Reply by Loren

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Posted on Marketing and choosing your niche in woodworking

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10371 posts in 3641 days

#1 posted 12-15-2011 10:36 AM

Succeeding in any kind of artisan work is challenging. Chippendale and Sheridan had serious business problems despite making furniture for the wealthiest titled clients (problems come when you can’t turn down the Duke’s commission because he’s an influential client, but you know he doesn’t pay his bills).

If you’re competing on bargain prices, relatively speaking, the work isn’t hard to get. The problem with that is you have to keep an eagle eye on your own costs and that the clients will resist price increases later and references will be to other clients looking for bargains.

There’s still a fair amount of high-end money out there if you are capable of the execution the work demands and selling the jobs, but I’ve talked with other custom wood guys who agree the “sales cycle” has become really extended, so closing the deals is taking more and more time. The other end of it is the rush jobs, but more often than not the client is asking for a rush and a competitive price, so the only place to make it up in is a quality reduction, which is not always simple to do in a smaller shop lacking the heavy equipment to do lower-grade but decently functional work quickly; a lacquer booth for example.

I’m keeping and eye on this thread. I’ll comment later.

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