Do's Don'ts Running a Small Cabinet/Furniture shop #1: Staying Within your Commissioned Budget

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Blog entry by William Olsen posted 02-26-2013 03:36 AM 1692 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Do's Don'ts Running a Small Cabinet/Furniture shop series Part 2: Employees »

Hey there,
Building Within your Commissioned budget.
Not a easy thing to do.
I have gone over budget so many times it’s not even funny. It cost me so much time and money.
It’s wasn’t because I made mistakes, It was because I over Designed. I tried to do do much.
When I was in School at the Australian School of fine Furniture One of my lectures explained to me that with every commission you should try to do something that you have never done before, even if it’s just something little. Take the opportunity with every commission to learn something new.
Wise Words.
The problem was I tried to many new things. I think I spent to much time worrying about trying to grow my business and Expand.
Now, when I get a commission I really put a lot of thought into it. I break it down!!!! To the last Dove tail if I have to…
Don’t Get me wrong, I will always try and Design something out of the box. But now, I will think it out in Full detail and add to the Budget. If it’s not approved by the Client then I move on to the next design.
NOTE: Some Client will have you Design till the Cows come home. So be aware.
Next, Ill go over Employes.

-- William Olsen Designs

5 comments so far

View Grumpymike's profile


2232 posts in 2279 days

#1 posted 02-26-2013 04:21 PM

Wise words indeed from your instructor.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View Earlextech's profile


1160 posts in 2654 days

#2 posted 02-26-2013 04:48 PM

Easy enough to fix that problem. Design first, then price it, then build without changing the design. Design changes then require price changes.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View a1Jim's profile


117061 posts in 3541 days

#3 posted 02-26-2013 04:52 PM

I would say do less detailed designs until the customer approves the overall design.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

28907 posts in 2302 days

#4 posted 02-26-2013 08:46 PM

Incredibly tough for me to behave myself. I always want to build it way nicer than necessary. It kills me when they only want the minimum.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View inchanga's profile


117 posts in 2076 days

#5 posted 02-28-2013 09:29 PM

In the building trade there is a standard costings book that details how long particular jobs should take e.g. hanging a door, fitting a skirting board, plastering a wall etc. It is a pity that a similar book is not available to furniture makers.
Obviously, people have different equipment, skill levels etc. but at least it would give a datum to start from and apply some logic to costing jobs and to deciding whether they were economical or not. It might be useful to have a debate on how long it should take to make a drawer or build a coffee table, dining table, blanket box etc. in a typically well equipped one man shop. I would certainly be interested in listening to other people’s experiences.

-- chris, north wales

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