Marketing for a New Custom Mouldings Business

How to reach customers who want custom runs of moulding. January 22, 2006

I recently added a W&H molder to the mix and would like to begin offering my services to others. I would appreciate comments about where you've found success in marketing a small scale moulding business. I have a good supply of cutters already ranging from crowns to beading.

Forum Responses
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
I have had great success with building contractors in the remodeling and restoration business. Go to historical associations in communities and advise them of your abilities. I constantly get calls from people referred to me from one local historic association that actually gives grant money to homeowners trying to revitalize their neighborhoods. Go to millwork suppliers in your area and advise them also of your capabilities. It's also very common to get referrals from these companies when some builder comes to them needing a profile the builder can't find. Let the millwork supplier know that you would like to fill a niche for them by supplying short run custom products. With small equipment like a W&H moulder, you can be reasonably economical doing short run reproduction millwork. The customers, once they find out about you and your abilities, will never forget you!

One important note: Always let the customer pay for custom knives for their profiles, but work the price into the cost of the first run of millwork. When I once told a customer the price of cutters, they insisted they get the cutters to keep. I then told them that if the cutters left my shop for any reason other than sharpening, I would never run them again, as I don't know how they had been handled after that.

I think that the Williams & Hussey is a great machine. I almost bought one, but instead I bought a Woodmaster. Sometimes I wish I had the W&H, because you can do a wider range of curved molding with it. When I started my business, I took the cautious approach. I started part time and currently I am full time with three employees. I run a Woodmaster, as well as a larger multi-head planer molder (a newer purchase). I've kept my original smaller machine because it has made me a lot of money and I still use it for smaller runs. There is a book out there that is about running a single head molder for profit (as luck would have it, I couldn't find any book like that when I started out). I would recommend this to anyone who runs a single head planer/molder - especially if you are just starting out. I ordered the book from The ISBN is 0-9738772-0-0.