It is the dream of many workers to be their own boss, own their own business and call the shots, but how easy is it in reality? A lack of knowledge on just how to get started is the main deterrent for many, and often the only thing holding a budding entrepreneur back.
However, if you follow our top tips for starting a joinery business below, it is well within reach. Success never happens overnight, but if you are prepared with a solid plan of action all that is needed is your work and dedication to succeed.
So, you’ve worked your way up the trade through years of hard work and gone as far as you can. From apprentice to joiner’s mate, to the position of trusted employee or even a self employed contractor for an existing firm. You still crave a challenge and the next logical step is to start your own business. If done properly, this can provide a level of security and satisfaction that working for others never will.
So how do you start?
Top Tips For Starting A Joinery Business
1. Create a business plan
This is without doubt the most important step, this will give you a clear path to follow and help to avoid unforeseen pitfalls in the future. Work out which services you plan to provide. Do you have any specialities or niche skills that put you ahead of the competition?
What level of competition exists locally, how established are they and can you compete with their prices? Location can be important here, a rural joinery business may need to offer different services to one based in a town. There may be a smaller demand for your services, leading to fuel costs and time spent travelling to jobs.
However the lack of other firms vying for business could be an unforeseen bonus. Will you need to employ staff or do you plan to go it alone initially and recruit others when business increases? This will affect how you register for and pay tax and should be considered carefully.
2. Register for tax with HMRC
From your business plan, you should have a reliable estimate of projected earnings for your business for the first five years. From this you should decide whether you will be operating as a sole trader or as the owner and director of a limited company.
As a sole trader you will pay income tax on any earnings as a self employed individual. This reduces paperwork and admin as you will only be submitting one yearly tax return. However, you will be personally liable for any debts incurred by the business.
This could put your personal assets at risk if things go wrong. As a limited company, the business itself will be its own legal entity and responsible for any debts. Limited companies pay corporation tax and are eligible for allowances and tax deductible costs, potentially increasing profits. This will lead to extra record keeping and may require the services of an accountant to save time and effort.
3. Tools, premises, transport!
Obviously this will depend on the size of your business and the scope of the services you intend to offer. If you operate from home you will need a suitably sized van to transport tools and materials (and yourself) to work sites. You will need parking space between jobs and space to store your tools.
A branded work van full of tools is an open invitation to thieves and finding enough secure storage space at home can be problematic. You probably already own the basics, but larger commissions will need larger, specialised equipment. If you plan to offer these services, business premises are a must.
Larger equipment can be kept in place and the majority of work completed off site, away from the elements. This also solves the problem of vehicle storage, but all of these elements come at a price. This should be factored into your initial costs, or added as trade builds up over time.
4. Get the right insurance
Joinery can be a dangerous profession and your tools and vehicle are vital to your work. If you are injured or equipment is lost, broken or stolen, your livelihood could be at stake. If your employees or members of the public are harmed you could be liable and should be covered for this.
It is vital that you have the correct insurance in place from the outset to cover all eventualities. Luckily, there are many companies that can offer advice on which insurance you should take out immediately and which may be needed as your business evolves. They will assess your specific needs and tailor a policy to suit your business. The importance of suitable insurance cannot be overstated and it could be vital to the survival of your business if the worst happens.
5. Market yourself effectively
While traditional printed media such as business directories have their place, digital marketing cannot be ignored. This can be daunting to the uninitiated, but companies like Google and Hubspot offer free courses in digital marketing for beginners. Use social media to your advantage.
Regular posts on your Facebook page or Instagram images of your completed projects can reach a huge audience instantly. Blogs and email campaigns can keep your customers updated on services or special offers. Be sure to update your online content to keep your business current on search engine results.
Make it mobile friendly, most online searches are now done using mobile devices. There are professionals who can do this for you, but if you can spare the time it’s easier than you think.
6. Find the best supplier
It is importance to find a good source of timber at a good price as this can effect your bottom line. Look to see what timber merchants and lumberyards are local to you, as being able to collect the timber will also help create savings. If there is no one local, look at the delivery prices, as many vary and some offer free delivery if you buy in bulk.
See if you can visit them. Many suppliers will let you visit so you can get a feel for the timber you will be buying to create something beautiful.
With oak being the timber of choice for many projects, especially in construction, you will need a reliable supplier. Hardwoods Group are one of the leading suppliers of European oak in the UK, specialising in supplying the joinery and construction industries.
We carry an extensive range of wholesale oak timber of all grades, lengths and widths. We can cut to any size required, plane all round or supply a host of styles of mouldings to suit your needs. Whether you need Green, Air Dried or Kiln Dried oak, we can fulfil your requirements every time.
Whether you are just starting out or own a successful joinery business with years of experience, Hardwoods Group can help. Contact us to discuss your latest project and the materials you need. We pride ourselves on the quality and price of our product and our knowledgeable, friendly staff are happy to help.