If you have the passion for creating masterpieces out of wood and you’re looking to start a home-based business, here’s a solid guide on how to make money woodworking from home.
Yes, you read that right. You can do everything from product creation to marketing your work from the comforts of your own garage and home office.
On this post, we’ll discuss how select Etsy sellers make a living just from several pieces of wood furniture and learn how to pick the woodworking projects that sell well.
Things You Need to Make Money Woodworking from Home
There are three important things you need to make money woodworking:
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1. The Right Mindset
Unlike other online businesses, woodworking is a very labor-intensive business. Many woodworkers who begin to turn their passions into a business should be ready by the possibility of getting exhausted day in, day out. You should have the physical strength and stamina to operate power tools, lift heavy items, and just move about your entire work day.
The physical demands of this job means you should enter this business with the right mindset. Income comes only after you sell a project, so the fulfillment of completing a day’s work should be enough until payment comes in. Sometimes you get to finish three orders in a day, while other days you don’t get to reach halfway through a job.
As a woodworker, you’re the employer and employee. Sometimes, you’ll even serve as a marketer, customer support, and accountant all at the same time. Being someone with woodworking skills and wearing all kinds of hats involves the right mindset as well.
2. Equipment and Woodworking Skills
Woodworking and mechanical skills are a given, since it would be hard to earn from the projects you make if it takes you a month to make one pair of shelves, which you then sell for $50. On the other hand, a skilled woodworker could quickly make several shelves in a day.
You should also be good in math, can read blueprints, and have a natural ability to follow instructions. And because you’ll be needing numerous tools to create your products, you should have (or be ready to invest in) equipment such as:
Table saw, hand planer, power drill, circular saw, and other similar equipment
These include quality-made hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers and other hand tools
If you’re offering carved furniture, you must also invest in knives, chisels, gouges, v-tools and more to do the job.
A PC and camera
You’ll need a camera to take product shots of your work and a PC to upload the photos, edit lighting and list on your chosen online marketplace. If your phone has a good camera, a phone could be an alternative for a camera+PC setup.
You should also have ample space (somewhere from 75 to 125 square feet) for adequate lumber storage and to move around and create the pieces you’re going to sell.
3. A Good Business Plan and Marketing Skills
You may be working from home, but you should still be following traditional business operations. As such, you’d need a business plan to see things through.
Some of the most important things you should include with your plan are:
- Business goals – Whether you plan to sell “just one item a month,” or scale up your production to $500 a day, writing your goals early allows you to have a timeline to follow. Some useful advice before you begin?
- Spy on your competition
- Buy only the necessary tools. You only need the basic tools in the beginning. You can scale up your woodworking shop once orders begin to rain.
- Learn the numbers. Understand how pricing for handmade products are computed. Include cost of raw materials, your labor hours, electricity, and other considerations.
- Audience building – Sooner or later, you’ll realize that you just can’t produce furniture to everyone. Even if you started making amazing dressers, pallet-inspired furniture, fancy coffee tables, and every other furniture requested by customers, it’s only natural that you’ll find the niche to focus on. For example:
- Reconstructing guitar bodies into dining tables, shelves, or other cool stuff. This niche known as furniture flipping is a hot niche.
- Cool wooden furniture for gadgets, such as a phone docking station
- Rustic furniture
- Custom-made furniture (only for the seasoned woodworker who has mastered almost all kinds of furniture projects)
- Pick a Home base – Build a website, get a free blog up and running, create a business Facebook page, or join Pinterest, Instagram or any other platform of your choice. Pick one or all, but the important thing is to have an online “home base” where you can showcase your work. It would serve as your portfolio, “calling card,” and catalog in one.
- Promotion – The most effective way to spread the word about your work is through past clients, but if you wish to be aggressive with marketing, you have options. Social media is powerful, but extremely cheap to use and if you decide to pay for sponsored ads, you can control your spending and gradually increase your ad budget as your finances allow it.
- Supplemental income – Are you open to selling your designs? Sharing your methods to the world with a YouTube channel? Maintaining a blog with step-by-step tutorials of your work, or teaching woodworking to people (either through a course your wrote, or through one-on-one coaching) are also effective ways to earn more money
Sites To Sell Your Woodworking Projects
Aside from your “online home base,” you’ll need to get familiar with the following websites to be able to make money woodworking from home:
Etsy is the number one online marketplace for everything handmade, so from greeting cards to custom wedding rings, pillowcases to furniture, you can find a vibrant community of buyers and sellers here.
There are thousands of members on Etsy, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. As a new seller, building your customer base and getting an edge over your competition may not take overnight. However, once your shop gets its footing, you’ll be able to enjoy the thousands of potential buyers already part of the Etsy world.
Another benefit of Etsy as a seller is that you should only $0.20 listing fee per product for four months and a 5% transaction fee.
Remember how I told you that you’ll need good pictures to showcase your work? Check out the presentation of Australia-based shop WoodYouBuy, which shine with jewelry organizers, entryway shelves, decorative furniture and gorgeous docking stations. The shop is run by husband-and-wife team Lesley and John and since joining Etsy in 2018, is about to make the 3000-mark sales.
It isn’t as popular as Etsy yet, but Amazon is the largest marketplace in the world, so expect a bigger and more varied audience here.
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The downside is you need to apply to become an Amazon Handmade seller and you pay 15% referral fee, but the good news is there is no fee for listing items. Sellers can create a custom profile to promote your other products.
A warning though: if you get popular on Amazon Handmade real quick, it could be challenging to supply the demands of customers if you’re just starting out and have no employees to help you create wooden products.
ArtFire is similar to Etsy, where items like craft supplies, and other woodworking goods are sold. There are several plans, starting at $4.95/month (with 250 listings) and up to $40/month (2,500 active listings).
If you decided that your home base is an official website, you can accompany it with your own store.
The best thing about this route is that you can post pictures of your past work and do a ‘create-by-demand’ scheme similar to PoDs, wherein would-be buyers order items and only then will you create the piece.
For woodworkers with little money as startup, you don’t have to go with Shopify (that has a monthly fee). You can get a domain for $10, a hosting provider (as less as $3/month), and set up a WordPress store on your own.
The Best Advice to Make Money Woodworking from Home?
I have three:
First: There’s no project too big or too small, especially if you’re just starting out.
This is particularly true if you still haven’t found your niche, or you’re still trying to attract customers. You need to have a good mix of products available – from high-priced pieces to $10-dollar iPhone docks – to be able to yield the most revenue.
Second is to produce quality work.
It doesn’t matter if you’re only working on re-purposed pallets, or the most exquisite wood you can find. The secret to surviving this business is to product quality items all the time, even if you’re only making a simple book shelf for a kid’s bedroom, or a centerpiece table for the living room.
Lastly is to master the art of customer service.
As an online business, you won’t have much employees. And if you’re like many online businesses, you’d probably be wearing the hat of customer service rep as well. Know that you don’t need a course to be good at this – you just need to be professional, attentive to your customer’s needs and helpful enough to answer inquiries or resolve issues.
And if you stick to these 3 tips and keep passionate about the craft, you can be one of the many people who actually make money woodworking from home successfully.