Starting a woodworking business might not be as difficult as you think, but you must be prepared to put some serious work into it. Some people think that hard work alone will get you there. That is not true, you have to work smart as well. Also, keep in mind that you won’t get rich overnight (if that is your goal).
The most important (and difficult) thing is to figure out what kind of products will generate the most profit. Many small business owners think the only thing that matters is the price, but that is not always true. It’s important to consider the material cost and production time. You also have to figure out what your competition is selling similar products for. Is it worth it?
Fewer products, more income
You don’t need to stuff your product line with tons of products. A few good selling products is better than many products that just sell occasionally. It’s easier to set up your workshop for mass production with few products, and it’s easier to improve your products if needed. Don’t make cheap products that you need to sell many of to make a decent income.
Say no to customers
As your business becomes known to people, you will get requests for custom products. This usually requires more work and in many cases, it’s not worth it for what the customer wants to pay. Some customers also want you to “tweak” products you already have to suit their needs. Be careful with this. These “improvements” can damage your reputation because most people are not product designers, and in the end, it becomes a product you are embarrassed to put your name on.
What to sell?
Now, the big question is what to sell. You might have products you want to sell already, or you are looking to find something that is easy to make and sell.
I have made a couple of business starter packs with woodworking and shed plans which are easy to follow (and fast to build). I have also added product pictures you may use on your webshop or for marketing.
Building sheds is a surprisingly good business, but you need to stay ahead of the competition. Offer great service and deliver fast.
Stupid simple things that will keep you ahead of the competition
You will be surprised to find that some things that might seem obvious actually can make or break your success.
Answer the phone
Reply fast on e-mails and on Social media
Give a slightly better price
Deliver custom products earlier than your estimate
Refund no matter what if the customer is not satisfied
Give extra service (deliver, assembly, and so on)
Where to sell?
You must have a website, preferably a webshop with a payment solution. Many people say “oh, I don’t need a website, I sell on Facebook”. That is not a good idea. You may use Facebook, Instagram, and other social media to promote your products, but remember that organic reach on Facebook is dead, you have to pay for ads if you want to reach people. Social media services can be gone next year, no matter how long they have existed. If you build up your website people can find you through search engines, which is completely free and just the kind of traffic you want to your website. These are people that are looking for your products. Keep in mind that this requires some effort on creating good content on your site, and it won’t get you, customers, overnight.
Products that can be shipped easily are great, but if you are selling heavy furniture, sheds and cabins it’s a better option to invest in a car big enough that you can deliver such products by yourself. This can expand your sales area and your customers appreciate that you offer personal delivery.
How to set up a webshop
Making a webshop might seem like a difficult task, but the secret is that you can set up a webshop with a professional payment solution almost free in less than a day. You need a domain, WebHost, and payment solution.
I suggest you use Stripe for payments, they charge a little fee for each transaction, but it’s well worth it since there is no monthly cost. If you can set up a business page on Facebook, you can make your webshop (with some effort).
Here’s a list of things you need
Woocommerce plugin for WordPress
Products to sell (of course)
The first thing to do is to find a WebHost. Search for WordPress hosting or Woocommerce hosting with one-click installation. When your site is up and running you need to install the Stripe payments plugin (and register an account at Stripe). Find a nice WordPress theme and add products. That’s all you need to get started.
This is a bit oversimplified, but the point is that it’s not that hard if you put your focus into it. There are tons of videos on YouTube on how to do all this, so just do it!
You don’t need a business plan, you need to stop wasting time
Think about it! How much time do you waste each day just by watching tv, social media, and reading newspapers? Figure out what you want, and get rid of those bad habits. Don’t work by the clock, work when you need to work. This can of course be difficult if you have a family, but people usually have more time available than they think.