How to Make Money from Woodworking

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Are you someone who loves taking a piece of wood and transforming it into a work of art? Perhaps you already have some woodworking tools in your garage, basement, or storage building that you would like to put to use (instead of collecting dust).

If woodworking is something you currently do as a hobby, you may have wondered at some point if it’s something you might be able to earn some money with. Perhaps you’ve thought of supplementing your current income with a business making and selling your wooden creations.

Making and selling wood products can be a great side hustle, but it can also be a great way to supplement your retirement income. The work is often relaxing, interesting, and enjoyable. It’s a great way to pass the time.

The demand for high-quality wood products is definitely there. In an age when many furniture and other products are made from plywood, particleboard, and even plastic, people appreciate products that are made from real wood. That’s why so many shop for used furniture pieces. It isn’t just about saving money – it’s about finding quality products.

And then there’s the possibility of starting a woodworking business as your full-time gig. If you are good at marketing and selling your custom creations, woodworking might allow you to work from home on your own terms. You wouldn’t have to deal with a boss, office politics, or other negative things that happen when you work for someone else. You would be your own boss.

If making money from woodworking sounds like something you might be interested in, perhaps you are wondering how to get started. Which projects are good ones to sell? How do you market your products?

Let’s take a look at how to make money from woodworking to see what’s involved.

Starting a Woodworking Business

Before you sell your first wooden masterpiece, there are a few things you need to do and consider. Being a business owner can be a richly rewarding experience, but you do want to make sure you have all of your ducks in a row so that everything runs smoothly.

The following is not an exhaustive list of everything you will need to start and run your own woodworking business. It’s mainly intended to cover some of the major things you’ll need to consider and do.

If you need some assistance with getting your woodworking business started, consider contacting SCORE, which provides free business mentoring and education.

1. Make Sure It’s Legal

Starting any new business isn’t as simple as hanging an “open” sign on your door and selling your products. You do need to make sure you have all of the required permits, licenses, and that you adhere to all local, state, and federal regulations.

Definitely take the time to talk to a CPA or attorney (or both) to make sure you take care of all of the legal requirements. You will most likely have to register your business with your state and obtain a business license. There may be other requirements, so it’s best to consult with a professional to help you navigate the legal and regulatory waters.

Another thing to consider is whether you can operate a business out of your home. Some HOAs, for example, prohibit homeowners from running home-based businesses.

2. The Right Mindset

If you are thinking about making money in woodworking, you definitely want to make sure you have the physical strength and stamina for the job. You will most likely be working with various tools and doing heavy lifting daily.

You also want to make sure you have the right mindset. As a woodworker, you will most likely be working by yourself most of the time. It can be a lonely job. While many introverts thrive in environments where they can work alone, extroverts may crave interaction with others.

3. A Financial Reserve

Another thing you definitely want to have if you want to make money from woodworking is a financial reserve. In other words, you want to have plenty of money in the bank to cover your expenses for an extended period of time until you start making money from selling your products.

Having a financial reserve is a smart thing to do anyway, even if you aren’t starting a new business venture. Some people refer to it as an emergency fund. It acts as a financial cushion to fall back on if something happens that interrupts your income – like the loss of a job.

Whenever you start a new business – any business – there is risk involved. Many businesses fail, and others take a long time before they are profitable. Having a financial reserve in the bank to pay your bills while you are building your new business is vitally important.

4. A Business Plan

Every business startup needs a written plan. You don’t want to just “wing it” and hope for the best. That’s how many businesses fail. A written business plan doesn’t have to be complicated, and it’s something that you can prepare yourself.

You do need to document your goals. What is it you want to achieve with your business? Do you want to earn a certain amount of money per month or sell a certain number of products? You may also want to consider documenting how big you want to grow your business. Do you want to remain a one-person operation, or do you want to grow it into a larger operation with employees?

Another thing to include in your business plan is how you intend to market and sell your products. Will you only sell locally, or do you plan on shipping your products nationwide or globally?

Your business plan may include other things. Be sure to research how to write a business plan for a “deep dive” into the subject.

5. The Right Tools

Before you can make money from woodworking, you definitely want to make sure you have the right tools. Acquiring tools can take time, especially if you are just starting out. Woodworking tools can also be expensive, so you may have to make room in your budget to get the equipment you’ll need.

Although this is not an exhaustive list, a few tools you’ll most likely need for a woodworking business include:

  • Saws
  • Drill Press
  • Hammers
  • Wrenches
  • Screwdrivers
  • Carving Tools
  • Sanders
  • Routers
  • Wood/Epoxy Glue
  • Shop Vac
  • Dust Vacuum

In addition to having an assortment of wood tools, you also want to have a good quality table to do your work on. You can either buy it or build your own.

6. Experience

One of the most important things you’ll need to achieve success as a professional woodworker is experience. Just as it takes time to master a musical instrument or to perfect your golf game, it also takes time to learn the necessary skills to make quality wood products that people will want to buy.

If you are just getting started in woodworking or if woodworking is currently a hobby that you occasionally work on, it’s important to be realistic about your current skills. If you aren’t sure if you are ready to be a professional woodworker, ask a few people to honestly evaluate the things you make in terms of aesthetics and quality. If they are truly honest, their responses may be useful in helping you decide whether to start selling your products or whether you need more practice.

Also Read: How to Sell Scrap Metal for Cash

Making Money from Woodworking

Another important thing to consider if you are evaluating how to make money in woodworking is what type of products you should make. What strategy should you use? Should you strictly make and sell large high-end wooden products or should you make smaller products that you can easily ship?

These aren’t questions to take lightly. The type of woodworking you do will have a dramatic impact on the operation of your business. In some cases, it may even mean the difference between working from home or taking your skills to your clients.

Let’s explore a few options:

1. Wood Furniture

One of the most popular things you can make and sell is wooden furniture pieces. If you’ve shopped for furniture lately, you probably already know that finding quality wood furniture isn’t as easy as it once was. Many furniture pieces these days are made in factories from plywood, particleboard, plastic, and other materials.

There’s a certain beauty to furniture made from real wood that can’t be replicated with cheap materials. Quality pieces tend to last many years, too. Perhaps you have some wood furniture that was passed down to you from your parents or grandparents.

There are many possibilities with wood furniture. A few include:

  • Beds
  • Tables
  • Chairs
  • Nightstands
  • Desks
  • End Tables
  • Coffee Tables
  • Dressers
  • Chests of Drawers

A type of furniture to consider if you don’t have a lot of experience is rustic furniture. Many people like the look of rustic pieces. They look great in old homes and log homes.

A great thing about rustic furniture is that they are supposed to look a little on the rough side. Depending on the piece, you might be able to get away with an imperfection here and there. The idea is to make new furniture that either looks like it’s from a different era or looks used. Rustic furniture made from logs is another option to consider.

Some woodworkers make rustic wood furniture from pallets they obtain for free. Many businesses will gladly save them for you if you take them off of their hands. You can then use this free wood to make many different things.

2. Repair and Flip Furniture

Another option to consider if you are wondering how to make money with woodworking is to repair and flip furniture.

Many people sell furniture pieces that need minor repairs for very little money just to get rid of them. They either don’t know how to fix them or they don’t have the time. Many people also give away perfectly good furniture that just needs a little TLC to bring it back to life.

In addition to making small repairs to restore furniture, it’s possible to completely transform some pieces from dull to beautiful by painting them. Many furniture flippers paint pieces in pastels with chalk paint to give them a beautiful vintage look that many find irresistible.

A great way to learn how to flip products is through the Flipper University course. This course teaches you how to find great deals on used items (and even how to source them for free), and then list and sell them on eBay for profit. The pro version of the course also teaches you how to ship large items by freight truck.

Flipper University isn’t just about sourcing furniture, although many flippers choose to specialize in these products. The course covers how to flip many different things.

Check out Flipper University to learn more about flipping used products for profit.

3. Specialize in Small Wood Products

Another option to consider for making money in woodworking is to only make small wood products. While you will probably earn more money by making and selling larger wood products like furniture, there are some advantages to only selling small products.

Small wood projects are usually much easier to ship. You will most likely have to ship large pieces by freight truck. With smaller pieces, however, you may be able to box and ship them via USPS, FedEx, or UPS.

Another advantage of specializing in small wood projects is that they usually don’t weigh as much as furniture pieces. Their small size also makes them much easier to move. With some furniture pieces, for example, you may need the assistance of another person to move them.

There are many small wood products to consider. A few examples include:

  • Candle Holders
  • Chess Boards
  • Wine Bottle Holders
  • Bookends
  • Bird Feeders
  • Picture Frames
  • Toys
  • Wall Art
  • Floating Shelves
  • Drink Caddies
  • Jewelry Boxes
  • Keepsake Boxes
  • Serving Trays

A negative thing to consider with small wood products is that they usually sell for much less than larger pieces. This means you may have to sell several small pieces to earn as much as you would from one large piece of furniture.

4. Think Big

Another strategy to consider for making money in woodworking is to focus on big projects – like, really big. I’m talking about building timber framed houses. This isn’t something that you would be able to do from home, of course. You would have to travel to each project and complete the work where the homes are being constructed.

Timber framed houses are made from large wooden beams that are artfully joined together to form the frame of the home. It’s essentially a large scale woodworking project. Timber framed homes aren’t easy to assemble. They require the skills of wood artisans to measure, cut, and join all of those beams.

Training programs are available to learn the art of building timber framed houses. If this is something you are interested in, you might be able to make arrangements with building contractors to use your services when the need arises.

5. Start a YouTube Channel

One possible strategy to make money with woodworking is to start a YouTube channel on the subject. Many YouTube channel owners earn money from the videos they post. Some earn full-time incomes.

In each video you make, for example, you could document a project build step-by-step. In other videos, you could talk about different woodworking techniques and how to master them. And in other videos, you could review different woodworking products. There are many possibilities.

Another great thing to consider with a YouTube channel is that it’s a great way to advertise your products. You could, for example, tell viewers to visit your woodworking website (if you have one) at the end of each video to check out the items you currently have for sale.

Also Read: How to Start a Cleaning Business — Step by Step

How to Sell Your Custom Wood Creations

Even if you are the best woodworker in your community, few people are going to buy your amazing wood creations if you don’t do a good job of marketing them. You’ve got to let people know you have things for sale.

But how do you do that?

There are a variety of ways you can market your custom wood creations, and I’m going to go over a few ideas. Keep in mind as you review them that not all of these ideas are going to make sense for everyone. It just depends on your unique situation.

It’s also possible to combine marketing strategies. There’s no reason why you have to settle on just one.

As you review this list, it’s important to keep in mind that some of these platforms do charge fees to participate. Some charge monthly fees, while others charge a percentage of each sale. There may also be other fees. You definitely want to take the time to learn all about each platform’s rules, terms and conditions, fee structure, shipping requirements, and other things before signing up.

1. Partner with a Local Store

A strategy you may be able to use to sell your wood products is to partner with a local store. It could be a furniture store, for example, if you sell furniture. Other possibilities include consignment stores, craft stores, home decor stores, and others.

With this marketing strategy, it’s unlikely that you will be able to partner with a large chain store. Your best bet is to contact locally owned businesses. You may be able to make an arrangement where you stock your products in someone’s store and give them a percentage of the profit when something sells.

2. Flea Markets

Large flea markets may be another place to sell your wooden works of art. At many flea markets, you can rent a booth to display your products in. For this strategy to work, it would have to be a flea market that gets a lot of visitors.

Another thing to consider if you are thinking about selling at a flea market – whether it’s an indoor or outdoor market – is whether you can get a booth that is close to an area where you can load and unload your products. This is especially important if you are selling large or heavy products. You don’t want to have to transport your merchandise long distances to and from your vehicle.

3. Farmer’s Markets

Farmer’s markets are another option to consider for selling your wood products. Similar to flea markets, farmer’s markets tend to specialize in produce, but it’s common for other products to be sold, too, like baked goods and craft items.

Like with flea markets, you want to make sure any farmer’s markets you are considering have plenty of shoppers. You also want to make sure you can sell your products in a location that has convenient access for loading and unloading products so you don’t have to move them far.

Another option to consider if you are selling your products at an outdoor farmer’s market or flea market is to make your wooden products on-site. In other words, you may be able to attract a crowd to watch you work. Some of those people may end up buying your products.

4. Your Own Store

Opening your own store is another way you may be able to sell your products, and there are two ways you can go about it. You can open a brick-and-mortar store or launch an eCommerce store.

Opening a traditional store is the most difficult, expensive, and risky option. The cost can be high to lease a building, hire one or more employees to help out, and pay for utilities and other expenses.

A more affordable option is to start an eCommerce website. Thanks to the availability of platforms for building online stores like BigCommerce and Shopify, online stores are not difficult to set up. Compared to brick-and-mortar establishments, they are very affordable.

With an eCommerce site, you will have to ship the products you sell. If you ship large or heavy products, you will have to ship them by freight truck to get the best deals. As previously mentioned, the Pro version of Flipper University goes over how to ship products by freight truck.

5. Etsy

Etsy is a marketplace for all things handmade. It’s also a great place to sell vintage products. Categories you may be able to sell your wood products in include home and living, wedding and party, toys and entertainment, and art and collectibles.

The main benefit of selling products on Etsy is that it has millions of shoppers. There are various fees for selling on the platform, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the site’s fees, terms and conditions, and other things before getting started.

6. Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace is a popular online platform for buying and selling products. The marketplace can be accessed right from your regular Facebook account. Many categories are available for listing products.

Facebook Marketplace is best for selling products locally. When meeting people to deliver products, it’s always best to meet in a neutral location during daytime hours for safety purposes, like in the parking lot of a big box store. Also, be sure to let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back when delivering products. Safety first!

Another possibility to consider with Facebook is to join a local Facebook group for buying and selling. Many of these groups exist. Just search for the name of your town or city to see if there’s one for your location.

7. OfferUp

OffUp is another way you may be able to sell your wooden creations locally. It’s very similar to Facebook Marketplace, except that it’s an app that users can download for their smartphones. OfferUp claims that it is the “largest mobile marketplace in the U.S.”

Many people shop on OfferUp daily. In fact, Business Insider stated that “users are spending the same amount of time on OfferUp in a day as they do on Snapchat or Instagram.” That’s a lot of people browsing the app looking for great deals on things for their homes and offices.

8. Craigslist

Craigslist has been around for a long time – since 1995. For the internet, that’s ancient.

Craigslist was an early pioneer in the online buying and selling of products, and it is now one of the most popular online marketplaces. Although spartan and simplistic in appearance when compared to other platforms, it’s hard to compete with the sheer volume of people who continue to search it daily looking for great deals.

9. Amazon Handmade

Amazon Handmade is another online platform where you may be able to sell your wooden craft items. The great thing about selling on this platform is that your products will be listed on the most popular eCommerce site in the world – Amazon.

To get started selling on Amazon Handmade, you do have to apply and be accepted. In your application, you will be required to submit pictures of your work. Amazon does this to ensure that only the highest quality products will be offered on its site.

10. Uncommon Goods

Uncommon Goods is a platform that specializes in things that are a little out of the ordinary (hence the name). To sell your products on this platform, you have to submit an application for each product. The product will then be evaluated to see if it is a good fit for the company and its mission.

11. Bonanza

With its tagline of “everything but the ordinary,” Bonanza is an online platform for selling with an easy-to-use interface and many different product categories. It has been voted “best overall marketplace” over many popular competitors and has been featured on CNN, Businessweek, Mashable, Time, and others.

12. eBay

One of the most popular platforms for buying and selling products is eBay. You can either create individual listings for your wooden products, or you can create an eBay store.

An eBay store is an online shopping destination where shoppers can learn more about you and your products. With eBay stores, you get access to customization features that let you build your brand and optimize your listings. These stores also allow you to use special marketing tools to drive traffic to your listings.

Also Read: Insanely Easy Money Hacks to Save Thousands

Woodworking Ideas to Make Money

If you are thinking about making and selling wood products, you may be wondering what are some woodworking projects that sell well. While this is not an exhaustive list of the best woodworking money makers, it covers a few great projects you may be able to make and sell. As with all things related to business, your success depends on many different factors like the qualify of your work, how well you market your products, and others.

1. Toys

Wooden toys are irresistible to many kids. They are also timeless. There are many wooden toys you could build. A few examples include block sets, lawn bowling sets, cars, trucks, airplanes, trains, and many different games.

Many adults also love wooden toys. A couple of ideas for the big kids include wooden chess boards, checkers boards, and backgammon boards.

2. Toy Boxes

Many kids these days have more toys than they can possibly play with, and they need a place to store them when not in use. Wooden toy boxes are great places to store and protect playthings. They can be both fun and stylish, too. One idea is to make a wooden toy box that looks like a pirate’s treasure chest.

3. Picture Frames

Quality wooden picture frames can be hard to find, especially if you are looking for certain dimensions. With picture frames, you have to be open to taking custom orders. Most people who are shopping for frames already have a picture, diploma, or something else they want to display. Custom ordering a frame is often the best option they have for finding the right combination of looks, quality, and size to match their needs.

4. Fruit Bowls

Wooden fruit bowls are ideal for displaying fresh fruit and other things. Many wooden bowls are true works of art. They can be carved from a single piece of wood, or you can glue different pieces together and carve bowls with alternating grain patterns.

5. Furniture

This is a huge category. In fact, many woodworkers choose to focus all of their efforts on this niche. We’ve already covered some of the wooden furniture projects you may be able to build. Don’t forget about the possibility of buying old furniture pieces at discount prices, refurbishing them, and then reselling them for profit.

6. Outdoor Furniture

When thinking about wooden furniture projects, many people tend to think of pieces for inside the home, like pieces for the living room, bedrooms, and other areas. But outdoor furniture is another type of furniture that you may be able to build and sell.

The great thing about outdoor furniture, as opposed to indoor furniture, is that these pieces are usually much simpler and easier to build. Although outdoor furniture can definitely be stylish, many pieces can be built from lumber sourced from your local home improvement store or lumber yard.

Examples of outdoor furniture pieces you may be able to make and sell include patio furniture, picnic tables, chairs, benches, garden hose storage boxes, hanging wall planters, and others.

7. Birdhouses

Nearly everyone loves attracting beautiful birds to their homes. They are fun to watch, especially when the baby hatchlings come along. A great way to attract birds to an area is to set up a bird feeder and birdhouse.

The great thing about birdhouses is that they can be very simple designs that can be built in a few hours, or they can be very elaborate. There are many different ways that birdhouses can be built, and plans are available to suit various styles and tastes.

8. Dog Beds and Houses

People love their fur babies. To most, their dogs aren’t just pets, they are members of the family. People often want the best for their companions.

A couple of great wood projects for dogs are dog beds and dog houses. A wooden frame can be made for a bed, for example. Dog houses can be either simple or elaborate. Both can also be made in different sizes to accommodate different breeds.

9. Wine Racks

Wood wine racks come in all shapes and sizes. Small racks are great for those who only keep a few bottles on hand at a time. Larger wine racks can be made for restaurants or for those who prefer to keep a good supply of wine on hand.

10. Floating Shelves

Shelves that are designed to be hung on walls (attached to wall studs) are great for displaying ornamental accessories, small potted plants, family pictures, and other things. These can be made in different ways including single floating shelves, floating cube shelves with drawers, rustic designs, and others.

11. Cedar Chests

Cedar chests are popular for storing clothing and other items. The oil in the wood acts as a natural repellent of moths and other insects that can damage fabric. Although many find the smell of cedar to be pleasant, insects can’t stand it.

12. Wall Art

There are many possibilities with wooden wall art. This is your opportunity to explore your creativity and create works of art that people will be proud to hang in their homes, offices, and in other places.

13. Jewelry Boxes

Decorative jewelry boxes are ideal for storing jewelry and other things. They can be simple boxes with flip-top lids, or they can be elaborate boxes with multiple drawers. Jewelry boxes can be decorated many different ways with simple stains or elaborate carvings.

14. Keepsake Boxes

Similar to jewelry boxes, decorative keepsake boxes are another small wood project to consider. Although they look similar to jewelry boxes, there are some differences. Keepsake boxes can be very small, or they can be larger. While jewelry boxes often have a mirror inside the lid and built-in trays for storing rings, earrings, and other items, keepsake boxes are usually empty.

15. Serving Trays

Another small wood project is wooden serving trays. They can be either simple or elaborate, and they can be made from a variety of woods, too, including reclaimed wood and free wood from pallets.

16. Cutting Boards

Wood cutting boards are another small wood project that you may be able to make and sell. Cutting boards are one of the simplest wood projects there is, and they make good starter projects for those who are new to woodworking. They can be made from a single piece of wood, or alternating colored pieces can be glued together to create an interesting pattern.

17. Bookends

You can really get creative with wood bookends because there are so many different designs you can make. Just a few ideas include block letters, animal shapes, polished and shaped driftwood, and others.

18. Chicken Coops

Backyard chickens are very popular. Everyone loves the taste of the fresh eggs they produce, and they also help to reduce the insect population in an area. Chickens are also fun pets to own. They are quirky animals, and they each have their own personalities.

People who keep chickens are going to need chicken coops for them to stay in at night. The coops aren’t just places for chickens to nest. They also protect them from predators.

19. Vertical Planter Boxes

Vertical planter boxes are ideal for hanging on the side of a wall or fence. They allow people to grow plants in tight spaces and are great for people with small backyards.

Vertical planter boxes are relatively easy wood projects to complete. They are usually made from lumber sourced from a lumber supply company or home improvement store.

20. Wood Clocks

Wood clocks are another popular small wood project. There are many possible designs to consider, and you are only limited by your imagination. Clock mechanisms for woodworking projects can be purchased separately.

How to Make Money from Woodworking – Final Thoughts

If you are a woodworker, it’s definitely possible to make money by selling the items you make. But the products you sell do have to be high-quality. And you also have to do a good job of marketing your works of art.

Woodworking is something you can do as a side hustle to supplement your income. If you are successful on a small scale, you may be able to slowly and steadily grow your business over time.

If you already have the tools, this is a business you can start for very little money. It’s also possible to specialize. You could focus on furniture, as previously mentioned, start a YouTube channel where you document your project builds, or focus on some other aspect of woodworking. It’s a very diverse business with many opportunities.

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Cyrus Vanover

Cyrus Vanover, MBA, is a financial copywriter who has written for companies of all sizes. He is also the author of the personal finance book, "Earn A Debt-Free College Degree." His goal is to help families save money, make more money, and achieve financial independence. Based in the mountains of Virginia, he enjoys hiking the local trails, listening to 80s music, and reading books on military history in his spare time. Read more.

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