Running a woodshop is and isn't hard work!
I started out building things I needed, I remodeled the living room and wanted some shelves to hold the randomness I had been collecting. Enter the shanty-2-chic sisters into my life. Someone showed me these floating ledge shelves they made and I said "I could make those in two shakes of a lambs tail" well… I didn't actually say that at all. I probably just looked at it and didn't say a word.
The shelves still hang on the wall to this day! After that I can't remember the next build or the one after but I got the bug and started taking on orders from friends. I jumped the gun and went on Facebook created a page and started getting orders from strangers. It got overwhelming, I didn't have the tools I needed, I was overly critical of the work I was doing and selling everything for more than what I felt comfortable charging. I closed the shop after a couple months.
People still tell me all the time I under charge for items. I just kinda laugh when I hear it. Not once has anyone ever offered to pay more though and it's always after the item is delivered!
So if you're looking to take that big step forward here are a couple of things I wish I would of known before starting
- 1.If someone ordered a piece they actually want it.
It seems like a no-brainer but I would be so nervous when I met them for delivery. In the back of my head I always had the thought what if they don't like it and decide they don't want it?
- 2.Charge as much as you can!
I habitually underprice my stuff that comes from the school of thought that, if you charge less you'll sell more. It holds true but if you're only breaking even or making just enough to keep the lights on, then you need to revisit what you're doing. It is a good feeling seeing the delight people have when you deliver a product that cost you far more make than you charged but it is not at all a solid business model.
- 3.Shop Upgrades
Improving your tools, adding things that increase workflow and keeping a clean work area. Those are the three pillars of a successful woodshop. If you make a big profit on something think to yourself, what upgrade would of made that job easier and how will it make me more money if I buy it? I always look at purchases with the mindset, will it make me money, save me time or make things easier. If it does all three then it's a done deal. If not then I don't need it.
- 4.Buy good – Buy Once
If you buy inferior tools you're going to end up with inferior end results. If you buy a cheap tool you're likely going to hate it and break it. Buying cheap and thinking you'll end up with the same accuracy was a great mistake of mine. Woodworking is about precision and you are only as good as your tools. I used a contractor grade $129 table saw for a long time and the amount of frustration it brought me was not worth the savings in money I had from the better saw.
- 5.Enjoy it!
This was a hobby that is about to turn into a nice little side business. Don't take on more than you can handle. Make friends locally and around the web. I often send work to others because I don't feel comfortable doing it or I don't have time. If you build up a reputation and do what you say you're going to do. You'll always be busy