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Thread: Looking for advice for starting a business

  1. #1

    Looking for advice for starting a business

    I already have a business in mind - becoming a cabinetmaker. So I'm not looking for advice on what kind of business to create, and I'm not looking for irrelevant advice - e.g. my sister in law told me recently the worst part is getting customers to pay invoices, and I replied, well when I get on 50% down and 50% due on delivery, there's no invoice, so that's not a problem.

    I talked a bit with my friend who runs an outdoor kids program, and tried to ask questions like "how do you deal with taxes and insurance and stuff" but he's a lot more of the 'let the universe just wash over me' kinda guy and he just deals with it when it comes up.

    I know there's a market, because I live near DC and they've been raping the country and pumping all the money here for over two decades now, and there's a lot more money than sense in this part of the country. I am good friends with a contractor who specializes in kitchen remodels, and he was telling me that he's both drowning in work and having trouble finding cabinets he can get sooner than 5 weeks, so that's what got me down this road.
    I had another friend with a business talk to me about marketing and remind me that the work isn't going to find me, and I actually have to fish for it.

    I went to the craft fair down the street at the beginning of the month, and I counted eight woodworker tents there, and six of them were only making cutting boards - so locally this seems to be an area full of fellow 40+ types who are trying their hand at running a business but who only know how to do one or two things (one of the remaining tents was laser cut chotchkys that were probably all patterns sold on etsy). I'm a hand-cut dovetail guy, so there's very little actual competition in the craft market that I can't destroy, as an additional revenue stream.

    I'm under zero illusions about what I have to learn (and buy) to be able to crank out cabinets - and what I'm worried about is that's where my attention is going right now.
    So that's why I'm asking -

    Who has done this before (starting a business) and what sideswiped you on the way? What were specific pain points?
    There are no crimes against people.
    There are only crimes against the state.
    And the state will never, ever choose to hold accountable its agents, because a thing can not commit a crime against itself.



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  3. #2
    The way to make a small fortune in business is to start with a big one. That was a joke somebody tole me many years ago.

    Start small. Don't over spend on the equipment. Better to turn down work than not have it.
    There is a sweet spot of being able to make great money with less overhead than to have to be cranking 24/7 to keep the lights on and pay the bills.

    I would probably go high end and do almost everything myself. Beat the competition on quality.

    Find good resources for stuff like delivery until you get so big that you have a truck and driver delivering everyday.

    I don't know about regulations but you start spraying and you will probably have authorities and Fire Department visiting.

    Work out of your own place if you can.

    Best of Luck to you!
    Last edited by GlennwaldSnowdenAssanged; 06-18-2024 at 07:26 AM.

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by fisharmor View Post
    Who has done this before (starting a business) and what sideswiped you on the way? What were specific pain points?
    My wife was a hair stylist and we used to own a salon. For me, the biggest issue was insurance and taxes. There was really no way for me to figure out the hoops and hurdles, so I paid someone to help us with that piece. (part of the cost of doing business, I guess) Employees are another pain - we had 5 stylists, my wife, and a receptionist on the payroll. I would have never figured out the paperwork on that stuff, but was REALLY surprised by how much employees cost - even ones that only get paid based on how many clients they serve. When my wife got pregnant with our youngest, we sold the business and the equipment to one of the other stylists. We never really made any money from the endeavor, but it kept my wife busy.

    So, if you're starting out as just you, I'd recommend building your network of contractors that do kitchen/bath remodels and work as a sub. Let them find the jobs and hire you. We set up our salon as a LLC, but that was just based off the recommendations we got - not sure if that's the best. If you already have a network, you could do piece work under the table. That'd be my preferred method, but it will limit your work. Do it as side work until you can't manage the work load.

    Good luck!
    "And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works." - Bastiat

    "It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." - Voltaire

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by CaptUSA View Post
    My wife was a hair stylist and we used to own a salon. For me, the biggest issue was insurance and taxes. There was really no way for me to figure out the hoops and hurdles, so I paid someone to help us with that piece. (part of the cost of doing business, I guess)
    Yeah, I had it pointed out recently that all these tax preparation professionals and companies get taxed on their labor and revenue, so there's zero reason to get anyone to the point where they can do it without hiring.
    That's why my brother and sister-in-law are looking to get out - they just can't take writing quarterly checks anymore.

    So, if you're starting out as just you, I'd recommend building your network of contractors that do kitchen/bath remodels and work as a sub. Let them find the jobs and hire you. We set up our salon as a LLC, but that was just based off the recommendations we got - not sure if that's the best. If you already have a network, you could do piece work under the table. That'd be my preferred method, but it will limit your work. Do it as side work until you can't manage the work load.
    Yep that's the idea - keep the health insurance and the dead-end IT job for the moment, and hopefully get to the point where I can walk TF away.
    Thanks for the advice! IOU a rep
    There are no crimes against people.
    There are only crimes against the state.
    And the state will never, ever choose to hold accountable its agents, because a thing can not commit a crime against itself.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by CaptUSA View Post
    ... I'd recommend building your network of contractors that do kitchen/bath remodels and work as a sub. ...
    also custom home builders. Not the big builders that make cookie cutter homes - the ones that build expensive custom designs. They often use carpenters for built-in/custom cabinetry versus retail products.

  7. #6
    Often times with cabinets end users are looking for a person that designs their kitchen. That gets complicated. It requires a visit to a home, and doing the layout probably on a software program. Once the customer finds the layout they like they shop for the best deal.
    The best scenario is having people that know exactly what they want.
    Always get the specifications in writing. Even if you do the measuring, make sure to get the customer to sign off on the sizes.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by GlennwaldSnowdenAssanged View Post
    I don't know about regulations but you start spraying and you will probably have authorities and Fire Department visiting.
    Yeah I'm really trying to find prefinished panels and I'll probably buy a big grow tent with an exhaust system for an indoor booth for when I need to.
    Thanks for the advice!
    There are no crimes against people.
    There are only crimes against the state.
    And the state will never, ever choose to hold accountable its agents, because a thing can not commit a crime against itself.

  9. #8
    I have had great luck advertising on Youtube.
    Make a good video and show all the greatness of your product.
    Then the most important thing is choosing a title. The title needs to be the keywords that a person will type when searching.
    I posted several videos and the next thing you know I am number one on Google Business Analytics.
    Look up Connecticut AKC Doberman Breeder and you will find Exquisite Dobermans.
    I got to the top of the list and never paid a dime. It was all because of Youtube videos.



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  11. #9
    Depending upon how much business you do, you may want to use some accounting software like QuickBooks to track everything, which would also allow you to do payroll, if you go that route. It's nice to know exactly how you will handle and categorize any income and expenses, and the tax consequences before you start.

    As CaptUSA pointed out, you may want to consider an LLC or S-Corp.
    "Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of a rich country, and giving it to the rich people of a poor country." - Ron Paul
    "Beware the Military-Industrial-Financial-Pharma-Corporate-Internet-Media-Government Complex." - B4L update of General Dwight D. Eisenhower
    "Debt is the drug, Wall St. Banksters are the dealers, and politicians are the addicts." - B4L
    "Totally free immigration? I've never taken that position. I believe in national sovereignty." - Ron Paul

    Proponent of real science.
    The views and opinions expressed here are solely my own, and do not represent this forum or any other entities or persons.

  12. #10
    Im semi retired ( maybe 9 yrs) and do as little as possible in coin business, farm income to keep my income to where I owe no fed tax at yr end once deductions are figured in . In your case since you already have a good income first thing Id do is figure what my tax burden will be ( and new tax bracket) on x amount of income that you would potentially have before you quit your other job. Then Id decide if you still want to do it . In my case Id be against donating that much most likely.
    Do something Danke

  13. #11
    If you want to do cabinetry, invest in the proper tools. Good tools will save you time. That would be tip number one.

    Then when you talk about business, if you want to make a lot of money, do something that's scalable.

    You're right on the 50% advance payment, if they don't pay for the product in the end, the loss is not that big.

    Try to find the part of the market that will pay for good quality stuff that costs a bit more, that way you can use quality materials which are usually much nicer to work with.
    "I am a bird"

  14. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by luctor-et-emergo View Post
    If you want to do cabinetry, invest in the proper tools. Good tools will save you time. That would be tip number one.
    This whole thing is also low-key a big excuse to buy a Festool Domino jointer.
    But yeah, I'm factoring that in. My 50 year old Parks planer is a buttkicker machine but it's not what's going to run a business.
    I had already decided to ditch the table saw and get a panel saw, and I'm reading stuff (from older guys particularly) who swear that's the way to go to prevent wear & tear on the body. Plus it'll reclaim a bunch of square footage in the shop.

    Thanks for the advice!
    There are no crimes against people.
    There are only crimes against the state.
    And the state will never, ever choose to hold accountable its agents, because a thing can not commit a crime against itself.

  15. #13
    It also depends on the customer base. I know I am probably preaching to the choir, but I was trying to attract boomers with money and I did well advertising in a local free newspaper.
    ...



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