One of the best things about carpentry is that your job is secured if you are skilled and have a good understanding of how to play with the wood. Know that carpenters do not just perform construction-related work; instead, their services are also required in a number of other areas like fixing broken or damaged doors, fitting windows, managing locks, etc. It is totally up to you which area you choose to specialize in. To become a successful carpenter, you need first to ensure that you have all the skills that are essential for the field. Having all the important carpentry skills will help you secure good jobs where you can earn quite a handsome salary.
As a carpenter, you know how the business goes. When it rains, it pours, and in between, you may be wondering where all the work has gone. That’s why it’s important to always keep an eye on growing your carpenter business. You want a steady pipeline of work – customers who are coming to you, and preferably people who are coming back.
So what can you do to move towards that goal, besides making sure you have solid carpenters insurance that gives you the confidence to focus on your business?
If you’re in the carpentry industry, or any trade really, you will have to rely a lot on commission based work. You essentially have to make your luck, especially if you’re in charge of the business yourself. The jobs won’t come to you at first, eventually, once you’re reputable people will seek you out, but you have to earn that reputation.
Starting a successful business is no picnic, but the good thing is that construction isn’t going anywhere, and so if you do find success with your carpentry business, there will be work. Here are tips for starting a successful carpentry business.
Hitch Property Constructions offers carpentry services Melbourne for residential and commercial projects.
What are the costs involved in opening a carpentry business?
Getting licensed and bonded is one of the initial costs of starting this type of business. It protects both carpenters and consumers from potential legal action. Licensing and bonding are state-specific, but the cost is typically a percentage of tens of thousands of dollars. These costs can seem daunting, but are highly variable, depending on your state’s regulations, personal financial history, and other factors.
All carpenters are also required to pass the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety courses. It is possible to start a small carpentry business with just a few hundred dollars if you already have at least a few basic tools.
What are the ongoing expenses for a carpentry business?
Ongoing expenses for a carpentry business include:
- License, bonding, and insurance fees
- Vehicle maintenance and insurance for transporting supplies
- Maintenance of tools and equipment
- Employee salaries or subcontracting fees
Who is the target market?
Preferred customers are those who have the financial resources to build or repair a home or business. Professional building contractors and real estate developers who can provide a large volume of business are also often preferred clients.
How does a carpentry business make money?
A carpentry business makes money by charging customers for the time, skill, materials and labour required to complete various types of building projects. Prices are calculated according to the level of skill and experience required, as well as the quality of the materials.
How much can you charge customers?
An average carpenter may charge from anywhere between $13.00 to $31.00 per hour plus parts, depending on the type of job and the prevailing wages in the city where they are located. However, those with specialized skills may charge even more. Flat rates can be highly variable, as carpenters charge customers an estimated amount based on the straightforward nature of a project.
How much profit can a carpentry business make?
An experienced self-employed carpenter with highly specialized skills can earn as much as $50.00 per hour or $104,000 per year.
How can you make your business more profitable?
There are a number of things you can do to increase your profit margins. One of them is basing your business out of your home. Check with your local zoning commission about zoning laws in your residential area. Utilizing local tool libraries is also a great way to earn more while saving up to buy more tools for more jobs. Donating your services to local charities for special projects is a great way to show off your skills while earning some appreciation and local recognition for your business, which can lead to an increased number of projects.
Easy Tips for Growing Your Carpenter Business
Create a Website
If you don’t already have a company website, then it’s a great idea to create one. You don’t need to invest too much here. Even a one or two-page website will do. Things you’ll want to include are:
- What services you offer – Ideally include pictures so customers can get a sense of your work
- A bit of background about yourself – Include details like how long you’ve been a carpenter, where you’ve worked in the past, any certifications you have
- Customer testimonials
- Your contact details – Make sure these stand out as this is how the customer will reach you
Add a Facebook Presence
It’s not necessarily going to draw tons of business, but it’s always good to have a Facebook page if you want to grow your carpenter business. Once you create a Facebook page for your business, you can send out a notification to friends to start boosting your popularity, ask customers to ‘Like’ you, and even request reviews.
You can also advertise on Facebook if you have the budget. Make sure to properly geo-target the ads, and select your banner text carefully, so that it includes your specialty, and of course, your contact details.
Businesses today need to be multi-channel. In addition to the traditional routes of advertising – print media and possibly even flyers delivered door-to-door – you need to have an online presence.
What’s needed for online? Have your website and make sure that it looks presentable. Don’t just throw something together yourself; hire someone who knows what they’re doing. Also, make sure to update it regularly with new information.
Social media is important too. Show your projects on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and similar sites. See about participating on Houzz, Angie’s List and related sites consumers go to for referrals and suggestions. LinkedIn is also a great network for businesses and where you can join groups with related interests. Once you’ve established a presence, be sure to check and update your information regularly.
Apart from these tips, the most important thing is to be good at what you do. Be smart about your business model, continue to market and expand your skills and with hard work, you will see positive results.
Hand Out Magnets
Not everything is online these days. A cute magnet with your contact details can go a long way. Always make sure to leave a few behind when you finish a job, so customers can pin you up on the fridge, and more likely remember you.
Vistaprint offers some great options that fit within a variety of budgets.
Update Your Instagram Account
Life is getting more visual these days, and Instagram is more popular than ever. So set up an account and post pictures of projects there, as often as you can. It’s a great way to show what you can do in an accessible way.
Post pictures while on the job. People will love seeing how you get the job done, the efficiency of your work, your attention to detail, and of course, how you clean up after.
Once you’ve completed a project, post away from every angle. After all, a big part of your business is the finished product, and this is one of the most effective ways to show it.
Better Define Your Services
As a carpenter, you have a wide world of opportunities. Right now, you likely operate in a niche market you’ve carved out for yourself. Are you mostly doing bathrooms, kitchens, cabinets, small jobs, or major overhauls?
There are two ways to approach this when growing your carpenter business. You can either better define your niche, differentiating yourself as an expert in your field, so that customers know, for example, that you’re the “go-to guy” for all bathroom renovations. Or you can expand your services, so people know you’re a jack of all trades, i.e. that you do all sorts of carpentry work.
We have an extensive range of carpentry services at Hitch Property Constructions to meet your constructions and carpentry needs in Melbourne.
Reach Out to Past Clients
Customer acquisition is far more difficult (and costly!) than customer retention. Once a customer has used your services, if they were satisfied, they’ll likely do so again.
Of course, most people aren’t re-doing their homes on an annual basis. But they could need work on their fence one year, add new door frames the following year, and do some work on their stairs the year after that.
Knowing this, you can reach out to customers say once a season, and remind them of the types of jobs you’re doing. For example, things like rafters, rooftops and fences are generally great business ideas for the spring.
You can also offer a discount for referrals–a free tablet or dinner for two if someone sends you a full house renovation, a gift certificate for any friend who they refer or even just a heartfelt thank you note are all reasons for customers to refer you to their friends and family.
Improve Your Carpentry Skills
While you’re likely a master of your trade, with excellent skills and the reputation to match, there’s always room to learn. So, when growing your carpenter business, you may want to explore professional carpenter courses.
Options include technical trade schools, carpentry colleges and all sorts of certification programs. These are great for building your credentials. Or if you want to improve your skills, or venture into a new area of carpentry, you can take a specialized class.
If you’re finding yourself bogged down in paperwork, or spending too much time on the job fielding calls from potential customers, it might be time to hire a secretary or office manager. Having someone handle logistics is an excellent way to free up your time so that you can focus on hands-on work.
And if you’re dedicated to growing your carpenter business, you may want to hire another pair of hands – so when the business comes pouring in, you’ll be able to handle it.
Make a business plan.
This is important for any business really, and you should put as much time into this as possible before you start searching for work. There are many decisions you need to make about how you want the business to progress and what you want to achieve with it.
You should decide what type of construction business you want to start. It would be a good idea to specialize or target a niche market. It’s all well and good to have skills in every aspect of carpentry, but if you can offer a specific service, then you’re more likely to get hired.
The SBA offers some good tips for developing a business plan. As described on the website, steps for a traditional business plan include:
- Executive summary: Your mission statement, product or service, and basic information about the leadership team, employees, and location. Include financial information and high-level growth plans if you plan to ask for financing.
- Company description: Detailed information about your company, including the problems your business solves and any competitive advantages.
- Market analysis: Research on industry and market trends and prospective competitors.
- Organization and management: How your company will be structured and who will run it.
- Service or product line: Describe what you sell or what service you offer.
- Marketing and sales: Your sales strategy, including how you’ll attract and retain customers.
- Funding request: How much funding you’ll need over the next five years and a plan for how it will be used and repaid.
- Financial projections: Supply information such as income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements for the last three to five years. Also, list any collateral you could put against a loan.
- Appendix: Any supporting documents, such as credit histories, product pictures or patents, reference letters, licenses, permits, or other applicable documents.
Create a brand
As previously stated, you need to develop a reputation for your business so people will seek you out when they’re looking for the service you offer. This means that people need to know who you are. So you’ll need to brand and market your business.
Deciding on a business name is a pretty tricky thing to do. It needs to be something that people will remember but also something that they will associate with your service. You’ve got to be unique about it too. If people see a contrived name advertised they wouldn’t remember it.
Once you’ve got the name decided on, you must register it and trademark your brand. It’s suggested that you hire a professional to design a logo for your business. It should be something that people will recognize, and that can be used on business cards and any other advertisements.
Stock up on tools
You not only need to have your own set of tools, and you need to have the best ones available — and affordable — so that you can be the best carpenter possible.
There’s more than just the basics that everyone has in their toolbox. Of course, you need a hammer, a drill, a chisel, a tape measure and all that other basic stuff, but there’s way more, including a lathe and of course, the all-important saw. In addition to a standard table saw, also plan to invest in a jigsaw initially, a variety of handsaws and a mitre saw. You’ll also want a good van or truck not only to transport your tools, but which you can put your logo/company name on for additional advertising.
There are companies available that specialize in insuring woodworking businesses. While nobody wants to think about the extra costs, insurance is one of the most important parts of starting a business.
For construction, you should ensure as much as you can. First of all, get yourself some tradesman liability insurance. This will make sure that any income you earn is protected. If you don’t have it, you could find yourself on the wrong end of a nasty lawsuit after working with a shady client or partner. You’re also at a higher risk of being injured doing a job like this, so it’s worth preparing for that possibility too. And of course, your vehicle is essential for a carpentry job, so it’s important that you get that insured too.
What happens during a typical day at a carpentry business?
- Creating service contracts outlining the terms, conditions and timelines of projects to minimize the risk of legal disputes
- Reading blueprints, drawings and sketches to calculate specifications and requirements
- Preparing layouts that conform to building codes
- Measuring, cutting, and assembling building materials
- Building foundations, installing floor beams, walls, and roof systems
- Installing and fitting doors, stairs, and window frames
- Supervising apprentices
Important Skills You Need To Become A Successful Carpenter
Attention to detail
As a carpenter, you must have an eye for detail. You have to be very focused when you are working on a project so that you can achieve the best possible results. Wood is a complex material, and you cannot expect to get the results without paying a considerable amount of attention to your work. Having an eye for detail will make your work more accurate and efficient.
Measurements are very important in carpentry. Therefore, having good mathematical skills will be a plus for you. As a carpenter, you will have to play with figures now and then, which means that you cannot excel in the field if you lack good mathematics skills.
As a carpenter, you must have good mechanical skills. You must have complete understanding about how to handle hammers, nail guns, chisels and other tools used in carpentry.
Being able to follow technical drawings
An important skill you must possess is being able to follow the technical drawings given to you by the project manager. A lot of times, you will be asked to work on new and fresh projects where you will be given different kinds of technical drawings. Desired results can be achieved if only you are able to understand and implement the drawing fully.
Looking for high-end Melbourne carpentry services? Look no further! Hitch Property Constructions has you covered.
Strength and stamina
We all know that the job of a carpenter is physically demanding, and hence it is important to have lots of physical strength and stamina.
Before you start a carpentry business, it is important to understand all the pros and cons related to it. Following these steps can help you successfully get your business off the ground and keep customers coming in the door.