LumberJocks

Making a living doing the wood

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by richardchaos posted 06-30-2017 02:49 PM 1359 views 0 times favorited 55 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View richardchaos's profile

richardchaos

536 posts in 215 days


06-30-2017 02:49 PM

I lost me full time job in NOV. and since have struggled to make ends meet doing wood working. It’s been very insanely hard. One of my biggest issue I cant seem to get what I want/need for my work. I have work and clients but, just cant seem to get the price I need/want.

Other than that I NEED FELLOW LUMBERJOCKS ADVICE on making a living do what I love.

On a brought spot I have gone trough my first GALLON of TITEBOND 2 so I am making things!

PLEASE ADVISE!

-- “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” ― George Orwell


55 replies so far

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

5461 posts in 2648 days


#1 posted 06-30-2017 03:12 PM

If you want to make a small fortune in woodworking, start with a large fortune.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Underdog's profile

Underdog

1051 posts in 1871 days


#2 posted 06-30-2017 03:39 PM

Are you saying you can’t get a good price on lumber and sheet goods?
For that, I imagine it takes a good vendor, and a lot of volume.
Kinda hard if you’re a one man shop.
Or are you saying that you can’t charge enough to justify doing the work?

-- "woodworker with an asterisk"

View Rick_M's profile

Rick_M

10613 posts in 2215 days


#3 posted 06-30-2017 03:51 PM

I think he wants to charge more money.

You either have to make it cheap or find people with money to spend. Don’t act desperate.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View Karda's profile

Karda

807 posts in 389 days


#4 posted 06-30-2017 04:04 PM

if you set a reasonable price for your work hold your ground, people will want it cheap because it is hand made. most people are not aware of the cost involved in hand made wood work. Don’t cheapen your work by accepting less than it is worth

View JCamp's profile

JCamp

473 posts in 386 days


#5 posted 06-30-2017 04:05 PM

I’ve seen this kind of topic multiple times on here. Generally it seems lik some folks find a few smaller items that move good in their area that are fast An cheap to make and sale good.
I’d say to make money ur gonna hav to either specialize in something that most normal woodworkers lik myself can’t do (like museum restorations) or ur gonna hav to make something that most consumers can’t make themselves. In my area the latter would b dog houses, chicken coops and small sheds/cabins. All those seem to move well as long as the seller can deliver or they are small enough they can b hauled in a pickup

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View JCamp's profile

JCamp

473 posts in 386 days


#6 posted 06-30-2017 04:10 PM

U also might try wooden mantels for over a fireplace Those seem to b high dollar considering how little there is to them.
Not sure what all else u can do but it seems like in my area there’s a lack of decent (not good just average) reliable contractors that’ll offer a reasonable price and actually show up. My in laws have had a rough time just finding ppl that will show up An do what they want paid for.
I’m sure there’s a spot in ur area u just gotta feel it out to find it

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

1174 posts in 1633 days


#7 posted 06-30-2017 04:34 PM

When I was starting out I did some craft shows the guys that sold yard signs out of plywood did well they always sold out.I cannot do that type of work I wouldn’t make it a year without wanting to eat bullet.
Remember behind every great woodworker is a wife with a good job.:)

-- Aj

View DirtyMike's profile

DirtyMike

637 posts in 737 days


#8 posted 06-30-2017 04:38 PM



When I was starting out I did some craft shows the guys that sold yard signs out of plywood did well they always sold out.I cannot do that type of work I wouldn t make it a year without wanting to eat bullet.
Remember behind every great woodworker is a wife with a good job.:)

- Aj2


couldnt have said it better myself. The construction grade lumber furniture has killed any market for wood working in my area.

View DS's profile

DS

2822 posts in 2256 days


#9 posted 06-30-2017 04:57 PM

Richard, I was in your shoes back in ‘09 for about 11 months. I told everyone that I was “Involuntarily self-employed”, which worked for me.

Several tips I can offer from my experience;

  • Beat the bushes, but beat the RIGHT bushes. Seek the work you are best suited for. Then be relentless. Even in the slowest economy, I was able to carve out a portion for myself.
  • Don’t be afraid to outsource. A “small fish” might be getting higher costs on materials, but an outsource vendor is a much bigger fish and can usually get better costs. e.g. The local outsource Drawer Mfg could supply me made-to-order dovetail drawer boxes using state-of-the-art equipment for nearly my inflated cost of the materials to make the same drawers. Doors, finishing, CNC casegoods, drawer boxes are all things I successfully outsourced. Not only does it reduce your costs but it allows you to be a bigger fish than just your own efforts. (Read maximize revenue in a given time frame.)
  • Offer excellent value and service for a fair price. Be honest. Let your clients know what to expect and then don’t disappoint them. Word will get out. You will get lots of repeat business.
  • Always be doing something. On a slow month, I donated my labor for a good cause and did a job at cost. I took the tax write off for my donation and I got some great referrals for my effort. It was better than sitting on my hands. (I was gonna hafta pay taxes anyways.)
  • Comply with all local regulations, codes and taxes. This will come back and bite you if you are doing things improperly. It would suck to get your d1(k caught in that zipper! Don’t do it!

I actually increased my income that year about 60% over when I worked for someone else.

I wish you the best of luck.

BTW, I stopped working for myself when a job opened up that was right for me. Besides, my old boss (myself) was a slave driver – long hours, etc.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View Rich's profile

Rich

1977 posts in 425 days


#10 posted 06-30-2017 05:10 PM

Without some market research, you’re shooting in the dark. If you’re in an area with some affluent households, you might be able to build some high-end pieces and make a name for yourself. The initial cost for materials, and the time it takes might be a problem for you. It takes some serious skill as well. The problem is going to be that no one is going to make a down-payment on a couple of $500 nightstands from an unknown woodworker. All you can really do is build it and hope someone wants to buy it.

I saw a video on youtube of a guy in a depressed economic area who had reinvented his business to do fast, cheap cabinets, custom closets, etc. It was all pocket screw, slap it together and paint it stuff, but it looked sturdy and nice — and could be priced at a point that people in his area were willing and able to pay.

Edit: DS’s post showed up when I posted mine. Excellent advice all around.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

3645 posts in 2144 days


#11 posted 06-30-2017 05:18 PM

I know you. You’re going to starve to death.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Loren's profile

Loren

9613 posts in 3483 days


#12 posted 06-30-2017 05:26 PM

You might try offering refinishing and repair
services.

People are always looking for that and some will
pay what it should cost.

I hope you have a truck and a helper for moving
larger pieces because not being able to pick-up
and deliver pieces for repair can be a dealbreaker.

View Ged39's profile

Ged39

14 posts in 655 days


#13 posted 06-30-2017 05:58 PM

In our area people will pay really good prices for dining room tables.
One of my friends advertises on Ebay with photos of his work and he then makes tables and sells them for good prices.

You could try uploading photos of things that you have made and want to make again, with the price you want and see if you get some interest!

Ged

-- Ged

View richardchaos's profile

richardchaos

536 posts in 215 days


#14 posted 06-30-2017 06:12 PM

Best advice I have read all day!


If you want to make a small fortune in woodworking, start with a large fortune.

- pintodeluxe


-- “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” ― George Orwell

View DS's profile

DS

2822 posts in 2256 days


#15 posted 06-30-2017 06:14 PM

In the Phoenix/Scottsdale area there are several Interior Design Houses which are constantly commissioning custom furniture pieces for high end clients. At the time of the turn down in the economy, several of their usual vendors had just gone out of business. I interviewed with eight different designers in one day – All of whom submitted projects for quote and were excited and delighted to have a solution to the situation.

EDIT: It helped that I had a decent portfolio to show them.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

showing 1 through 15 of 55 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