Starting a Woodworking Business #10: A Good Start This Week

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Blog entry by Sam Yerardi posted 11-04-2009 03:00 AM 1824 reads 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 9: My first refinishing job Part 10 of Starting a Woodworking Business series Part 11: A very good week for me »

I picked up about 400 bdft of cherry this past week for some tables & items I am building, and I’m still working on my stained glass lamps. I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time studying business & marketing in my ‘spare’ time, but this week things sort of exploded a bit. I’m starting to get calls for remodeling work, so I’m trying to be selective about what I will take on. As far as remodeling jobs, I hope to focus on interior remodeling in the hopes it will open doors for custom cabinet/furniture work. I’ve heard the phrase ‘word of mouth’ a lot of times, but this week it really came home for me. I started the room addition job on Monday of this week, and sitting at home I have a customer’s dining room set of furniture waiting on some TransTint dye, so I thought I had a few jobs lined up for the next couple of weeks. Today I had two pleasant surprises… On my way to the room addition job again today I recieved a call for me to stop and look at another dining room set of furniture that needs both repair and refinishing. When I got to the room addition job, I was installing vinyl siding when a woman pulled up in the driveway. She walked up and asked me if I was a contractor. I said no, but told her I have started a woodworking business. She asked me to quote remodeling her upstairs rooms & adding in some closets. Tomorrow evening after day 3 at the room addition job I’m going to stop and look at both jobs on the way home and prepare quotations over the next day or so. The woman with the remodling job said she can wait until I finish the current job.

This is a bit different than what I have been focusing on but I have to admit I have had so much fun in the past two days it has really boosted my confidence. I am trying to maintain a reasonable pace until I get a feel for what I can really handle.

Still distilling and still loving it…

-- Sam

15 comments so far

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3292 days

#1 posted 11-04-2009 03:06 AM

Great to hear….keep it up….I can’t think of anything better then enjoying what you are doing….sounds like you are finding a nice niche to fill…

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View a1Jim's profile


117114 posts in 3599 days

#2 posted 11-04-2009 03:41 AM

Sound like work is flying your way . Glad to hear it. I don’t know about your area but in mine if you caught buy and inspector doing remodeling work without a licence you can get fined up to $ 5.000. Becarefu out there.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View RouterManiac's profile


96 posts in 3303 days

#3 posted 11-04-2009 03:59 AM

Might I suggest you making a sign that you can put in the yard of where you are working? I made one like an A frame that had my contact info on it and then fold it up when I am done for the day. You would be surprised at how many calls you will get.

-- Ken, Florida,

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3695 days

#4 posted 11-04-2009 04:09 AM

Sounds great!

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3325 days

#5 posted 11-04-2009 04:16 AM

hey sam..i agree with jim..make sure your alright on the remodle might be that your safe up to a certain dollar amount..but each state just happy for you that you have work and are getting more…..that is great…...good luck with your plan and enjoy every trip you make to the bank to make a deposit…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 3347 days

#6 posted 11-04-2009 04:21 AM

400 board feet of cherry? Sounds like a wood gloat (to me!!!). It’s great to hear tell of people really liking what they are doing.

View Sam Yerardi's profile

Sam Yerardi

244 posts in 3917 days

#7 posted 11-04-2009 04:38 AM

Thanks guys for the suggestions.

Thanks! I still want to focus on custom cabinetry and the production items I want to sell, but getting out and doing this work is really boosting my confidence that I really can learn to run a business.

Good point Jim.
I checked with the state of Ohio to see what licensing is required for remodeling. I learned that in the state of Ohio, Ohio only licenses five specific trades: electrical, heating and air conditioning (HVAC), refrigeration, plumbing and hydronics. All other requirements that may exist are handled by the specific municipaility rather than by the state. The specific area where I would be doing this work does not require licensing for remodeling. In the largest municipality (city) next to where I live (I live in a rural area of the county) there is a very specific requirement for the trades mentioned above. For example, even though I am an electrical engineer, I am not a licensed electrician so I can’t perform electrical work within the city. Since Ohio does license electricians, I can’t legally perform electrical services as a business. I can do wiring on my own at my home but not as a business. I checked with the Ohio Board of Building Standards, and the county in which I live is not designated as having a ‘Certified Building Department’. I am going to call them tomorrow to learn how what I read in their literature applies to me. Thanks Jim. Very good point.

Very good suggestion!! I really like the idea of an A-frame. very good idea…

-- Sam

View Sam Yerardi's profile

Sam Yerardi

244 posts in 3917 days

#8 posted 11-04-2009 05:03 AM

Thanks Grizzman! I’m going to find out tomorrow for sure before I quote the job (or any remodeling job for that matter). I know contractors don’t have to have a license but they have to beregistered with the state of Ohio.

-- Sam

View FFURNITURE's profile


21 posts in 3608 days

#9 posted 11-04-2009 05:11 AM


Your business plan is to work up to sub-ing the contractor work, to someone, and picking the work that you want to do. Be careful here- you don’t want to water down your brand. You can be a respected manager, and draw the pay for it. What you really want to do is manage the finish product-clients love that!

-- Clamps are like dollars in the bank, you NEVER can have too many!

View a1Jim's profile


117114 posts in 3599 days

#10 posted 11-04-2009 05:19 AM

Hey Sam
Sounds like you did your home work. One thing I’ve done but not very often is do minor electrical but state in my contract that there’s not charge for the Electrical work I just throw it in to get the job done. But never major electrical work. This is the way around having to Wait for an electrician that didn’t what to do a job that small any way. It makes it so I’m not getting paid for electrical work that I’m not allowed to get paid for. Just for the record I have wired a half dozen of my own homes and shops.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Alan's profile


443 posts in 3426 days

#11 posted 11-04-2009 06:24 AM

That great news Sam. Nice to hear a success story.

-- Alan, Prince George

View cobra5's profile


154 posts in 3991 days

#12 posted 11-04-2009 02:40 PM

sam, great to hear more about your new adventure, even tho we are thinking of building cabinets,furntures,aand judt any type of woodworking itiems, and we opened up a shop, most people i’m finding out think of remodles for us to do, i’ve got my sign [little man] on the front yard, magnetic signs on the truck, stateing what i do, yet someone calls or walks up and ask about small remodels, these remodles help pay the bills as well as what we intented our shops to be, go for it all!!!!

-- tool time tim aka "cobra5"

View Sam Yerardi's profile

Sam Yerardi

244 posts in 3917 days

#13 posted 11-04-2009 03:01 PM

Very good point… not watering down what I am doing or want to do is a very good suggestion.. THANKS

Thanks… I am going to calling the local building departments in the various towns that I live near and see what I can/can’t do… I’d llike to find out if my main business is custom cabinets, what I will need in the way of licensing/certification so that I can install what I build. Thanks again Jim



Sounds like I’m going in the same direction as you. I wish you the best of luck. I’m working on the marketing ideas… thanks for your suggestions. When the woman asked me yesterday about remodeling I didn’t have a business card – first sign to me that I’m still not there yet… Thanks again

Well, off to work

Still distilling and loving it

-- Sam

View Sam Yerardi's profile

Sam Yerardi

244 posts in 3917 days

#14 posted 11-05-2009 01:01 AM

Well, I called the county engineer’s office today and they told me that there is no license requirement in our county for residential remodeling (neither from the county nor the state of Ohio), so that was great news…

-- Sam

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4422 days

#15 posted 11-05-2009 01:13 AM

Sam: I’m very happy for the business coming your way. Best of luck in getting it all completed.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

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