|Forum topic by The Lumberjock formerly known as renners||posted 184 days ago||433 views||0 times favorited||4 replies|
184 days ago
In the seven years that I been a sole trader, 90% of the work I’ve done has been for local clients. When I say local, I mean within half an hour drive of my home and workshop. This has suited me because as well as woodworking, I have had to be around to look after my two children. For the most part I’ve managed to keep all the balls up in the air, but there have been times when the flow of work has turned into a mere trickle. The situation I’m now facing is that my youngest will be attending secondary (high) school in September, which will leave me with more freedom to travel further afield for work.
The type of jobs that would be worthwhile me doing would be projects like home offices, larger built-ins, fine freestanding pieces, etc,. Meaty projects where you measure up once, spend a couple of weeks making it and then return to fit/deliver it, and get paid. Truth be told, I want to get away from anything with chipboard in it.
I do think there is a niche market out there for things that can’t be bought, and although there are plenty of people who will make a nice kitchen or built in wardrobes in Ireland, when it comes to doing anything slightly unusual or non standard out of solid timber, there is a shortage of woodworkers with either the equipment, ability or willingness to do it.
I’m wary though of travelling a distance to look at stuff, spending a day between driving, discussing a job, costing it and submitting a quote to either get no reply or be told “that’s a lot more than I thought it would be”, plus the added wear and tear on the van and the half tank of diesel wasted.
I have resisted doing a website until now because of the situation with the kids, but that is in development at the moment. I know a website is not a silver bullet, but it might help by simply showcasing the type of work I can do.
So I guess the question in a nutshell is, if you are prepared to go the distance to gain new clients and new work, how do you filter out the genuine enquiries without wasting too much of your own time?