Last Updated on 2022-04-05 by Harry Masterton
Are you a woodworking hobbyist looking to take your woodworking to the next level? Starting a furniture business from home provides several opportunities beyond building shop projects.
Furniture making or a running home based furniture store can be a very profitable woodworking business.
Starting A Furniture Business From Home
To start small scale furniture manufacturing is a great business idea if you've already worked in a furniture manufacturing business or maybe you're a furniture designer who wants to start your own furniture brand?
If you're not ready to go that route just yet and want to put your woodworking skills into making good quality craft furniture products for the local market either through places like Craigslist, Facebook Market place your own online store or even the local weekend Flea Market as a small business owner getting ready to enter the furniture market there are several things you need to do to prepare and think about.
A serious word of warning before we start. Don't let anything stop you getting started. Don't let anything you read in this article stop you! Overthinking all of this can paralyze you and you'll never get started. The most important thing is to sell your first items and put the first few dollars in your pocket.
It's not much more difficult then putting a few items in your front yard with a ‘for sale' sign propped up!
A friend of mine in our local neighborhood does a roaring trading selling bird tables, small garden benches, planters and storage boxes. He's now starting with porch rockers and has just bought a design for a swing chair.
Another local friend specializes or restoring vintage furniture which she buys from local flea markets and again Craigslist or Facebook. Every weekend she displays her work on her driveway while she's in the garage working on another project!
Just get started!
- Marketing Strategy;
- Target market and Target Customer;
- Do you need a storage unit?;
Ok so lets just demystify some of the jargon.
What is your target market?
Are you good at making smaller craft items like jewelry boxes, pot stands, trivets and dog bowl stands etc or does your flair extend garden furniture, planters and bird tables? Or do you love home decor?
What you love making will tend to define your specific ‘niche', and remember if you love what you do it will pay off handsomely.
So this leads to your…..
This isn't as complicated as it looks at first glance. Love making garden stuff? Then gardeners and people who love their yards are your target customer and you'll find those at outdoor shows and specific categories on Craigslist and local free papers.
Go and talk to your local outdoor center and set up a stall at your Sunday market close to all the plant and produce sellers.
If you're pretty good at making unique custom designs then go and chat to your local interior designer. You should also consider selling these items on Facebook where you can have lots of good quality pictures.
Other things to consider when your thinking of becoming a furniture manufacturer how ever small you start.
- Will you be a sole proprietorship or a limited liability company?;
- As a furniture making business do I need things like liability insurance?
- Will I need a business card?
For example, by starting your own furniture business, you can:
- Learn small business skills;
- Design and build profitable furniture pieces;
- Each furniture piece you design has the potential to grow into a furniture design range;
- Support yourself and your lifestyle;
- Create a reputation and client base.
Starting a furniture business from home is how I learned several business skills that I would not have otherwise. Budgeting, quality control, marketing, and sales are all skill subsets of starting your own furniture business. You can also transfer these skills to other parts of your life, which is something that you can not always say about your hobby.
You will appreciate how your woodworking skills in design and fabrication grow when starting a furniture business from home. I learned to spot design elements that improved joint strength, aesthetic design, and workflow. That last element, workflow, is key to taking on regular projects and special orders while still making money in your woodshop.
Starting your own furniture business can be a challenging and fun way to make a living. It is easy to challenge yourself when working from home, and it can keep you from becoming bored and burned-out. The money you make from your business can supply your woodworking needs, keep the bills paid, and allow you to get some of life's extras.
Starting a furniture business from home provides you an avenue to create a reputation in the craft and gain a following. A positive reputation is necessary for a successful business, and it can also lead to unexpected ventures in the future. Building up a following creates repeat customers, provides free marketing, and helps to keep you motivated in your endeavors.
Who Should Not Consider Starting A Furniture Business From Home?
I think self-motivation is crucial for success. Patience is another trait you must possess. Finally, being detail-oriented is the difference between a successful furniture building shop and failure.
How to Start a Home Furnishing Business
Starting a furniture business from home requires you to approach woodworking differently than you did as a hobby. There are some steps I would take when learning how to start your own furniture line, including:
- Separate your hobby from your business;
- Learning to use paperwork in your woodshop;
- Always price for profit;
- Invest and upgrade your shop;
- Learn the market and marketing.
How to Start a Home Furnishing Business: From Play to Pay
I am not saying that you need to stop enjoying your hobby. You need to realize that a successful business requires that you strive for clean work and workflow. You are not building shop jigs or a quick box to store stuff in the garage; you are making furniture that provides looks and utility over time.
How to Start Your Own Furniture Line: Paperwork Makes the Difference
I can not understand why professional woodworkers do not highlight paperwork more. It is more than learning accounting skills and acting as your bookkeeper. Insurance, licensing, and taxes are part of running a successful shop.
Starting a Furniture Business From Home: Time to Profit
If you do not worry about turning a profit on a project, then I recommend sticking with furniture building as a hobby. Your revenue (or lack of it) is critical to success. Your furniture pieces need to sell at a high enough price to support you and the company.
How to Start a Home Furnishing Business: Invest in Your Future
Tools and shop accessories should increase production. Your business does not require a fully-stocked job initially, but upgrading current tools or buying others will increase your ability to take on new projects and finish them quickly.
How to Start Your Own Furniture Line: Reaching Customers
I will talk more about marketing below. Suffice it to say that marketing and knowing what sells will make you successful.
Easy Furniture to Build and Sell
I discovered that what projects I built when starting a furniture business from home mattered. Some builds require less downtime or labor-consuming tasks to make. Building furniture for beginners lets you accomplish several things with every project, like:
Easy Furniture to Build and Sell: Shelving
Every home can use a little storage, and shelves allow clients to display items or make them accessible. The framing used for corner and wall shelving can be applied to more challenging projects later. Depending on the design, this can be inexpensive and easy to build.
Starting a Furniture Business From Home: Coffee Tables
A favorite room for entertaining guests is a living room or den. Coffee tables have been a standard in most American homes for over the years, and it provides plenty of practice working on a tabletop for when you want to step up to a desk or dining table. I have found these to be something that I can market and sell a coffee table easier than a full-sized table.
Building Furniture for Beginners: Bed Frames
For some reason, bed frames intimidate some woodworkers. If you have the space to store it as you build, a bed frame can be a hot commodity as people move into new homes or gain additional family members. The only downside to bed frames is that they are something that most shops can not stock up on (they tend to take up space, even when not assembled).
Easy Furniture to Build and Sell: Chest of Drawers
Clients who lack large closet spaces will often look for a chest of drawers to organize their belongings. I like these as you can easily alter them, but they take up shop space until they sell.
Building Furniture for Beginners: Wardrobes and Custom Bedroom Furniture
You might consider making a wardrobe to test out the market or your first custom order. Building a wardrobe can generate good profits but are usually best for local clientele.
Building Furniture for a Living
Starting a furniture business from home sounds nice, but is furniture making profitable? Honestly, no one wants to learn how to get into building furniture as a job unless the rewards are worth it. It can be hard to start with, and even the best woodworkers can feel the sting of a slump in the market.
If you are planning on starting a furniture business from home I suggest:
- Prepare for slumps;
- Line up passive income;
- Build what you love;
- Use hobby time wisely.
Building Furniture for a Living: Slumps in Sales
I have experienced several slumps in sales while selling projects, including furniture. It can be frustrating, so prepare for scaling back on pre-builds and get busy competing against the competition for your work. These slowdowns are easier to handle if you manage to save some of your cash.
How to Get Into Building Furniture: Secondary Income
When I started building furniture for a living, I maintained a second job until my woodworking could sustain me. Even today, I keep an eye out for opportunities to make income outside of my woodshop. That includes passive income and investments.
Is Furniture Making Profitable: What Motivates You
You will succeed more if by finding what you like making as you learn how to get into building furniture. If you enjoy (at the least) or love the projects you are working on, it will fuel you during long hours in the woodshop and during slowdowns in sales. I have watched more than one furniture maker shut down their business because they lost their passion for woodworking.
Starting a Furniture Business From Home: Downtime Is Important
The second question after, “Is furniture making profitable,” is “What about my hobby?” You can still enjoy furniture making, even if you do it for a living. I use my hobby time in the shop to hone new skills and try new builds.
Where to Sell Wooden Furniture
Starting a furniture business from home requires access to customers if you are going to be successful. That means you need to know where to sell handmade furniture locally and online.
Where to Sell Wooden Furniture Locally
Start with trying to sell to your family, friends, and associates. They will likely be aware of your woodworking hobby, and they can easily see your wares (or they may have already received a gift from you in the past). These people will be more likely to refer you to others looking for furniture.
You will want to know where to sell handmade furniture locally beyond people you know if you want success with your furniture shop. Craft fairs and expos, especially those dedicated to woodworking, are good places to inquire about renting a booth to entice future clients. I like these venues because people value craftsmanship and understand you need to price things to make a living.
If you are still wondering where to sell handmade furniture locally beyond that, I can always recommend swap meets and advertising in local papers. The downside here is that people will want to bargain shop, and you might not make as much profit as you would the other routes.
Advantages to Selling Your Furniture Locally
There are a few advantages to selling projects locally when starting a furniture business from home.
First, furniture tends to be big, so you can avoid the expenses of packing and shipping items you sell.
Second, many people are more comfortable investing in a woodworking project they can see before finalizing a purchase.
Are There Disadvantages to Selling Your Furniture Locally?
I have had success in the local market, but you need to remember that a local customer base can dry up. You will benefit from diversity in your furniture builds by keeping busy. The best dining table woodworker in the area might find he needs to make other things between tables to keep the lights on.
How to Sell Furniture Online
Starting a furniture business from home will require that you use all available resources for reaching potential clients. That includes learning about the best places to sell handmade furniture online. Three sources I have found success with are:
- Facebook marketplace;
Facebook Marketplace Is One of the Best Places to Sell Handmade Furniture Online
Learning how to sell furniture online does not have to be complicated, and I find the Facebook marketplace the easiest way to do it. Facebook is a busy platform with people looking to buy, sell, and trade everything.
Set yourself up a Facebook Page in the name of your business. That way you can spend a few dollars on Facebook advertising. Facebook allows you to ‘boost' a post for a local business to customers within as small as a 10 mile radius!
When I was thinking of starting a furniture business from home, the first large-scale online market available for my projects was Craigslist. It is not as busy as a decade ago, but you can still draw in clients from here. You will find you can move items through Craigslist when the Facebook marketplace seems to slow down.
Starting a Furniture Business From Home Should Include a Website
One trick to learning how to sell furniture online is providing a place first-time customers and return clients can find you. Initially, you can create a simple layout with contact information and an email list. As your business and marketing grow, this will become a hub where you can display completed projects and sell directly.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Selling
One thing you will like is that online selling requires less travel. It also lets you display your wares without meeting face to face with strangers coming to your home or small shop.
Packing and shipping are the nightmares here. You have to safely pack, arrange pickup, and pay for shipping and insurance.