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How to start a joinery business

Starting a joinery business is a great opportunity to capitalise on your experience, choose your own work hours and do the work you want to do. Find out how to start a joinery business.

In commercial and domestic properties, whether it’s for kitchen units, built-in shelving, hanging doors or fitting out a shop, joiners are always in demand.

Starting your own joinery business not only lets you take advantage of market demand, but it also allows you the freedom to pick the hours you work, the projects you do and who you work alongside. This is great especially if you’re looking to specialise in a particular job.

This guide will walk you through all the tips and advice needed to start your own joinery business. So if you’re looking to take that next step in your career, read on to see how you can get started.

What you need to start your own joinery business


Qualifications are very important if you’re looking to start up your own joinery business. Having them lets your customers know that you are qualified with the skills you need to complete the job to a high standard.

You may already hold credentials along with your experience. But if not, you’ll need:

  • Level 2 or 3 NVQ in Carpentry and Joinery, or a similar course
  • Apprenticeship in carpentry or joinery

Customers will also feel more inclined to trust your skills if you are an accredited member of a professional joinery and construction body.

Construction and joinery bodies to join include:

Also, you may need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card. Although it is not a legal requirement to work on site, many contractors will require you to hold a card to work on large-scale projects.

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The tools you’ll need

You may have the qualifications, but you can’t get started if you don’t have the right tools you’ll need to succeed.

The more specialised tools you own, the better equipped you’ll be for a range of projects. This will allow you to maximise your business opportunities. Of course, having the right equipment will also make you more efficient and ensure your work is of premium quality.

Here are some essentials you’ll need:

  • Tape measures
  • Wrench
  • Drill
  • Claw hammers
  • Screwdrivers
  • Saws
  • Sanders
  • Dust extractors
  • Spirit level
  • PPE (Personal protective equipment)

A van and a valid driving licence will likewise be essential for transporting all of your equipment and for travelling between jobs.

Pssst! Did you know that Checkatrade members get exclusive discounts on tools and essentials? Find out more.

Additional skills you’ll need

On top of the trade skills involved in joinery, you may require these further soft skills to run a successful business.

These include:

  • Attention to detail
  • Practicality
  • Ability to work independently
  • Problem-solving skills
  • A high level of physical fitness
  • Numerical skills
  • A methodical approach
  • Organisational skills
  • The ability to network and build relationships to advance yourself and your business.

Establishing your joinery business

So, once you possess the qualifications, equipment and skills, you may ask: what are the next steps in order to start your own joinery business?

1. Registering your business

You must name and register your business and gain the appropriate licensing for it. How you go about this depends on whether you register as a sole trader or a limited company. Consider which will be best for you and your business.

Registering as a limited company can give you more financial security. Whereas registering as a sole trader may give you more freedom and involve less paperwork at the start.

2. Create a business plan

You’ll want to conduct market research on competitors and their services to help you create a business plan. This should cover what services you’ll offer and your long-term goals.

For long-term goals, consider the direction you’d like to take your business. What do you want to achieve?

These might include:

  • Establishing a reliable reputation
  • Specialising in a particular job/service (e.g. building stairs)
  • Growing your business and hiring employees

Your targets will depend upon the services you offer. At first, you may want to offer a larger range to help grow your client base through a range of offerings. These services could include:

  • Building maintenance and repair
  • Adding fittings and extensions to buildings
  • Bespoke structures such as stairs and furniture
  • Making wooden stages and sets for theatre/film productions
  • More specialised areas such as restoring old buildings or furniture-making

You’ll also need to think about the type of clients to engage with. For example, you could be a subcontractor on large projects. Or, you might consider targeting shop-fitting companies that will regularly require your services.

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3. Hiring employees

As your business grows, you might find it useful to hire other qualified individuals to help in different areas. For instance, you may need an extra pair of hands to help you carry out your existing services, or you could be looking for someone to add an extra service to your company’s offering.

It could be worth employing an accountant to assist with your finances. For more information on hiring accountancy services, read our guide here.

4. Finances

One of the biggest parts of running a business is keeping your finances under control. You might have to take out initial loans to cover the costs of setting up your business. When you’re up and running, you’ll need to monitor your expenses and income to manage your finances effectively, as well as taking into account any VAT or taxes to pay.

5. Insurance

You’ll need to take out some form of insurance for your business. It’s important that your insurance policies include:

6. Marketing

Once you gain customers, good reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations will certainly help attract more. But, if you really want to expand your client base, it’s best to find ways to advertise your services.

Effective marketing methods include printing flyers and posters to distribute in your local area or creating social media profiles to showcase your work.

A great way to showcase you’re a trustworthy tradesperson is to become a Checkatrade member. 8 out of 10 people would choose a trade endorsed by Checkatrade compared to one that isn’t endorsed*. Added to that, you’ll be seen by millions of people looking on our website for tradespeople every year. Fancy a slice of that pie? There’s just one catch; you’ll have to pass our 12 checks first.

For more useful information on marketing your business, take a look at our guide here.

How to price a joinery job

You need to consider the costs of the materials you will use, and with wood prices rising, this will have to be factored into your rates. Labour costs and average rates in your area also must be kept in mind.


Is it actually necessary to have qualifications to become a joiner?

You can become a joiner through on-site experience as a joiner’s mate or labourer or by receiving specialist training from an employer. Just bear in mind that qualifications help customers have trust in your skills.

How much does a joiner make per year?

The average annual salary for a joiner will depend on experience:

  • For a newly trained joiner, it can be £19,000+
  • The average for more experienced joiners in the UK is £30,000+

Your salary will depend on your particular business, but being self-employed gives you the potential to maximise your earnings. Growing your customer base and developing a niche that lets you charge premium rates are key for your potential profits.

Starting a joinery business?

Let us help you to grow your business

Get started

*Deep Blue Thinking 2021 Trade Perception Survey

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