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Thread: Time to make the leap?

  1. #1
    Matt Dunlap Guest

    Time to make the leap?

    .....
    Last edited by Matt Dunlap; 04-01-2008 at 12:49 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Sacramento, CA
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    1,325
    Would you still feel this way once it became a JOB? That's my biggest fear - i don't want it to be work. Loses all the romance when money gets in there.

    Edit: oh, and your site shows plenty of skill - whoever you got to make those sure knows plenty to make good cabinets!

    Edit 2: It's more business than woodworking, that's another thing that stops me - i don't wanna end up spending 80% of my time doing everything it takes to make it so i have work to do.
    Last edited by Jason Beam; 08-29-2007 at 11:19 PM.
    Jason Beam
    Sacramento, CA

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Southern Louisiana
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    Matt, I was where you are 2 years ago. fortunately i used my head and didn't quit the day job right off the bat, cause i didn't have the work to keep me busy at the time.

    my best advice, is to think real hard about it. i can't tell you (neither can anyone else) whether it's the right thing to do. people told me everyday for 2 years that i was stupid for not taking the leap.

    personally i waited till i knew i could quit the day job and not have to sink a bunch of money into the business. that way if i got slow i wouldn't be having to pay bills for the biz also.

    the way i did it, i waited till i absolutely could not handle the amount of work part time anymore. i'll be honest i was working 40 hours a week at the day job then putting in close to 30 on the side doing cabinets. i would wait to see if the countertop people can actually offer and provide that much work.

    try it on the side, if you still like it while working all the extra hours chances are you'll really like it full time.

    hope that helps...good luck making your decision, i wish you all the best in either path you choose

    chris

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Houston, TX
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    363
    Before you start thinking about quitting your day job, remember that all the economic wizards are saying about the housing market--it's getting worse. That means that all those guys doing cabs for new houses will be looking for other places to do cabs. I've seen this happen twice locally. I remember the last time looking for a trim carpenter and couldn't find one, they had all left the area, and the cabinet shop did two more jobs after mine and quit business.

    Be careful and start out PT. If things go well then give it another look.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Austin, Texas
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    I agree with what has been said, but another factor... if you are going to make money, you have to be fast. And being fast takes away a lot of the fun. That doesn't mean it isn't a good, honorable type of work, but it becomes work, no longer a hobby.

    You can no longer wander the shop looking for that perfect scrap that you remember from a few weeks ago. You have to grab a board, cut, and go. Cut the plywood, get the edge finished, and assemble...NOW. It is a different game.

    I recommend you stay part time for a while, even if it seems you are leaving money on the table, to be sure you develop the speed and proficiency (keep your quality while you build your speed), you like working that way, and the pipeline of business is stable.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  6. #6
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    Nov 2006
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    Southern Louisiana
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    sounds like you are thinking it through matt.

    just so you know I get 50% up front before any work starts on my kitchens, no way would I buy 4-5 grand worth of materials and then have someone back out. most people around here do that, maybe if they are with a contractor they don't. no one has ever had a problem fronting me the money.

    one thing to think about. if you are in business for yourself, you have to be able to be honest with people about your lead times. i have learned quick to add time to what you think it will take to finish.

    good luck, hope you enjoy the extra woodworking

    chris

  7. #7
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    chris is dead on, if you know something will take you a week to build tell the customer 2 weeks.....much better to deliver early than late.
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  8. #8
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    Matt, everything in these posts seems to be very good info. One thing I would bring up is BENEFITS. I'm guessing that working for the school district you're getting some kind of benefits. Medical, dental etc. Those disappear when you work for yourself.

    Medical insurance is not cheap and anyone going into business for themselves needs to factor in the costs of such insurance and add those costs just as one would with the other materials to do the job.

    It also becomes rather hard to schedule some time off [vacation] and we all need a break from time to time.

    My intention is not to be negative, only to point out a few facts that I didn't see mentioned, that in my mind are very important.

    Karl

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Dunlap View Post
    .............I'm a bit surprised at the comment you made about scheduling time off. Could be that I'm a bit naive, but I had figured that it would be easier to schedule time off............
    yeah, you would think it would be easy, but it is not, there is always one more job to do, one more favor to finish up, one more rush job for a "Good" customer.....Karl is right, getting time off is hard, but at least you only have to work half days when you work for yourself, you can even choose which half........................


    ....... the FIRST twelve hours or the LAST........
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  10. #10
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    Karl had the points that I was thinking of while reading, and you have already answered those with good information. Shows you are thinking this through clearly and objectively. I think you are right in going into this slowly. See if the counter top people can send some bathroom jobs your way until you get your feet wet. (Bad choice of words??) It will allow you to see how you feel about deadlines while being a smaller project. Then you can decide when and if you want to tackle more complex jobs like a kitchen. And since I don't remember what you have in the way of equipment, it will also allow you time to get some heavier duty items that will stand up to commercial use, if your's would need upgrading for this (ie: contractor TS to cabinet TS)
    Good luck! Sounds like it could be a wonderful opportunity! Jim.
    Coolmeadow Setters...
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    Home of Irish Setter Rescue of North Texas
    When Irish Eyes are smiling, they're usually up to something!!
    At a minimum, I'm Pentatoxic...but most likely, I'm a Pentaholic. There seems to be no known cure. Pentatonix, winners of The Sing Off, season 3


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