The carpentry business is a competitive field. Whether you’re just getting started or you’re looking to revamp your business model, as a carpenter, you know – everything you build needs a solid base.
So while you’ve chosen the carpentry business as your line of work, it’s important to understand there’s more to the job. That’s why it’s always good to explore carpentry business ideas and marketing, and strategically apply them to gain the upper hand over competitors.
Starting a successful local business in any industry comes with a set of distinct challenges, especially concerning the initial marketing and promotion stages. Most carpenters aren’t already equipped with extensive marketing skills, so there’s usually a bit of a learning curve involved when you’re trying to create brand awareness independently.
After you’ve spent years in the carpentry trade working for other people, you may be ready for the challenge of starting your own carpentry business. You’ve got the experience, the connections, the tools, and the training.
The truth is, having the experience and know-how to get the job done is only half the battle when it comes to starting your own carpentry business. If you’re going to succeed on your own, you’re going to have to become experienced and knowledgeable at being a business owner, too.
Of course, investing in a third-party marketing service is an option. Still, ultimately, it’s best to know how to advertise your own company, which will save money and facilitate better results in the long-term. With that said, here are things you can do to market a local carpentry business effectively:
Hitch Property Constructions offers carpentry services Melbourne for residential and commercial projects.
Tips for Starting a Carpentry Business
Working in the carpentry business is predominantly commission-based. Generating business means creating luck by building a reputable reputation, and since construction is essential and always in-demand, running a successful carpentry business is possible. Use these tips for starting a carpentry business for an idea on how to lay the groundwork for success.
Specialize Your Craft
Carpentry businesses are responsible for building, maintaining, repairing, and renovating residential and commercial buildings. Consider what niche of carpentry to base a business on and decide if it will be a general or specialty carpentry business. Structural carpentry focuses on the structural integrity of buildings, while finish carpentry focuses on aesthetics that increase property values, such as restoring historic buildings. General carpentry is competitive, which means working within a specialized niche could be more profitable.
Develop Your Brand
With any business, developing a strong brand is key to standing out in the market. A carpentry business should have a professional-looking brochure, website, and business card. The work vehicle should be branded with the business name and logo as well as phone numbers and websites. If customers, and local zoning laws, permit it, place signs outside of work sites.
Word of mouth is a great source of free advertisement. Ask satisfied customers to leave reviews on the business website and leave some business cards with them to share with friends. A smart idea when first starting out is to offer work at reduced rates to build a reputation and attract new customers. Advertising in the local papers and with direct mail coupon companies can generate a lot of exposure. Lastly, don’t forget about marketing the brand on social media. Carpenters should have a portfolio that shows examples of different types of projects to show potential customers.
A great way to create public relations and generate clients is by donating the carpentry business’s services to community organizations or charities in need of skilled craftsmen. Being credited for sponsoring a day of AmeriCares or pitching in to help with building a community centre will bring positive, free publicity.
Learn How To Earn Big
Carpentry businesses charge customers for the time, skill, labour, and materials needed for building projects. The prices are based on the skill level of the carpenter and the quality of materials used. Customers who contract carpenters have the financial means to build or repair properties. Carpentry businesses also work with building contractors and real estate developers.
Average carpenters charge a13-31 dollar hourly rate plus parts. Specialty carpenters can charge a higher hourly rate. Flat rates vary depending on the estimate of a specific type of project.
Set Up Shop
Carpenters need a set of high-quality, affordable tools in their workshop. Besides the basic tools, like a hammer, drill, chisel, and a tape measure, no workshop is complete without a saw. A proper workshop has a table saw, jigsaw, handsaws, and a mitre saw. A carpenter will need a reliable van or truck that is branded with the company name a logo to transport these tools. Advertising is essential to building a customer base, so be sure to have visible and professional-looking branding on the vehicle.
Finding the best tools for the right price takes time spent researching products on the market to find the right fit. Woodworkology is an online tool review platform providing information about tools, projects, and techniques. From advice on the best router table and oscillating tools to sanders and wood glue, Woodworkology is a great reference for carpenters of any skill level.
Referrals and recommendations are incredibly important in any form of local business, especially those related to services that are judged based on quality. In general, if you do good work, you should receive a good number of referrals naturally. Still, it’s also wise to encourage word of mouth by asking your existing clients to refer their friends, family members, co-workers, and members of their community.
Leaving a business card with all your information on it is a good way to start. In addition to your contact info, you’ll also want your card to display your company’s logo and some key advantages of your services. For example, you’ll want to mention that carpenter’s insurance protects your services and maybe also provide some satisfaction-based guarantee. It is important that you choose a provider that can work for you, this may be through monthly payments, as carpenters insurance can help you secure customers and ensures protection.
Create comprehensive business listings
Aside from trying to create new business from existing clients, you’ll also want to make your brand easy to find online, as a large percentage of consumers use search engines to select local service providers. You’ll want to start by listing your business on Google Maps, Yelp, Facebook, and other popular business directories and networking sites. The more places your company is listed online, the more opportunities you’ll have to make an impression on prospective customers who are comparing carpenters in your area.
Start a blog
After you’ve launched a basic website, printed some business cards to hand out to existing clients, and have placed your site in all the best directories, it’s best to enhance your online efforts by launching a continually updated blog related to carpentry. This will give you a chance to display your expertise and knowledge while also attracting additional web traffic. Many times, people will start with a DIY approach and later change their mind while searching for the necessary information, so providing solid instruction and insight on your blog is a good way to say “hey, if you want to do it yourself, here’s how it’s done. Or, we can do it for you.”
After starting your blog, it’s best to create your written content around specific keywords and topics that are likely to generate traffic from search engines. For a local carpentry business, this would mean optimizing for keywords like “carpenters in (insert your city name here)” or “carpentry services in (insert your city name here)”. It’s also worthwhile to develop guides and informational posts related to trending topics or common queries, such as DIY tutorials and how-to guides. Furthermore, covering news related to carpentry is a good way to give the site a boost in traffic and relevant web presence.
Network with local businesses
One of the best ways to start generating more referrals and repeat business is to give your business cards or brochures to local business so they can display them on their counter or pass them on to interested customers. Of course, certain kinds of businesses will provide more leads than others. For example, you may want to start by networking with hardware stores, property restoration companies, and construction contractors. In some cases, the latter will even contract your services on a repeat basis, so marketing on a business-to-business (B2B) basis is worthwhile.
Even when a customer is thoroughly satisfied, they’re usually not in a rush to go online and leave a sparkling review, as it may not even cross their mind. One way to encourage more positive reviews is to offer an incentive for customers who participate, such as discounts on future transactions, or even complimentary services. When people stand to gain something from leaving a review, they’re much more likely to take time out of their day for it.
We have an extensive range of carpentry services at Hitch Property Constructions to meet your constructions and carpentry needs in Melbourne.
Marketing Options to Consider
Word of mouth
Recommendations are a powerful business tool. While you can’t build your business entirely on word of mouth, having customers recommend you are sure to help you grow. To increase the odds that a customer will recommend you to someone looking for a carpenter, you should always leave customers satisfied. People like to hire carpenters who are honest, efficient and clean up after themselves. Do these things, and you’ll be ahead of the game.
Even in the world of smartphones, with all your contact details easily available online, there is plenty of need for good old-fashioned business cards. You can print them up on magnets so customers can stick them on the fridge. If you prefer, print them on cardboard, in which case they’ll likely get filed in a drawer. Either way, your details will be on-hand when the customer (or her friend) needs a carpenter.
A website is not an absolute must in the carpentry business, but it certainly can help. If you do go the route of a website, make sure to include a clear image of yourself, examples of your projects, and your contact details. If you’re looking to build your business through Google searches, you may also want to work with an SEO expert to help you build your content with keywords in a Google-friendly way.
Social media –
Again, you do not need to be on social media. Some people like it; others don’t see the point. It’s up to you and your core audience. If you are into social media, Facebook can help if you’re looking to target ads for your business to local users through what’s called geo-targeting. Twitter could work if you want to offer promotions from time to time. And Instagram is a great medium for visually showcasing your work.
Branded vehicles and apparel
Adding your logo and contact details to work vehicles and the clothes you wear on the job does two things. First of all, it makes you (and any team members) look more professional. Second, it serves as a form of advertising to all passersby. This is inexpensive and effective marketing at its best.
What are my business skills?
Performing carpentry work is the easy part. Running the business can be something else entirely. Here are some of the things you’ll need to know (or learn) if you want to start a business.
Create a Business Plan
The first step to starting your own business is creating a business plan. The Small Business Association (SBA) calls your business plan your “roadmap to success.” It’s a critical element that can’t be overlooked.
Creating a business plan means spending time researching your industry, market, and competitors. It will require you to make financial projections and figure out pricing. You’ll need to estimate your business expenses and costs, and outline a marketing and sales strategy, too.
When you go into business for yourself, you should have a team of professionals to guide you. Find a good accountant and lawyer with experience in the construction industry in your market. Talk to your accountant about markup, margin, profit, overhead, and tax liabilities. Talk to your attorney about contracts, change orders, proposals, invoices, and labour laws.
It can also be helpful to find a mentor who has transitioned from tradesman to a business owner who will help you along the way. If you can find someone willing to give you advice and recommendations, it can be tremendously helpful.
Structure and Register Your Business
Determine your business structure. An LLC will provide you with the limited liability protections of a corporation but will also be simpler come tax time. Ask your accountant and lawyer about the benefits of this over structuring your business as a sole proprietorship or partnership.
Pick a business name, and then check to see if your proposed business name is available before you start using it. You’ll also want to see if a web domain is available that matches your business name so you can market your business online (more on this later).
You’ll need to register your business if you are doing business in any name other than your own or if your business structure is an LLC, a partnership, or a corporation. Each state will have its specific filing requirements for registering a business, so be sure you know exactly what your state expects from you.
Obtain Necessary Permits and Licenses
Each state has its requirements for permits and licenses required if you want to run a business, and you may have additional local requirements, as well.
A carpentry contractor in Alameda, CA, for example, needs to have the following (or more) to do business:
- Builders and construction permit
- Business license filed with your city/ county
- Land use permit/ zoning clearance
- Fictitious business name – Making Business As (DBA) statement
- Authority to construct/ permit to operate
- Air tanks permit to operate
- Asbestos certification
- Asbestos registration
- Construction-related permits
- Contractor’s license
- Corporation/ company filings
- Employer’s registration form
- Employer identification number (tax ID)
- Sales and use permit
- Proof of residency requirement
Understand Insurance Needs
Construction is a high-risk industry, and as a business owner, you’re responsible if things go wrong. You’re going to want to cover your assets with adequate insurance protection.
At the very least, you’re going to need liability coverage to protect you from the high price of a lawsuit if someone (not an employee) gets hurt as a result of your business. Or if someone’s property is damaged.
If you’re going to have employees, you’re also going to need workers compensation insurance. In most states, workers comp is required by law, and you can get hit with some heavy fines or even criminal penalties for not carrying it.
You’re also going to want to protect your tools and equipment against theft, damage, or loss. Commercial property insurance generally covers your tools when they’re inside your place of business. Inland marine insurance can cover your tools and equipment when they’re mobile — as you transport them back and forth between job sites, for example.
Many contractors starting their own carpentry business, find estimating to be one of the biggest challenges. How long does it take you to complete a task? What’s your price for materials? How much is your overhead?
Do you know what your profit target is and how to calculate profit margins?
Another financial consideration comes down to cash flow or your savings. Before you set out on your own, you may want to set aside some capital to cover your business operating expenses and your expenses for 3-6 months.
Looking for high-end Melbourne carpentry services? Look no further! Hitch Property Constructions has you covered.
If you don’t have cash on hand to get your business up and to run, you may need to explore financing options. Before you ask a bank for a loan or line of credit, however, you’re going to need to have your financial data ready to go. Which is why it’s so important to spend the time to create a business plan, crunch the numbers, determine your pricing plan, and to know your profit margins.
Now that you’ve got your business plan, apprenticeship completed, and your bond or insurance in order, it’s time to register your business and get started! Registration is going to vary from state to state or even from municipality to municipality, so be sure to do your homework and figure out what you need to do for this step. Generally, you’ll be registering as a contractor, so start your search for specific regulations there. Once you’re done, it’s time to get your hands dirty doing what you love!
To sum it up, just about every interaction you have with people, whether they are customers or not, is an opportunity to market yourself. Of course, don’t go overboard. You can have conversations without slipping in a sale.
But overall, look around, and you’ll see, there are plenty of ways to build your brand. This, in turn, should help boost your carpentry business. So don’t be shy. Let the world know who you are, what you offer, and that you’re ready to work.