LumberJocks

What would you start with to be as profitable as possible

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by agolstudio posted 04-22-2017 03:43 PM 2620 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View agolstudio's profile

agolstudio

3 posts in 271 days


04-22-2017 03:43 PM

Topic tags/keywords: startin out money cnc

Hi,
I’m a 20 year old woodworker with some self-taught experience.
Unfortunantly I currently suffer from a condition that makes me unable to get far away from my house.
I recently started working with someone (older and more experienced) from my neighbourhood and we got an offer from an investor that liked our work and offered to invest around 20,000$ if we will come up with a business plan and find our niche, of course after we will get some more experience.
I currently do mostly fine woodworking and turning, but 20k is a lot of money and allows us, not to say forces us to take a step back and think about our ways.
We have a decent space to work in which doesn’t cost us money, some tools (mainly high quality hand planes, and some power tools- drill press, jigsaw, RO sander, bench grinder and sharpening equipment, drill and screwdriver, scroll saw, router, and a pretty small bandsaw).
We have two main options in mind-
1. going on with fine woodworking and ultimately getting into co-op with an interior designer working at one of the many construction sites in our region, of course besides regularly selling furniture as high-quality as we will be able to produce, which I believe could be quite high with some learning as we both love the work and have good reviews from objective people.
It’s quite a safe option for making some money but it will require lots of effort to be able to stand out enough to make “bigger” money.
2. Getting into the cnc field. My partner is very capable (and has taken several advanced courses) with solid edge so he can handle the software part of it, and I’m sure that with some time and guidance I could learn it. Being able to make things that are very hard or time consuming by hand this way might enable us to stand out a bit more and be able to produce special items that are more rare in our region (we live in a country where you don’t really see lots of quality woodworking). It seems like if you succeed with cnc you can make big money- but it’s also a big risk.

Saying you would start a business now and would try to focus on the most profitable niche- what would it be?

Thank you!


16 replies so far

View pontic's profile

pontic

503 posts in 446 days


#1 posted 04-22-2017 03:50 PM

Taking some cost accounting classes would be the most beneficial thing you can do when opening a small business. Starting your enterprise with a LLC with a specific contract and set of by laws to protect you from your partner and vise versa. The rest of your Ideas are good and up to you.
Remember most small business’s fail in the first year due to cash flow problems. Most of this results from poor cost accounting procedures.

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4758 posts in 2331 days


#2 posted 04-22-2017 08:09 PM

You need to base your business plan on what your area of the world will buy/support. Where I live the folks expect to buy 7 rooms of furniture for $400; it would pretty hard to sell them anything though breadboards at a craft show may do well (no idea, just guessing). Point being what works for anyone else may not do it for you. I don’t want to rain on your parade, but I keep thinking about what someone else said concerning woodworking: the best way to make a small fortune in woodworking is to start with a large one.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1769 posts in 2154 days


#3 posted 04-23-2017 04:36 AM

Fine furniture can be very profitable but expect to spend 10 years building a reputation. Also, $20,000 doesn’t go far when building out a custom woodworking shop. The downside to custom is that you need to own a lot of tools to handle a wide variety of work.

Coming up with a narrower product line makes it possible to earn more money with a smaller space and less tools. Forget about specific tools for now and start coming up with product ideas. Make prototypes with your existing tools and test the market until you find some that sell for a decent price. Only then should you start investing in tools to ramp up production because then you’ll know exactly what’s needed.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View clin's profile

clin

751 posts in 834 days


#4 posted 04-23-2017 05:20 AM

Plastics!

Please, please let someone get the joke.

-- Clin

View pontic's profile

pontic

503 posts in 446 days


#5 posted 04-23-2017 01:11 PM

’ I agree with Fred. I’ve made a few very big projects and a few more medium sized ones. My biggest seller? The 25dollar foot stool. Started making them from off cuts and scrap. Now it production run them and sell them at the event fairs and such twice a year. Usually sell all I make. Profit margin? A paltry 13% when you consider all the costs.

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

View rodneywt1180b's profile

rodneywt1180b

154 posts in 224 days


#6 posted 05-05-2017 09:25 PM

What does the investor expect in return?
I would think really hard before I borrowed the money to start a woodworking business. Most successful small businesses either don’t have debt or keep it to an absolute minimum.
I sell canes on the side but there’s no way I could call it a real moneymaker. Mostly it pays for my supplies and maybe a few beers every now and again.
Rodney

-- Rodney, Centralia, WA, USA www.etsy.com/shop/ASturdyStick

View cabmaker's profile

cabmaker

1622 posts in 2647 days


#7 posted 05-06-2017 12:52 AM



Plastics!

Please, please let someone get the joke.

- clin

Yep…...the graduate with dustin hoffman…...thats what the one dude told him to pursue.

View Nubsnstubs's profile

Nubsnstubs

1207 posts in 1568 days


#8 posted 05-06-2017 12:56 AM


Plastics!

Please, please let someone get the joke.

- clin

Yep…...the graduate with dustin hoffman…...thats what the one dude told him to pursue.

- cabmaker

And Mrs. Robinson was a benefit for the young stud… The movie was good in it’s day. Loved it.. ..... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson) www.woodturnerstools.com

View Ger21's profile

Ger21

1074 posts in 2969 days


#9 posted 05-06-2017 01:02 AM

The woodworking industry is hard enough, without paying part of the money you make to an investor.
And, as was mentioned, $20,000 is nothing.

CNC is not a “field”, it’s just a tool. You buy tools to make the work you’re doing easier. You don’t buy tools for work you don’t have. Especially when that tool can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
I can show you a LOT of forum posts from CNC owners that are looking for work to do on their idle CNC’s.

-- Gerry, http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/index.html http://www.jointcam.com

View BillyDoubleU's profile

BillyDoubleU

152 posts in 279 days


#10 posted 05-06-2017 01:52 AM

Could always look at Jim Morgan’s “WoodProfits” site…

No I am kidding, don’t do that :p

-- "But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!” ~ Dr. Seuss

View Betsy's profile

Betsy

3391 posts in 3734 days


#11 posted 05-06-2017 03:48 AM

As others have said – getting into a woodworking business and being profitable is a tough slog even in a robust economy.

Having a $20,000 investor sounds good, but when you start looking at just start up costs, $20,000 does not stretch far.

The investor really has to have a lot of confidence in you to be willing to invest that much on a startup business. Unless you know this person well, I’d be cautious accepting funds unless you have a very well written agreement about how you and the investor intend for profits to be distributed. A person does not invest $20,000 without an idea of making money on that investment. Seed money on a woodworking business is a high risk investment so a written agreement is a must.

Having a working partner is also a tough thing to work on. Being friends and enjoying the pastime together is one thing, having a business with a partner is like a marriage. It can go south quickly. If you are going to partner with someone – it’s a must to have a written partnership agreement spelling out who does what, who gets what, etc.

It’s not all pessimism though – some people make a good, if not, decent living woodworking.

I also have misgivings about using CNC as a field – as Gerry said – it’s a tool and an expensive one to boot. I also have many friends with different varieties of CNC machines and most of them are used for fun – they have found it difficult to make a living using the machine. The ones that actually do make a living woodworking use their CNC machines very seldom. One friend calls his a “tread mill.” It sounded good when he bought it and he used it a lot for a little while then before long it was pushed to the side of the shop and stands mostly unused.

Something that you may look at is opening a community shop charging for use of shop time. People in the surrounding area who would like to work wood can reserve shop and tool time. If you are comfortable teaching classes that’s also another avenue to consider. From personal experience I have had a lot of folks ask me about renting my shop to do a project. There are a ton of folks out there who would really enjoy making things but for whatever reason cannot have a shop of their own. I have one acquaintance that is a very talented woodworker but only owns a nice set of chisels. He shop-hops from one friend to the next. I don’t “rent” shop time in my shop just because of insurance issues – but if that’s the nature of your business you can find pretty reasonable insurance to cover the liability issues.

All that said – start with looking at books and/or classes about starting a small business. Very few people make a go at their own business without having some sort of business sense. If you don’t have a plan you end up just throwing money away trying to find what works.

Craft and/or art shows is another avenue to work. Although it sounds like you are more or less home bound so shows may not be an alternative. But it’s something to keep in the back of your mind. Again though, shows are also a tough slog.

Good luck.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Desert_Woodworker's profile

Desert_Woodworker

1281 posts in 1052 days


#12 posted 05-06-2017 03:52 AM



Plastics!

Please, please let someone get the joke.

- clin


Mrs Robinson!

-- Desert_Woodworker

View bruc101's profile

bruc101

1197 posts in 3380 days


#13 posted 05-06-2017 03:55 AM

Two guys, one 20k investor.

Do you have a business plan?
Do you have a market for your products? Do you understand marketing and do you have the funds for marketing? Marketing is expensive.
Do you have paying clients waiting on you, and enough to sustain you, your partner and investor?
Do you have money in the bank to sustain yourself while you build this business?

In today’s woodworking market, if you do not have the above you have probably already failed.

-- Bruce Free Plans http://plans.sawmillvalley.org

View Desert_Woodworker's profile

Desert_Woodworker

1281 posts in 1052 days


#14 posted 05-06-2017 03:57 AM


Plastics!

Please, please let someone get the joke.

- clin

Yep…...the graduate with dustin hoffman…...thats what the one dude told him to pursue.

- cabmaker

And Mrs. Robinson was a benefit for the young stud… The movie was good in it s day. Loved it.. ..... Jerry (in Tucson)

- Nubsnstubs

Plastics circa 1967 – 2017 plastics with a 3d printer, cnc or laser. As for a shop start out with it as a hobby

-- Desert_Woodworker

View Desert_Woodworker's profile

Desert_Woodworker

1281 posts in 1052 days


#15 posted 05-06-2017 04:27 AM



The woodworking industry is hard enough, without paying part of the money you make to an investor.
And, as was mentioned, $20,000 is nothing.

CNC is not a “field”, it s just a tool. You buy tools to make the work you re doing easier. You don t buy tools for work you don t have. Especially when that tool can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
I can show you a LOT of forum posts from CNC owners that are looking for work to do on their idle CNC s.

- Ger21


CNC topic? This Jock asked a question- my response is go slow as in an interest. You can start with general tools, but consider a Woodworking Co-op or a class, where there is a fully functional shop. As for a 20 year old- from what I see , as a teacher (JrH-HS) It is and will be “items” made other than wood for the most part. But with machines that are high tec. Hence, CNC, laser and 3d printers, which uses plastic

-- Desert_Woodworker

showing 1 through 15 of 16 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com