Carpentry business is a long-standing and lucrative business for a skilled carpenter – but it comes at a price: It’s not an easy business as you are obviously required to have expertise in carpentry; to become an expert or master, you need to take a long, challenging and expensive process.
In the UK, carpentry is more of a profession than a business: There are 35,819 employees and just 4,748 businesses nationwide (source.) In the US, carpenters are more inclined to start a business of their own: There are 212,912 businesses vs. 372,994 employees (source.)
As a career, carpenters make about $25,000 to $72,500 annually in the US (source.) As a business, as always, the sky’s the limit – but the average would be about US$200,000 – US$1,200,000 annually on a US$10,000 – US$50,000 investments (source.)
How to start a carpentry business properly?
There are some steps to follow in order to start your business on the right footings:
1. Always start with a business plan
It doesn’t have to be comprehensive, but you definitely need a plan: Is there a market for your carpentry services? How about the household income of the local neighbourhood? How about your local business needs? Are you going to build houses/building/bridges or focus on remodeling? You need to identify those things before you decide which services you should offer and at what price levels.
2. Going solo or hire employees?
As you have the carpentry skills, it’s natural for you to go solo. But please bear in mind that going solo means you need to wear many hats, other than your carpentry hat: Bookkeeping, project management, marketing, tax preparations, and so on.
Things can be overwhelming, and if you do feel overwhelmed, then you need to consider hiring an employee.
3. Decide: Home-based or own-location
Setting up your business to be home-based is often ideal, considering the lower running costs and all the personal benefits of working from home. However, you need to be aware that you need to follow local ordinances running your business in a non-business zone.
Own location – owned or rental – is often more ideal for setting up your workshop as you deal with noises and wastes on a regular basis.
4. Register your business name, create a brand
Your business name is crucial for your carpentry business: Along with a logo which represent it, it’s the primary branding tool. You can’t afford to start a business without one. After you decide on a business name, you will need to register it.
And, oh, don’t forget to trademark your brand. You can’t afford to lose your brand to someone else.
5. Choose a business structure
If you are a sole proprietor, register your business as a limited liability company to give you the legal protections and tax benefits. Please note, by forming your business legally, you need paperwork to take care, as they are required.
6. Get insured
No business can go without insurance – that would be too risky, considering the potential mishaps – no matter how small or big they are – which can naturally happen in carpentry. Take a tradesman liability insurance to protect you and your business from any potential lawsuits.
7. Be a go-getter
Finally, you are ready to get started. Just like in any other businesses, “just build it, and they will come” is not the right attitude – if you want to find success, that is.
Remember, there are competitors you need to deal with, and to ace the competition you need to be a go-getter. Get involved in local trade shows, get active in your local community and chambers of commerce, establish a website and create an online presence – including on social media, and seek help – trust me, you really need it.
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Having the carpentry skill mastery doesn’t mean you will be guaranteed to find success with your carpentry business. Indeed, your skills are the core of your business. However, there are many other things you need to be able to run well if you want your business machine to run like a well-oiled one.
Remember, many businesses fail not because of the poor products/services quality or the wrong market to serve; they fail mostly because of mis-management. When you have grown well, consider hiring employees to take care of other aspects of your business.