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Discussion Starter #1
Years ago I had my own shop making windows and doors. Then I moved on to do other things, security, mail worker etc. but now I'd like to get back into making stuff.

The windows and doors were okay but not very profitable it was always a kinda struggle to get everyone's wages.

I would like ideas tips on what to make for customers that can be profitable with a small shop with 3 guys working in it?
 

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I once ran a profitable cabinet shop. I would suggest that if there are woodworkers out there who have discovered a profitable niche that they are too busy with that to visit any woodworking forums.

Not every man can make a good idea profitable. What works great for one person may be another's undoing.

One area that I think there might be some good profit is "Rustic furniture made with reclaimed lumber". It has worked for me.

Bret
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well I was thinking about making replacement sash windows. I don't need a lot of machinery and its a fast turnaround. The majority of new windows around here are vinyl.

I was once told to make custom made shaker style kitchens.

I really wanted something small just to get back into things. I have a small shop thats about a garage size, so it can't be too big.

In the future I'd like a big shop like I used to have preferably some where near Home Depot or Lowes.
 

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Scotty D
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In the future I'd like a big shop like I used to have preferably some where near Home Depot or Lowes.
If you are buying your material from HD/Lowes, it will be very difficult to make a profit. I would suggest you find a better source. :smile:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If you are buying your material from HD/Lowes, it will be very difficult to make a profit. I would suggest you find a better source. :smile:
Yep thats on my todo list. I'd like to be around Home Depot or Lowes for the passing trade.
 

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Yep thats on my todo list. I'd like to be around Home Depot or Lowes for the passing trade.
In all probability the passing trade to either of the big box stores is not the type of cliental you are looking for.

You need to make some contacts in the higher end building or remodelling trades, if you have the product they want the customers will come to you.
 

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Commercial work is they way to go, not residential. There is usually plenty of interesting work for local businesses, institutions and municipalities, depending on where you live.
 

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where's my table saw?
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you need a resume

Either actual or digital OR both.
An actual resume would be a photographic record of your work with testimonials, references, a description of your shop, your employees, and would be in a binder that can be viewed easily in an interview.
A booklet/catalog and a business card would also be necessary to drop off.

A digital resume is your website and includes all the above items mentioned. Join Facebook and make friends who have friends who have friends etc.

Network with old contacts, references and anyone who may be in a position to recommend your shop to others. Get acquainted with architects, interior designers, builders and galleries. One off pieces will sell to a specialized clientle. Architectural restoration services need repairs and installations.

A lumber mill will have contacts in the trades and industry. You're not starting out, just starting over. good luck. :yes:
 
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Old School
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I would suggest that if there are woodworkers out there who have discovered a profitable niche that they are too busy with that to visit any woodworking forums.
A profitable niche might be without the stress and physical demands of shop work, but rather consulting and mentoring with online clients and local shops.






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A profitable niche might be without the stress and physical demands of shop work, but rather consulting and mentoring with online clients and local shops.


Ha! the secret is out. Cabinetman gets paid by the post. Based on the number of posts he has logged he must be wealthy by now. :yes:

Just kidding, keep the posts coming Cabinetman.

Seriously though, the stress and physical demands of running a woodworking shop can be considerable. I didn't realize how much stress I was under until I retired and let my last employee free. It was like removing a huge weight from my shoulders.

I taught myself how to do a lot of things during my career. Cabinetmaking, furniture making, door building, carpenter work, timber framing, CAD designing and Sketchup.

In my experience, actual shop work does not pay well unless you are involved in a production type of situation and have trained employees who can carry out their assigned duties. You have to have employees to duplicate your efforts. I spent many years developing my drawing and design skills and I have found that design work pays very well compared to what I could charge for my other skills. For example, I was a darn good carpenter in my day, but the hourly wage I could demand would only be $25- 30 per hour unless I was management. But if someone came to me to do design work they would not even blink when I said my rate was $75 - 80 per hour. That could be the difference between blue collar and white collar?

Another thing to consider if you have a stand alone shop, just rent the thing out and go fishing.

Bret
 

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A profitable niche might be without the stress and physical demands of shop work, but rather consulting and mentoring with online clients and local shops.






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Having dealt with a few consultants I find this old adage to be often the case:
"Those that can do, those that can't teach."
 

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I'm sure we've all heard that quote before. I do not use it any longer because I thinks it's unfair to teachers.

Teaching is a talent in itself. Many are much better at it than me. It's also another way to make money. I think people are willing to pay you more than something is worth to teach them to make it rather than just hire you to make it. Although I've never tried it.

Bret
 

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I'm sure we've all heard that quote before. I do not use it any longer because I thinks it's unfair to teachers.

Teaching is a talent in itself. Many are much better at it than me. It's also another way to make money. I think people are willing to pay you more than something is worth to teach them to make it rather than just hire you to make it. Although I've never tried it.

Bret
It is not meant as a knock on qualified teachers, there are a lot of very dedicated people in the profession, however I still stand by the wisdom of it, PC or not.
 

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Old School
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It is not meant as a knock on qualified teachers, there are a lot of very dedicated people in the profession, however I still stand by the wisdom of it, PC or not.
I don't find any wisdom in that statement at all. I think it's pure jealously and cynicism by those that are uninformed, likely not qualified to teach, and in all probability not much of a craftsman themselves.

After 30 or 40 years of "doing" the work, factors like physical problems can make it difficult to continue. Could be that more money is made by consulting than "doing the work". Besides, if there weren't any teachers, where would those that make judgement calls like that learn the trade.





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where's my table saw?
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hey, lay off us older guys

And there are those that the older they get the better they was, oh well I guess if they can sit at a keyboard and use a search engine they can be experts.
I know that you can't have too many guns, bullets, too much horsepower, too many good lookin' women, too many table saws ...or search engines. Just sayin' :yes:
 
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