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Thread: Think I am going to try a woodworking business

  1. #1
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    Think I am going to try a woodworking business

    I have always been an advocate of doing something you love to do. There is nothing to me worse than doing a job you hate just because of the money. I would rather be poor and happy than rich and miserable. It's a good thing too!

    I enjoy my work but it is off and on and I have lots of free time. I have been looking for something to fill in this time and make some money. To many cabinet makers around and that is a full time job. I don't see much demand for furniture in my market. So I have decided to try to pursue something that I have been thinking about for a couple of years. I believe there is a small market for quality built wood boats. Kayaks and canoes mainly. Something along the lines of these.


    http://www.shearwater-boats.com/lapCanoe1.jpg
    http://www.shearwater-boats.com/lapstrakecanoe2005.jpg
    http://www.stewartriver.com/images/northernlight.jpg
    http://www.re.org/eric/kayak/kayak.jpg
    http://seawingboats.co.uk/Firstpaddleseatdetail.jpg

    Because of the amount of labor, I figure just anywhere from 3-6 boats a year would fill in the time I have available and make a decent income doing something I enjoy.

    I am about to start on a pair of Kayaks for me and my niece. We want to do some camping out of them. I figure these will be good market research. I will give me the chance to keep track of the labor and cost of materials. This will help me with pricing. Next step is some marketing.

    I am thinking about joining the local Canoe clubs, which I want to do anyway, not just to sell boats! But that gives me a chance to get the word out and by paddling my own boat(s) others can see what I can do. I am thinking of building a spec. boat like a simple canoe to go with the kayaks,

    I have thought about talking to businesses and offering to put a boat in their shop. Then paying them a commission on any boat that is ordered through them. Of course that means I have to invest in a couple of boats to display. But the cost of the boats is in labor, materials are pretty cheap actually.

    Good thing is I can approach this slowly and not have to invest a lot of money in start up either. If it doesn't work out I will enjoy the using the boats!
    Last edited by Jeff Horton; 11-05-2007 at 01:55 AM. Reason: I think faster than I can type!
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  2. #2
    Sounds great Jeff. I am reading that this is an "as well" setup rather than an "instead of" to your current employment. If so then it sounds like you have little to lose.

    One thought. If I were building a water craft for sale, I would want to make sure that I had adequate liability insurance in case something very unfortunate happens and somebody starts questioning the quality of the product. You have probably already got this covered but it is a real need for pretty much any business as far as I can see.

    And just to show why I always raise this point. I make garden furniture. What injury can somebody claim for against a maker of garden furniture we all say? Well Dustin Hoffman lost the end of a finger while filming in London while adjusting a folding garden chair (not one of mine). I have no idea if there was any liability claim but the thought makes my blood run cold and is a part of the reason that I don't make folding furniture.
    Last edited by Ian Barley; 11-05-2007 at 02:30 AM. Reason: Spanning mistool

  3. #3
    [QUOTE=Jeff Horton;71198]I have always been an advocate of doing something you love to do. There is nothing to me worse than doing a job you hate just because of the money. I would rather be poor and happy than rich and miserable. It's a good thing too!

    Well, as someone who has always done pretty much what he wanted to and what made him happy, I have a few words of advice, to wit:

    I have friends that went to school, got their bachelor's degrees, went to graduate schools and got graduate degrees, had careers in insurance brokerage and on Wall Street, and retired at fifty something and are now doing exactly what they want. One, for whom I built two houses, was an insurance broker with one of the biggest brokerages, retired at fifty five, and now spends his time doing wood and stone sculptures of the highest quality. Others are governors of States (NJ) after having had amazing careers on Wall Street.

    Now, we can't all be so successful monetarily, but before you decide to devote your life to a trade, you should think about the benefits of a good education and where it might take you. Before you decide that being poor and happy can coexist, and maybe they can in some cases, give some thought to the other side. Maybe you can be rich and happy too.

  4. #4
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    Good point Ian and I have that covered. I own my own business and I am incorporated. Home Inspection is a very high liability field so I have spend some time with my buddy/lawyer going over liablity issues. The way it is set up I can operate the Boat Building under that Corp.

    And yes, this would be a side line or second job. It might lead to full time work but I am not sure I would want that? But it would probably take a few years to ever get to that point.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  5. #5
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    Charlotte, NC
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    Sounds like a great idea Jeff! Those are beautiful boats and I'm sure will draw a nice price!

  6. #6
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    Oceanside, So. Calif. 5 mi. to the ocean
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    Hi Jeff,

    It sounds like you are using your thought box and not going into this dreamyville. I hope it is a success beyond your wildest dreams.

    I have had the pleasure of spending my life work doing something I really love. Going to work was not a drag. I have retired four times. Each time I would be at home doing my hobbies, wishing I was at work. I tell people that I'm built backwards. I wish you that pleasure.

    I am not a boat person. When I was a child my folks had a house on Balboa Bay. We had a Chris Craft solid mahogany speed boat and a small (Star, I think) sailboat. I got my fill of cleaning boats. However, I was mainly affected by over protectionism (if that is a word). Anyway I live about 5 miles from the ocean. It has been years since I have been to the beach.

    All the preceeding paragraph was about: Even though I don't give a dang about boats, those photos showed beautiful craft. I did enjoy seeing them.

    Enjoy,

    Jim
    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.
    VOTING MEMBER

  7. #7
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    Regarding the liability, if it was me, I would consider starting a seperate corporate strcuture and have the boat-building business lease / rent the tools from the home inspection business. That way a boat-building liability can't destroy your bread and butter main business. Your professional advisors (attorney / accountant) are good people to talk with.

    Good luck - I hope things go well with you!

  8. #8
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    We have great floating/canoeing rivers and streams in our area. As a result, over the years, several builders of beautiful wood canoes have started up and folded. One combined his business with a school teaching how to build wood canoes. I'm not sure if he is still in business. If he is, I'll get contact info to send you, FWIW.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Kosmowski View Post
    .... I would consider starting a seperate corporate strcuture and have the boat-building business .....
    Well, I wasn't going to go into all the details but I do have another Corp. set up for a business I that I am no longer in. It cost very little to leave the Corp. open even if it does nothing. So that is an option.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  10. #10
    The pictures of your work are very impressive, BTW. I hope you can make a good success of a boat building business. Where are you located?

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