Getting Woodworking Jobs

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Forum topic by therookie posted 08-30-2010 01:59 AM 1811 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View therookie's profile


887 posts in 2824 days

08-30-2010 01:59 AM

Hey i have just been thinking about different things and one of the items was how do i get some woodworking jobs. For example building a dinning set for someone.

1. Do i set up business cards every where?
2. Are there like bidding auctions
3. Or do i just do a bunch of yard sales?


17 replies so far

View lew's profile


12056 posts in 3752 days

#1 posted 08-30-2010 02:32 AM

Start small. Get it to someone with lots of influential friends or who has an office with lots of public access so people see your work.

Word of mouth is one of the best business cards.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View therookie's profile


887 posts in 2824 days

#2 posted 08-30-2010 02:35 AM

Ok thanks for the advice lew


View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3282 days

#3 posted 08-30-2010 02:57 AM

therookie, Hey, don’t know how much experience you have in woodworking or if you have a shop, but anyway lew is right with his advise. My very first job came from a neighbor…..........I didn’t build anything for her, but she told a friend at her work that I did woodworking and that lady called me. I’ve been building my business every since. Of all the marketing techniques I’ve tried over the years, word of mouth has always been the most effective. Good luck and keep us posted.
BTW, that very first customer (25 years ago) is still one of my best references. I can’t even begin to list all the customers she has generated for me over the years.

-- John @

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3112 days

#4 posted 08-30-2010 03:24 AM

just remember that the best advetising (mouth to ear) is allso
the one that will bring you down faster than you ever would have thougt
just one slip and they can kill your business for ever

good luck

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2847 days

#5 posted 08-30-2010 06:33 AM

Be legitimate. Register with the state, get a DBA. City business license. Talk to your insurance agent. I’m serious. If you’re going to be professional, be professional. Your customers will respect you for it, you’ll respect yourself for it, and, best of all, your colleagues in the profession as you get to know them will respect you, include you and refer you.

In our state, you need to have a contractor’s license if you hang anything on anyone’s wall. Penalties make the alternative to proper licensing not an option.

Yes, these things cost money, but if you don’t include these costs in your pricing, you don’t have a business, you are a hobbyist.

You wouldn’t hire a mylar balloon guy to be your anesthesiologist for your appendectomy, done by a neighbor who collects knives, would you?

-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View mnguy's profile


193 posts in 3395 days

#6 posted 09-01-2010 07:02 PM

Consider donating an item to a charity auction – a lot of people will see your work and your donation helps build the legitimacy that Lee is talking about.

View Puzzleman's profile


417 posts in 2941 days

#7 posted 09-02-2010 06:53 PM

One other note is that once you get a order, make sure that somewhere you permanently place your name and contact info on the piece. Then tell the customer that it is there for whenever they need you again or for repairs if it gets damaged. This way when they tell their circle about the piece, they don’t have to hunt up your business card from a drawer to get you info.

I have been doing this for years and it is my best salesperson. People notice the work and want one for themselves and the info is right there.


-- Jim Beachler, Chief Puzzler,

View therookie's profile


887 posts in 2824 days

#8 posted 09-02-2010 11:13 PM

Thanks to all and puzzleman that is a really good idea thank you again.


View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 2835 days

#9 posted 09-03-2010 12:56 AM

Also-if you build some smaller stuff list it on ebay etc. The more you list, whether you sell it or not, the more frequently your name – though use and reuse of tag words- will come up on a google search.

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View Greedo's profile


473 posts in 2957 days

#10 posted 09-03-2010 08:16 AM

for word to mouth to function you first need to get pieces of yours out there, find popular items on auctioning sites or craigslist and make some to put on there, it may be rabbit cages or chicken coops or whatever. keep it cheap, don’t try to earn too much on that. and then some of the customers will see you and your shop and ask; hey, can you also make this or that? and youre off.
start small and cheap, it should grow on it’s own. and as the comissions increase you can start charging a more comfortable margin.

View therookie's profile


887 posts in 2824 days

#11 posted 09-03-2010 02:44 PM

ok that is all making sense to me and all. but the one question is where do i put the stuff on consignment like a furniture shop or a pawn shop??


View helluvawreck's profile


31056 posts in 2863 days

#12 posted 09-03-2010 03:17 PM

Welcome to Lumberjocks; it’s a great place for woodworkers of all types and you’ll love it. Most of the people that do business with us are people who are in woodworking or in a field very close to woodworking. I have seen time and time again that one of the best ways to get a woodworking career started is to go to work for someone that is already in the woodworking business. A great many start out that way. While you’re working for someone you can learn what they know and if they don’t know enough you can move on and work for someone else who knows more that the previous guy. Don’t get stuck with someone if you quit learning – life is too short. While you are working for someone you can start collecting your tools and building your shop and making your business plan. You can also start doing work on the side and start building a reputation and customers also. When the time is right jump in and full speed ahead. BTW, save up a little money – don’t starve yourself or the business and especially don’t go under just because you don’t have enough to get you through a dry spell

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2847 days

#13 posted 09-03-2010 05:29 PM

therookie: ask about consignment. You’ll find out if you want to walk away with what’s left over after the commission is taken.

Two followups to helluvawreck’s well thought out comments:

First, working for another to learn is the way of the world, and it’s a system that works. The one thing I’d add is, make sure that your “work on the side” is up front with your employer.

Second: Business Plan: Requirement. Writing one sounds daunting, but there are easy templates out there to walk you through and real people, like SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) or your local community college, willing to help.

You must know ahead of time what kind of widgets you’re going to make, who your customer base is, how they’re going to find out about your widgets, and how many of those folks are going to have to look at your widgets before one of them buys one.

And when one widget is sold, how much of that money goes to material, how much goes to utilities, insurance, licenses, supplies, tool purchase, tool maintenance, transportation and so forth. And then how much is left for you.

Now you know how much money goes into your pocket per widget sale. How many times does that have to happen before the 31st of the month in order for you to go home and pay for food, shelter, clothing, and all the other stuff that allows you to live as you choose?

Now you know how many widgets you must sell in a month BEFORE YOU MAKE A PROFIT. If at this point your balance is zero, cancel the plans. I’ll say it again. If you cannot conduct your business without making a profit, spare yourself the time and energy of starting it up.

I don’t mean to sound harsh—I just want to be sure you are aware of the steps you must take to give yourself the best possible chances of success.

-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Wood_smith's profile


260 posts in 3022 days

#14 posted 09-04-2010 05:26 AM

My piece of advice is not in the “what to do” category, but more in the “what not to do”. I don’t want to trash woodworking magazines, but advertising in them is very expensive and I’m not sure how many people really look at the ads.
When I started my pouch business a year ago, I jumped into magazine advertising feet first, and before I knew it, I was out a couple grand. The part about it that hurt the most was that I got more business from free classified websites like (that may be a Canadian site) than I did from the magazine ads. Live and learn.

One thing to do- keep looking around on this site. These folks have tons of experience, great advice, and maybe most important- lots of encouragement. They’ve helped me lots of times, and I’ve made a few friends to boot!

Good luck!

-- Lloyd Kerry; creator of the Kerry-All Pouch,

View rhett's profile


742 posts in 3664 days

#15 posted 09-04-2010 01:28 PM

Time and reputation gets work. Saying you are a professional doesn’t mean people will all of the sudden start requesting commissions. Just keep plugging away at it. Overtime you will develop a name for yourself and a solid customer base.

It is also important to have a nice well stocked portfolio with a large variety of work. Rare is a customer who will pay a premium for work without seeing examples of your skill level.

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

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