Here is What To Know About Starting a Carpentry Business

June 25, 2018 1806 views

How to Start a Carpentry Business

Carpentry jobs are divided into two areas: rough (or structural) and finish (or detail) work. Rough work is the framework or roofing or other construction that becomes the skeleton of the building.

When the building is complete, the internal and external parts of the building cover the rough work. Finish carpentry, however, includes detailed work such as wall trim or cabinets. Detail and precision are important in this type of construction.

If you plan to do all the work yourself, you must also have proper training and qualifications in carpentry as well as some experience.

Lack of training would result in low-quality product and this would significantly affect the competitiveness of your service. Therefore, if you lack knowledge and training, it would be a very good idea a take a course on carpentry before you start a business. A technical college would be the ideal place for training and education.

Apprenticeships usually last between three and four years, so look for a company that can provide you with a variety of experiences. Larger companies are often better able to do this than smaller ones. After the apprenticeship is over, you will receive a certificate indicating that you are now a journeyman carpenter.

You can also take the route of hiring tradesmen. You focus on the business aspect rather than the technical aspect. This may work to your advantage if you’re knowledgeable in the industry, and are good at finding and closing contracts.

Skill Set:

  • Handle the necessary machinery and equipment adequately.
  • Skilled and knowledgeable about all types of necessary tools.
  • Calculate estimates.
  • Remodeling.
  • Building custom, shelves, and cabinets.
  • Proficiency in trim work, drilling and setting hardware for doors and windows, setting windows, stair layouts, etc.
  • Ability to read blueprints.
  • Employee management.
  • Project management.
  • Ability to perform physically demanding tasks such as crawling for long distances and climbing extended ladders.
  • Common Business Skills

Employee Considerations:

Hours of Operation:

Depending on your location, this job typically has longer hours that span from early in the morning to early evening and, often, weekends.

Depending on the niche you’re filling or what aspect of carpentry work you are doing, you may be required to be on the premises with other work crews very early in the morning.

Equipment and Supplies:

  • A variety of hand tools including:
    • Hammers
    • Speed Square
    • Chalk Line
    • Chalk Line Clamp
    • Chisels
    • Carpenter’s Pencils
    • Framing Square
    • Utility Knifes
    • Framing Hammer
    • Cat’s Paw
    • Screwdrivers
    • Measuring tape
    • Level, Grease pencil
    • Toolbelt
    • etc.
  • Staple guns
  • Nail gun
  • Portable air compressor
  • Table saw
  • Bandsaw
  • Angled chop saw
  • Cordless drill with assorted bits
  • Hand-held circular saw
  • Nails, screws, and other fasteners
  • Work truck with ladder rack and utility box
  • Sledgehammer
  • Trucks, Vans
  • Office Equipment

Operating Costs To Consider:

In addition to the common business expenses, your carpentry service will require a budget for wages, and building supplies such as nails, staples, drill bits, wood, etc.


You will need to check with your local jurisdiction regarding zoning laws and any required permits to operate at your home or at another location.

It’s preferable to be bonded and insured. Check with your homeowner’s insurance company to see if your current policy covers a home-based business.

Licensing requirements vary for home remodelers, so perform your due diligence. Some states have a cost limit before a contractor’s license is required.

See Our Page on Licenses and Permits

Approximate Minimum Startup Cost:

The average startup cost may vary from a few hundred dollars if you already have a lot of the equipment to thousands of dollars if you want new, top-of-the-line equipment. You can start off small and expand your crew and equipment as you grow.

Pros And Cons:

The Pros:

  • If you have the skill or workforce it’s easy to start.
  • You have the advantage of being your own boss.
  • You get to do creative work with wood.
  • Completely Expandable.

The Cons:

  • Work tends to slow down during the winter months.
  • A lot of times you work in adverse weather conditions.
  • Physically demanding: a lot of heavy lifting.
  • The equipment that you work with could be potentially dangerous.

Type of Customers:

People looking to build their custom home, people looking to purchase new homes.

Many people today prefer to keep their existing homes and renovate them rather than upgrade to a larger or newer home. This is where your carpentry skills help with outdoor woodwork framing, finishing, and incorporating innovative storage areas into places where none existed.

Homeowners replacing their “make-do” cupboards and cabinets are major customers to those in the carpentry industry.


Carpentry jobs follow the trends of the construction industry. In booming times, the need for carpenters is great. In lean times, the need is less so, but carpenters can focus on repair work, not just new builds. This means that even when the housing market slows down, work is still available in repairing and refurbishing buildings.


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United Brotherhood Of Carpenters

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Association of Woodworking & Furnishing Suppliers

Architectural Woodwork Institute

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News And Industry Sites:

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