Not many of us get the chance to turn one of our hobbies into a job. However, if your passion lies in carpentry, you have a better chance than most of making your dream job a reality.
It’s hard to find an industry that isn’t fiercely competitive these days, and with just over 5,000 woodworking businesses currently up and running in the UK making up a £3.8bn industry, making a successful entrance into professional carpentry demands a certain level of preparation and resources. To make that leap from past time to professional, here’s what you need to be considering.
While many a hobbyist has more than enough room to do what they want working out of their garage, spare room or shed, building a carpentry business from home comes with certain question marks attached. For example, do you have the space needed to carry out the work and projects asked of you – and house all the tools required to do it? Does running a manual skill business from home make practical sense with your lifestyle, and is it safe to do so?
There are plenty of parameters to consider when creating an appropriate base to work from. If you’re starting out small in the industry as many do, your home set up might be more than adequate for the time being. However, when you’re creating a business plan for your new venture, ask yourself what you want to achieve. If you don’t have the space to do it, you might have to look further afield to attain it, whether that’s from the off or later down the line.
Similarly, there tends to be a difference between the tools required to be a hobbyist and those needed to make a living from your craft. As a casual woodworker, you may only have a limited range of tools that cater to a certain type of work or have tools that aren’t of a quality to produce industry standard pieces.
Beyond essential hand tools, there are some key pieces you may need to incorporate that you potentially wouldn’t as a hobbyist. A table saw, for example, is likely to be one of the more important power tools you’d require. Here’s a few essentials for setting up shop:
- A wide range of essential hand tools – claw hammer, tape measure, a quality heat gun, utility knife etc. Here’s an extensive list of suggested items.
- Core power tools – table saw, thickness planer, jointer, spray gun, impact driver, chop saw and more.
- Safety gear – glasses, hearing protection, respirator, proper clothing and more.
Your line of work
Carpentry and woodworking is a broad spectrum hobby that can entertain any number of practices within in. As a hobbyist, this is great because it allows you to keep trying new things. As a professional, it can pose a problem, because there’s so much to learn in order to reach an adequate trade standard.
With that in mind, you may wish to develop a focused specialism for your business, say restoration, rough carpentry, trim carpentry, cabinet making or any other part of the craft you think your skills best lend themselves to. By creating a line of expertise, you’ll be able to attract a certain customer demographic and deliver high quality work to it.
Of course, you can remain a jack of all trades type provider, but you’ll have to have an extremely broad skillset to be able to accommodate all types of woodworking to a professional standard.
Turning your carpentry hobby into a money-making craft is very doable if you’re willing to build the resources required to do the job. Start your business planning with choosing your setting, gathering the tools you need and developing a focused skillset, and the rest should fit into place nicely.