For many years we’ve been asking “How do carpentry skills make money?” The answer is simple — by doing work that produces a profit. While your skills might take some time to develop, working a few hours a week and starting with a budget of $4 per hour can be a very lucrative career as a cobbler, metalworker or woodworker in your local area. Below are a few tips to help you start.
Start with a small budget of $4 per hour. It may seem insignificant but it can mean the difference between a hobby and a career. Most people get into carpentry or metalworking only after getting an early start on their education and experience. In the same way that a university education should enable you to be the best at something before you’ve had to put in a significant amount of time, the same applies to carpentry. For this reason, it’s a good idea to start with a relatively low investment (a few dollars per hour). The $4 rate will gradually rise if you are successful at the beginning, but it is only a partial predictor. It’s always the case that if the first few hours spent on a project pay you a living wage, you’ll have a very successful business as a full-time cobbler, but if the money you’ve saved for the apprenticeship doesn’t pay yourself at the end of the year, it’s time to start thinking about your future goals.
Find your first customer quickly. You’ll typically begin by getting a number of small clients using your skill set: metal shop customers, houseplants, lawnmowers and even your first customer is likely to be someone who is buying a tool for their children, but you need customers who share your interest, a market in need, something you can help. Most people who learn to do a small job at the beginning of their career can sell their work or service for a reasonable price after years of teaching those techniques, but to make a real profit, you need a good product or service for which customers don’t have to be big, expensive purchasers.
The key, as always, is being flexible and willing to change. If you’re still learning, a few weeks of work per day each week will get you the cash flow you need to start small and develop your business. When you’ve started well, if you start your next project with a fixed-term contract, you can build up a solid business. If you start to gain traction and interest and are offering a reasonable price
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