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How to start a joinery business

Starting a joinery business is a great opportunity to capitalise on your trade experience. From choosing your own work hours to your salary, here’s what you need to know about starting a joinery business.

Why start a joinery business?

Whether you’re hanging doors, building kitchen units, or fitting out a shop, joiners are always in demand.

It’s certainly one of the most interesting trades to be in, with no two projects ever really being the same. And the industry has only been growing in recent years.

So, there’s really no better time than now to begin starting your own joinery business. That way, you take advantage of this increasing demand.

So, whether you’re brand-new to the joining trade. Or you’re an experienced fitter with many years under your belt. This guide will walk you through all the tips and advice needed in setting up a joinery business.

Carpenter building a wooden gazebo

Creating a joinery business plan

The first thing to do when setting up a joinery business is to sit down and create a business plan.

A business plan is crucial for laying out your company goals, and how to meet them. As well as setting realistic financial targets you can work towards in your first few years.

You’ll also want to conduct market research on competitors and their services to see what you can offer.

Naturally, your targets will then reflect these areas, enabling you to find your own service niche. Thus, by sticking to this plan, you can keep your business on track, organised, and hopefully financially viable.

So, when you start your business plan, you should examine all the following areas:

  • Your business goals – what are the aims of your business and how will you achieve them?
  • Startup costs – how do you plan on financing your business and work tools?
  • Finance management – are you planning to do your finances yourself, or get help?
  • Your services – what areas of joinery do you plan to specialise in?
  • Your target audience – are you going to be a residential or commercial joiner?
  • Your prices – how do you plan to monetise your business?
  • Your area of operation – how large an area are you going to operate in?
  • Types of marketing – what marketing methods will you use to reach new customers?
  • Your working hours – what are the most hours you’re willing to work in a week?

Take as much time as you need to finalise your business plan. That way, you’ll have a clear goal and vision in mind for your business.

For more help on how to do this process properly, you should read our blog on writing a business plan. You can also download our free template below.

 

What qualifications does a joiner need?

As with many trades, there are no legal requirements saying you must be qualified to become a joiner.

However, if you are starting a joinery business in the UK, then it is highly recommended you get training.

Proof of training proves to your customers that you’re capable of delivering quality service. This helps to build trust, and it will lead to both new and repeat business in the future.

To earn your joiner qualifications, we suggest looking at the following courses:

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

For more information on what qualifications to pursue as a joiner, read our blog on training to become a joiner. It has further details on the topic.

Joining a joinery body

Besides qualifications, customers will be more inclined to trust your skills if you’re a member of a professional joinery body.

Construction and joinery bodies we’d recommend considering include:

Getting a CSCS certification

Much like other trades, many joiners may often find themselves being offered roles on construction sites. If this is the case, then you need a CSCS card to be able to accept such a job.

This is a legal requirement for you to do any work on a construction site.

Joiner at work

What business skills does a joiner need?

It goes without saying that there is more to starting a joinery business than just trade skills. In fact, you’re going to need a varied skill portfolio to be successful in such an endeavour.

Therefore, we highly recommend getting experience in the skill areas listed below:

  • Tool knowledge – knowing what tools you’ll need to buy for different jobs is essential
  • Problem-solving – joinery and business can present many complex challenges, and you’ll need problem-solving skills to navigate these
  • Interpersonal skills – you’ll be working with numerous people each and every day, so good social skills are vital
  • Management training – if you plan to hire staff, you’ll need to be trained in management processes
  • Attention to detail and patience – having attention to detail and patience are core joinery skills. Ones that are crucial for running a business as well
  • Enthusiasm and endurance – running a business is challenging, and you need to be ready to face whatever comes your way
  • Financial understanding – knowing how to handle finances will make running your business a seamless process

Of course, there are more skills to be aware of besides these. To read more about what these are, take a look at our piece on becoming your own boss.

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What do I need to start my own joinery business?

With the opening stages of starting a new trade business done, let’s look at setting up a joinery business directly.

And to make it easier, we’ve listed four practical steps you can follow to get your company off the ground.

1. Register your joinery business

First things first when starting a joinery business, you’ll need to give it a name, and register it with HMRC. The latter is a legal requirement in order for you to be charged tax.

You’ll also need to decide between operating as a limited company or sole trader. Both have their pros and cons, so we’d suggest reading our article on the piece for more information.

As for your name, take your time, as it will play a crucial role in building your brand identity. You can read our blog on how to come up with a business name for tips on doing this properly.

The cost of a carpenter

2. Joiners’ insurance

Due to the sometimes hazardous nature of joinery work, you must have some form of joiners’ insurance before starting.

Not only will this protect you financially, but it will show customers you’re a reputable business.

Included within your joiners’ insurance should be personal and public cover, alongside cover for work vehicles, tools, equipment, and materials.

Again, for more details on this area, you should read our article on finding the right trade insurance.

3. Accounting and bookkeeping

Being organised with your finances is key to running a successful joinery business. You need to keep a close eye on your income and expenditure and manage your cash flow effectively.

As with all our points, we go into more detail on accounting and bookkeeping in our small business accounting blog.

work tools expenses

4. Buying your joinery tools?

Last, but not least, when setting up a joinery business, you’ll need to buy the tools to go with it. A diverse selection of tools will let you handle any job you’re offered, and all joiners should own the following:

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

Remember, 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.

Also, a van and a valid driving licence will likewise be essential for transporting all of your equipment between jobs. Which is why you should consider joining Checkatrade.

You can make great savings if you choose to buy your tools through Checkatrade. We give our members easy access to discounts on both equipment and tools.

Get your tools for less

You could save £500 per year on business essentials like our members do

Start saving

How to grow your joinery business

With the basics of starting a joinery business in the UK covered, let’s look at growing your business.

From scaling it from yourself and a few employees, to marketing strategies, we’ve broken it all down for you below.

1. Scaling your joinery business

It might seem obvious, but there is no point in growing your business if you can’t handle the extra work.

Therefore, you need to be conscious of exactly how fast you plan to scale your business in the future.

This expansion should be done at a rate you’re comfortable with and should not interfere with job quality. To ensure this happens, consider the following four areas as you look to grow:

  • Streamlining – to scale effectively, your business needs to run smoothly. Make sure you iron out all the kinks before you put money into expanding
  • Finances – you need to be on top of your finances in order to grow. Keep an eye on your expenditure and consider other avenues of investment if needed
  • Quality – delivering consistent and good quality work is key for getting new customers. Never sacrifice work quality for more work than you can handle
  • Team – unless you’re happy working on your own, you will eventually need to hire more people. Always be sure to hire those who meet your skill requirements and match your business temperament

2. Digitally marketing your joinery business

With so much modern-day marketing done online, it’s crucial you set up a digital marketing plan for your business.

So, make sure you devote a portion of your marketing budget to some or all of these areas:

  • Maintain your website – many new customers will visit your website first, so you need to be sure it’s all in working order. Double-check its information and read our blog on small business websites for information on how to build one
  • Social media updates – as joinery is a very visual trade, social media is the ideal way to show off your skills. We go into more detail on how to do this in our piece on marketing your business through social media
  • Joining a directory – online directories, like Checkatrade, are one of the main ways people find much-needed tradespeople. Get in touch today to see what marketing benefits we can offer your business

Marketing plan - conducting market research and refining idea and offer

3. Advertising your joinery business

It might be old-fashioned, but traditional marketing methods can still do wonders for bringing in work for trade businesses. And if done right, you could quickly find new leads flooding in:

  • Print marketing – from physical leaflets to adverts in magazines, print media is still a viable form of marketing our print marketing blog for more insights into this area
  • PPC – pay-per-click advertising might seem complicated, but if done right, you can put your company directly in front of your customers. We suggest speaking to a PPC expert on how to go about doing this properly
  • Company branding – advertise on the go by getting your company name, colours, and contact details printed on your van and work uniform. Visible company branding is always a great way to get people’s attention
  • Sponsorship – sponsoring a local charity or event can be a fantastic opportunity to spread your name in the local area. It also provides a good opportunity for networking as well

4. Other marketing ideas

For our last section on growing and marketing your joinery business, let’s discuss some passive marketing options you can implement:

  • Customer reviews – good reviews are the hallmark of a reputable company. Don’t be afraid to ask customers to leave a review after you’ve finished a job
  • Networking – you should make an effort to reach out to other local tradespeople when first starting your business. A wider contact network is one of the best ways to get your company name referred
  • GMB listings – Google’s business listing is completely free and takes very little time to set up. Once done, you’ll appear in any local searches your potential customers make

As you can see, there’s quite a lot that goes into good marketing. So, for further help, feel free to make use of our free marketing guide below.

How to get more joinery work

Eventually, once your business has taken off with a steady stream of work, you’ll no doubt want to find more.

When you feel ready, you should look to use the three points listed below to expand your work options:

  • Other qualifications – while you should already have qualifications when starting a joinery business, it never hurts to have more. More qualifications mean a greater level of trust from potential customers after all
  • Specialisation – although you’ve likely already specialised in what sort of joinery you offer; a niche will let you corner that market
  • Repeat business – repeat business is a consistent way to get more business as a joiner. So, again, avoid sacrificing the quality of your work wherever possible

Marketing your joinery business with Checkatrade

So, by now, you should be more than ready to start building your joinery business. But have you considered working with Checkatrade to make this even easier?

As a Checkatrade member, you can display customer reviews, testimonials, and examples of your work on your profile page.

We’ll also help you with free marketing materials and increase your business’s visibility on Google.

Get in touch today to inquire about our 12-step vetting process and find out more about the services we offer.

 

 

Joinery business FAQs

How to price a joinery job

As with any trade, you’ll need to consider whether you charge by the hour, day, or per project. Naturally, the costs of the materials you use will play a factor in this, as will associated labour costs.

Why not read our blog on how much joiners earn for more info?

Starting a joinery business?

Let us help you to grow your business

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