Hey folks I was just wondering if any of you are doing woodworking either full time or as a side business? I've seen a few posts here and there with people mentioning selling pieces they've made, but was just wondering if we could get some discussion started where we all may be able to benefit from, like pricing, getting customers, marketing, etc.
So far I've done:
a farmhouse table w/1 bench for $750
a desk for $375
And I just got commissioned to do a 3 cubby entry bench w/three wooden crates for $400
What have you done?
I sold one on Etsy in a year. I do state that I do not ship (KC Metro area only) and I put that on my website as well. I don't think my benches would ever be worth the price that included shipping. I am trying to get the price down as much as I can as it is.
I was at a local flea market (for those in Ohio, Traders World) and saw a booth full of hand built furniture. Every single project was made from plans from Ana White. The craftsmanship was ok/good, but the prices were high and they were selling! The man and women selling the pieces were the aunt and uncle of the builder and knew nothing of Ana White. I think it was a neat idea and the perfect market for homemade craftsmanship.
$350 for the Ana White farmhouse table.
$100 for the end table
Wow $350 for a farmhouse dining table? Seems pretty low to me, but then again I've only sold one, and that was at a discount to friends. I figure a rough pricing guide is 4 to 5 times material cost. I do not add in labor at this point, I figure that markup covers it.
How about you guys?
Guys just wanna say if you do hard work then it will really pays off. And woodworking is a very good business everyone renovates their home in every 2-3 years. rug pad
Etsy has customers that are expecting to pay artsy type prices. Most flea markets I know about, find it hard to get paid enough to cover their time and materials, let alone profit.
When building handmade furniture to sell, do you reveal to the buyer any blunders that might have happened while creating whatever it is being built? Such as mistakes in the joinery. These things can't be seen on the outside, but you'd have to be examining everything like looking underneath, looking at supports, etc... When typing this I have items like dining tables, end table type furniture in mind.
If it's far along in the process and something happens do you scrap it and start over?
The total concept in being a woodworker is to be one that does not make mistakes that are not corrected and corrected in such manner that it is just as strong, or even better than it would have been without the mistake. It is far better to point out a mistake and explain the method of which you used to fix the problem. In most cases you will impress the potential buyer just by the method of which you repaired the error and if not by the work you did to fix it, you will at the very least impress the buyer by your honesty.
One of the traits to be a good woodworker is the ability to see a mistake where it was made by you or by nature. Things like splits and weak wood from grain pattern as well as errors you made building the item is the first thing a woodworker needs to be able to do but the other is the woodworkers ability to fix a short coming in the item.
A woodworker selling his work is graded not only by how it looks but also how it performs and the bigger part of the performance is the honesty of the woodworker. If he sells a bad piece of work to someone eventually the faults and his dishonest sale will come back to haunt him. The best advertisement you can ever hope to gain is that of a satisfied customer. They will do more for you that any amount of commercial advertisements can ever do. Treat one customer wrong by withholding something you know just to make a sale with destroy your hopes of ever getting a Repeat Customer or any business from anyone he knows. Be honest in your work or hang up your tools.
Well said Jay. I agree with your points.
Jay like you I have been woodworking for over 20 yrs. and like you I got out of it because I was just to busy.
but got back into by popular demaned. I do nothing but custom work my main thing is kitchens.
when I went into this bussiness I promised myself that I would not got into debt and I have not. so my prices are always below the big box stores, and my quality isalways way above thiers. so I know what you are going thru.
Jay Boutwell said:
Jason, after a career in Law Enforcement, I started doing woodworking as a hobby and it turned into a second career as a cabinet maker doing custom cabinet and furniture. This was over 20 years ago and is still going strong. I have tried to quit two times but customers demand my work so I stay busy all year long. Lately it has been so busy that I seldom have time to explore what the Kreg Jig community is doing or even post some of my projects.
Once you get established there is always a demand for someone to do woodworking projects. Currently I have two complete kitchen cabinet jobs on the waiting list and several other smaller projects like entertainment centers and other furniture.
As Justin said, the prices depends on several things from location you are in to the style and prices of materials. I have made a comfortable living from it.
If you love woodworking that is definately a place for you and you will be able to market your products. The one thing you have in a single family business is that you do not have the overhead as the larger shops and therefore you can work your pricing to beat the larger companies prices and still produce projects that you can be proud of the quality and in fact be much better built than thoes of the commercial companies.
I am big on custom and that is a benifit to my business as I strive to build a customer a "ONE OF A KIND" which is appealing to most. When I deliver a project it is just that, "ONE OF A KIND" and insures the customer that there is no one else that has the same design or style. This is totally contrary to commercial as most of their products are exactly alike. What one person has there are many others who have the same even down to the same color, wood type and style of building.
I have been making custom pieces for awhile and have found out that if you do quality workmanship and give timely service. You not only have repeat customers but the price is well worth it. I have done center islands that have sold for $3500 raised panel cedar lined hope chests $450 fire place mantals $1000