this post.
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#27
  Re: Can A Hobbyist Sell Items? by BrentDH (I have never really ...)
Some great questions and responses here with this thread! Another option for seling are local markets in your area. I live in Montana , in a town of 150-200k population and we have several markets or storefronts that sell locally made products from pottery to clothing to artwork woodworking etc. My wife is a hobbiest artist and I am a hobbiest woodworker, we frequent these shops quite regularly. My wifes niece has a laser machine and sells stuff in these markets all the time, so they are a good local option verses shipping your products.
I retired last april from the elevator trade with 42 yrs. of service, and receive a nice pension, but I have still found out that I could use some supplemental income as well. I have enjoyed cleaning , organizing , and making fixtures etc. in my own shop over the last several months and I must say it has made my woodworking time and shop time way more enjoyable to get things cleaned up and organized better. We currently have an ad on FB MP for charcuterie boards I am making out of reclaimed redwood. We have actually bought and sold many things from fb mp or C/L, which are other options.
Although I want to supplement my income, clocking in on a timeclock at say Lowes, or home depot does not appeal to me at all. What I am going to try and do is smaller carpentry type projects for friends relatives etc. Like installing front doors, or screen doors or kitchen cabinet repairs or install vent hood etc. Finding someone who will do these type of smaller things in our area is very hard right now as building materials and contractors seem to be at a premium right now, and are not easy to get.
Good luck on whatever path you take, and just know that there are plenty of other people in similar situations as you that are trying to figure it out too!
Gordon
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#28
  Re: Can A Hobbyist Sell Items? by BrentDH (I have never really ...)
Depending on the state, you may be required to collect retail sales tax.  I had to report and pay every six months.  One way to deal with this is to sell at a retail outlet and let them deal with the collection and reporting but that means increasing your price to cover their commission.  That can amount to 30% or more.
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