Pricing Cabinet Installation Work
Pros discuss their differing approaches to charging for kitchen and bath cabinet installation work. January 24, 2005

Marketing and Selling Outsourced Cabinets
Here's an insightful discussion of the practical aspects of outsourcing cabinet parts for the small shop, in light of customer perceptions of the value of the end product. November 23, 2008

Sustainable forestry
How sustainable forestry relates to the woodworker and consumer demands. June 3, 2003

Establishing a Change-Order Policy
An extended discussion of one of the peskiest issues in custom woodworking: managing customers who want to change their minds. February 6, 2007

Interior Designer Referral Fees
Referral fees charged by "interior designers" are a frequent source of misunderstanding. April 20, 2007

Whether to Build a Big Order of Slab Doors
A long and informative discussion of the risks inherent in constructing cabinet doors as glued slabs made up of solid wood boards. November 14, 2014

Rates for custom milling
An extremely detailed look at different systems of charging for custom milling. May 30, 2001

Recovering from an Estimating Mistake
If a rookie salesman accidentally sells a job way, way under cost, can the shop owner back out of the deal? There's more than one side to that question. October 25, 2006


Whether to Charge a Design Fee
Charging for design work makes sense from the cabinetmaker's point of view, but it can be a deal-breaker for clients. August 7, 2008

Paying Designers
Cabinetmakers discuss their relationships with designers. April 4, 2011

Photographing Your Work -- Professional Vs Amateur
Should you hire a professional, or take the photos yourself?

Defining "Custom Cabinets"
What is a "custom" cabinet, and what do terms like "semi-custom" and "stock cabinet" mean? Pros discuss the dividing line between craftsmanship and mass production. December 28, 2005

Photographing Kitchens Professionally
Recommendations on creating high-quality shots of your work. April 2, 2004

Whether to Release Drawings Before Having a Contract
A contractor and a customer are in a Mexican standoff over the drawings for a kitchen contract. The discussion digs deep into the balance of power in sales and marketing. July 13, 2011

Developing Sales Skills
Overcoming fear of sales, and implementing a sales strategy for your woodworking business - June 18, 1998

Which Fine Details Do Customers Care About?
A thoughtful discussion about whether labor expended on small details is wasted, or worthwhile. December 27, 2010

Bail or Stick?
A few communication lapses in the 3-way among a cabinetmaker, a designer, and the customer have given the cab guy itchy feet. This discussion delves deep into how and why jobs go wrong, how to handle communication, and when it's wisest to walk away. February 19, 2008

When a "Designer" Hands You Sketchy Drawings
Advice on structuring the process when a "designer" supplies you with vague, half-baked sketches and asks you to take on the job. November 14, 2014

Trade-Show Card Swipes and Sales Followups
Shop owners explain in detail to a salesman how they feel about follow-up calls from trade show vendors. March 26, 2010

Accepting Less than the Agreed Price
Learning from experience: a cabinetmaker gets paid less than he is owed because of supposed defects the customer perceives in the product as delivered. September 29, 2014

Getting payments from general contractors
Woodworking pros trade tips on getting payments from general contractors. June 27, 2000

Dressing for Success (or , Throw your Toupee Away)
What should a woodworking pro wear for a first meeting with a client? Opinions vary all over the map in this lively discussion. January 9, 2006

From Installer to Cabinet Shop
Can a successful installer start a successful cabinet shop, by focusing on sales? This question starts a wide-ranging discussion of how cabinet shops succeed. November 28, 2011

Tips for Shipping and Selling Lumber Nationwide
This discussion about the factors that affect shipping rates takes an interesting detour into sales psychology. February 4, 2011

Talking Dollars with Sales Prospects
Finding out what a customer really wants, and what they really can afford, involves some psychology — but the effort can pay off. December 9, 2013

Working with Independent Sales Reps
A discussion of the pros and cons of working with independent sales reps, including thoughts on the compensation schedule. September 29, 2010

Gauging Customer Interest
What makes cabinet customers get cold feet, or take forever to make up their mind? Cabinetmakers discuss sales methods and customer psychology. June 23, 2006

Drawings, Estimates, Bids, and Sales
Cabinetmakers explain how they sell their services to prospective clients. April 27, 2006

Marketing Cabinet Design Work
Ideas for marketing drawing services to shops in need. July 28, 2004

Recycled barn wood
Processing and marketing reclaimed lumber. September 23, 2003

Etiquette for Dealing with Customers
A discussion about how a hardworking cabinetmaker can learn the social skills for interacting with customers from other walks of life. July 12, 2012

How to Work a Local Home Show
Detailed advice on how to set up and operate your booth in a local home show in order to sell enough work to make the investment worth it (and then some). October 18, 2011

Value-added pricing: Why? -- Because you're worth it!
We all fear "those guys in their garages, doing work for cheap." But we really have nothing to fear at all.

Finding Software for Design and Visualization
It's hard to find one application that will quickly create design visualizations for a customer during a sales meeting, but also generate good designs suitable for construction in the shop. This thread offers some insight into software capabilities and some nice example drawings. December 28, 2010 ......

Responding to Cold Sales Calls
How should a busy shop owner relate to salespeople who drop in unannounced and uninvited? February 26, 2012

Setting Up a Tag-Team Sales Force
A cabinetmaker considers whether to hire one salesman to generate leads, another to estimate, bid, and close. March 12, 2009

Presenting A Quote
There are reasons to sell the job face to face, in person. April 10, 2005

The Salesman's Cut
gets paid for the sale? Business owners debate the ethics of a tricky sales situation. November 10, 2006

Managing Trust and Communication Issues with Clients
A few anecdotes about the interpersonal side of the custom woodworking business. August 12, 2014

How To Work With Designers
Communicate and cooperate, but don't give your expertise away. April 22, 2014

Color Matching and Customer Relations
Can a finisher match colors that exist in a client's mind, and make money at the same time? March 26, 2007

Are Small Walk-In Customers Worth It?
Should a woodworking shop bother with a half-hour job for a drop-in customer? May 5, 2007

Pricing per square foot
Pricing work by the square foot, and why not to do so

Hardwood Flooring Grades -- Offer Affordable Choices
Making sure the budget matches the vision. November 15, 2001

Marketing and Selling for Commercial Work
Face-to-face contact management is the way to get commercial jobs. February 10, 2009

What to Say When the Job's Too Small
For a busy shop, "small" jobs can be an unprofitable, time-wasting distraction. But what's the best way to treat those potential customers? April 20, 2007

Professional Dress for Woodworkers
What's the right dress and grooming strategy for a woodworker who wants to make a good impression on customers? October 13, 2010

Closing Sales at a Home Show
Home shows are a good place for generating leads. But how do you make the sale? February 13, 2013

Questions for a Sales Interviewee to Ask
Applying for a sales job? Here's a useful list for when it's your turn to ask them a few questions. August 13, 2007

Naming Cabinet Styles
How do you describe the cabinet styles you offer to customers in simple, understandable, and attractive language? September 30, 2010

Outsourcing Design Work – Why or Why Not?
A CAD artist who wants to draw for others on a contract basis gets feedback about the usefulness and value of that proposed service. February 8, 2008

Starting a portable sawmilling business
Advice on making a living with a start-up sawmilling business. June 24, 2001

Managing On-Site Work
Knowing how to handle yourself and your employees on a job site is critical to winning future referrals. 1998.

Informal Bids and Business Ethics
When the bidding process is a little loosey-goosey, confusion about the relationships can trigger conflicts. Here's a case example. August 7, 2006

Establishing a shop rate
When adding an employee to your business, how do you adjust the shop rate? June 24, 2001

Marketing High-End Cabinets
Cabinetmakers share ideas for attracting big-ticket clients. February 10, 2004

Qualifying Husband-and-Wife Customers
Intuition, psychology, and interpersonal techniques can help you sort out the worthwhile leads from the dead ends. July 20, 2011

Whether to Work for the Competition
Does it make sense for a large, capable shop to run some complex parts for smaller shops that lack those technical skills? February 6, 2010

Referral Etiquette
When you refer a client to another specialty contractor to handle part of a project, whose job is it? November 30, 2009

Hardwood Flooring and Millwork -- Finishing Options
Pre-finished or site-finished? November 16, 2001

Pre-Qualifying Homeowners
Thoughts on how to weed out the tire-kickers. (Remember, talk is only cheap if you call a buck a minute "cheap.") December 26, 2006

Producing Sketches for Sales Meetings
Woodworkers discuss hand and computer techniques for creating quick visualizations of proposals for clients. April 20, 2007

Selling Furniture Through A Retail Store
Woodworkers discuss reasonable terms of the deal when showing furniture at a retailer's showroom. Markups on already made pieces, prices for custom orders, and simple referrals each involve their own reasonable market value. June 23, 2006

Marketing Frameless Cabinets
How to play up the advantages of Euro-style cabinet systems. January 21, 2007

Pricing for Refacing Versus Replacement for a Vanity
If refacing isn't cheaper than replacement, it might still have advantages for the customer that make it a sellable option. January 25, 2013

Direct Mail: An Effective Marketing Tool -- for Custom Woodworkers
Small- to mid-sized shops can use this mode of marketing to their advantage. 1998.

Ins and Outs of Commercial Bidding
Commercial contracting is its own business world. Here, a cabinetmaker gets advice on how to approach his first formal commercial bid. November 26, 2007

Getting Ballpark Budget Info from Clients
Prospective customers are reluctant to tell you how much money they are willing to spend, even though that affects what quality of goods you can offer them. Here are ideas for working around their reticence. March 12, 2009

Fair Pay for a Sales Rep
This thread on sales force compensation has some ballpark numbers attached. August 13, 2007

Why Build Face Frame?
Reasons the face-frame tradition survives. September 9, 2004

When a Commercial Client Won't Sign a Contract
or sign on the dotted line. February 6, 2007

Credentials and Training for a Kitchen Designer
A cabinetmaker who lost a job to a Certified Kitchen Designer wonders what it takes to earn those credentials. April 24, 2006

A Selling System, part two
Part two of five, from Custom Woodworking Business magazine, on developing a customer base through a carefully planned and executed sales approach. 1998.

Compensating Salespeople
Beyond the "salary versus commission" debate: thoughts on how to align your sales force's success with yours. December 2, 2006

Budget Alternatives to Teak
A search for "poor man's Teak" evolves into a discussion of customers, their tastes and motivations. December 30, 2005

Advertising alternatives
What are the best-bang-for-buck advertising venues for woodworkers? November 7, 2000

Marketing Your Business
Assessing the value of various types of advertising and marketing tools. 1998.

Why Finishers Use Samples with Customers
Customers don't have the vocabulary to describe finishes, or to understand how you describe them. That's why a signed sample is your best assurance of a clear agreement. August 29, 2011

A Selling System, part four
Part four of five, from Custom Woodworking Business magazine, on developing a customer base through a carefully planned and executed sales approach. 1998.

Understanding Lien Waivers
A customer who's a stickler for legalistic paperwork could be trouble. But lien waivers are routine and trivial in many situations. April 4, 2011

Showroom Location
Cabinet and furniture makers discuss the value of a good showroom location, and the role of a showroom in the overall marketing strategy. December 20, 2005

Lead Generation - Knowing Your Customer -- It's the Key to Quality Leads
You really can’t generate profitable leads if you don’t know what you’re looking for -1998

A Salesperson's Role
Shop owners discuss what a salesperson brings to a company, and whether the owner of a small company should just perform that work himself. October 11, 2007

A Selling System, part five
Part five of five, from Custom Woodworking Business magazine, on developing a customer base through a carefully planned and executed sales approach. 1998.

Cost of Door Samples
A discussion about whether to give potential customers a sample of your cabinet doors — or how to charge for that. November 3, 2011

Should I Advertise?
The whys and wherefores of marketing for owners of woodworking businesses. 1998

A Selling System, part one
Part one of five, from Custom Woodworking Business magazine, on developing a customer base through a carefully planned and executed sales approach. 1998.

A Selling System, part three
Part three of five, from Custom Woodworking Business magazine, on developing a customer base through a carefully planned and executed sales approach. 1998.

How much land for a living
How many forested acres are needed to supply enough timber to support you? June 3, 2003

Is It Worth Selling Millwork Online?
Thoughts and advice (pro and con) about starting a lumber and millwork e-commerce website. November 14, 2014

Explaining to Customers about "Plywood" and "Solid Wood"
Wood movement, quality, perception, and reality in the choice between sawn lumber and plywood. July 6, 2011

Pricing and Closing During a First Sales Call
This thread presents good arguments for being prepared to present a firm quote and close the deal during your first meeting with a customer. August 28, 2010

Structuring and Documenting the Sales Process
With some customers, selling the job is a long, drawn-out process involving many detours and a lot of back-tracking. How do you keep that process organized, and remember what has been said and promised? It starts with a spiral notebook. February 16, 2012

Make Your Time Count in Sales
A seasoned pro remodeler and business adviser offers nine tips for getting the sale without wasting time. September 22, 2007

Searching for a sales rep
Increasing sales by adding the right marketing professional to your team. September 20, 2003

Marketing Strategies -- to Help You Move Beyond Referrals
Referrals are fine, but don't ignore other ways of finding business. 1998.

Start-up portable sawmill business
Advice on establishing a portable sawmill service. January 4, 2001

Advice for a start-up shop
Ideas for winning clients. March 20, 2001

USPs: Your key to selling success
How "unique selling propositions" can increase sales and focus your marketing efforts. - 1998

Processing Credit Card Sales
Here's a detailed thread about various ways to manage the process if you choose to accept payment by credit card. January 2, 2012

Competition for Installation Contracts
A cabinetmaker complains that his installation sub started working directly for the builder. The story sets off a discussion on fair competition in the new-construction market. November 11, 2005

Handing Back the Check
Advice on backing out of a bad deal before it gets worse, while you still can. September 29, 2014

Laptops for Sales Presentations
Some cabinetmakers get good results by bringing a laptop computer with them to client meetings. April 20, 2007

Straight line rip lumber
Is the added time and waste worth what customers will pay? September 23, 2003

Haggling Over Prices
How to respond when a high-end custom client wants to beat down your price for custom work. October 25, 2006

Marketing to Professional Designers
Can a furnituremaker succeed by selling primarily (or even only) through professional designers and architects? The question sparks a thoughtful discussion in Woodweb's Business Forum. July 2, 2005

Sales Negotiations and Customer Reputations
Thoughts on how to handle negotiating before the sale when a customer has a reputation for late payment or non-payment.December 24, 2012

Addressing Flawed Specs in Bidding Situations
What's the best way to communicate with the designer and customer when a specification includes ill-advised choices? March 12, 2014

Etiquette for Scheduling Pending Work
Thoughts on communicating with customers about their place in line. March 11, 2009

Rates for sawmilling/kiln-drying
Sawyers post their individual rates for sawmill and kiln-drying services. June 27, 2000

Are Showrooms Worth It?
Pros and cons of adding a showroom to your shop. April 10, 2005

Instead of a Showroom
If you don't have space for a cabinet showroom, try these techniques instead. May 6, 2007

The 'PDQ Rule' for Custom Work
Follow this simple rule to assure your custom manufacturing business's profitability. 1998.

Direct response marketing and testing
How to assess the effectiveness of advertising/marketing programs, particularly direct response marketing - 1998

Transition from Free Estimate to Paid Design
A conversation about communication: how do you let a client know that it's now time in the sales process to start paying for any further design work? February 16, 2012

Training a New Salesman
A cabinetmaker who has just hired his first salesman gets advice on how to orient and train the new hire. August 13, 2007

Valuing Unusual Boards
Arriving at a price for a one-of-a-kind large piece of wood is a very subjective process. December 6, 2009

How to Turn Away Work
How to tactfully decline a job that you think may involve trouble or unpleasantness. February 16, 2012

E-mail Marketing Versus Phone Contact
E-mailing is quick and cheap, but the telephone may be more effective.August 7, 2008

Closing a Sale
How do you move a customer toward signing a contract and making a deposit? December 28, 2014

Door-Sample Carrying Case Ideas
Woodworkers discuss ways to haul a few sample doors around for showing clients. April 20, 2008

Getting Commercial Millwork Jobs Without Being the Low Bidder
For various reasons, low bidders occasionally drop out of the game before the work starts. So, if you bid enough jobs, you'll get a few at your price. September 6, 2012

Selling work despite long lead times
September 26, 2000

Promoting a new sawmill business
How to get the word out that you have a mill and you're sawing wood. January 16, 2002

The Power of Discount Pricing
Here's an interesting conversation about what sort of discount offer will actually motivated an impulse purchase. September 27, 2012

Cold Calls
One cabinetmaker describes how he succeeded with a determined program of cold sales calling. June 4, 2012

Whether to Take a "Hot Job"
Shop owners discuss the temptations — and risks — inherent in that one big-money, high-profile job that could put some fat loot in your pocket (but could also disrupt your whole business). April 21, 2011

Compensating a Salesperson
Business owners consider the angles — salary or commission? December 6, 2008

Bidding Against Big-Box Home Centers
For custom work, you may be able to match a home center's cost and offer more and better features. July 5, 2011

Practical Showroom Advice
A showroom can boost your woodworking business, but don't go hog-wild — sometimes less can be more. October 25, 2006

Bidding Against Low-Ball Competition
A tip on how to compete on price — but not really. February 11, 2009

Environmental Sensitivities: A Tough Sell
Failure stories are common among cabinetmakers who have tried to satisfy "chemically sensitive" clients. February 28, 2012

Reversing the Bid Process
In certain unusual circumstances, it's the general contractor who suggests a price and the sub who gets to okay the deal, or not. August 13, 2007

Profitability analysis
Forum participants provide their ideas on the reasons for low profits earned by a particular shop. November 13, 2000

Understanding Web Statistics
Exposures, impressions, click-throughs and refferals, and how to measure them. April 18, 2003

Cabinet warranty period
What is a reasonable warranty period for a custom cabinet installation? July 24, 2001

Onsite sawing prices
Further discussion of how people charge for onsite, rough sawmilling services. January 24, 2001

Getting Government Contracts
Advice on putting your company in a position to do work for the Federal government. March 12, 2009

Dropping your lumber prices -- and why not
Why do customers expect a local sawmill's prices to be lower than the lumberyard's? February 13, 2001

Selling Accessory Items
Add-ons and doo-dads can make you a little money. Here are tips on presenting a smart selection. February 11, 2009

Selling Services to Builders or Other Shops
How does a small solo woodworker approach builders or larger shops to get extra work? July 3, 2006

By-the-Foot Price Guesstimates as a Sales Technique
Nobody can really price by the foot without more information. But suggesting a range of by-the-foot prices, depending on the details, can be a way to help start a sales conversation. September 6, 2012

Is There a Stain Sample Book for Architects?
Well no, there isn't. But here are some suggestions for obtaining samples. February 17, 2012

Listing Prices on Your Website
Should you display price information for pieces you display on your website? Business owners discuss the pros and cons. July 2, 2005

Converting log volume scales
When sellers and buyers want numbers in different scales, how do you come up with the calculations? July 22, 2003

A retail lumber business?
Tips for success in a start-up sawmill-to-retail business. January 16, 2001

Sales Staff Expense Allowances
Business owners discuss whether and how to reimburse salespeople for vehicle use, cell phones, laptops, et cetera. December 14, 2005

Building a joint furniture venture
Advice on beginning a furniture manufactuing and sales partnership. November 7, 2000

How to Say No
You know those private eye stories that start, "I knew she was trouble the minute she walked in my door..."? Beware, brother, beware! August 29, 2005

Opening a Showroom
In today's market, a retail showroom location may be a liability, not an asset, according to some. November 11, 2005

Getting Appliances for a Kitchen Showroom
If you're creating a classy showroom, appliance makers and other vendors may be happy to provide you with products to include. June 5, 2006

Folding Blueprint Table
Cabinetmakers discuss folding table options for the stuff they bring along when they measure a job. December 31, 2012

Expanding a sawmill operation
Advice on expanding an existing sawmill operation June 20, 2000

Pricing custom cabinets
Examples of woodworkers' different pricing methods for kitchen cabinets. December 6, 2000

Valuing and pricing old lumber
Lumber pricing is like everything else: Whatever the market will bear.

After-the-kiln powderpost beetle infestation
Who's responsible for a powderpost beetle infestation, two years after the wood was kiln-dried? June 27, 2000

Estimating formula
Methods of estimating how much to charge for your work. March 20, 2001

Following Up on Price Quotes
Sometimes a followup call or message leads to a sale. April 8, 2013

Experiences shipping lumber
Determining the costs and problems of shipping lumber through UPS or other service. January 16, 2002

Standards for Shop Drawings
Pros share advice on the content and level of detail expected in shop drawings for a project proposal. June 19, 2005

Pricing custom kiln drying services
How to determine what to charge when kiln drying lumber for others. January 3, 2001

Charging for Design Drawings
Here's a long thread presenting some strongly held and well-articulated views on design drafting, bidding, sales, costs, and how to charge for design work. October 13, 2010

Financial Success in Woodworking
Philosophies and turning points on the path to $100K a year. January 6, 2005

Fine Points of Linear-Foot Pricing
Linear-foot estimating can play a role in sales and bidding, but it's only a starting point. Here's an extended discussion. August 31, 2010

Per-Hour Shop Costs -- and Small Business Overview
Understanding loaded per-hour shop costs and what goes into a business plan. March 12, 2003

Overhead per employee
Adjusting your overhead when you add workers. September 24, 2002

Career change: Computers to cabinets
Issues that could affect the success of a newly purchased woodworking business. July 29, 2003

Developing a Cabinet Business
Starting up without large equipment and finance resources. January 28, 2004

Competing on Price in a Tough Market
Cabinetmakers discuss how to squeeze dollars out of an estimate and still make a buck. August 14, 2009

Bidding Wars Heat Up
In a tough economy, price undercutting can get extreme. Here, a cabinetmaker's anecdote sets off a long discussion of price competition and reality. August 11, 2009

Wholesale, Commercial, and Retail Pricing
Cabinetmakers discuss the idea of using a tiered pricing model to reflect volume, complexity, and customization of the job. July 12, 2012

Six Sigma Strikes
Are the Six Sigma system requests that a customer makes appropriate? November 3, 2004

Bidding Wars on a Nice Built-In
Another lost-bid case study: Custom cabinetmakers discuss pricing and negotiating strategies for a custom Cherry entertainment center job. August 11, 2009

Starting a cabinet business
Pros give pros and cons involved in starting a new cabinet business

How Much Money Do I Need? - Part 1
A hard look at the financial end of starting your own woodworking business - June 18, 2000 June 18, 2000

Ethics of Working with Interior Designers
Another long discussion about a perennial sore point for woodworking professionals: transparency and fair dealing in the relationship with designers. April 18, 2015

Portable sawing rates
Methods for charging, plus more on the business of sawmilling. January 21, 2002

Partnerships and Other Ways to Share Shop Space
The pros and (mostly) cons of partner-run businesses. October 27, 2009

Furniture Manufacturing to Order -- Wishful Thinking or Reality?
Coordinating the delivery and processing time of serial production with the individuality of made-to-order production. March 18, 2001

Best Ways to Advertise
How to get the word out that you're in business and available for work. November 22, 2004

Business Start-Up Advice
Woodworker asks about a business start-up kit, and gets an earful of wise advice.

Selling Factory-Made and Custom Cabinet Lines
When you offer both your own custom-made cabinetry and a less expensive line of factory cabs, pricing and selling strategies become complicated. Here's a long and thoughtful discussion. January 19, 2011

Motivating and Guiding a Commission Sales Rep
This thread starts with a question about how to structure a contract with a commission salesperson, then expands into a broader discussion of effective sales and marketing strategies. February 6, 2010

Low-Bid Bottom-Feeder Blues
but this discussion of commercial bidding, corner-cutting, and cut-throat competition is worth a look anyway. November 11, 2005

Profit Margins
Defining profit and determining how much you should expect. November 22, 2004

Expanding portable sawmill business
A hard look at the pros and cons of expanding a business. October 9, 2002

Furniture Manufacturer Direct Sales
A furniture manufacturer gets some well-informed and thoughtful advice on how to structure a direct sales operation so as to survive tough market conditions that are destroying his multi-step dealer sales volume. December 27, 2008

Win the Estimating Game
Understanding Costs Means Profit. November 5, 2002

Project manager compensation
A conversation about PM pay grows into a detailed look at the cost of doing business. December 17, 2003

Negotiating Prices with Customers
In custom finishing work, there comes a time when you have to draw a line. March 9, 2010

Just Been Under-Bid — What are the Lessons to Learn?
The "other guy" may be installing, err, inferior work. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't take a close look at ways to cut your own costs. December 2, 2006

Seeking Success in the Cabinetmaking Business
This question from a struggling cabinetmaker provides a good opportunity for some education in the basics of business success. September 7, 2013

Markups, Profits, and Customer Perceptions
You shouldn't show customers your numbers — but you sure better understand them yourself. May 20, 2006

Rewarding Employees for Job Leads
When an employee brings in a job lead, what's a reasonable finder's fee? March 14, 2005

Cost of Estimates
Getting paid for time spent on a job before you know it's yours. April 18, 2004

Payment Terms and Extending Credit
How far should you extend credit to a new or existing customer? Opinions vary. June 4, 2012

Credit Cards, Profit, and Sales
Here's a spirited and detailed discussion about whether a cabinet shop should accept credit cards as payment. May 15, 2011

Moulding prices
Pricing product in a small, start-up moulding manufacturing operation. October 9, 2002

Kitchen Projects: Required Deposits
The policy of demanding a deposit gets fouled up when contractors are involved. December 26, 2004

How Much Money Do I Need? - Part 2
A hard look at the financial end of starting your own woodworking business - June 18, 2000

Learning from an Under-Pricing Mistake
When inexperience leads a good cabinetmaker to under-price a nice kitchen, he tries to make up for it on a time-and-materials island — but the ensuing sticker shock strains his relationship with the customer. Older hands point out the lessons he should draw from his mishap. December 2, 2006

When the Customer "Cherry Picks" Your Bid
A cabinetmaker bids on a whole house project, but only gets part of the job. What's going on, and how should he respond? February 6, 2010

Straight-line vs. gang rip
Which is better suited to this moderate operation? June 24, 2002

Competitive pricing
Establishing a pricing system that will bring you plenty of jobs and profit. November 22, 2001

Potential of a One-Man Shop
Is it realistic to think a small shop owner can make a decent living? December 9, 2004

Working with "Designers"
In the cabinetmaking and furniture trades, some "designers" bring little to the table beyond a back-of-a-napkin concept sketch. What's good business when handling those jobs? October 17, 2012

How to Charge for Finishing
Determining costs and profit on finishing jobs. November 22, 2004

Advertising Signs on Your Vehicle
Target the market you want, and the leads will roll in. March 14, 2005

Talking Budget with a Client
Most clients won't come right out and tell you how much they have to spend. But there are ways to find out what ballpark they're in. February 16, 2012

32mm manual vs NBM setups
Will any efficiency be gained by adding high-tech equipment to a small shop? July 24, 2002

Subcontractor Payment Terms in Commercial Work
Getting paid when you're low down on the food change can be a frustrating hassle and a runaround. Here's some general advice and a few relevant anecdotes. July 12, 2012

Mulligan Stew: Random Observations -- and Ideas on Management
A bunch of different stuff that owners and managers of woodworking business should think about. 1998.

Price Negotiations
Ways to handle a client who asks for a line-item breakdown of your estimate. June 29, 2005

What is value added?
Forum participants give technical and personal definitions. April 2, 2002

Charging for Design Work
A shop owner spends many hours designing a proposal, then loses the job. Now he asks: how can I make sure I get paid for my time, next time? September 27, 2012

Middle-Man Muddle
what's the proper way to structure your relationship with someone who's your go-between with the end customer? August 29, 2005

Kitchen Remodel Rendering
Advice on software to create images showing how a new kitchen will look. April 14, 2005

Installation scheduling
When he can't keep up with the jobs the sales staff hands him, what's an installer to do? June 24, 2001

What to Do When a Customer Bid-Shops You
Pros give advice on handling the situation where a customer asks a cabinetmaker to price-compete with a low-ball bidder. (Note: The good guys won this one.) February 17, 2006

Getting Started
Three basic tips for getting a new woodworking business off to a healthy start. 1998.

Ballparks, Estimates, Quotes and Bids -- The Fudge Factor
A newcomer to business gets advice on managing uncertainty in the cost of a job. March 14, 2005

Bidding on Big Commercial Jobs
Advice about organization, level of detail, and covering yourself in working up and submitting a bid for a large commercial project.September 17, 2014

Appropriate job deposits
What percentage of the price on a job is it okay to ask for up front? September 2, 2002

Bidding on Builder Cabinets with No Details
Cabinetmakers discuss how to talk money with a builder client who supplies no drawings or specifications. August 13, 2007

Design fee and competing
Should you charge for designs and estimates? It depends on your business focus and your competitive environment. June 12, 2005

Deposits and Design Fees
Cabinetmakers describe how (and how much) they bill for design work. June 23, 2006

From residential to commercial work
What risks are involved when moving into much larger scale jobs? June 4, 2003

Managing A Busy Spell
When you're over-booked, how do you handle new customers (and should you change your pricing)? April 10, 2005

"Finder's Fee" for Designers
Yet another discussion of the ethical and practical business issues involved when a designer is in the middle of your relationship to a customer. April 19, 2015

Contracts and Collections
Owning a woodworking business is great, provided you remember it is a business. How to contract carefully, and get paid. 1998.

Shop Cost, Distributor Markup, Retailer Markup, and List Price
A door manufacturer looking to work with distributors and retailers wants help figuring out how his production cost tracks through multiple markups to a realistic retail list price. April 21, 2011

Making decent money
Advice on making a living in the business of contemporary craft woodwork. June 6, 2001

Defining "Success" in Sales Rate
If you're getting every job you bid on, you're probably not charging enough. October 4, 2005

Finishing Prices
Calculating pricing for finishing services

Mechanic Lien Process
Do-it-yourself, or hire an attorney? April 2, 2004

Drawing the Line on Free Meetings
After one or two meetings, professionals charge for design work. August 7, 2006

Estimating Jobs for Tire-Kickers
don't give those drawings away any more. April 10, 2008

Reputation, References And Customer Feedback
How to improve what your customers are saying about you. April 10, 2005

Charging for estimates
Is it ever done in a cabinet shop, and if so, how? October 2, 2001

Giving "Ballpark" Estimates
Most cabinetmakers agree: They'll buy you some peanuts and Cracker Jacks, but they won't give you a ballpark estimate. August 7, 2006

Work diversity -- Good or bad?
Should a new business take on everything from cabinetmaking to house construction? June 6, 2001

Contracts versus cost-plus
Some jobs are impossible to estimate. But don't walk away until you've proposed working on a 'cost-plus' basis. 1998.

Should I Break a Large Bid into Pieces for a Customer?
Most cabinetmakers aren't willing to itemize cost estimates. Here, forum contributors explain why. February 6, 2007

Taking it to the Bank
One in a series, looking at the relationships between woodworking companies and the businesses they deal with. 1998.

Business Plans
Do's, don'ts, pros and cons on perhaps the most basic fundraising tools any business can possess. February 25, 2005

Cost of an employee
Figuring in taxes, worker's comp and more. October 30, 2003

Building a Business Plan
One in a series, looking at the relationships between woodworking companies and the businesses they deal with. 1998.

Retail/wholesale pricing
Setting prices based on your market. June 6, 2001

Adding value to old pallets
Examples of how woodworkers have recycled pallets and other old wood into new products. June 5, 2002

Price comparisons and why not
A magazine article shows the great variances in pricing work across the country, and illustrates the necessity of pricing each job based on local markets and shop expenses. March 23, 2002

Waste wood into profit
Sawyers turn wood otherwise destined for the landfill into a business. June 5, 2002

Who Does the Wood Trim Takeoffs?
Should the wood moulding supplier do quantity takeoffs, or should the customer do it? January 19, 2011

Selling Furniture Through a Gallery
What's a fair business deal when you place your work in a gallery? August 30, 2005

How To Charge For Design
Getting paid for design work's not easy, but some markets will bear it. April 10, 2005

"Loss Leaders"
Should you take jobs you don't want in hopes of landing future work with the same customer? December 28, 2005

Possible yearly earnings
What kind of sales volume does it take to support a six-figure salary in a two-man shop? May 9, 2001

Measuring and Estimating Trim Quantities
Tips for figuring quantities and ordering lengths. March 14, 2005

Finding -- and Fine Tuning - your Niche
How to find the type of work you can do best, and most profitably. 1998.

Bidding Commercial Jobs with Incomplete Drawings
Thoughts on how to account for items left out of the architect's drawings, when bidding on a commercial job. December 14, 2009

Adding a Salesperson
The owner of a growing shop mulls adding a salesman and reaches an interesting decision. February 25, 2005

The Top 7 Mistakes Woodworkers Make When Starting A Business
A cabinet shop owner explains how to avoid the most common pitfalls of start-up businesses. September 27, 2005

Determining pricing
Finding a balance between fair and greedy pricing. June 5, 2002

Advertising and Marketing
Solo craftsman gets advice on niche marketing. May 4, 2005

Itemizing Bids
Pros discuss how much detail to provide in a bid breakdown. March 14, 2005

When to hire help?
Considering all the financial aspects and adding up the figures--is it worth it to hire? February 7, 2001

Whether to Get a Deposit from a Builder Customer
Five out of five cabinetmakers agree — no deposit, no work delivered (with rare exceptions). March 1, 2006

Red Flags
There are many ways to qualify customers. In this thread, shop owners discuss the tell-tale signs of a job you'd be wiser not to take. June 12, 2005

Shipping Methods
Furniture-maker gets advice on shipping pieces to distant customers. May 4, 2005

Raising Prices During Busy Times
Shop owners discuss the strategy of using calibrated price increases to improve profits and cut their work backlog. August 12, 2014

Selling small quantity custom profiles
Dealing with customers who don't comprehend the work and cost involved in the manufacture of custom knives. June 6, 2001

Solving "slow-pays"
How to charge a customer who is not prompt with their payments. May 9, 2001

Solid surface fabrication in-house
Should a 30-person shop be subcontracting its solid-surface work or doing it in-house? April 2, 2002

Big Box Pricing — Not So Cheap Really
Surprisingly, big box store cabinet prices don't necessarily undercut custom work. February 27, 2015

CNC industry pricing
What goes into formulating your pricing system. September 2, 2002

Pricing a Stump
Woodworkers get a good laugh out of chunks of hardwood log, sold in catalogs as two-hundred-dollar furniture. February 11, 2009

Pricing Rough Cut Lumber
and gets plenty. June 23, 2005

Growing a business
Keeping your mind on what matters in a healthy business, with a nod to Paul Hawken. May 19, 2003

Starting a one-man shop
Advice on planning a new cabinet business. January 28, 2002

Gene's value-added hints
A bit of wisdom on adding value to your wood products, from Professor Gene Wengert. April 2, 2002

Getting Information on Federal Contract Jobs
Don't sign up with any kind of middleman — the Federal contracting process is open to everyone. October 2, 2007

Five value-added approaches
Professor Gene Wengert presents ideas on adding value to your wood products. April 2, 2002