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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I get contacted alot by people wanting small stuff made on a wholesale level. Turned wood pens is one, that job would still be available I think (it was not wholesale, it was retail money, $30+ each. It was just looking like an almost full time commitment, it did not interest me) .

I used to do it with my fishing lures and could make a decent wage even at wholesale, 1/2 my retail price I was selling them on my site for. (not getting rich by any means, but easy work for $40-$50 hour in my spare time). I just got burned out on it, so I quit wholeselling them.

More recently I had a lady e-mail who was starting a company that sells American made wood toys. She was wanting to purchase a small wholesale lot of wooden yo-yo's. I am currently out of the yo-yo business, but if you have a pen lathe they are easy to make. Here is a link to everything you need http://www.pennstateind.com/store/yoyo.html . I know she would also have interest in other wood toys, she said so. I have not negotiated price with this particular person, just talked to her in general about her idea, the $ would be your deal.

I thought I would throw that out there. I turn down a fair amount of simple work just because of the way I chose to manage my time. Maybe someone needs some extra cash and wants to make it playing with wood ? I am just in a position right now I cannot do the work, but thought there could be someone looking for a little something for fill in (maybe more ?). And it helps the people who contact me, so it helps me in a way. (I could also supply wood at a decent price if you can't find it locally, that helps everyone)

It just seemed like a shame to just say "no" without at least running it up the flag pole here. We are all in this together. I think a "job share" thread for the lack of a better term may be a good idea ? Some of us are less visible than others. I get about 50 visits to my site a day + my local work, some people get more. Some of you don't have sites but may be 20 miles away from the person that contacted me from across the country.

I don't know, maybe it is a dumb idea? But if you want more info on this lead, shoot me a PM. I will post more potential jobs that seem to be legit and worth a guys time if anyone is interested.

EDIT: If you don't have a site, even if you are a part time woodworker, you need one. $25 year for mine, trust me if you have a decent product it will pay for some new tools. Even if you are just making toys, pens, yo-yo's...even small craft stuff.
 

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I think it's a good idea, this opportunity sharing topic. Personally, I'd love to be able to make a decent profit from my little wood shop. No more working in peoples homes!

However, I took a look at that pennstateind.com site and they don't seem to sell the finished product, just the hobby kits. Unless they offered otherwise, I'm guessing they're not looking so much to buy your products as to sell you theirs.

On the other hand, if I get a written offer to purchase 1000 items I can make in my shop, and I see I can make a good profit from it, I'd seriously consider it. I think others might also.

Just my nickel's worth
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Personally, I'd love to be able to make a decent profit from my little wood shop. No more working in peoples homes!

However, I took a look at that pennstateind.com site and they don't seem to sell the finished product, just the hobby kits. Unless they offered otherwise, I'm guessing they're not looking so much to buy your products as to sell you theirs.
Penn State is just one of the 100s of places to buy the blank cutter and bearings for yo-yos (and many other small projects), they have nothing to do with the job I was talking about. Is one (or both of us) confused ?

Ok, will go into this small project thing, just for you BlockHead :laughing:, not really, it is a general consumption topic. But I can relate, I was a home improvement contractor before I got a sawmill/bought a sharpening business/started doing furniture repair and refinish/custom woodworking...all in my back yard. I don't have to leave the block now. Logs are delivered, I sell the lumber. People drop off/mail in tools to sharpen. People drop off furniture to fix/plans to build at the shop, or request something email (with a deposit). UPS picks up lumber/finished woodworking at my shop from web sales. I am telling all this to let someone who is thinking about it know...it can be done. I live in the boonies, surrounded by Amish, it is a tough racket here. Do I make as much as I did as a plumber running my own construction company, not usually, but the working conditions are 100 times better. :thumbsup: There, that is my story.


I just don't like the 1000 piece orders, I get bored. Here is the run down on a Yo-Yo. I bought a $100 Jet pen lathe an eBay. You are going to need a drill press too for yo-yos and pens. That is about the shop minimum, I bought a small dust collector too (my mini lathe is set up in the corner of the basement). If you are buying 10+ bearing kits at a time for yo-yo's you have about $4 in material, not counting wood, mine is "free" add another $.50 if you have to buy it.

Ok, so you have less than 5 bucks in the things. I sold mine for $30 free US shipping (less than $5). That is $20 and some change profit after material and shipping. In a short while of practice 4 an hour is just playing around, but we will use that for baseline math. 5-6 hour is more realistic if you are organized and work efficiently. At retail, 4 x $20 = $80 hour....but you have marketing and shipping time, which can vary. This is where wholesale comes in. You get one or 2 (or 3...) resellers to buy in bulk and you stay busy, without all the other headaches. Sure you may have to sell them for 1/2 price, but trust me the marketing and shipping eats the retail profit in a hurry. Marketing can be a real drain (financially and time spent doing that instead of making product) , not your problem if you have a reseller.

Say you are making 5 an hour and selling them for $15 ($10 profit each not including shipping). It does not cost near as much to ship 25/50/75...per unit, less than a buck. Do your own math, worth it to anyone ?

This is light work fellas, if you can get it. I personally have attention span problems. It for me was like working in a factory (sure, the factory is in my basement. The tunes are cranked up and I am in my sweatpants, but anyway) I want to do something different all the time. That is why I brought it up. The work is out there, I get offers to do it, but decline them. Thinking someone may have a little extra time each week and want a piece of the action? There ain't nothing in this world guaranteed, so don't think just buy a couple hundred bucks worth of tools and you are in business. I was 2 years finding my niche, and still have to do many different things to keep busy in my odd little rural market.
 

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I was thinking of getting others to do the work. There are a lot of able bodied people in my neighborhood who would jump on the opportunity to make $10 an hour cash, or an equivalant piece rate.

I'm like you as far as repetetive tasks go - just can't sit still that long. What I would do is set up the process, make a few fool proof jigs and oversee the production. Of course, I wouldn't let them anywhere near the band saw or table saw, would rather cut the blanks myself than take that sort of risk.

I'd have to buy the wood but that's not such a big deal. Owl Hardwood is about 1/2 hour drive and I get the contractor price from them. Besides all the common domestic woods, they also carry a lot of exotics - cocobola, zeebra wood, ebony, etc.

As for shipping, the post office and ups are both just a few blocks away. My biggest obstacle would be finding the resellers. Maybe when they contact you, you could point them in my direction. I'd be able to take it from there. :yes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I was thinking of getting others to do the work.
Sounds good on paper, but it won't work. It may be suitable in this case of the yo-yo's...but I doubt it. Most of the people that contact me (or other custom woodworkers) are wanting something hand crafted by that person...not made by others and "overseen" by that person. If they wanted it hired done to some out of work dude down the street for $10, they would just do that. Or more likely just have it made in a country were they work for $10 a week, and buy the product for a couple pennies on the dollar per unit.

This is something I know too well about. I mentioned being surrounded by Amish wood shops. There are 2 kinds. One they have true craftsmen building quality furniture. The other they have an Amish foreman overseeing a bunch of kids and illegal immigrants making the junk. The first shop with the craftsman is covered up with work for about a year, you wait...and you pay more. The second shops product is shipped out of state where no-one knows any better and sold with an "Amish made" sticker on it :furious:.

That's cool, it is a capitalist world. If a guy can make a buck any way he can, more power to him. Plus we are most likely talking small orders here of simple items, not year around production. If I had a contract that was needing the scale of work that would require employees and a "factory", you suckers would not hear a word about it :laughing:. I would just take that work, set up my sweatshop, mass produce it and continue handcrafting/repairing/sharpening things for my current customers.
 

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Owl Hardwood is about 1/2 hour drive and I get the contractor price from them. Besides all the common domestic woods, they also carry a lot of exotics - cocobola, zeebra wood, ebony, etc.
Blockhead, i'm about 15 minutes from OWL, very cool place.:yes:
how do you go about getting 'contractor' prices?
 

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Blockhead, i'm about 15 minutes from OWL, very cool place.:yes:
how do you go about getting 'contractor' prices?
Hand 'em your business card and ask to be put into their system.

And yeah, way cook place. :thumbsup:
 

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Wow Darren, no need in making me out to be an evil overlord. Whether someone delivers quality products or sweatshop junk depends on the individual, and I'm not the later. And just because I don't hand make every piece doesn't mean it's not hand made. Somebody has to sit at a drill press or lath and run the pieces through. There's nothing wrong with hiring somebody who wants to earn a few extra dollars.

Maybe I wrote it wrong, or maybe you read it wrong - maybe both. But running a production line of discontent workers is not what I'm about. If that was the case, I would hire it out to sweatshops in China for $10 a day. Please don't stereotype me just because I mentioned hiring someone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Please don't stereotype me just because I mentioned hiring someone. And just because I don't hand make every piece doesn't mean it's not hand made.
I am not brother, just telling you of my experience in the biz, take it for what it is worth. You are right "handmade" is handmade. But whether you believe it or not...people will pay more for the right hands (with the right personality, reputation, referrals, body of work...) I am not picking on you, heck you are cool with me, just offering my opinion. They are not calling/e-mailing the people I am offering these jobs to...they are contacting me, I must be doing something right. I am just trying to pass some around if anyone wants it. The advice (like it or not) is free :laughing:.
 

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Sorry, I guess I read that as being compared to a China sweat shop. Maybe I take thing too personal sometimes. But I get what you're saying now.

I'm still going to look into this more, see if it's practical. The math shows that I and a few helpers could make a reasonable living making small, quality items. Only question is who would buy them. I gotta do some research. :thumbsup:
 

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Daren...interesting concept.
It would be interesting to see what type of product you would end up with having parts made by different woodworkers and skill levels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It would be interesting to see what type of product you would end up with having parts made by different woodworkers and skill levels.
A lesser product than one made by a highly skilled woodworker ;), most likely.
 

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Daren, what an opportunity. As all say, it isn't for everyone, but it is best for some like me that abhor the marketing, sitting at shows/flea markets (which I don't do!). I am a hermit by nature and work in my garage by choice. This coming summer a building on our farm I am converting to a dedicated wood shop. Upon completion of this shop, I will be more than interested in talking with you. I am building this shop as I cannot keep up with demand of my small wood projects with the current footprint and electrical options in my garage. Also will be heating this building so cold weather won't be a factor in finish and moisture content in my blanks. Will keep this in mind and seriously will be talking with you.
 

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I can understand where Daren is coming from. My knife business here in Alaska thrives because they are "Made in Alaska" by me. I've had offers to have them made overseas for a fraction of what it costs me, and no one but me would know, but I won't do it. Just not ethical. And I have a bud who is always telling me I need to hire help. But if I do and their quality is less than mine...who gets the black eye:eek:
 

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It does sound like a good way to make a little extra cash now and then. I started out making wood toys. Would do it full time in a heart beat if I could make a living at it. So I guess I will keep at the cabinets and furniture. I would still like some info. on it Daren, although you don't make a killing on it, a little bread and butter does not hurt either. Have been thinking about a sawmill for a couple of years. What are you running? I'm still looking around, kind of like the wood-mizer though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Have been thinking about a sawmill for a couple of years. What are you running?
http://www.taschmid.com/ , good little mill for the $. It's all manual which has it's obvious drawbacks, but I have less than $5K in it new. I have ran it for 5 (?) years and not had to do a thing but put gas in it/grease a few bearings and sharpen about a millions bands. It's still solid as the day I bought it.
 

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The idea of $10 an hour is less than thrilling, dudes.

I make way more than that and I feel sorry for those that do make 10, or worse, less than 10 an hour.
I wouldn't be so sure that a couple of guys would want to do that kind of stuff. unless, of course, they don't have a job or they need a 2nd one.
Been there, done that.
But the passion for woodwork is what I would want to make sure first.
 

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I'm also finding that there is money to be made in my shop by people who want high quality stuff that's made by me. I've litterally paid off my whole shop in a few months making model boats. While I'm actually doing it, I make around $50 to $60 an hour, which is quality puttering in my book. However, I didn't buy all this swell woodworking equipment to make model boats and I easily get sick of making the parts. My thinking was more like: I hate what you get form a furniture store. Top dollar and mostly devoid of any true quality of craftsmanship, I'll build my own better. Now, when my tax bill showed up this year, it was sure nice to have a product I can raise the cash with. The models also keep me in hardwood and shiny new machinery, which is nice, but I don't want to do it continuously; that is too much like a job, and I already have one of those.
 

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Well, like Daren pointed out, it's pretty easy to make your shop a boring place to be. While I like the niche I've stumbled onto in terms of making a little extra cash, I don't want to let it replace what I have a shop for, which is basically to build heirlooms and the occaisonal object of art. In about ten years when I retire, this whole picture may change and I won't mind allocating a greater percentage of my time to building and selling models, but for now I like my shop to be a place where I answer to nobody and do what I want to do.

I'm also not too sure how quickly I will saturate my market if I just keep producing model after model. Their rarity is part of their appeal, and I'm perfectly happy to keep it that way.

Roy
 
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