Passion or Profit?

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baldkev

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🤣😆 you dont like sparkies

I used to sub contract a lot but never got near the vat bracket doing that. I have to balance things these days and do 1 reasonable size job a year, plus lots of kitchen fits and a few built ins ( to stay under vat )
I sometimes get the customers to pay larger materials bills direct to my trade accounts so it doesnt go through the bank etc. Its a bit of a balancing act because if i go plus vat, it might price me out of some jobs
 

BrandonB

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🤣😆 you dont like sparkies

I used to sub contract a lot but never got near the vat bracket doing that. I have to balance things these days and do 1 reasonable size job a year, plus lots of kitchen fits and a few built ins ( to stay under vat )
I sometimes get the customers to pay larger materials bills direct to my trade accounts so it doesnt go through the bank etc. Its a bit of a balancing act because if i go plus vat, it might price me out of some jobs
Yeah I know of people doing a similar thing, having the client pay the materials whilst they just invoice labour to keep under the VAT. It's naughty but if they went VAT registered it'd price them out of jobs and would leave them with little work.

From what I gained from this, you're basically better off working for someone else or just using your van and no workshop/workspace which is what I thought initially.
 

baldkev

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Yeah I know of people doing a similar thing, having the client pay the materials whilst they just invoice labour to keep under the VAT. It's naughty but if they went VAT registered it'd price them out of jobs and would leave them with little work.

From what I gained from this, you're basically better off working for someone else or just using your van and no workshop/workspace which is what I thought initially.

From a money point of view, yes, if you can cope as you are. Now ive got my own space id hate to give it up.
 

Piyush

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Hi all,

I'm going to ask the age old question. Being a carpenter/joiner as a career choice is it more of a passion than profit?

I am currently 9/10 years into my carpentry career and I am considering investing into a small workshop/workspace so I am able make my made to measure installs. (For reference, when I say workshop/workspace I am looking for a space 6M x 6M which is very small compared to most who are doing this kind of work). They're a few things to factor in before making any decision for a business, the obvious one being the overheads and how profitable will it be to begin renting a workshop/workspace. Given materials have risen in cost in the last year, it makes each install a little harder to gain a sensible profit from. If you were to factor in the additional overhead of a workshop/workspace and rise in material cost I think you would be seen as 'unreasonable' and may price yourself out of jobs (obviously not charging enough in some cases) to the common client. This isn't to say you were too cheap initially but you'd obviously have to charge more as it costs more to do business, if you weren't to do this you'd be running a failing business of course. Your client's would have to be in the top 10% who can afford the luxury of having made to measure installs fitted in their homes etc.

When you add in the fact of the down payment you've made buying all of the tools and equipment to be able to make installs and provide a high standard, I struggle to see the reward/profit/business side of things. I love what I do but from a business point of view I cannot see where the profit is made. It can only be made from cost of goods sold, but if the material prices are high it doesn't help.

My question to the experienced guys who have had similar thoughts, what did you do. What helped you?

It all depends on what you want to do. If I were to start a custom kitchen fitout company today, WITHOUT workshop space, I would setup a business model which takes Ikea carcass, order custom door, end panels, plinth plate etc and offer a fully fitted service including all appliances. Almost a turn key service.

if Ikea kitchen starts at 9k for a reasonably good size kitchen, custom cabinetry would cost around 30k and I would say custom door on Ikea carcass could set you back 12k. So there is a good margin there for some one who wants to operate with fairly low overhead.

key here is to sell. In fact most hobbies are not so good at selling and to be honest not producing kitchen carcass, door yourself you will have plenty of time to find a customer and sell your services.
 

Citracal

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I switched careers out of passion. I worked in medical research for about a decade but almost 2 years ago I retrained in cabinetry and have been working in the industry ever since. Initially, the idea was to run my own small business but it soon became clear that I was woefully inexperienced, I could make exceptional furniture but nowwhere near fast enough to make a living. For that reason I ended up working at a larger cabinetmaking company in the north of England.

There are 3 major things that I've had to adjust to with swapping my career (I'm 34).

The first. For anyone else thinking of going at it alone, unless you've got several years of professional experience, or a pot of gold under your bed, you simply won't be fast or experienced enough to make a living.

The second is the salary readjustment. I went from about 37k to 21k. I don't have to support a family or anything but 21k about 10/hr is only enough to get by. There is very little room for any unexpected problems (car needs repairing, dog needs an operation, you need a dentist). This will go up over time but it's only ever going to be a few thousand higher, hardly enough to ever save for a down payment. We mostly work with solid wood, one off pieces of furniture (which is glorious) but I understand I could earn slightly more, plus some benefits, if I were working for a fitting company as the margins are better.

But lastly. I ******* love my job. It is great. I'm engaged from when I enter the shop until I leave. I'm learning all the time and improving my craft. It has been a major life adjustment but I'm happier and more fulfilled on a daily basis than I have ever been.

Just my experiece I thought I would throw in as it's related.
 

doctor Bob

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But lastly. I ******* love my job. It is great. I'm engaged from when I enter the shop until I leave. I'm learning all the time and improving my craft. It has been a major life adjustment but I'm happier and more fulfilled on a daily basis than I have ever been.

Fantastic, well done, takes some serious balls to do it.
I can never understand why people do jobs they hate, surely happiness is more important than a house or fancy car.
 

baldkev

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Fantastic, well done, takes some serious balls to do it.
I can never understand why people do jobs they hate, surely happiness is more important than a house or fancy car.

Sometimes you just get stuck in a situation..... for instance, i want to get out of site work, but I dont have savings. Ive got 2 kids, ( soon to be 3 😬 ) a mrs and a mortgage..... so i cant really go to a lower paid job and i cant retrain. I'm stuck until either our costs go down or if i can swing my business towards the workshop based stuff ( which im trying to do )
Luckily its not bad money ( although a lot of work being s/e )

I feel very fortunate that im not in tescos or a cleaner etc as it is hard to move on up once you have commitments
 

doctor Bob

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Sometimes you just get stuck in a situation..... for instance, i want to get out of site work, but I dont have savings. Ive got 2 kids, ( soon to be 3 😬 ) a mrs and a mortgage..... so i cant really go to a lower paid job and i cant retrain. I'm stuck until either our costs go down or if i can swing my business towards the workshop based stuff ( which im trying to do )
Luckily its not bad money ( although a lot of work being s/e )

I feel very fortunate that im not in tescos or a cleaner etc as it is hard to move on up once you have commitments

but you don't hate your current job, you just want to change. People who truly hate their job should change, everyones lives, including nearest and dearest will benefit through happiness. I think people lose touch with what's important.
 

baldkev

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but you don't hate your current job, you just want to change. People who truly hate their job should change, everyones lives, including nearest and dearest will benefit through happiness. I think people lose touch with what's important.

True. I do dislike it but not hate. The priciple is the same though, anyone who has commitments is locked into a set amount of moves. If they are on a low income, but need to provide for their family, the only real option may be to look for other jobs, which will usually be low paid and unfulfilling.
 

doctor Bob

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True. I do dislike it but not hate. The priciple is the same though, anyone who has commitments is locked into a set amount of moves. If they are on a low income, but need to provide for their family, the only real option may be to look for other jobs, which will usually be low paid and unfulfilling.
surely this idea of it's better to miserable for 40 years but provide for family is wrong. Everyone I know who hates their job is generally miserable in life.
Happiness is so important, to overlook it is simply mind boggling.
I speak as someone who has experienced having money and having nothing, and also someone who has experienced happiness and living hell. Honestly having no money was pipper all compared to a living hell.
 

baldkev

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I guess its all a matter of perspective. Ive had some difficult times, but nothing close to hell.
Happiness is definitely important ( almost one if the most important things i guess as time is limited )
These days, with marketing and so much choice, for anything you can think of, people get caught in a cycle of wanting more... im guilty of that.... and you end up just keeping going for stability / security. Someone once told me he changed his life after taking a few days off work to do a course and that time away from the coal face made him realise how much he needed to change his life. It was the same for me during the first lockdown. Overnight the stress and pressure dissapeared and I had 3 months off. Felt amazing. Then reality kicked in, i was out of money and now im back to the usual 😆
 

Doug71

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@baldkev I blame the lockdowns for my current loss of mojo. I got to spend months at home with my boys (then 10 & 8, great age), we spent the mornings doing the home schooling thing and the rest of the day just having fun, it was fantastic! I feel very lucky to have had that time because it's not something you would normally get. It made me realise how stressed work made me feel and I promised myself I would take life a bit easier but it hasn't happened, stressed again 🙄
 

BrandonB

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I guess its all a matter of perspective. Ive had some difficult times, but nothing close to hell.
Happiness is definitely important ( almost one if the most important things i guess as time is limited )
These days, with marketing and so much choice, for anything you can think of, people get caught in a cycle of wanting more... im guilty of that.... and you end up just keeping going for stability / security. Someone once told me he changed his life after taking a few days off work to do a course and that time away from the coal face made him realise how much he needed to change his life. It was the same for me during the first lockdown. Overnight the stress and pressure dissapeared and I had 3 months off. Felt amazing. Then reality kicked in, i was out of money and now im back to the usual 😆
They're several themes which are at play with a job. If you're in a situation where you need to support a family, it dictates a large portion of your decision making. If you were to go self employed because you'd prefer a change and fancy doing more workshop based stuff it could be seen as a selfish move if it's a loss of earnings, but it would make you happier. Site work isn't great, I can do it for a short period before getting frustrated about putting someone else's work right, re-fitting something someone else attempted to fit but decided they couldn't be bothered but has been paid price work for it regardless. It's not very fulfilling I know I'm capable of more than your pre-hung door sets, or on your hands and knees doing skirting and architraves or boxing in services. But sadly it does pay well and can be comfortable, nothing too challenging, you know what you're in for and the money's alright.

If you compare that to self employed where you're catering for the domestic market, for the general joe bloggs. You're prices are tight, the materials have a slight mark up and it only takes something to go wrong or unplanned to cost you additional time. Additional time you didn't plan for which is now eating at your quote. Sometimes you'll get to an install and you'll be moving stuff or figuring out where or how to setup, tidying up before you leave at the end of the day. All of this additional time slowly snowballs up. Suddenly a install that should of taken 3 days has now taken 3 1/2 or 4 days which puts you at a loss on labour and averages out similar to site work - sometimes.

Begs the question, why bother?
 

baldkev

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@baldkev I blame the lockdowns for my current loss of mojo. I got to spend months at home with my boys (then 10 & 8, great age), we spent the mornings doing the home schooling thing and the rest of the day just having fun, it was fantastic! I feel very lucky to have had that time because it's not something you would normally get. It made me realise how stressed work made me feel and I promised myself I would take life a bit easier but it hasn't happened, stressed again 🙄

Same. Im lucky to live in devon and of course we had amazing weather, so we walked down to the beach, did bike rides, football and pikniks at the park 😀 mine are 9 and 5 now. I find myself putting off doing quotes, invoices and looking up info/ materials in the evenings because i cant face it, but its just making it worse by being lazy.

They're several themes which are at play with a job. If you're in a situation where you need to support a family, it dictates a large portion of your decision making. If you were to go self employed because you'd prefer a change and fancy doing more workshop based stuff it could be seen as a selfish move if it's a loss of earnings, but it would make you happier. Site work isn't great, I can do it for a short period before getting frustrated about putting someone else's work right, re-fitting something someone else attempted to fit but decided they couldn't be bothered but has been paid price work for it regardless. It's not very fulfilling I know I'm capable of more than your pre-hung door sets, or on your hands and knees doing skirting and architraves or boxing in services. But sadly it does pay well and can be comfortable, nothing too challenging, you know what you're in for and the money's alright.

If you compare that to self employed where you're catering for the domestic market, for the general joe bloggs. You're prices are tight, the materials have a slight mark up and it only takes something to go wrong or unplanned to cost you additional time. Additional time you didn't plan for which is now eating at your quote. Sometimes you'll get to an install and you'll be moving stuff or figuring out where or how to setup, tidying up before you leave at the end of the day. All of this additional time slowly snowballs up. Suddenly a install that should of taken 3 days has now taken 3 1/2 or 4 days which puts you at a loss on labour and averages out similar to site work - sometimes.

Begs the question, why bother?

Well because its what we do.... the best jobs for money are small to medium sized building jobs. A loft conversion, 50k or a refurb and loft, 100k. The reason? I can do them mostly on my own, i dont have lots of customers to deal with, just 1 set for a while. I dont have to move my kit around, just lock it up each night etc.... but i only do 1 a year to stay under vat. And i dont want to employ people.
 
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