How to start a carpentry business

carpenter image by Greg Pickens from

A carpenter mainly takes on jobs related to woodworking. To become successful at carpentry you need experience, skills, and a willingness to work hard. If you those, it's not that difficult to get your business up and running. Just follow a few basic rules.

Earn experience by finding work as an apprentice for seasoned carpenters. You'll need to discipline yourself to get up early and put in long, productive days. This will give you a chance to learn the business and hone your carpentry skills.

Once you've built up a few years of experience and feel you're ready to go out on your own, you'll need to create a business plan. Although carpentry depends very much on your woodworking talents, if you don't have a detailed business plan you'll find it hard to be successful.

Part of the emphasis should be on cash flow management. Basically, that means knowing how much you'll need to spend on a job for materials and labour, and how much you'll need to charge for the job to make a profit.

You'll also need to develop marketing strategies to help you find new clients. This can range from putting out flyers and taking out ads in local publications, to setting up a website to advertise your business and special skills. Craigslist is another good place to advertise your business.

Choose a name for your business. Pick one that is short, meaningful and easy to remember. You'll want to make sure the name you choose isn't trademarked by somebody else. Your local Chamber of Commerce office or home state's Secretary of State office can probably give you information on what business names are available and how to register your own name.

Decide what type of business structure you want to form. Options include a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation and limited liability company (LLC). Complete the filings for your business with your state's Secretary of State office.

Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) through the Internal Revenue Service. You can apply online, over the phone, by fax or by mail. Applying online is preferred because you can get your number right away.

Obtain permits and licenses if your state requires one. Most states require business owners to possess some kind of permits or license to legally operate their business. Check with the Chamber of Commerce and Secretary of State's office for more information.

Set up your office. It might be a small space you rent, or you can set it up in your garage or basement. You'll need to make sure you have basic office equipment, such as a computer, printer, dedicated phone line and filing cabinets.