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post #1 of 12 Old 02-25-2007, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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Business on the Web

I'm wondering how many of you get business driven by your webpage?
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post #2 of 12 Old 02-25-2007, 10:46 PM
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I do, but it's probably not the same kind of business you're thinking of... I sell plans for simple studio rack and workstation furniture, and software, too (mostly add-ons to Alibre Design). The site is in case you're interested.
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post #3 of 12 Old 02-26-2007, 07:11 AM
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This is going to be a long post, but you asked for it My business is very web dependant, without the web I may not still be in the wood business. That is for many reasons, one I live smack in the middle of "Amish country" so from the get go being in wood (sawmilling/woodworking) is a tough racket. I cannot compete locally $$$ with the Amish circle mills and labor rates on my little manual bandmill. As far as woodworking, I'm really not that good at it so that doesn't help, but I couldn't get the work if I had to...again location. The majority of local work I get is furniture repair/refinishing, my competition doesn't want it (cause it doesn't pay). I do get a small amount of custom sawmilling (because I take my time and do a better job than the circle mills, I charge almost 2x as much, but the lumber is perfect), if I was portable I would get more, but not enough to make a even close to a living.
I sell lumber, but not oak and the like. I try to specialize in figured, spalted and unusual wood species that most of the local woodworkers don't have a taste for. That is my choice, I could sell the cheap stuff but why? Oak sells for $1.50 bft rough sawn k/d around here. For the same amount of labor/overhead/storage I can sell $15 bft+ wood...but I have to do that on the web.
If the business is not directly web generated it is at least website supported. For example if I put something on ebay (curly maple lumber, turning stock...right now homemade kiln plans and pen blanks...and cottonwood bark for carving ?) I link my website in the listing. There may be several items similar to mine, but since I have a website that shows I am in "the wood business" my material always sells and sells for more. I am not a faceless lister I am Plus I usually make more on side deals during the auctions and the people that buy from me there most often are repeat customers through my website in the future.
I have one wood related business that is virtually 100% web based. I sell handmade figured wood fishing lures.
I link my site when I can, but search engine ranking is key. If people can't find you on the vast WWW, a site is useless. Here are a couple examples do a google search for "sawing curly maple" . That is yours truly, the very first search result on the entire web. (notice the pictures are watermarked with my web address) Or even a google image search for "curly maple" , there I am again on the first page (last result, but still first page the guy with the big chainsaw and log). Or do a google search for "d/h kiln plans" I am on the first page several times with an ad on Craiglist and one is a direct link to my homepage. The same result with "small kiln plans", on the first page several times.
Having said all that (and this is kind of a long post, I have said quite abit) being mostly web based is still tough. Shipping is a hassle and some times cost prohibative, some people just won't pay the costs to have lumber/woodworking shipped, it's not cheap.
It does have a few local benifits. One if I get a call from a local the galleries on my website and the other info usually takes some of the "PR" and sales pitch out of the call, they have seen my rates/product and I spend less time explaining my whole business to them. My "Urban Logging" page has kept my yard full of free logs for years, since I built the site...some of which have been very lucrative. That big log in the pictures I linked in the searches for example. That was a free/delivered log to clean up a vacant lot. I got nearly 1000 bft from that thing...I sold it for $15-20 bft, easy math there $.
One last thing. My website costs me $25 year, I do all the work myself and keep it simple. I have taken out $25 newspaper ads and ran them for a month and not even paid for the ad in sales.

Last edited by Daren; 02-26-2007 at 07:21 AM.
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post #4 of 12 Old 02-26-2007, 10:23 AM
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I think a web driven business today is nearly mandatory, unless like me, (general contractor) all my business is local. I saw a write up in yesterday's paper about eastern red cedar, and a sub line about a guy building cedar if he was on the web, I bet he would have a booming business.

Ladwig Construction
Hennessey, Oklahoma

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post #5 of 12 Old 02-26-2007, 11:13 AM
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I know you are so far behind J. you don't need the business. That is the way I was when I had a plumbing shop, there were not enough hours in the day. I never even advertised, or did the yellow pages. I bought a batch of business cards, that was it, but I still have some and the plumbing business has been officially closed for 3 years. I quit my job working for a big plumbing contractor and was going to take a month to build my own business (and get my head on straight)...I was 2 weeks behind the first month, while I was still trying to get tooled up and buy trucks. And was hiring employess within 2 months for my "one man shop" I wanted. I think that may be the exeption to the rule, a business taking off and outgrowing you with no effort except showing up and doing the job. I just knew I moved into a small town that did not have a plumber, nor did some of the surrounding comunities (an honest one anyway). So I figured I could at least make enough to keep some bolagna in the fridge, I did alot more than that .

My brother is opening a service business. He lives in Tampa Florida and is starting a business servicing boats in the local marinas. I am building him a website soon (once he finishes his legal stuff, incorporation...). It will help him target customers and build a business faster, his business is sort of a niche thing. I think the site will be crucial to get him off the ground. I can have his site built and have him on the first page of major search engines in less than a week... for $25 and some leg work on my end. Word of mouth is always the best advert., but that takes some time. And I can see a guy going broke with print ads, they have not worked for me or many others I have talked to.

Some who read this thread may be thinking why is this guy whining about starving to death in the wood business when he closed the doors on a successful plumbing/heating/welding shop. I am not whining, I just stated the challenges I face in the wood business. I COULD open the shop back up and 3x my income this year...but I ain't. I have had "jobs", then a "career" as a master plumber (3rd generation) I have never liked doing what I do as much as I do now, wood grabbed ahold of me and won't let go. I am 40 now, win/lose/draw I am in the wood business until I die.
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post #6 of 12 Old 02-26-2007, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input guys. I've been loosly toying with the idea, but I always thought shipping might be an issue for anything of any size.

Thanks again.
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post #7 of 12 Old 02-26-2007, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by C&D Woodcraft View Post
Thanks for the input guys. I've been loosly toying with the idea, but I always thought shipping might be an issue for anything of any size.

Thanks again.
I don't do anything wood related on the web but, I do sell bbq sauce.....shipping is very expensive, recently went with DHL, they are about 1/3 the cost of fedx, ups or usps. Something to think about.

Save a a beaver!
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post #8 of 12 Old 02-26-2007, 11:30 PM
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I use my web site for business but I do not sell anything on the site. Its primary use is for customers to have a look at my work and then they call or email me and I take it from there. Has worked very well for me.
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post #9 of 12 Old 02-27-2007, 08:39 AM
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If you aren't careful you can get so much business it overloads you. I had to quit selling on ebay because I simply didn't have the time to fill orders.
It's nice to knoiw there is a source of income anytime I need it though.
I still get repeat orders from what few ads I ran, and my website generates orders which I can't explain because I haven't tried to promote the site at all, except in a few ebay ads.
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post #10 of 12 Old 02-28-2007, 09:29 AM
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Hi guys,
I thought I may as well jump in here. My ezee-feed site is pretty much the only selling I do on the web.

The pro woodworking tips site only generates a few bucks here and there with adsense and tool commisions, and while that's not why I did the site, a few more bucks would be nice.

It does provide a source of value to me in other ways, such as the designers I work with pretty much pre sell us to potential clients, simply by sending them to that site.

Our ezee-feed units are also shipped DHL, as they are the cheapest. we started with UPS, but were having too much damage done by them.
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post #11 of 12 Old 05-27-2009, 11:13 PM
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website business

When I'm able to forecast downtime or cabinet jobs I'll advertised on Craig's list with a link to my website. I built the website myself with Yahoo sitebuilder so it's nothing elaborate. It's more or less a picture gallery of my previous work and I usually have to pull the add in a few days. The web has been an effective advertising tool.
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post #12 of 12 Old 05-31-2009, 08:41 AM
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Web business

Well, If I didn`t have a site I probably woulden`t be sellin very much. I began and still do sell on Ebay however that final value fee really cuts into the bottom line.I needed another option the site has paid off.

And now that it`s up and running other oppertunities have begun to happen. For instance I landed a deal with woodsmith magazine the folks there featured my hardware in their building plans ,thus listed my company in the back of the book. The editor found me on ebay however if I had not had the site I don`t see how any of this would have worked out.

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