How do you make money from Woodworking?

This is a legitimate question, not a lead in.  I don’t have 10 tips to selling your work on craigslist or any of that nonsense.  I do have a store room full of stuff that I need to sell.  I think I price things fairly (click here for my pricing formula), but I can’t seem to sell things until I cut the price to my cost leaving no margin for overhead, taxes, or profit.

I know this has a great deal to do with my area. I’m in West Texas in a small town.  The Midland/Odessa metroplex is about 40 minutes away.  To compensate I offer free delivery of my furniture to that area.  I have to go there about twice a month anyway so it’s not a big deal.

I greatly enjoy flipping furniture.  I most recently took a trashed dresser and remade it into a beautiful window seat.  I’m very proud of how it turned out.  The problem is that I made this with the full intention of selling it for a profit.  I’ve got a lot of labor into it, I use premium paints, and drawer pulls are expensive.  All said my asking price is fair.

I’ve had zero interest.  I advertise on Craigslist and several “Trading Post” Facebook groups for the area.  Nothing but robot responses.

Most furniture projects are just not practical to ship or sell online.  So it leaves me with little options.  The bulk of my income was coming from small carpentry work in my community, but since the baby I don’t have the ability to take on after-work projects like I used to.

Let’s face the truth if you want to make money “woodworking” you have to do carpentry.  At least it’s true in my area.  I greatly enjoy on-site carpentry so it’s not an issue for me.  I don’t remember where I heard this but it seems to be true:  You can build a high quality bookcase and only be able to sell it for $500-600 or you can do a built-in book case for $2000.  Despite the face that the bookcase can be moved, and passed down to the grand-kids, there’s a block to what most people are willing to pay for something they can get at Walmart for $75 (despite being absolute junk).

My long term goal for now is to get enough operating capital to make many things and start travelling to trade shows and craft fairs to sell my work and get commission work.  In order to do so, I really need to save up to buy an enclosed trailer.

On the carpentry side I’m working toward making things where I can quickly load my tools in the back of my truck to go fix a door, window, or similar.  That’s really the idea with the modular shop: One it has shown to be a great space saver, two it makes me much more organized, and three I can quickly grab an entire drawer and go when needed.

If you have any tips to share about selling your woodworking projects please share.  Also, I encourage you to share your struggles if you’re doing something similar to me as your side business.

I’m now blogging about the business side of Dailey Woodworks over at https://bluecollarstartup.wordpress.com/

%d bloggers like this: