Even though your primary goal might be to earn a living woodworking full-time, you’ll have to plan ahead before you get to that point.
One of the basics of being profitable is, besides creating a great product, healthy margins and marketing. This comes down to buying in bulk all materials at the lowest cost possible and sells the final product at the highest price possible.
Also, you’ll want to consider some alternative money sources at these early stages (especially if you want to ditch that day job as soon as possible). Therefore we selected some side jobs for you to look into.
These will not only bring you additional money flow, but they will also put you in the position you want to be in order to achieve success: close at the source for buying your materials at the best price and close to the client to sell efficiently at higher profits.
Making money with wood by trading in it.
You probably didn’t think about this one! But since you’re going to need the best ingredients to make the best products, it’s in fact a good idea to start trading in it. It doesn’t have to take up much time. But even as just a side job, in addition to your woodworking, it’s going to give you more advantages then you’d initially think.
First of all, it will provide you some “easy” cash flow until you make yourself a name. Secondly, it will give you the opportunity to get to know the supply chain upon close, enabling you to get the best quality wood for the best prices. This will in turn bring your margins up, which is what you need if you want to become successful and scale.
The only question is, do you have some space left at your house or in your barn? If so, trading in wood is going to be indeed suitable for you.
You really don’t have to think big, since our main objective isn’t becoming a full-time wood trader. We solely want to tap into this opportunity and reap its benefits. Therefore, you won’t need to go directly to wholesalers of building materials to buy quantities in order to sell it to individuals.
Instead, it would be much wiser in our case to go to sites like Craigslist or eBay to see if someone sells a nice quantity of quality wood. Sometimes you’ll end up at wholesalers, using those sites to promote themselves. But more frequently you’ll find smaller traders. If you’re lucky you’ll find a private individual who has done a major renovation or other large projects of which batches of wood are leftover.
Private individuals often want to get rid of these leftovers as soon as possible because the wood only gets in their way. You can take advantage of this by taking over the wood from them for an excellent price. You’ll keep for yourself the planks you need for your own projects while reselling the rest with a good profit.
Since you’re going to start on a small scale (depending on the storage place available), the investment risk is going to be very small too.
Hardwood floorboards and especially scaffolding wood planks are always in great demand and therefore easy to buy and resell. Also for your own projects, they’re excellent as scaffolding wood planks, for example. They are easy to use if you want to make your own furniture. You can do a lot of things with them because they are easy to work with and can also be treated with oil and paint.
Also widely available are tree bark planks, which is wood that still has the bark on it. Which gives it a great rustic style. You can sometimes find these planks with very wide dimensions. So you can easily make an awesome looking tabletop out of one piece!
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Selecting your wood
So you decided to get into some wood trading. Now you’ll need to know how to select the wood. Scaffolding wood comes in all shapes and sizes. The cheapest way to get scaffolding wood is to buy used scaffolding wood. The great price point isn’t the only reason we want second-hand scaffolding wood. Another factor to take into account is the “character” you want the final product to be imbued with.
Often it’s the used planks who give that looked after, authentic look. After all, that’s where originally all the craze came from. Old planks that you could buy at a bargain price. But, where demand rises, so does the price.
Used scaffolding wood is therefore becoming more and more difficult to come by and the price difference with new wood is therefore getting smaller. Still, with some looking around, especially at construction sites, you can still find great deals. Also now you know the potential resale value of these planks and use this to your favor when reselling your unneeded planks.
What does building with scaffolding wood cost?
The price of scaffolding wood depends on the quality and type. A simple plank of 8ft at the hardware store will cost you between the 8 and 10 dollars. Better quality scaffolding wood will set you back somewhere between the $12-$24 per board.
If for example, you would like to build a double sofa you’ll probably need at least 10 planks of that size. Sourcing your materials for this project from a hardware store will thus set you back between the $80-$240, depending on the quality selected.
A better place to get cheap scaffolding wood is on the internet, on sites like Craigslist and eBay where you’ll find various sellers of scaffolding wood. Often these are timber traders themselves who try to sell directly to the consumer, circumventing the hardware store.
Since that middleman has been taken away, the wood is going to be much cheaper.
For example, there are beautiful pinewood planks available for just $5. If you’re willing to buy larger quantities the price goes down even more. In that case, it’s always worthwhile to try to negotiate an even better price.
But what do you have to take into account when selecting used planks?
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You cannot expect every piece of (used) scaffolding wood to be identical. For example, the coloring will differ since one piece of wood will be more aged than the other and be made from different species of wood.
For many people, this is exactly the reason why they choose to make furniture from scaffolding wood. Since they want to attain that eye-catching rustic look.
But still, it’s something you have to keep in mind while imagining your final masterpiece.
Particularly with some other imperfections, like deep scratches in the wood, which might be less desirable to some potential buyers. Certainly, it’s something you want to find out when communicating with your clients when finding out what looks they’re after.
If you want to totally avoid these imperfections, you won’t have any choice but to buy new wood, preferably of high quality.
3. Woodworking Website
Here’s another out-of-the-box idea that you might not have thought of by yourself when it comes to making extra money with your woodworking knowledge. You probably already considered opening a simple webpage to showcase your work for potential customers to find you and contact you directly. But why stop there? If you already have a site and lots of woodworking knowledge, why not start a blog about your passion for your site?
This will give you many advantages, like for example increased organic (read free) traffic to your site and increased trust from potential customers. The more unique your high-quality content, the more you’ll be seen as an expert in your field.
This is especially important when selling more expensive items, where trust in your know-how is crucial and could make all the difference in finalizing a great deal. This is something you could build up slowly on the side. Just a couple of hours a week of writing will bring you far within a relatively short time.
For example, you could write some guides on how to make the best woodworking joints or explain other parts of woodworking, like understanding the differences between the different types of wood and their characteristics.
You could even make DIY movies and put them on your website and YouTube. This way you’ll be enjoying being busy woodworking while at the same time creating unique content for your website.
When you get to this point, you’ll probably ask: why stop now? And you’re right, there’s still much more money to be made from your site at this point. And the beauty of it is that once your site is rich in unique and quality content, you can easily earn more passively. Yes, you read it right: PASSIVELY!
How? By applying affiliate marketing to your website!
Most probably much of the traffic to your website is going to come from hobbyists, who are interested in learning from your articles. And since they’re going to need tools and materials, you can easily add a link for each product you recommend to a reputed reseller like Amazon. This will not only serve your visitors better, but it will also bring in money for you.
Amazon offers a great affiliate program in the world’s largest marketplace, where you’ll receive a commission for each item sold. And since tools can be quite expensive, all those commissions add up nicely.
Since you’re only marketing these products you won’t need to stock them, take care of shipping, or even customer service. All of that Amazon takes care of. You just keep on woodworking and updating your site, and this extra cash flow will stream in passively.
4. Make Your Own Wood Furniture To Sell
Once you have the website up and running, even just the minimum, you can totally give yourself over to your passion: woodworking!
Most people with enough space will start with furniture, because of the high demand and good profits. As I mentioned before, scaffolding wood is very suitable for this.
Five reasons why you want scaffolding wood furniture in your home
You may still wonder why you should or should not choose scaffolding wood. That’s why we’ll list the five most important reasons here:
- The wood is solid
Have you ever bought a piece of furniture that wasn’t so sturdy? Of plastic, for example? Chances are that after a while you can already see that the material deteriorates, bends or even breaks. Scaffolding wood is made to carry hundreds of pounds. So you know for sure that the material can be used for many years to come without breaking.
- It looks really stylish
There are a few pieces of furniture that can radiate both class and robustness.
Scaffold wood pieces of furniture are a mixture of toughness and style, allowing you to use them in a huge variety of places.
- Suitable for indoors and outdoors
Depending on the finish you choose for the wood, you can also use the furniture outside without any worries. You can make beautiful garden furniture with scaffolding wood and the appropriate finish, without having to worry about it.
- Easy to work with
Scaffolding wood is made from fast-growing softwood, which is known for its long and flexible fibers. This makes the wood very easy to work with. Flexible but very strong wood ensures that you can work the wood in almost any fashion desired.
- You can easily paint the wood
When adding and combining multiple furniture pieces to your living room or garden you want to keep the unified look to it as much as possible. Choosing the same color (or accompanying shades), are the best way to achieve this.
With scaffolding wood, you’ll never have to worry about this again, since it’s easy to repaint in any color. You can decide at any time what color you choose and what finish the wood gets.
This way your house and garden will each have their own sleek unified look and undoubtedly attract a lot of attention.
There is lots of work to be done! With so many ideas there is always a piece of furniture that you can put together yourself. With a little help from construction drawings, a little patience, and the right planks you’ll come a long way.
Here are some ideas of potential items you can make:
Bedroom furniture made of scaffolding wood
Scaffolding wood in the bedroom is a great choice. The wood provides a calm and natural look that really calms you down. The scaffolding wood also looks tidy in the bedroom. The following bedroom furniture can be made from scaffolding wood:
- Single or double beds
- End of bed benches with storage options
- High sleeper beds
Scaffolding wood in the living room
The living room is also a very suitable place for the use of scaffolding wood. After all, most pieces of furniture are located in the living area of the house.
For the living room, the more pieces of furniture you make from scaffolding wood, the more unified the living room will appear. Take a look online to get an idea of how this concept works out and get inspired.
You’ll see that for some reason this concept just looks great while feeling harmoniously “right.”
Living room furniture you can easily make from scaffolding wood:
- Wall furniture like shelves for books, CDs, souvenirs, etc.
- Dog baskets
- Dining tables
- Bench (with scaffolding tubes as legs)
- Wall signs
- Coffee tables
- Storage boxes (for toys, tablecloths, and rugs)
- TV cabinets
Garden furniture made of scaffolding wood
The following garden furniture you can easily make from scaffolding wood:
- Garden tables
- Lounge sofas
- Lounge chairs
- Outdoor kitchens
So as you see, there are many, almost endless possibilities.
But what you want to avoid is ending up with a whole barn full of wooden furniture and not being able to sell it…That’s why you need to plan ahead.
You can combine these two routes:
- Do good market research on furniture, to find out which are the most in-demand
- Working with pre-orders
5. Easy Market Research
Market research can be done, for example, by going to Craigslist or eBay and see what kind of furniture is in the highest demand. Be certain to see what the materials it is made of. In our case look for example for furniture made out of scaffolding wood.
Look up the top sellers and check how long they’ve been active on the site. If you see sellers who have been doing this for several years then you can assume that they know what products work and which not. But of course, it’s still not going to guarantee you’ll actually sell…
6. Working with pre-orders
Working with pre-orders is of course preferred. Since you know for pretty much sure that what you’ll invest in time and resources will also bring in money straight away.
But how do you make sure that when someone gives you an order you’ll also know how to make it?
The best way to solve this is by letting people choose between designs that you know for sure how to make, the timeframe needed and the costs involved. To make it easier for yourself, compile a nice portfolio with different construction drawings, of which you can show the end result in pictures to your future customers.
You can find such packages online and use the knowledge you made with your market research to pick the products with the best potential. This might cost you a couple of bucks to invest upfront, but it will give you peace of mind to know exactly what you’re about to expect. And of course, you will earn this relatively small investment back in no-time.
Start looking around on the internet and you’ll see that there are virtually thousands of quality construction drawings available on almost any kind of project, especially furniture.
Of course, you want to start immediately with a large and beautiful piece of furniture. But if you don’t have much experience yet in working wood, it could become a daunting job. A high sleeper, for example, is quite difficult to make. Making a plant pot out of scaffolding wood is in contrast way easier to assemble.
So first start by assembling simple pieces of furniture. Also, it’s about being a responsible builder. If for example, your plant pot for some reason collapses, that would be less disastrous than a high sleeper collapsing… You don’t want to start your enterprise with lawsuits!
By starting to learn how to build small wooden items you’ll gradually learn more about everything involved in the process. From selecting the right planks, cutting techniques, joints, and finishes. This will give you the right foundation for making your own scaffolding wood furniture with confidence.
7. Making smaller wooden items
Besides furniture, you can also make smaller items out of wood. This is especially a good idea when you don’t have a large shed or when your available space is at a premium. Really small items can usually even be made at the kitchen table. Also, small items are often going to be easier to sell because of the lower money barrier and also transportation costs to the customer are significantly reduced when compared to large items like furniture.
Also for these wooden objects, there is an abundant amount of drawing plans available.
You’ll be amazed to see all that’s possible. Just to give you some ideas:
- Signs and Letters
- Mailboxes and newspaper holders
- Trays and coasters
- Mobile phone and tablet holders
- Wine racks
- Mirror frames
- Wooden gift boxes
- Etc, etc…
Really, you can’t think of anything too crazy and you’ll find it among the thousands of online available building plans.
These kinds of items are particularly fitting to be sold on Etsy, a huge marketplace with more than 47 million active buyers.