How do I get a Carpentry Business up and going?

Question Icon
Posted by: from Toronto
10/12/2019 at 12:16:42 PM

Hello to all,

I have been a carpenter for about 20 years now. I would like to try and get a carpentry business up and going for myself, only problem is I don't know where to start and who to ask for advice, on things like setting my rates, overheads, accounts etc..... I have been a valuable and loyal employee for a very long time and I would like to do more with my future. Any advice is welcomed ,

Thank you all.

User Icon
Date/Time10/13/2019 at 6:47:37 AM

Hi, Jay. Before you get going make sure you are financially set to weather at least 60 days with no income. Determine if you will be doing residential or commercial carpentry. Depending on your qualifications/certifications you will be able to approach certain potential markets - not all will necessarily support your business plan. Next register a business name, possibly incorporate so you have legal protection from claims. Then get general liability insurance to protect your clients in case of your personal injury or to the site. Next set up with WSIB to protect yourself as well. Hire a bookkeeper who knows small business and get a good online accounting system.

If you are thinking of doing this, you no doubt are already doing side jobs now. If not, then start now do not proceed any further till you have run side jobs for at least 12 months. If you can't make it work doing 2 things, then running a successful sole proprietorship may not be in your future.

Many great trades are terrible business owners and their passion for their work is quickly undone by their management misdoings. A regular paycheque may look boring and insufficient from one side of the fence, but the allure of business ownerships fades quickly the first time someone holds back payment. That act starts the cycle of filling the cash void by offering lower bids to get cash flow, which exacerbates the problem. The corporate demands of 7AM-7PM workplace paying for only 9-5 is easy compared to the 24/7 requirement of entrepreneurship. A bid put out at $55/hr. quickly sours to minimum wage when all soft cost time are considered.

So, in a nutshell being the boss is awesome I know. But having owned/managed/coached dozens of businesses. But it is also a great responsibility with plenty of risk. The same risk your boss currently assumes when he pays you as an employee. Many around you will tell you to just do it, but be pragmatic, talk to your significant other/kids, consider the risk of failure on the relationships. Be honest with yourselves. If after talking it through you are all on the WE can do this together platform, then you are well on your way to success! Best in your decisions, Jay.

User Icon
Dave from 360renos in Ottawa
Date/Time10/13/2019 at 8:14:39 AM

Morning Jay,

Read up on Michael Stone's books one of which is Markup and Profit.

Although he is an American contractor and business owner his ideas and formulas to be successful completely work for the Canadian renovation industry.

You might find the book at your library or you can buy it.

His books are never to far from my desk!



User Icon
Date/Time10/13/2019 at 9:12:09 AM

Hi Jay

First apply for your HST / Business Number

from the Ontario Government. If you can afford the time. Take a small evening Entrepreneur / business course ( 6/8 weeks )

This can give you many unspoken leads (Numbers

and contacts) that a lot of other contractors

cannot necessarily give you. I am a sole proprietor and have been since Apr. 96 and love it. Any large jobs I take on I hire other contractors that Invoice me for their service and I do not hire anyone as a employee. Only As a Sole Proprietor I do not have to pay into WCIB.It takes approx. 3 years

for you to start to make good money. Your good name has to get out there ( Advertise )

word of mouth will eventually take over.

Be patient and not greedy.

Good Luck

User Icon
Mark from CMJ Renovations in Oakville
Date/Time10/13/2019 at 7:41:10 PM

Jay, starting a small business is very rewarding but time consuming, way all your options and prepare to work your butt of for the first couple few years with no holidays and making many mistakes along the way but learning by those mistakes.

Ray has made several excellent points and you should follow his advice. Goodluck

Search the TrustedPros directory and discover the best contractors in your area.

Find your home service pro
Great renovations start with a great contractor.

Since 2004, TrustedPros has been helping homeowners find the right contractor for their home improvements and repairs.

Post Your Project

Within hours you'll be comparing offers from top-rated professionals. It's free to post and you're under no obligation to hire.

Trustedpros Inc. does not warrant the accuracy, completeness, safety, legality or usefulness of any Content, or Whether Content is Current and up-to-date, and TrustedPros Inc. Shall have no liability whatsoever with respect to your use or reliance upon any content or for content being removed or otherwise ceasing to be available. Please refer to the terms and conditions of use of this websites for more details.

Get quotes from top-rated contractors