By: Jennifer Engedal
A question we get asked a lot is, "How do I make money building log furniture?" or "How do I sell my log furniture?". While we don't have all the answers, and it can vary by multiple factors such as competition in your area or locations, here are a few tips to help you on your journey.
1. Check Out Your Competition and Look at the Market
Before you get started and spend any money on materials, tools or time on building, you want to make sure that there is a market for log furniture in your area. You could have the best furniture at the best prices, but if no one wants it, then you are stuck with inventory, wasted time, and profit loss.
Look online to see if there are other people in your area selling log furniture, and what their prices are so you can price accordingly. Also, talk to family and friends to see if they know of people who are interested in log furniture. Word of mouth is a huge informational asset as well as a sales tactic.
2. Consider Your Costs
Pricing your products is probably one of the most tricky things to do. You don't want to undercut your work, but you want to sell at a reasonable price so people want to buy from you.
The first thing you need to do is consider your costs. The costs of the tools, materials and time. Don't undercut your time. One thing to bear in mind is that when you first start making log furniture it may take you a while to build something, versus once you become more seasoned.
Also remember it is always easier to lower your prices than to raise them. Once you set your price, unless you make drastic changes to the next items sold, you will be "stuck" close to the original price.
Be sure to value your work. Customers will take a cue from you in your attitude towards your items. So be sure not to undercut yourself and focus on the quality of your work to justify the price.
3. Start With One Popular Item
Instead of taking a lot of time building tons of different products, focus on one popular product to get started. If people contact you for custom pieces and you feel comfortable, be sure to take those on if the profit is there; but by focusing on one item at first, you reduce inventory of extra materials and tools, and also get more efficient with your time by streamlining the process.
A popular item in most areas is log beds. Often times one item will lead to future sales. Many customers who purchase a bed will want a bedroom set (nightstands, dressers, etc.). If you produce great quality items and exceptional customer service, they will be repeat customers and may even refer family and friends.
4. Know Where to Sell and Make It Look Professional
We are so lucky in this day and age that we have access to so many free platforms online to sell products. While word of mouth is still one of the best sales tactics, using social media and other websites to spread the word can really help increase your business and awareness of your company.
Some great options for selling online are Craiglist, Etsy, eBay and Facebook Marketplace. Just bear in mind that sites like Etsy and eBay may require large shipping costs depending on where customers are purchasing from.
If I can say one thing about listing items, it is "Make it look PROFESSIONAL." There is nothing that can deter a customer more than a poor quality picture with a bad description. This doesn't mean you need to hire a professional photographer or even spend a ton of money on photography equipment. There are a lot of articles online of how to take great product shots with your smartphone. You can check out one here. You can also check out more articles online about how to create a good product description to increase sales. Use your resources. A little extra time in the beginning may be the difference between a sale. Good photos and quality descriptions also help justify your price to potential customers.
Be sure to check out articles about simple changes that can affect the look of your product. The photos below are courtesy of More From Your Blog. Because your items will most likely be large, you don't be able to implement everything from product photography posts, but a lot of the general information is relevant such as clean backgrounds, and keeping the product in focus.
If your business starts to take off, seriously consider at least a professional looking Facebook page, if not a website as well. If you have to hire someone to do this for you, then do it. A bad Facebook page and website is worse than none at all.
5. Be Sure to Deliver
I'm not talking about door to door service here. Although if that is possible and profitable for you, then go for it. I'm talking about consistently delivering the three following things:
- Excellent Customer Service
- Quality Products
- Timely Production
The three points above can make or break your business. One bad experience from a customer can spread like wildfire. Bad quality products will reduce the chance of repeat customers as well as future referrals. Not completing projects on time causes customers to lose faith in your business as well as your word. Deliver deliver deliver. Every single time. Remember to under promise and over deliver.
6. Use Your Profits to Purchase More Tools/Materials
Invest back into your business. The saying "You have to spend money to make money" is so true. That doesn't mean spend all your profits right away, or buy the most expensive tools on the market. This means purchasing the tools you need to make your job easier and more efficient, or buying materials in bulk to get a better price. Cheaper costs for you as well as better efficiency puts more money in your pocket in the long run.
Use your common sense when it comes to this, and save a little profit at a time versus spending everything all at once.
7. Educate Yourself and Evolve Your Products
To set yourself apart and meet customers' needs, find out ways to customize your products. Make something about them unique that draws new customers or returning customers in.
Research different techniques and popular customizations online, and see if they fit your business model and are reasonable to do without adding a ton of time and effort. You should never stop looking for opportunities to grow your knowledge and evolve your products, even if it just means offering more products than you did before.
We hope that these tips were helpful to you and wish you the best of luck with your log furniture building endeavors.
For more tips on selling log furniture, check out this great article by Asa Christiana here