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How to Start a Carpentry Business – 5 Tips & Tricks

biscuit jointer in the workshop

We’re not oblivious to how some people feel about commission-based businesses, such as carpentry. It’s safe to assume that a lot of people aren’t particularly drawn to such ventures, as they can be difficult to get started with.

However, carpentry’s projected job growth currently stands at 8%1. And on average, carpenters earn approximately $41,748 annually. Of course, it will be difficult to land gigs during your first year—nobody said it would be easy. But once you get that ball rolling, your reputation will sell the business on your behalf.

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Is It Possible to Start a Carpentry Business with No Experience?

Unfortunately, no. To realize success in this industry, you’ll need to acquire some level of skill, knowledge, and a vast wealth of experience in woodworking. The good news is these are things that can be acquired through an apprenticeship. And if you’re not looking to work under somebody else, you could register for online classes and then take on simple home projects to develop your skill set.

Starting the business won’t be a walk in the park. But we’ve got a few tips to help prospective carpenters gain a footing in the industry.

Our 5 Tips On How to Start a Carpentry Business

1. Draft a Business Plan

person creating a schedule with a notebook planner
Image By: Marissa Grootes, Unsplash

We’re certain that you’ve heard this before, but we’ll reiterate it anyways; To fail to plan, is to plan to fail. So, if you don’t have a blueprint as to how you’re going to run your business, you’re still not ready to own a business. Several decisions have to be made by any business owner, and usually, that includes the goals that are to be met and how to get there.

By the way, did you know we have different types of carpentry work? To name but a few, you could specialize in rough carpentry, green woodworking, ship carpentry, framing, or be a roofer. It’s always a good idea to have a target niche market or to specialize in one so that you can build a reputation faster while developing your skills. We’re not trying to imply that dabbling in other carpentry fields is not such a terrible idea, but if you wish to increase the likelihood of getting hired, stick to one lane.

Developing a business plan is not an arduous task. Just make sure that you remember to include an executive summary, business description, market analysis, management information, service line, marketing and sales strategy, funding details, financial goals, and more importantly, the appendix.

In the executive summary section, you’ll write about the company’s mission statement, share your employees’ profiles, and then describe the service being offered. If you’re going to seek financing elsewhere, don’t forget to include that information. Just make it short because, you know, it’s supposed to be a summary.

All the other sections are self-explanatory, save for the appendix, where you’ll add the permits, licenses, patents, credit histories, and any other documents deemed important.

2. Build a Brand

One of the things that you’ll quickly learn in the carpentry business is the fact that reputation is king. Potential clients will mostly reach out to carpenters that are known, so as not to risk paying for services that don’t offer value for money. So, in other words, if people don’t know you, your business is likely to fail.

How do you start building a brand, you ask? Well, you must first come up with effective and efficient marketing strategies, after perfecting your craft.

Just so you know, building a brand also means coming up with a business name that’s unique, descriptive of the service being provided, and easy to remember. If the name sounds or looks contrived in any way, your potential clients will forget about it as soon as they run into the next advertisement.

After naming the business, you have to register it at the Secretary of State office. Approving any LLC or S-corporation application often takes 4–6 weeks. But if you’d like them to process the application a little bit faster, you’ll be requested to pay an extra fee.

For the logo, you’ll need a professional designer. Someone who knows how to design something easily recognizable, as it will be used in your adverts and on the business cards.

3. Invest in The Best Tools

Power Tools
Image By: Andrey_Popov, Shutterstock

Speaking from experience, you must go for the best tools that money can buy. We understand times are tough but that’s why planning and budgeting are important. It’s virtually impossible to develop a skill set using a makeshift tool or a basic one.

You can’t call yourself a carpenter if all you have in your toolbox is a tape measure, a screwdriver, a chisel, and a hammer. You’ll also need the standard saw, miter saw, jigsaw, and all the different types of handsaws. If you’re wondering how you’ll be transporting all those tools, it’s because we’re assuming you already have a truck or van, with the company name or logo printed on the side.

4. Insure Your Carpentry Business

To profit, you have to cut down on the costs of operation. That’s common knowledge. However, cutting down the costs doesn’t mean that you should neglect your responsibilities to the business. We expect you to research the insurance market, to figure out which companies offer the best services for woodworking businesses.

Draft a list if you have to, reach out to them, listen to their offers, and then apply for tradesman liability insurance. It’s the type of insurance that’s designed to protect the income earned from various carpentry projects. Without it, there’s nothing that you’ll be able to do, should you find yourself in a dicey situation. Particularly one that involves a shady partner or client.

You should also get your vehicle insured as well, as accidents happen all the time. And don’t forget about the employees if you’ve hired any.

5. Leave Some Footprints Online

man sitting in front of his computers
Image By: olia danilevich, Pexels

We’re living in a digital age, so you cannot just rely on traditional print or word-of-mouth. Anytime anyone wants to hire a carpenter, they’ll search for companies that are closest to their location. Because the competition is cutthroat in this industry, you’ll have to find a way to make your brand stand out.

First off, make sure your website is updated and presentable. Hire a professional who’ll design something remarkable that has all the information that a client might need. Don’t forget to link all your social media platforms, showcasing the projects that you’ve worked on in the past.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Image Credit: Mikhail Nilov, Pexels

What Type of Skill Should Every Carpenter Have?

In our opinion, the ability to understand both written and verbal instructions is an underrated skill. One that’s not talked about enough, seeing as we usually assume that it’s a basic skill that everybody acquires in school. Well, not everybody has it, and it’s due to the fact that some people can’t read or interpret a blueprint.

How Do You Estimate a Carpentry Project’s Cost?

The prime factor should be the number of hours it takes to complete the said project. If it will take you 72 hours to complete the job, and you usually charge $20 per hour, multiply 72 by 20, and then add the cost of materials.

How Much Does a Carpenter Foreman Earn?

A foreman charges an hourly rate of $28.33 on average, and according to various sources, they earn approximately $58,922 yearly. That makes them the highest-paid service providers in the industry, but this shouldn’t be surprising considering they usually take on supervisory roles.

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Carpenters are trained professionals who can easily handle a wide variety of projects. They are equipped with sufficient knowledge to build a new home or take on a remodeling project that requires a woodworking specialist. This industry has drastically expanded over the years, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. Therefore, if you’re looking to start a carpentry business, now’s the time.

Featured Image Credit: gualtiero boffi, Shutterstock


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