wooden tables and chairsBuilding wooden furniture can be set up as a side hobby, such as a project to work on after getting home from the office, or as a successful business. In order to make serious money creating wooden furniture, you should understand the industry and current design trends so you can create products your customers will love.

Professional woodworker Jared Patchin, owner of J. Alexander Fine Woodworking, served as a panelist at a recent symposium hosted by Woodworking Network and answered a few questions. He gave some helpful advice for starting and growing a woodworking business.

Some of the things Patchin advises are:

  • Choose materials wisely: Try to determine where you can use less expensive grade B or C plywood. You may not need premium materials for undersides or areas that are hidden, and choosing proper materials for your projects will keep costs manageable.
  • Establish good relationships with suppliers: These businesses can be a great source of advice and good deals on supplies if you are a loyal customer who treats them right.
  • Stay current with popular trends: Right now, contemporary designs with little ornamentation are a widespread trend, but that may not be true in a year. Also pay attention to local tastes, such as rustic designs, that are popular in your area.
  • Look to the future of your business: You should decide how much you want your business to grow and look into your options. A small woodworking operation can use common machinery, but a large-scale business will need automation and computerized systems to stay competitive in the larger market. That means searching for sources of funding and investment capital.
  • Have patience and keep working: Patchin commented that his business took five years to be successful. It will take a while to turn a real profit because it takes time to establish strong relationships with clients, suppliers, and the community. You also need to build a reputation as a business that creates high quality products.

A woodworking business is just that, a business, and you should take a serious look into the industry and decide if you are willing to be a businessperson as well as a woodworker. If you ultimately decide this path is right for you and you are serious at creating a profitable business, there is nothing stopping you from being a successful professional woodworker.