Advice on getting jobs - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 08-31-2008, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
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Advice on getting jobs

Hows it going? I was wondering if anyone may be able to give me some advice. I have been building cabinets (bathroom, entertainment centers,) and misc furniture pieces over the years and recently have been getting paid for a few small jobs from friends. I enjoy it so much that I would like to try to make a living at it (ha ha). I currently own my own computer business that pays the bills, and believe it or not, I have way too much free time, so I'm able to work into woodworking. Does anyone have any advice on the best way to get business or go aboput starting up? I am not a licensed contractor but not sure if I need that for built ins/furniture. Anyway thanks in advance
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post #2 of 7 Old 09-01-2008, 07:41 AM
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the furniture business is all about getting your name out there, who you made things for and the reception from them. thats prob the best advice i can give you now bc i am still in college for woodworking ha

~Jake Mendez
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post #3 of 7 Old 09-01-2008, 07:58 AM
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You can run an add in your local news paper or the your smaller clasiffide papers like "Thrifty Nickel" that you custom build furniture. now as for the business licence, in Louisiana, you only have to have a BL if you are selling a product. Service providers who only charge labor dont have to have one. But I would check with your local city or state office to be sure.

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post #4 of 7 Old 09-02-2008, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
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(jmendez035)I guess like any other business , ha. footwork
(handyman) I'll try that

Thanks I appreciate it.

Last edited by gmm; 09-02-2008 at 04:50 PM. Reason: forgot to add name
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post #5 of 7 Old 09-03-2008, 01:01 AM
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Getting started

You will save a ton of time and 2 tons of money if you start by getting a job in a cabinet shop for about 6 months. Then get a job working for a small custom woodworker for about a year. Then try your luck on your own.
This sounds strange from me because I am one for just jumping in to it. And, I once did. For the first year or so, I lost my rear end, big time. Was way too much in debt. I had read all of the woodworking books on the market. They are great for working for fun. When it comes to making a living, they are total and unadulterated B.S.
If you work even for a small cabinet shop, you will be exposed to limited production methods, which on your own, you will be exposed to none. Then if you work for a custom woodworker, you will find that he was probably an art major and at one time or another he too worked for a cabinet shop. With him you will also learn limited production techniques and maybe a design idea or two.
When I was about to pack it all in, I hired some people for a small run of boxes. The way they set up and did it, you will not find in any books. Then I hired a custom woodworker with a great cabinet shop background. I learned more from him than imaginable. It doesnt take long to learn production techniques, many of which are just simple jig making. You will learn that sometimes you can construct something out of mahogany much faster and more profitably than trying to stain oak to look like mahogany.
Along with their woodworking skills, you will also pick up resources for hardware and misc. These are the kinds of places that if you are not in the business, you will never discover them on your own. You can spend 3 hours making a Queen Ann leg or you can buy it for $45. Most businesses today cant survive on less than about $45 to $60/Hr. Keep in mind that if you build and make $45/Hr., that is how much you are making when you are working. You will find that you will spend a lot of time driving around giving estimates, pricing and ordering supplies, designing pieces and record keeping. These are the hours you dont get paid for.
Like I said, I am normally a 'jump in with both feet' kinda guy but I guarantee that if you were piddling in woodworking for as little as 15 years, you dont know anything about woodworking for profit. "For profit" are the key words. If you want to work for $10/hour, you will have all of the business you can handle. Raise your prices to $11/hour and you will lose all of the customers that bragged on you. Now you will have to build a new customer base.
I hope my litle rant dont completely discourage you, but it should serve as food for though.

Tony B
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post #6 of 7 Old 09-06-2008, 05:05 AM
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Maybe you can form a small firm...

Wish you good luck!
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post #7 of 7 Old 09-09-2008, 06:25 PM
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Have you ever tryed going to arts and crafts shows? great way to show your products off and to gain contacts. make sure you attend craft shows that cater to the prices that you are selling your items for. If you go to low end craft shows. Items that you are selling lets say for $100 or less then you can have flyers for your high end items so that people know that you also sell and make other furniture.make sure you take along a guest book that people can sign. you want to gain email or phone numbers from them for future customers.
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