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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm thinking about starting a log furniture business . I was just wondering if anybody had any advice or tips that I could get started in the right direction. I had a couple questions.
one would be if anybody has started a business what was the initial investment or capital used to start?

number two : how long till you decided you wanted to start the business were you up and running

number three : the most important lesson learned from log building.

Number four : buy land to keep the timber supply or just cruise timber and buy.

number five : use only dead standing timber or use live timber and kilndried.

Apologize for the mistakes I type this up on my iPhone on my break at work so forgive me for my mistakes thanks for any suggestions
 

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Mike,

I think it all depends on your overhead. If you don't have much or any, you'll probably be able to help it get off the ground.

Do you have your own mill? There are bandsaw mills, chainsaw mills, big blade mills and various other hybrids in between. Of course, if you are skilled enough, you can do it with a good chainsaw.

You need a secure place to keep the raw materials and the finished products. A fenced in lot would probably work, since the wood is always outside anyways. If you are next to a busy highway you can have your items on display, which will help with sales, but you will also probably need to advertise.

I live in Warrenton, Virginia and I have only seen one and it lasted a little over a year. They had awesome furniture and it had a pretty price tag to go along with it. Being a woodworker, I couldn't see spending my money on something I could build myself.

Follow the six "P's" to success and, with a little luck, you'll do just fine!

Proper planning prevents piss poor performance.

Regards,

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I pretty much have no overhead right now. I have a good chainsaw and I have the bare minimum of tools needed to start building. I agree with not needing to buy when you can build yourself. That's why I built my wife a log bed haha. I have land with a lot of dead and live cedar to start but not enough to keep a business going. Kinda scary to get stuff started but I figured if I got about 15 beds or so "full, queens and kings" tables and some other stuff and got a good stock going then I would feel more comfortable going full on with it.
 

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Mike, I think the most important question to ask yourself is: Can you sell enough of this furniture at a price that will pay for your time/materials and allow you to make a living.

Marketing is key to any small business. I have no doubts that you have the ability to make a good product, but having all the wood/skills/production in the world makes no difference if you can't generate sales. IMO a marketing plan should be the first step.
 

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Whatever you do, don't consign inventory to a retailer.:thumbdown: Market direct to the end user, or sell outright to a retail outlet.
Also, log furniture is a niche market at best. Make sure that your customer base (potential) is open to that style of furniture.
You will need a pair of selling shoes as well as a pair of design/build shoes. Sometimes that can be a problem. Good sales people may not be able to build, good builders may not be able to sell.
Bill
 

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Where are you located? I would assume an area like Pigeon Forge, TN would have a much bigger market for log furniture than say Tampa, FL.

Hire cheap labor (high school kids, for instance).

Set up a nice website with prices, location, store hours, plenty of pictures, etc. Now a days, people judge a website just as much as they judge a store front.

Attend trade shows, conventions, anywhere you can get your name out. Advertise on the radio. Have plenty of "sales", people love thinking they are getting a good discount.

Obviously price your furniture so you can make a profit, but remember if people only see $1000 price tags on furniture they are likely to turn around. Have some smaller, easy made pieces that can be sold for a cheaper price.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the advice so far ! I'm taking all this to heart. It sounds like maybe I better have a second business or PT job for the slow times haha...
 

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Mike, another thought. Many communities have a small business administration (or something similar) that can provide you with lots of help in developing your business idea. Try starting with local chamber of commerce and go from there.

It would also be worth a call to your local University Extension Office. Many of them now have Community Resource Development Agents who specialize in helping small businesses. Even if they don't, most State Extension Services have publications to help guide you through the process of starting and running a small business. Let your keyboard do the walking ;)
 

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Mike,


I have a PC repair business, and it can take quite a while to get started.


Choosing a name, planning your advertising, and learning what forms you need to submit. (LLC, EIN, etc.)

Creating forms regarding warranty (and in my case, a data privacy waiver.)

Creating a website and designing a logo.

Finding invoice software and setting it up for your business.

Making telephone calls to get your business listed in phone books, and spending time on the web getting your business listed in dozens of directories.


And don't forget that you have to shop around for business insurance, especially if you offer a service. (Stick to products!!!)




Once you get it running and you start receiving phone calls, you will find a lot of people who schedule an appointment and don't bother to show up.. or even tell you that they're not coming.

If you're operating purely on word of mouth, you can skip a lot of the lengthy parts. If not, I would expect at least a year to get started... Some of it is simply finding the information you need to know, and much of it is finding someone who is willing to help you implement those things.
 

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Another VERY important thing to remember in running ANY business is this...chase every lead or opportunity from every potential customers, no matter how small or unchallenging it may seem (spending your time wisely ofcourse). You never know what may become of that down the road. I've had customers that hired me for the smallest, effortless jobs that I almost turned down because I knew it wouldn't make the amount of money, if any, that I thought it should. But I went with my gut and did them anyway and I am glad I did because the biggest challenges I've accomplished yet have stemmed from those very experiences. Good luck.
 

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I can tell you a lot as I was involved with a startup several years ago before I started my own business. What kind of wood/logs were you planning to use. This is dependent on location. For example, I was involved with hickory log furniture.

By "a lot" I mean harvesting, drying, heat treating to kill bugs, bending, tools, processes, suppliers, etc. It's really just a matter of how much I want to tell as I hope to start something at some point.
 
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