Starting a Woodworking Business #2: Getting my shop in shape for my business

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Blog entry by Sam Yerardi posted 08-31-2009 09:07 PM 1883 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Deciding what kind of work to do Part 2 of Starting a Woodworking Business series Part 3: Still working at it »

I have been getting a lot of great input and comments from everyone ranging from business suggestions to telling me I have a very messy shop. I take no offense at that as my wife will also agree with you 110%... :)
Again, thanks… I guess to some extent I come from the old school (and I know I need to change and I am) in that my shop has been like one of the old-time shops where mounds of sawdust, tools, etc. are everywhere. Not a good practice, and in fact is a fire hazard. So, I have been cleaning my shop from the pictures I posted and when it is done I’ll post them. I promise a radical change.

One problem I have is storage of wood. I have access to a very large amount of air-dried hardwood at incredibly low prices so I tend to hoard wood. I’m waiting to see what is going to happen with my daytime job over the next couple of weeks. It won’t change my long-term plans for the woodworking business, but will influence what my plans are going to be in the short term. I’m either going to build a small building for wood storage to create room in my garage shop or build a new shop altogether in the back. In either case I won’t be going into debt to do it, but there are other factors that I will be considering. Long term I will definitely have a larger shop in the back. In the meantime, I will be focusing on work flow for my garage shop.

I have been working on my business plan, talking to my lawyer, found a good accountant, and reading as much as I can about the business end of things. I also found someone that has ran a construction business (the business end) and is willing to help me get started and possibly even come to work for me if things goes as I hope. I never thought I would be as interested in that part of the picture as compared to woodworking, but I am really interested in learning all I can so that’s where most of my focus has been in the past couple of weeks.

I just finished up helping my son-in-law remodel their bathroom. I got to reproduce some turn-of-the-century wood trim to match the rest of the house. My other daughter has a small list of things that she want’s me to help my other son-in-law with so I’ve been splitting my time between the two.

-- Sam

8 comments so far

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6851 posts in 3947 days

#1 posted 08-31-2009 09:58 PM

Hi Sam;

Well I just visited your shop pictures, and I have to admit, it could use the clean up you mentioned.

Checking into the business end of things is an important detail that many of us woodworkers have a tendency to overlook. It’s not nearly as much fun as playing in the shop.

But it is every bit as important, maybe even more so. Without that, even the best woodworker would soon be looking for a job.

Sounds like you’re headed in the right direction.

Have fun.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3544 days

#2 posted 09-01-2009 01:20 AM

Hey Sam
I hope your business plan has you starting in 2027 I think if you start right away your shop could be clean by then. Just kidding around. All your plans sound like something neaded but maybe later on reguarding book keepers and employees. A plan is always a good way to go. It looks like you can make some pretty nice pieces and I wish you well.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4067 days

#3 posted 09-01-2009 02:33 AM

Your business will not be woodworking, your business will be operating a woodworking business.

I can’t remember if I mentioned it before, but reading your blog reminded me to tell you that you need some fire extinguishers. Don’t get the small ones, get the bigger ones and they will cost about $70 each.

My neighbor was welding in his shop and caught the garage on fire. He had one of those small fire extinguishers that emptied immediately when he shot it on the fire. The fire was instantly knocked down. Whew!

But OH CRAP! The fire sprang back up and he had no other way to put it out. I watched the fire department hose down the interior of his shop.

I immediately went and bought 3 fire extinguishers and placed them at the most instantly accessible locations in the shop. One is NOT enough. If there is a fire and you can put it out using fire extinguishers, even if all are used up, it will prove to be a good value.

If you do not get any fire extinguishers, the lamentations will be great as you think about how avoidable the loss could have been.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Sam Yerardi's profile

Sam Yerardi

244 posts in 3862 days

#4 posted 09-01-2009 03:19 AM

Once again, you have given me tremendously good advice! Thanks to everyone else for the positive comments!

-- Sam

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3252 days

#5 posted 09-01-2009 03:20 AM

Sam, Sounds like you’re getting things in order. Definitely take the time to learn the business end of your business. I took my coat and tie off 20 some years ago and threw them in a closet and told my wife I thought I would make saw dust for a living. Spent the next two years having a great time woodworking before I realized it might be a good idea to learn the business end of it. I was lucky and survived, but would not recommend anyone doing that. When you have the business end of it under control, it’s a lot easier to keep your passion for woodworking. Enjoy and good luck.

-- John @

View johnnymo's profile


309 posts in 3173 days

#6 posted 09-01-2009 07:11 AM

Wow! that is a crowded shop. Good luck on the clean up. Your plan sounds great and it looks like you got everything covered. Hope all goes well for you. Will be looking forward to your next posting.

-- John in Arizona (but it's a dry heat!)

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4067 days

#7 posted 09-01-2009 03:31 PM

You understand that looking into the business end is of utmost importance. This is a good sign that your efforts are headed in the right direction. Surrounding yourself with the competent professionals that you will need is wise.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View RouterManiac's profile


96 posts in 3248 days

#8 posted 09-06-2009 11:16 PM

If I were to put my two cents in, I would say Hire a kid to help clean your shop. One thing you dont want to do is let yourself get all mired up in working in your business instead of working on it. I can say this cause I did woodworking for a business and I almost always had a messy shop. If I spent an hour a day cleaning it up, it was an hour a day I did not spend on my website or some other promotion. Kids love to make some extra cash and its money well spent.

-- Ken, Florida,

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