How much money can you really make doing woodworking?
I know that’s a loaded question with no “set in stone” answer, but it is a question that maybe you should be asking yourself if you are trying to make some money selling your woodworking.
How many times have you heard a woodworker say; I love woodworking and I sell some of my work, but I could never make a living doing it. Maybe you’ve said it yourself, or at least felt that way.
Have you ever tried to figure out why? Usually it’s simply a matter of figuring out how much of our time we spend in the shop and how little we actually make when we sell some of our work. Too much time with too little results!
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out the amount of time you are spending now in the shop compared to how much money you make, there’re simply not enough hours in the day to make enough to make a living as a woodworker.
If you’re retired, have an income and doing woodworking as a hobby, then you are probably not as concerned with the actual amount of time spent building something compared to what you may sell it for.
If you have a full time job and doing woodworking as a hobby, yet still want to sell and make some money doing woodworking, then you begin to realize that you are giving up most of your evenings, days off and week-ends (allowing very little time for the family) to make a few projects and make a few bucks.
At this point, you begin to feel it would be impossible to replace your full time job with a woodworking career and make a living……………….and that’s so true.
This is where so many woodworkers fail to see the difference between being a hobbyist, a part time woodworker and a full time professional woodworker.
So let’s ask this question again; how much can you make doing woodworking? That will be determined by you and how much time you want to devote to woodworking. Do you want to treat it as a hobby, a part time business and part time income, or do you want to be a professional business and make a full time income from your woodworking.
Is making a couple thousand dollars a year sufficient to support your hobby and buy a new tool now in then, or would you like to supplement your full time employment by making an extra $10,000 to $20,000 a year.
How many woodworkers out there think you (totally by yourself, a one-man shop) can design, sell, build, finish and deliver say $100,000 dollars a year, and if so, would that be enough to call a living.
I would never ask anyone how much they get paid, and I’m not asking you, but for you to ask yourself. The next question you may want to ask yourself is; how much time am I willing to put into my woodworking to make that extra $2,000 a year as a hobby, or $10,000 to $20,000 a year as a supplemental income or $100,000 (or whatever figure it would take to make it a worthwhile full time career)?
You need to know where you fit into the equation, or maybe more importantly, where you want to fit into the equation. So you may need to ask yourself one more question; how much time do I spend at woodworking now and what kind of return am I getting on my investment of time.
However many hours that may be now and how much you may be making, if you ramped that up to 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year, would that make a decent income for you? If not, then either you can’t build enough in a year’s time, or you’re not pricing your work correctly.
And of course to throw a monkey wrench into the mix of things; even if you can build enough in a year’s time, do you know how to market and sell that much inventory in a year?
I’d love to hear some of your comments.
Not about it depends on the economy (that’s just an excuse, because a successful business will survive during both good and bad times).
Don’t want to hear about location; if you’re not in a good location, find the market that works for you and your woodworking! It’s done everyday all over the world.
Don’t want to hear about nobody will pay for quality anymore. Obviously you’re looking in the wrong places and talking to the wrong people. Every level of quality products is sold everyday in this world. (Not everyone shops at Wal-Mart, so quit trying to sell to that market.)
Don’t want to hear about competition or the hobbyist undercutting your price. If you’re truly building a quality product and marketing it to the right clientele, then you should not have to worry about getting a fair price for your work and worrying about a hobbyist or competition undercutting your price.
_ Price will always be the number one determining factor if you are simply trying to sell to the masses. _
When you find the right market and clientele to sell your work to, then pricing becomes just a part of the determining factor whether a customer chooses to buy from you or not.
I’ll be talking about marketing and selling more as we go along.
I hope I’ve given you some food for thought and you take the time to look at your current situation and decide if that’s where you want to be with selling your woodworking.
Thanks for following along.
-- John @The Hufford Furniture Group