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 clearly 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 an upper hand over competitors.
How to Start a Carpentry Business?
There are a few crucial steps you need to take when establishing a carpentry business. If you haven't already taken these steps, you should get to them as quickly as possible:
- Create a carpentry business plan – You can write a simple business plan to serve as your touchstone. It doesn't need to be longer than a page, but can guide you. It should include a description of your areas of expertise, your business goals, and how you plan on reaching them within the next 3-5 years. If you need a loan to finance your business, keep in mind, you’ll need to make your plan even more detailed.
- Choose a business name – Every business needs a name. You’ll need it to register your business with the proper authorities, as well as for marketing purposes. Carpentry business name ideas are as endless as your imagination. Just make sure to choose something memorable. While there may be a lot of "Jim the Carpenter" out there, something like "Jim Smith the Cabinet Expert" will set you apart from the competition. If your name is unique enough, it may be sufficient, but a quick google search can help you determine.
- Write a contract – While working with a handshake would be ideal, it’s important to have things in writing to be on the safe side. You can have a lawyer write up a standard contract, then remember to update the details and get clients to sign, before you begin work.
- Take out insurance – Carpenters insurance is a must-have for your business. Rather than considering it just another expense, try to view your insurance as enabling you to focus on your business knowing that even if something unexpected happens, you're covered. You can explore the cost of carpenter insurance and the coverage options NEXT offers to small business owners like you.
How to Be a Successful Carpenter
In order to be a successful carpenter you must first and foremost be excellent at your job. That is, you are professional, flexible and reliable, delivering quality results in a timely fashion.
It can also be helpful to create a niche
for yourself whether it’s kitchen remodeling, door replacements or backyard deck building you prefer. There are a wide range of carpentry business ideas to choose from. Usually it’s best to go with what you love, combined with a clear local need.
More than anything, however, to succeed as a carpenter, you need projects. While it's possible that much of the work will come to you, in all likelihood, you’ll also need to do a little marketing to fill your days.
There are many viable marketing ideas for contractors
, and some of them are incredibly cheap. In a nutshell, some of the easier ones you may consider involve some form of carpentry advertising.
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 is 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.
- Business cards – 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) has a need for a carpenter.
- Website – 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 absolutely 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 Else Should You Know?
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.