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Making a workshop in your back garden to make money

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jake hazelwood10/08/2013 05:52:32
1 forum posts

I have bought a 10 x 16 ft shed that is sitting in my back garden now for almost a year. I bought it on the intentions that i could fit it out with some machinery like bandsaw planer and chop saws and the like but i quickly noticed that being only on a apprentices wage I ran out of money. So i was wondering if i should continue to invest in machinery and hand tools i would say i have put £3500 into everything that i have done so far which includes the shed the concrete base, all in one machine, various power tools, insualtion material and hand tools. I still think I would need to get electricity into the shed which the cost would be unknown and i think i would like to spend another £1000 - £1500 on other tools so lets say £2000 more which brings the total to £5500 for a shed. Do you think with a settup similar to this i could make items in batch cheaply and sell them on somewhere like ebay or just to the local people e.g a small table. I guess what im asking is should i bother to continue to invest in this or should i realise that really this was all a bad idea and quit halve way through and cut my losses. Do you know anyone that has done a similar thing?

Derek Lane10/08/2013 10:41:30
3215 forum posts
1002 photos

Firstly was this built with the intention of doing woodwork as a hobby if so yes it is expensive to set up for no return except maybe the pleasure of knowing you have made things yourself along with the enjoyment of doing so.

Not knowing what experience you have in woodworking it may take a little time to produce items to a good standard (assuming you are a novice to woodworking).

If you already have some experience then this will not take as long.

If you go to craft fairs don't expect to get rich quick and remember that you will need to pay for the pitch and other bits like tables if they are not supplied. Another thing with doing a stall is that many places require you to have insurance (which can get for as low as £50 a year).

I hope none of what I have put above put you off setting up, It certainly has not put me off and I only do this as a hobby like many who also have set up and making things.

Again many on here have set up workshops and I should imagine that they buy machines as and when they need them, after all it is not a race if it is a hobby.

Other hopefully will also add their own points of view.


Edited By Derek Lane on 10/08/2013 10:44:31

daveO10/08/2013 16:56:12
250 forum posts
32 photos

well now young man

firstly it seems you are already past the point of no return and after making as much investment as you have, you clearly have the intention, So I think if you change your mind now you may well regret it later. But heed what Derek says, decide what you are going to make and equip yourself for that , the rest can come later as and when you require it.

As for selling, again Derek mentions craft fairs of which can be expensive and the type of peoplr that buy there are prepared to pay the money but will want to see quality for there money.

As for ebay and the likes I am an active seller on ebay and amazon and believe me it is not a get rich quick plan. I dont do to badly now but the overhead cost with ebay were running at around 40% when I first opened the shop,, of which means there was no profit. Furthermore if you decide to go down that root make sure that all I's and T's are correct , online selling laws and policies are forever being tightened up and they are more in the favour of the buyer than the seller. In short I would give that a miss until you have established yourself and are confident with the quality you produce.

I would first look towards family and friends for some commissions or even advertise in the local rag and shop windows. word of mouth referals are better then anything, biuld up a base business, dont take on anything your unsure of, make sure you have time to do anything you take on and it will slowly grow



Ps welcome to the forum and let us know how you get on.

Big Al10/08/2013 19:40:36
1596 forum posts
73 photos

I can only agree with Dave and Derek. I built up about half of my gear at birthday and Christmas. I have also gone down the self employed route and acquired the majority of the rest of my gear through my business. A few year's ago I tried to price the equipment that I own with regards to insurance, and estimated that it would cost me around 15k to replace everything, today it would probably be around 20k. It is an expensive hobby, but I wouldn't change it for the world. Oh, and it took me around 10 years to build up my kit.

From my own experiences I wouldn't bother trying to build a business again. I now only make piece's for myself and family. It give's me great satisfaction, a free reign of the design rope's and also the ability to try new idea's.

Also another problem that I encountered when I attended craft show's as a seller is that most people are only looking at smaller item's that are impulse purchases, I never sold larger items.


Oddjob11/08/2013 18:59:00
1635 forum posts
79 photos

The title of your post "Making a workshop in your back garden to make money" suggests that you want to run a business from home. First make sure that you have appropriate plannning permission. Most domestic properties don't have and so a "change of use" permission is required.

You go on to say "I still think I would need to get electricity into the shed." How do you run your all in one machine and power tools without electricity? Whether for hobby or professional use a new electrical installation has to be to modern standards and carried out by a qualified electrician - not cheap.

The other guys have warned you of the pitfalls of entering into self-employment - not easy. As an apprentice you would be well advised to obtain employment in an established business for a year or two before setting out on your own.


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