Start Your Woodworking Business

Imagine transforming a simple piece of lumber into a timeless masterpiece — that’s the allure of starting a woodworking business. Your initial investment can be as low as $2,000 for small, home-based endeavors, but can soar to over $100,000 if you’re aiming for a large-scale workshop with cutting-edge machinery. To carve a niche in this domain, not only will you need mastery in woodworking techniques and a keen understanding of different wood types, but also a good grasp of design principles and business skills.

Although the competition can be stiff, especially from mass-produced items, the potential profit margins of 15% to 35% are promising. With dedication, quality craftsmanship, and a keen business strategy, the dream of turning wood into gold is achievable. Let’s discuss how to start your own successful woodworking business.

Considerations Before Starting a Woodworking Business

Initial InvestmentRanges from $2,000 (home-based, small projects) to $100,000+ (larger workshop with advanced machinery).
Skills RequiredMastery in woodworking techniques, knowledge of different wood types, design skills, safety protocols, and basic business management.
DemandSteady demand for custom furniture, decor items, and specialty products. Restoration services can also be a lucrative niche.
LocationA garage or home-based workshop for small-scale, or commercial spaces for larger operations. Good ventilation is a must.
HoursTypically self-scheduled. Hours can vary based on project deadlines and custom orders.
Permits and LicensesGeneral business license (in some areas), potential permits for operating heavy machinery, and compliance with local safety regulations.
Profit MarginTypically ranges from 15% to 35%, depending on the products made and the size of the business.
ChallengesKeeping up with market trends, managing wood waste, equipment maintenance, competition from mass-produced items, and ensuring consistent product quality.

Who is best suited for this business?

If you are a detail-oriented person who is good at math and can handle just about any skill with your hands, then you are a good fit for woodworking. These skills will be essential when it comes to carving and making manufacturing wood products.

Daily activities of a woodworker

A woodworker spends most of his or her day making wood crafts and other wood related products. This work involves designing, cutting, and sanding the wood, then assembling the wood into final products, and painting, as well as staining and furnishing the product ready for consumer purchasing.

When a professional woodworker is not creating wood products, they are busy sourcing raw materials and marketing their products to customers.

Best target markets for a woodworking business

The ideal customer for a woodworking business is a person who loves and appreciates any wooden item and has enough money to afford wood products. Depending upon your designs this could be; expectant parents shopping for wood cribs, local building contractors needing specialized cabinets, retail stores who want custom signs and even online customers who appreciate wood creations. Decide your particular woodworking niche from wood product manufacture to a custom furniture maker.

How a woodworking business makes money

A woodworking business makes money by selling the wood products they design and manufacture at a price above the cost of materials and labor production. Popular wood products included house furniture, jewelry boxes, cutting boards, clocks, decorative signs, children’s toys, pens, office accessories, designer buttons, or beer mugs.

Growth potential for a woodworking business

Dependent upon your zoning laws, a woodworking business is the type of small business that can be run from home garage workshop, serving customers locally, selling products online, or it can be a large enterprise that serves customers across the country.

Business growth can be dramatic such as Pittsburgh based furniture and cabinet maker, National Woodwork, which started 40 years ago.

Skills and experience needed to start a woodworking business

Making products from wood experience and crafting skills to produce products consistently without errors, since every scraped project is a business loss. It’s not difficult to acquire these skills but it does take a considerable amount of time and dedication to capture most of the details that go into making wood products.

There are several organizations that will train you in making wood products and give you certifications but they are not necessary. If you want to make it in the woodwork industry, you are better off learning on the job.

You can start learning and gaining your initial skills as a hobby but you will later have to be employed in a woodwork business in order to learn the essential skills and how to use the necessary machines.  

Costs of starting a woodworking business

The cost of starting a woodworking business can be a bit high but is manageable. Using a free business formation service like us at ZenBusiness to create your entity helps keep your costs low. As a business owner, you should have about $7,000. Listed below is a breakdown of how the money would be spent.

  • $ 2,000 for wood and other materials such as paint
  • $2,000 for the tools and equipment needed to start the business
  • $   600 for a computer
  • $   900 for a camera and website set up
  • $   150 for business cards
  • $1,000 for unknown expenses

This budget assumes that you have a workshop space that you can use to start your woodworking business. If you do not have enough space to start woodworking from your home, you will need to find a good place to rent with good security (to protect your valuable tools) to start and run your business.

The good thing about having your own space to work from is that you reduce the renting expenses and you don’t need to find a workspace to lease. You can use your website to showcase your products and also sell your products online using e-commerce software. You can also look for fairs and festivals where you can be a vendor and sell your products.

If you do not have enough money to purchase a particular tool that you need for your business. Try asking a friend to borrow his, convince them by offering to make them some wooden products they would like.

Before you can start any woodworking business, it’s good to know all about the legal requirements that are needed to open and run a woodworking business. Ensure that you obtain all the necessary permits and licenses to avoid future conflicts with the law. Be sure to set up a business entity such as LLC – limited liability company or Corporation to protect your families assets.

It is also important you get an insurance cover for your business to cover anything that may come up – most importantly workman’s comp to cover any injuries. If you are already a professional woodworker who wants to establish a woodworking business and hire employees, it is required by law to get compensation insurance.

How to promote your woodworking business

First, you need a catchy woodworking business name. The best way to market your wooden products online is by promoting your business website on social media, and optimizing it for the web so that you can get found by customers searching for your products. Additionally, you could market your goods on one of the large online craft sites such as Etsy.  

Besides using social media, you can also place ads on advertising platforms such as Craigslist and online forums that are interested in your type of wood products. An example would be if you produce wooden rolling pins to post ads on baking and cooking forums. Another way to promote your woodworking services is to use flyers or business card distribution in your local area to get new customers.

Keep in mind that in the woodworking industry, what sells your business best is your professional portfolio of completed projects. Get good pictures of your work and upload them to your website. Ensure that you add pictures in all of your flyers and business cards. These pictures should be visually enticing to get people inquiring about your services. Learn how you can make a living selling your woodwork online from successful woodworkers.

Woodworking Pricing strategies

In order to price your product strategically, here are the factors you need to consider. You should calculate, the cost of materials, labor, profit goals, overhead and marketing expenses.

You can calculate using spreadsheets or manually with a calculator. Ensure that you set your yearly target and divide it by the number of hours you are willing to work in a year so as to get your hourly rate. Your hourly rate will be your labor cost.

You can now go ahead and plan your woodworking business. This guide has all the basics you need to get started. Woodworking business is one of the best ways to make money while you enjoy what you love doing – creating with wood.

Do not let the competition out there hold you back. Go for it and let your creativity and passion to successfully guide you in your new woodworking business.

Ready to Own Your Future?

We’ll form your woodworking LLC today so you can hit the ground running for just $0 + state fee. Past that, we’ll introduce you to the best resources to help run and grow your business as efficiently as possible.

Resources to Start Your Woodworking Business:

Woodworkers Guild of America: Woodworking Videos, Classes & More

North Jersey Woodworkers Association

Northeastern Woodworkers Association

San Diego Fine Woodworkers Association

Woodworkers Association of NSW

Orange County Woodworkers Association

Northwest Woodworkers Association

Gwinnett Woodworkers Association

The Woodworking Association of Pretoria

Guild of Oregon Woodworkers

Washington Woodworkers Guild

SAPFM – Society of American Period Furniture Makers

Society of Canadian Woodworkers

Alabama Woodworkers Guild, Inc.

Southern Alberta Woodworkers Society

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

“This is your life.
You want to get it right.”

– Mark Cuban on Starting a Business

Entrepreneur and Shark Tank host lays out
3 steps to follow when starting a business

  • Form an LLC to protect your liability
  • Set up your banking and accounting
  • Grow sales by marketing your website

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