If you have good woodworking skills, you have probably built projects for family and friends. You may have built some projects for money or at least considered the possibility. When you have the skills, building the projects is not difficult but there is much more to learn if you want to have a successful woodworking business.
The path to success involves three major parts.
- Your woodworking skills are critically important to create quality projects that will please your customers. This is true whether you are doing custom work or speculative projects for sale after completion.
- The customers and their desires for specific projects are important to the success of your business. No matter how good your skills, without customers to purchase the projects, there are no profits.
- How the transactions that take place between you and your customers are handled will determine if your business is financially successful.
Make Certain You Have Salable Skills
Let's take those three parts one at a time starting with your skills. If everyone, even those who pay you, love your work, chances are you have good skills. It is important to judge this honestly. It is difficult to charge good prices if your work is just mediocre. Make sure that every piece pleases your customers.
Hone Your Design Skills
With custom or speculative work, you will need creative design skills. Most customers will only have a very general idea of what they want. So, for custom work, you will have to listen closely, create clear and concise drawings, and explain your design clearly to avoid problems. This is a critical step in addressing the desires of your customers.
Make Certain You Get Paid
Finally, you want to use your skills to increase your income, not to lose money. So how you handle the individual transactions with customers is critical. Remember that these transactions involve two parts of equal importance. The first part is making certain you please your customer with a quality product. The second part is making certain that you get paid for your work. Financial success requires that both parts be of equal importance.
You're probably thinking, "of course I'll get paid." But I have friends in the woodworking business who wounded up losing thousands of dollars because of failure to make the payment as important as the work. Even though they delivered excellent work, they were put off and sometimes never paid at all. During a conversation with one of these woodworkers, he said that the customers were unwilling to pay a deposit upfront. From personal experience, I know that is not a big problem even though you may find such a customer on occasion. Without a proper contract and a significant up front deposit, you can have difficulties collecting for your jobs.
During over twenty years of dealing with hundreds of customers I only had three customers refund to pay a deposit. I turned down all three jobs and two of them called me back and paid the deposit so I would do the work. So that leaves only one out of hundreds.
Make A Professional Presentation
Obviously, you have to make a professional presentation to your customer and present yourself as someone what they deem trustworthy. Otherwise, you will meet resistance regularly. I always made certain the customer knew that I could deliver what I agreed to by showing them pictures of my other work and explaining how I would do their job in great detail. Never talk down to your customers because you have more woodworking knowledge.
Doing Jobs For Money Is Different
It is really a simple process. Start by remembering that a job for money is different from free work for family or friends. Once all the job details are settled, turn the topic to the price and emphasize exactly how you expect to get paid. I strongly suggest that you insist upon a fifty percent deposit on every job before you start. Prepare a simple contract that outlines exactly what you will do for the price and attach a copy of the drawings. The contract should be signed by you and the person for what you are doing the job. Make sure each of you gets an exact copy. These steps make a professional impression and clearly indicating that you expect to get paid.
This is just a start to help you handle the business end of woodworking and ensure that you make money with every job. Learn all you can about how to handle the business aspects of a full or part-time woodworking business before you start.
Source by Bill Benitez