If you enjoy working with wood but only do it as a hobby or to make gifts for friends, it might be time to turn it into something a little more lucrative. Whether you’re running an existing woodworking business or just starting out, here are five tips to help you lead your new enterprise to success.
1. Don’t Forget Your Business Plan
Whether you’re creating a woodworking business or any other type of business, you shouldn’t start anything without a well-written business plan. Trying to keep track of everything you need to run a successful company without writing it down will drive you crazy — sometimes literally. Start by designing your business on paper, including everything from the description of what you do to your funding requests and financial projections. Any building permits, licensing you’ve obtained or will obtain, and your resume should be included too.
2. Keep Challenging Yourself
Even if you’ve been working with wood your entire life, if you’re starting a woodworking business, the best thing you can do is keep challenging yourself. Work with new materials, try new techniques, and learn new skills throughout your career. Make sure you perfect them before you start offering them to your customers, but expanding your skill horizons can bring in new customers and help make your business more lucrative.
3. Have a Reliable Truck
Don’t rely on supply deliveries, especially for small projects. Having a reliable truck that you can use to haul your supplies and tools to and from the job site will save you a lot of time and hassle in the long run. Make sure you protect the bed of the truck with something to keep lumber and lose tools from causing damage and negatively affecting the value of your work vehicle. Water-based coatings are safer because they don’t contain methylene diphenyl diisocyanate — a dangerous component found in most polyurethane bed liners — so you don’t have to compromise your health or safety to protect your truck.
4. Build a Brand
Even in today’s social media-obsessed world, word of mouth will only get you so far when it comes to creating a woodworking business. Take the time to build your brand and invest in marketing. Create a logo that your clients will associate with the good work that you do, and stay on top of customer comments and complaints. Learn how to use social media to your advantage, and create a slogan that rolls off the tongue so potential clients only need to hear it once before they remember it.
5. Don’t Forget Insurance
Finally, don’t forget to purchase insurance before you start taking on customers. Not only does insurance protect you if you slip with a saw and cut off your finger, or mess up a client’s project, it also helps to protect your customers. You may even want commercial auto insurance to protect that work truck we mentioned earlier. Keep up with your insurance policy and employ an agent that understands your business — even if they don’t understand woodworking, they can figure out what policies you need to best protect you and your company.
Don’t Give Up
Your woodworking business might not take off and become an overnight success. Don’t give up. Anything worth working on takes patience — that’s a lesson you should have learned turning blocks of unfinished wood into masterpieces.
Scott Huntington is a writer from central Pennsylvania. He enjoys working on his home and garden with his wife and 2 kids. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington