Reply by jimswoodshop

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Posted on How much is your woodworking worth ?

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19 posts in 3524 days

#1 posted 06-19-2010 11:05 PM

I have taught woodworking and worked in retail at a couple wood working retail outlets. Here are some observations that I have noticed.
I found that most people who say they are making a living at woodworking are misinformed about what it takes to make a living. Most have a second income retirement disability or a supportive spouse.
A lot of people are believe that they can make a living piddling around in a shop making what they want and while having a pleasant day in the shop environment. A lot of people make one of a kind items have not counted the design hours delivery sales time or commission, cost of materials and time on consignment.
Walmart is not our competition nor is any other mass marketer.
Small shop and small overhead does not mean less expensive product than the big producers.
The consumer needs to be educated about what they are seeking out when comparing and looking at our woodenware. Two pcs that have the same function are not always the same.
To be profitable one need to be not only good to great in skills be marketable and knowledgeable but has to be something I have not spoke of yet and that is fast. Chopping out hand cut dovetails as quickly as most do with a machine (including setup) and incorporating time saving techniques wherever possible , Patterns, jigs, reducing machine setups whenever possible, and the biggest time saver is reducing shop interruptions like visitors and the telephone and other time thieves.
Several that I have met have little exposure to what a difference there is in detail in a $500.00 chest and a $2000.00 chest of similar made by a skilled cabinetmaker.
None of the woodworkers that I know that are not successful have a clue about marketing of their woodworking or themselves. Yes marketing yourself is as important as your product.
There are a lot of good under valued products in craft shows and festivals buy many people seeing a better way of working and making a living that they will sell cheap just so they can make expenses and do it again.
Generating sales does not mean making a profit or making a living.
I am not trying to cheese anyone off in this post but simply giving my observations. This was written quickly and probably has many errors of grammar and spelling, Be kind.
If you’re wondering what my gig is I work for a company and manage a shop making furniture and accessories out of pine and engineered wood. It pays the bills and has insurance. I also make 3 to 4 commissioned pcs a year in my spare time. This work pays well (I charge $25.00 an hour for my labor and shop and 1.5 times the cost of materials) It has built my shop and tools it feeds my creative side and builds my future retirement income business. Maybe someday I will quit my day job and do custom works but I doubt it. I think I will retire at 62 and supplement my income making my 3 to 4 pcs a year.

-- Will work for Wood

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