Crown Molding Business

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Forum topic by suesue1 posted 08-22-2014 04:04 PM 2054 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View suesue1's profile


7 posts in 1958 days

08-22-2014 04:04 PM

I am looking for some input and thoughts on my business idea. I would like to start a small, side business where I would just hang crown molding and perhaps base boards. I do not work in the construction field but I think there is a need for something like this. I have remodeled my own home and hung crown molding in every room and have actually gotten pretty good at it. Whenever someone comes over one of the first things they comment on is how much they like the molding.

I live in a town of about 50,000. We have construction companies and handymen but very few finish carpenters. The same guy that frames the house installs the sad, builder grade trim. I have talked to a couple of handyman who will hang crown molding but do not like doiing it.

I do not care to call myself a finish carpenter just someone who can come in and for a small investment make a big impact in the design of a home just with trim. Does this sound like something that is marketable or just stupid? Is the experience I have in my own home enough to qualify me to sell myself as a profesional? I would appreciate any insight.

14 replies so far

View HowardInToronto's profile


77 posts in 2153 days

#1 posted 08-22-2014 04:40 PM

I’m not sure how you’d make out.

Installing baseboard and crown moulding are only very specific components of a job.

You could look at eventually adding a unique specialty. Producing custom mouldings not found at lumberyards or at the home centre can be an important value-add. Do something distinct rather than spending all your time justifying your pricing.

But don’t reply on our opinions and bias.

Invest in your idea. Take a couple hundred dollars and print flyers. Distribute them in lumber yards, hardware stores, door-to-door in subdivisions. Test the waters. And don’t give up!

Get an interview with your local newspaper’s home section editor. Stress it as news their readers’d be interested in – not a free ad for you.

Promote yourself the low-tech ways – the fundamentals – don’t get fancy.

I, for one, would be interested in hearing what you decide to do and how you make out.


PS – make sure you’re not trading dollars for time at the wrong level – search for Huff’s pricing guidelines – it’s a work of art

View DrDirt's profile


4588 posts in 4193 days

#2 posted 08-22-2014 07:12 PM

It really counts on you getting in tight with the high end builders.

The folks cranking out spec homes, are not willing to spend the money – they want to just spray the drywall, put in the builders grade or worse Polyurethane baseboard and door mouldings, and sell it.

The remodelers are key too – have your skills dovetail with the kitchen remodeler, to put tall crown moulding on the tops of cabinets, and vent units.

The investment tool wise is small, and as you describe – - the locals don’t like doing it, so they may be willing to farm it out.

You will need pics of your work, before you will convince these guys you know what you are doing.
Like everything – getting started is the hardest part, kind of like getting the FIRST real job out of school.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4098 days

#3 posted 08-22-2014 07:42 PM

If you enjoy doing by all means specialize and put the
word out. If you’re willing to keep your equipment
specific to a narrow range of work you’ll be able
to keep it manageable.

Interior designers may be approached. You’ll be asked
to do other things of course, fixing things, hanging
or correcting doors. Window mouldings and baseboards
are generally pretty easy compared to hanging crown.

View Richard's profile


1927 posts in 3141 days

#4 posted 08-22-2014 07:50 PM

I would think you would have to be willing to do a lot time traveling , how many high end homes are going to be built in your town of 50,000. So a lot of the work would likely end up being out of town.

View Puzzleman's profile


417 posts in 3395 days

#5 posted 08-23-2014 05:49 PM

I am sure that you do a great job of doing the molding.

My question is: What is your marketing plan?
You can be the best at what you do but if you do not promote it properly, you won’t have any business.

Things you need to do before you get started:
What income level would use your service?
What builder(s) would use your service?
Are the builders / remodelers interested in your service?
If interested, who and how do you contact them?
What is your average profit off of each potential job?
What is the percentage of homes within the area you would travel for a job that would meet question 1?
Of those homes, what percentage are being remodeled?
Multiply your average profit by 10% of last number of houses. Can you live on that?
Where do these homeowners go for remodeling advice?
Is there a home improvement show in your area? If so, can you handle the cost of booth and display?
How will you promote yourself to these homeowners?
How will you promote consistently to the builders and remodelers?
What is so special about your services that the builders / remodelers will want you?
What is your competitive advantage over regular carpenters?

These are just a few of the questions in my head. Notice that NONE of them apply to your skills, rather to marketing. I learned through my business that the most time consuming and hardest thing to do for me is marketing and selling.

-- Jim Beachler, Chief Puzzler,

View RockyTopScott's profile


1186 posts in 3929 days

#6 posted 08-23-2014 07:21 PM

Are there older homes where someone may need custom molding to replicate a style already in place?

It is all about the marketing. You might want to consider the market size within a 100-150 mile radius an expand your opportunities, unless you live in a very rural locale.

Look at Todd Clippingers business model and videos on the business. Some really good insight.

-- “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.” ― Thomas Sowell

View InstantSiv's profile


262 posts in 2046 days

#7 posted 08-23-2014 08:01 PM

If I were you I would let the right people know that you are available to help with any crown molding jobs.

You will get paid, learn from someone who’s done it x amounts of times more than you, you’ll get experience, observe the business side of things,...

If after a couple of jobs you change your mind no big deal and no money out of pocket. If you decide it’s something you want to do I’d still stick around a bit longer… learn more and make friends who’ll show you around(other people, suppliers,...)

View suesue1's profile


7 posts in 1958 days

#8 posted 08-25-2014 02:42 AM

Thank-you for all the input. This gives me a lot to think about. I didn’t give much thought to the actual business aspect. I guess I have some homework to do. Thank-you for the information.

View TheFridge's profile


10858 posts in 1937 days

#9 posted 08-25-2014 02:55 AM

More than likely a general contractor would hire someone who will also hang doors, trim, and all the other trim carpentry.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View NoThanks's profile


798 posts in 1979 days

#10 posted 08-25-2014 03:18 AM

Doesn’t hurt to try and get jobs just for extra money and see how it goes.

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

View JockChris's profile


70 posts in 2804 days

#11 posted 08-25-2014 03:54 AM

You want to know about business and starting a business I would send Todd A. Clippinger. a message for a helping hand. One of the best for advice on this matter… I was too looking to go down that road. The man called me out of the blue didn’t know me form Adam and talked to me for over a few hours .

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4098 days

#12 posted 08-25-2014 04:31 AM

Call interior designers in town and tell them you love
to hang crown moulding. They love to rip that
stuff out and replace it with wider ones.

I’m assuming you are not looking to be a full-time
finish carpenter. You may step on some toes
throwing your hat in the ring without being
prepared to hang doors and all that, but in terms
of more casual jobs I think you could do ok.

Lots of people live in houses with barren square
rooms that beg for mouldings.

View Paul's profile


721 posts in 2016 days

#13 posted 08-25-2014 04:46 AM

More than likely a general contractor would hire someone who will also hang doors, trim, and all the other trim carpentry.

- TheFridge

Not calling you out, but this is the general blanket statement that steps on many toes.

I do only cabinets and finish work, I don’t do rough carpentry work.

This applies to the OP as well.


View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3736 days

#14 posted 08-25-2014 12:26 PM

You’ve been given a lot of good advice so far, especially on marketing your new venture.

You will need to be more targeted than just looking at the building trades to get business. Like what others have said already; most contractors will be looking for a trim carpenter that will offer more than just installing crown and baseboard.

Loren makes a good point about contacting designers. Even decorators (even though they usually don’t have as large a budget to work with as a certified designer, they too are always looking for ways to dress up a room for their client and crown molding would be one way to do it.

Marketing yourself straight to the client will be the best way to do your type of work, but will also be one of the hardest to pinpoint and target that customer.

I have a blog series on “Marketing and Selling your woodworking” that may give you some different ideas on how to market yourself.

Pricing will be another important factor you will need to take into consideration. You don’t have to be the lowest price out there, but you do need to know the difference in pricing production work versus doing custom work.

You probably won’t be able to compete with production work where a crew can go in and trim out complete house in no time, compared to doing just one room with a lot of special detail given to it.

That’s the same for the woodworker that does custom work and trying to compete price wise with “mass produced” furniture, or “mass produced” cabinetry. (doesn’t work, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a market for more expensive, custom work).

I feel there is a market for what you would like to do, but it will be up to you to find that clientle.

Business cards, flyers, word of mouth, designers, decorators, lumber suppliers that know you and may be willing to recommend you, net-working with other business people and talking to your local news paper about a story about your new spealized service you offer in your area.

If you are going to do it; treat it like a business, be professional, and learn to market yourself, your company and your product or service.

Good luck

-- John @

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