LumberJocks

Opinions Needed - Item(s) to sell

  • Advertise with us

« back to Sweating for Bucks Through Woodworking forum

Forum topic by Tommy_Joe posted 04-20-2009 05:15 PM 1475 views 1 time favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Tommy_Joe's profile

Tommy_Joe

25 posts in 2208 days


04-20-2009 05:15 PM

Topic tags/keywords: sell side table

I built a pair of these almost a year ago and they work very well…

http://www.rhodeswoodsmith.com/Side%20Table%20Info.htm

I was going to build some Jewerly Chest to sell on EBay or ETSY and discovered something… It’s probably not smart to build something new to sell for a price. So I’m thinking I need to stick with something I’ve already done before. Small projects would of been nice, but I need to get this rolling ASAP and maybe learn in between projects how to do the Jewerly Chest.

So my idea is to build 2 sets of these tables and either sell them as one or a set. I’d discount a set by about 10% and indicate that I’ll deliver them within a 100 mile or 150 mile area from St. Louis. I looked at ETSY.com and few side tables and many more under the search “table” but not many with drawers.

For those of you who sell your items… In your opinion, do you think they would sell or not. (Right now I’m thinking $375.00 for one, $650.00 for a pair.)

Thank you in advance. (Can you tell I’m a bit nervous ‘bout this?)

-- Tom, St. Louis, www.RhodesWoodsmith.com


15 replies so far

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

936 posts in 2148 days


#1 posted 04-20-2009 06:14 PM

Whichever way you decide to go, you need better photography.I have experience selling old tools at ebay and having good, crisp and convincing pics is crucial….
Those pictures inside your home (unless you make a nice and vclean arragement to take them) and inside your shop don’t look good.

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8791 posts in 2854 days


#2 posted 04-20-2009 07:09 PM

I am with Moai. If you want to get your asking price or more, you need to work on your image. A big part of that is the level of photography that you use. Your business cards and brochures will create an immediate impact on clients whether they be wholesale or retail.

One other thing that you may run into is that the design is not striking. The overall design looks like it is from a furniture store. Most of the individuals that are successful sell something that is unique. If it looks like furniture from Furniture Row or another chain, you won’t sell much.

As a business venture, did you consider what amount of time that you really had in it? Did you actually write it down? Did you really figure it all in? Even your time picking up material?

As a business I can tell you the time killers and profit eaters. First is the sanding time. To help speed up the sanding process I bought a sanding machine. I am amazed at what it does for me and I find that it is still not fast enough.

Second is finishing time. I bought a pressure pot sprayer and I use pre-catalyzed finishes on most things like doors, trim, side or accent tables, bookcases, and shelves. For dining tables or something that needs to have a more durable finish I am using a post catalyzed varnish.

And you need to use pro stains like Sherwin Williams BAC wiping stain or ML Campbells’ wiping stain. The dry time to topcoat is 30 – 60 minutes. Minwax and other off the shelf stains take 24 hours!

Have you looked at your pricing on materials? The suppliers have tiered pricing. I am not a full-time cabinet shop so I pay more than them, but less than street price. The shops that buy bunks of material get a deep discount and the businesses (factories) that purchase train cars of lumber get the super deep discount. That is why it often costs as much to purchase the materials as it does to buy a piece of mass-produced furniture.

YOU are the most expensive person in the shop. If you have help they are cheaper and you can make money on them.

I get my custom projects because I am a remodeling contractor. I am selling all of my custom work (the dream projects) to my clients rather than relying on someone else to use me. I am not a subcontractor except on the rare occasion, and so I have control of the sales and who gets what project.

What I make is intentionally unique because I literally cannot compete with other shops in town. But if I do custom work, then people are hiring me for my unique vision and any shop that is competing with me is in my price point range because it is not a standard set up to manufacture.

If you have a job and making money is just a bonus for being in the shop then you don’t have to sweat it. One of the best positions to be in as a woodworker, is that you do not have to make money. It is very easy to score projects that make the hobby self-sustaining. But most likely it will be just that, it will pay for some new tools and you won’t make any money to speak of and you will not have to operate as a small business.

Operating as a hobby does not give you the real image of trying to make money doing the same thing. Add in getting a business license, business insurance, setting up accounts and now you will understand that your overhead just ate up anything that you thought that you might make. This pushes up your price point and nobody will buy anything leaving you with inventory.

I hope that this does not come across as harsh, but business can be harsh when you do not have a good plan. These are real things to consider and things that you will come up against. If you have any specific questions feel free to pm or call me.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8791 posts in 2854 days


#3 posted 04-20-2009 07:36 PM

Just discovered your website. Now I feel like I have been preaching to the choir.

You probably have discovered or experienced most of what I have shared with you.

I will confirm that you need to stop using time consuming finish methods though. Your process and products take too long. I can see what you are using in the site.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View Tommy_Joe's profile

Tommy_Joe

25 posts in 2208 days


#4 posted 04-20-2009 07:58 PM

Pictures… Yes, I know I need better pictures. A friend of mine does photographs semi-pro and does an excellent job. When they’re built, I’ll setup with him and get some nice pics for ETSY or EBay.

As for thinking this through, I pretty much have covered my bases. I checked with the city and a business license is not required since this is on the side, the sales tax I pay for the material gets passed on to the one buying the item(s), and I am factoring in the cost to get the material and my time (which will go directly to the shop for now) as well as shop cost. I have figured out what I need as a side job done on some evenings and weekends. This is not how I pay the bills, but how I bring in extra money so my wife can get her Masters in Theology.

I have done projects before and studied up on pricing the work and having the confidence to demand that price. I built two custom cabinets for a local University that they paid me for. I made money from it, but I should of bid the job higher. I know that now and try to keep that in mind. I’ve also done some custom work by referrals from a friend who owns a hardware store. People need drawers rebuilt, new exterior windows with an arch top, a replacement cabinet door for original cabinets to the 1930’s house. I’m starting to bid those jobs better, and in ‘08 recorded a small profit from the shop.

As you stated, this is a bonus for me. However it is important that I ask a fair price that gets my expenses back as well as extra money for tuition. I’m stepping just one above hobby, but two below pro. Guess that’s semi-pro. :-)

Those side tables are actually from a PlansNow.com and I changed them from A&E to Shaker style. I’m not much of an ornate type of furniture builder, but I do make handsome and functional pieces. My wife loves these tables and they have been great additions to the living room. I’m just thinking (OK… hoping) maybe others will like them too.

I don’t believe you’re being harsh (I did ask for opinions), but I do want to clarify this is not my full time job. (Not close to that threshold yet.) Maybe it’s wrong of me, but I’m not comfortable with the Jewerly Boxes enough to bust it out and sell them. (I should say these boxes are actually small standing chect with to doors and wrap the case, swinging arms with fabric for pins and necklaces, and a couple of small drawers under the doors. It’s not just a box.) I can bust those tables out, get them ready and have a good feeling selling them. That’s what I’m hoping for.

Thank you!

-- Tom, St. Louis, www.RhodesWoodsmith.com

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

936 posts in 2148 days


#5 posted 04-20-2009 08:22 PM

Glad to hear about your wife Mastership…
Life turns, and sometimes those “Side” jobs , become a main income….so it’s wise to treat them with professionalism, I’m not saying you are unprofessional…..;-)

I want to share these sites, they can bring any insight…..take a look on the pics at the second one:
http://www.arts-crafts.com/
http://www.murphywoodworking.com/

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8791 posts in 2854 days


#6 posted 04-20-2009 09:31 PM

I will rephrase that – I feel like I have been preaching to the preacher.

Well, with your experience I think you are very likely on your way. One thing that is to your benefit is that you have already started building a clientele base and reputation. That takes time no matter how good you are.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View Tommy_Joe's profile

Tommy_Joe

25 posts in 2208 days


#7 posted 04-20-2009 09:53 PM

Todd,

I don’t think I’m on “Preacher” status right now, but your experience and advise has been well received. Thank you!

-- Tom, St. Louis, www.RhodesWoodsmith.com

View Tim Pursell's profile

Tim Pursell

494 posts in 2537 days


#8 posted 04-20-2009 10:16 PM

Etsy can be a great marketing tool but do a search for “furniture” then sort that list by price, high to low. Click on any one of those pieces and check the shop page of those makers. You’ll find VERY FEW with sales. Most custom furniture makers (me included) are going to smaller, less expensive, pieces to make & hopefully sell. If an established furniture maker is scalling back, a new shop will have a tough time of it unless you have something really unique or really well priced. By all means build & list what you like to build, but if you want to have any cash flow, opt for some “giftables”.
just my 2 cents.

-- http://www.etsy.com/shop/tpursell?ref=si_shop

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8791 posts in 2854 days


#9 posted 04-21-2009 12:19 AM

I have to say that I get a lot of those jobs where you repair old windows and doors. But I should expect this as a remodeling contractor.

I have to say that I make money doing them. It’s all green and fits in the wallet.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

15090 posts in 2430 days


#10 posted 04-21-2009 07:33 AM

Tommy-Joe, I just looked at your site and searched Esty and ebay with “RhodesAveWoodworking”. I drew a blank both times.

When I was younger, friends and aquaintances used to ask for advise about getting into business. Usually they would say i sounded very discouraging. I would tell them I’m not trying to discourage you, just be prepared for the real world when you get out there. I think Todd gave a good summary. :-))

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Tommy_Joe's profile

Tommy_Joe

25 posts in 2208 days


#11 posted 04-21-2009 04:58 PM

In ETSY, I’m in as RhodesAveWoodsmith. However I don’t have an inventory yet. I might do a build to order deal, but for now I’ll sell what I’ve built.

I have an ID for EBay but no store front yet. I do have the website, and I need to tweak it to be able to setup orders and inquiries.

-- Tom, St. Louis, www.RhodesWoodsmith.com

View Moron's profile

Moron

4725 posts in 2648 days


#12 posted 04-21-2009 05:13 PM

you have start some where and nothing ventured, nothing gained.

making money at this trade is way easier “said” then “done”. I ant add to what Todd already wrote!

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View closetguy's profile

closetguy

744 posts in 2647 days


#13 posted 04-21-2009 07:21 PM

You also need to think about packaging and shipping. I have found as an Etsy seller, packaging and shipping can be a real headache. An item that big will need a large box with a lot of bracing, bubble wrap, and peanuts. You need to consider how much this is going to cost and if potential customers are willing to spend that much on shipping. You may want to consider a “knock down” design to sell online. Check out home shows in your area. Furniture tends to do well at these shows.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design changes....www.dgmwoodworks.com

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

15090 posts in 2430 days


#14 posted 04-21-2009 09:25 PM

I just posted that so you would know you don’t show up searching “RhodesAveWoodsmith”.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View sandhill's profile

sandhill

2128 posts in 2678 days


#15 posted 04-27-2009 11:36 PM

Photography is a major thing I have items listed on etsy that just do not sell at all because the photos just plane suck…. The same items I sell cant sell on etsy I sell through gift shops in small towns that have a large art community and they sell, sell, sell. Identify your market and do what ever it takes to get into that market. If you are looking to get the $500.00 and up sales you have to give quality photography if you want to sell anything.
That’s my 2 cents.

Photobucket

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

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase