|Crafts - Craft and Skill Businesses|
What will I be doing?
You can turn your skills as a carpenter into a lucrative business that offers you an income greater than working for someone else. A carpenter designs and builds with lumber. Carpenters work in both remodeling and new construction. They use lumber to help build homes, storage buildings, business buildings and other structures. They typically work as subcontractors
What will I need to start?
Why would anyone hire a carpentry service to build something? Because the carpenter can build faster, more efficiently and better than the person who does the hiring. So what you’ll need to start your carpentry service is skill, efficiency and knowledge of construction with lumber. You can get this advanced skill by attending a trade school or through on-the-job training working for someone else.
You’ll also need some tools. The typical residential carpentry service has a pickup truck and/or utility trailer for transporting tools: power saws, fastening equipment, measuring tools and materials. Many carpenters rely on air compressors to power nail guns and other fastening equipment. Some carpenters will also need heavy equipment for moving materials or even large ladders for reaching some jobs.
Who will my customers be?
Your customers will be general building contractors, other subcontractors, homeowners, business owners and government contractors. Most carpentry services specialize in working with one or two types of customers because good reputations get around and bring them more business. For example, one carpentry service specializes in working with general contractors in the restaurant remodeling business. Focusing your business also makes it easier to find and keep customers.
How much should I charge?
The rate for carpentry services is typically $30 to $60 an hour depending on your market, competition and skills. However, most services quote based on the typical job. They may price framing a new residence by the square footage or they may calculate a job using a day rate. Some rely on the general contractor to set the rate, accepting or rejecting it based on whether the carpentry service owner calculates that it will be profitable or not.
How much will I make?
Most services spend only 10 to 20 percent of available time marketing. This may be more in the beginning, but will diminish once established. Overhead expenses vary between 20 and 40 percent depending on a variety of factors. A one-person carpentry service in an area with mild climates and lots of new construction can earn the owner $60,000 to $90,000 a year.
How can I get started?
First, learn your trade. Develop your skills and reputation as an efficient carpenter by working hard and well for others. Learn the local building codes, develop friendships with contractors and others in the trade, take classes on construction and business.
Some carpentry services start out on weekends working with homeowners and business owners. They then build the business as dictated by local building opportunities and their reputation. Once ready to go full-time, they notify friends and professional contacts asking for business. Many advertise in local service directories.
The SIC code for carpentry services is 1751-02.
How can I use computers to increase profits?
Carpenters are using computers and computer technology for dozens of tasks, giving them more time to do their job. Software can help design decks and outdoor structures, CD-ROMs offer visual instructions on how to tackle new projects. Local building material suppliers can take orders and even confirm stock and schedule delivery over the Internet. In addition, project management software can help carpenters track numerous jobs and tasks more efficiently.