How To Start A Carpentry Business
(This page will also help show you how to start a woodworking business)
A carpentry business or woodworking business can involve a number of different skills including custom trim work, woodturning and woodcarving, reproductions, and many other miscellaneous and odd projects that may come your way. Being a successful carpenter not only requires excellent woodworking skills, but also involves organization, knowledge, patience, perseverance, people-skills, and a number of other traits. Many new business owners won’t make it, not because they weren’t highly skilled in working with their hands, but because they were not skilled in running a business.
Check here for tips on naming your carpentry business: How To Choose a Business Name
3 STEPS TO STARTING A CARPENTRY BUSINESS
There are three basic steps to starting a carpentry company from scratch. First is the planning stage. This is important when starting any business. Second is registering with proper government institutions. Lastly, you will need to promote your business in some way to attract customers.
1. Plan Your Carpentry Business
Before starting any type of woodworking business, you should work up at least a simple business plan. This plan will include your present and future goals for your company, estimated startup costs, and estimated operating costs. Don’t forget about insurance costs, not only for you, but for any employees. A business plan is an outline of your business that will help organize your goals and priorities and help you make wise decisions.
Planning properly will help you decide if you are going to specialize in a specific niche such as reproduction work, or if you will offer a variety of services.
- Set short and long-term goals – Decide which direction you want your business to go.
- Decide what services you will offer – Start with what you do best.
- Find a niche – What will be your specialty? What will set you apart from the competition?
- Choose a business name – Put some thought into deciding a name for your carpentry or woodworking business.
- Decide what you will charge for your services
- Financing – You may possibly need to get a business loan to help get your company started.
As soon as you get started with your carpentry business, you will need to get organized so you can keep your paperwork, orders, and customer data in order. You won’t necessarily need a full office when starting out. An office desk dedicated to your company paperwork would be helpful.
A daily planner or smartphone is helpful to schedule estimates, jobs, and other work-related appointments. A schedule will help you plan your day, week, and month, so you can make best use of your time and your customer’s time. Make sure you document your communications with your customers. You don’t want to make the mistake of forgetting an important detail in a custom piece.
- Set up an office
- Business phone
- Estimate forms
- Bill Forms
Equipment needed when starting your carpentry company
Hopefully, if you are planning to be a professional carpenter, you already have many of the tools you will need. If you still need to set up a shop, you may have to spend a bit of money to fill it with the equipment you will need. Setting up a woodworking shop from scratch can be very expensive. Starting out, you don’t necessarily need all brand-new tools and equipment. You will save thousands of dollars in startup costs by purchasing used woodworking tools, and other misc. tools and equipment. Another tip is to only buy tools and gadgets as jobs require them. This will help keep you from going into debt for tools and equipment you may end up never using.
2. Register Your New Carpentry Business
Make it legal
You will have to research the local and regional requirements in your area. This means having necessary insurance, following tax codes, getting proper licenses and permits, etc. This applies even to a part-time carpentry business.
Some steps to starting your carpentry company legally:
- Select your business structure (sole-proprietor, LLC, Corporation, etc.)
- Register your carpentry business name
- Register your carpentry business entity
- Register as a home improvement contractor with your state (US)
- Open a business bank account
- Taxes- either get an accountant, or do research on filing yourself
- Liability Insurance
- Worker’s Compensation (if you have employees)
- City Licenses and Permits
- OSHA (depending on how many employees you have)
(The pages below are geared toward roofers, but the information and links will help any type of contractor start a business)
Register A Carpentry Business In: The United States
Register A Carpentry Business In: Canada
Register A Carpentry Business In: The United Kingdom
3. How To Grow Your New Carpentry Business
You can’t just start a new business and expect people to have a full work schedule immediately. You will need to market your business effectively in order to gain new customers. Success and profit won’t come overnight.
Beside employees, dealing with customers can cause a great amount of stress. Learning how to communicate well with customers can help boost sales and increase word-of-mouth leads.
- Learn how to sell a carpentry job to a potential customer
- Estimate your carpentry work accurately
- Communicate regularly and clearly with the customer
- Be fair and honest- take responsibility for your mistakes
Marketing is a critical way to build your carpentry business. Some low-cost advertising to get started can include a basic 1 or 2 page website, setting up a free business listing for your construction company on Google and other online directories, social media accounts, business cards and a few yard signs.
It would also be helpful to network with other home improvement contractors such as roofers, masons, painters, etc. They can use you when they need woodworking done, and you can refer customers to them for their services.
Below, you will find links to register your new carpentry business in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The links were created for roofing contractors, but will apply to any home improvement contractor.
How to Start a Carpentry Business in the United States