ScrollSaw Information and Resources #52: Making Money of Closing Shop???

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Blog entry by jerrells posted 07-04-2013 01:16 PM 1720 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 51: How to Price your Scroll Saw work and sell it Part 52 of ScrollSaw Information and Resources series Part 53: Closing Shop - BLOG ??? »

I am seriously considering closing PA’s Workshop as far as sales, craft shows and any thing like that. My wife and I have talked about this several times.

1. She thinks that it is effecting my sinuses being out there with all the dust. Yes I have done some major dust control but it is still there.

2. I tend to do that and not my household chores. I am retired and she is not, so I try to pickup most of the household chores for her.

3. I got a letter from the state controllers office stating that I have not filed a first quarter sales tax statement. Well I did on-line but now as it is in dispute I can’t see it. They want $200 in taxes and fines. If I had to pay that I would close in a heart beat.

4. I really enjoy doing this but I do not generate enough money to make it viable from the stand point of time.

5. There does not seem to be enough craft outlets to sell my product and my hoped for “word of mount” sales have not worked.

6. If I did do this I would still make gifts and presents for people – that is a certain.

Just looking for ANY input or guidance. Lets be honest here – I need it.

-- Just learning the craft my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ practiced.

7 comments so far

View Makarov's profile


102 posts in 1828 days

#1 posted 07-04-2013 02:43 PM

Sounds like you have an expensive hobby, how long have you been at doing this?

-- "Complexity is easy; Simplicity is difficult." Georgy Shragin Designer of ppsh41 sub machine gun

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10521 posts in 3451 days

#2 posted 07-04-2013 02:56 PM

You do some very nice and creative work. Sure hope you are not thinking of quitting entirely.
Do you use any kind of dust mask?

As to the “business”, I’d just shut it down. My experience is like yours. Just not worth the hassle to get tax breaks on purchases and depreciation, etc. I still sell some commissions and do an occasional show. What IRS doesn’t know…...

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3108 days

#3 posted 07-04-2013 03:05 PM

I ran my own business for a while, and the paperwork at that time was not a big problem. With the sales tax
people jumping on the bandwagon, that would be the breaking point for me, unless I was making enough
money to make the paperwork worth it. The big question is the sinus problem. If you are becoming more
sensitive to the dust, it is only going to get worse in most cases. If it is getting bad, you have to make a
visit to your doctor, only you and the doctor can determine if this is going to affect your life. If your dust
is not a real problem, then it is time to set down and draw up a sheet of the pros and cons of your wood
working business and money and family. Only you can do this, no one else has all the knowledge of all the
little things. I do a lot of housework and cleaning as I am retired and the wife is not. There are a lot of
things that enter into this part. My beautiful lady has me pretty well trained, and I do not want to have to
try to find a new one. Hope you have a happy ending.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3670 days

#4 posted 07-05-2013 02:55 AM

Try a “neti pot” for the sinuses.

In terms of selling work (yours is very nice) I think you
should focus on selling to cabinet and furniture shops
that don’t have a skilled scroll-sawyer in house.

For that matter, contractors who specialize in restoring
Victorian era homes may have a call for your skills.

View Hawaiilad's profile


3188 posts in 3043 days

#5 posted 07-05-2013 05:22 AM

I have been a scroller for over 25 years and I do NOT think you should stop scrolling. I know dust is a problem…I ended up in the hospital because of it. I have dust collection in my shop by I also bought the Trend Pro dust shield. You can find it on line. Yes they cost a bit, but they are worth it. It allows me to work in the shop once again…I wear it most of the time.

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View EMVarona's profile


437 posts in 2858 days

#6 posted 07-05-2013 11:20 AM

How sad. I’ve always considered your work among the best I have come across. On the other han I think you’ve made the right decision. If conditions do not work in your favor (at our age), then you are right, however, that does not mean giving it all up. It’s difficult to kill a passion furthermore it is not good for you mental health. I can see that you have a lot of passion for the work and your hands are still very steady. Make it more of a hobby than a business. Minimize the stress and frustration attendant to making a big sale. I am sure some of your frends and those who know the quality of your work will still approach you to ask you to do certain projects. If my estimation is right then you could work on project basis. Since dust is the problem just reduce the time you spend in the shop.

Three things occured to me which I know are farfetched, nonetheless, I’ll mention them. (1) Get a marketing partner who will attend to the intricacies of selling under a profit sharing arrangement. (2) Export. (Wild?) (3) Engage in something else to occupy you mind. (not so farfetched)

You mentioned earlier that you fell in love with the scrollsaw. Keep the passion burning!

-- Ed "Real happiness is one that you share."

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2943 days

#7 posted 07-06-2013 12:42 AM

Hi, Jerrell: I would hate to see you quit altogether because you do such beautiful work and you have really a knack for picking the right wood for the designs. I hope that your health problems can be overcome and not tied to scroll sawing. If they are, then I suppose it is a “no brainer.”

Selling finished pieces is always challenging. That is one reason that Keith and I don’t sell even our samples. The time involved and the aggravation and paperwork and constant people low-balling our prices is not only demeaning, but it really makes us feel like crap. Keith makes beautiful pens and most of them have sat in the shops for a long time and not sold. He sells the odd pen now and then, but if he were depending on it for a livelihood, he would be in trouble.

It really depends what area you live in and what the market will bear. You can’t take to heart if your things don’t sell, as you do beautiful work and no one can take that away from you. I have had some people that can’t sell one of my Forest Leaf plaques for $15, while others in different areas are getting $80 for them. Much depends on the area. The economy is struggling now too and many people are making things themselves. I think that is why I do well as a pattern maker – many of my customers make things for themselves or for gifts. Most people that do craft fairs come back disappointed. Again – it is no reflection on them.

I like Ed’s idea of perhaps trying something else. I am thinking of maybe just scrolling for your own gifts and pleasure and maybe finding something else that is related in some way to bring in some extra money. The idea of working with contractors is a good one. I have done several renovation jobs where they need custom fretwork. Just don’t undersell yourself. You are a craftsman and deserve to earn a decent wage per hour for your skill.

Most important, enjoy what you are doing. If you are stressed out about getting ready for shows or keeping shops stocked and then things going slow, that will only ruin scroll sawing for you. Perhaps it is time to think of a “plan B” where you can still enjoy scrolling while doing something a little more in demand or more stable.

I wish you all the best in whatever decision you come to. I am really glad that you do scroll because I got to know you as a friend through it. :) I know that you will find your niche eventually and things will work out for the best.

The best of luck to you, Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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