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How to Start a Millwork Company

Millwork companies create wood construction parts, like molding and cabinet pieces, that are finished and ready to be used for building/finishing projects. The role of millwork companies is an important one, since they provide builders and designers with the necessary parts to create high-quality, custom finished spaces like labs, teaching facilities, medical exam rooms, and so on. 

The custom cabinetry and molding industry is a relatively simple one to break into, and virtually anyone can run a molder with enough practice, so starting out doesn’t have to be rocket science. At OnePointe Solutions, we work closely with millwork companies to procure the best and highest quality cabinet parts. 

Creating a high-quality laboratory environment requires choosing high-quality materials and the option to customize, which is exactly what you get when you work with a millwork company. Here, we’ll share a few key steps you’ll need to take if you are interested in breaking into the cabinetry and molding business by starting your own millwork company! 

Why Start a Millwork Company

The finishing touches of any major renovation or construction project are cabinets and custom moldings, two things millwork companies specialize in. If you can produce the quality and quantity being requested of you, starting your own millwork company can mean having nearly constant work and a steady income. 

Millwork companies also happen to be a relatively inexpensive kind of woodworking, so if woodworking is an area that interests you, millwork can be a great point of entry. 

Though relatively small millwork operations are able to sustain a steadily lucrative business, expanding and offering custom and higher-end options can afford you even more opportunities for growth. Commercial clients looking for quality cabinetry are typically willing to pay more for better finishes, high-quality woods, custom designs, and similar services in order to achieve better end-results for their projects. 

Because of this, the options to scale your millwork business are relatively abundant, and even newcomers to the industry can find themselves in a profitable position in just a few short years. 

Consider the Details

Before you can turn your idea for a custom cabinetry and molding business into a reality, you are going to need to create a detailed description and outline of your vision. There is a lot to consider when you open a business of any kind, and planning is key to making sure you don’t make mistakes early on that may ruin your chances of success later down the road. As you lay-out your vision for your millwork company, consider some of the following details:

  • Competition: Identifying your local, regional, and national competition is an important step to take before you commit to opening a business of any kind. You should have a good understanding of the scope of the industry you are about to enter in order to know where you can fit, and to know whether there is even a demand in your realistic service areas for your services. 
  • Customer Base: Like having a firm grasp on the nature of your competition, all good business owners know that they need to develop an even stronger sense of who their target customers are. Knowing who your customers will be can help you to figure out what specific services you’ll offer, where you plan to be located, how you price your products, and so on, so figuring out this aspect early can save you a lot of stress down the line. 

At OnePointe Solutions, we’ve taken the mystery out of working with our customers by providing custom design consultations free of charge to clients in facilities around the United States. We know our customers know their needs best, which is why we work closely with their teams to create custom solutions to their design problems. 

Understanding the need of our customer base to be involved in the design process has helped us to become one of the most trusted providers of custom casework and lab furniture for research, education, and manufacturing labs around the country. 

  • Permits and Licensing: Depending on where you plan to open up shop, the exact specifics of your region’s licensing requirements will vary. Regardless, knowing what you will need to apply for and the regulations you will need to abide by before you start forming your business can help you save time and avoid wasting money and resources. You can’t just open a business of any kind anywhere, so becoming familiar with your region’s regulations will help you find the best places to build your business. 

Making it Official

Once you have the general framework of your business planned, it’s time to make your millwork company official by filing the necessary paperwork. If you have never formed your own company before, it might be a good idea to talk to a legal expert about the specifics of your plan. 

Here are a few general items you’ll likely need to address as you make your business official: 

  • Forming a Legal Entity: There are several types of business entities, like LLCs and Corporations, but all help to prevent the business owner from being personally liable for work done or mistakes made by the company. 
  • Creating a Business Account: Like separating personal liability from the responsibilities of your business, opening a business banking account separates your personal assets from those of your company. Taking the step to open a business account is one you certainly won’t regret once it comes time for tax season, and is also a great time to apply for a business credit card for additional financial and credit stability. 
  • Insurance: As your business goes from exciting-new-idea to official operation, you’ll want to protect your ideas, your work, and your employees as best as possible. Acquiring insurance to cover potential damages, workplace accidents, the health of your employees, and so on will help you to secure the position of your company, and help you to more confidently take steps to build and grow. 

Create a Budget

The saying “money doesn’t grow on trees” isn’t common for no reason, and as a business owner, you’ll grow to understand the importance of sticking to a budget more than ever before. In order to ensure you don’t run out of steam early in your business journey, you’ll want to set a budget and stick to it from the very beginning. 

Some items to include in your budget are: 

  • Material costs
  • Tools
  • Rent
  • Transportation
  • Employee wages
  • Insurance
  • Licensing and other similar fees

Lease a Building

Once you have all the details laid out, it is time to start getting the business on its feet. You’ll need to find a commercial location in which you can safely and efficiently operate. The building you choose to lease will depend entirely on the size and scope of your business.

Purchase Equipment

With a location chosen and secured, you can invest in purchasing the equipment you’ll use to manufacture parts. Many commercial molding machines cost relatively little as compared to other commercial millwork tools, and with a relatively small overhead, many molding and cabinet makers can expect to be making between $2,000 and $6,000 daily

Advertise

When your millwork company is fully up and running, you’ll need to start attracting customers. In other words, you’ll need to start advertising. Marketing yourself and your company doesn’t have to mean spending thousands of dollars on ad campaigns and tv commercials – it can be as simple as giving your business a memorable name and image. 

Be Memorable

One of the best ways to attract new customers and keep old ones is to create a memorable business. Choosing a memorable name, creating a distinctive logo, or running an ad with a catchy tune/slogan can help you to keep your business at the forefront of your customers’ minds, ensuring they look you up first whenever they are in need of custom cabinetry or molding. 

Another way you can make your services and your company memorable is by striving for excellence in both the quality of your products and your customer service. Providing extraordinary services makes an impression, so if you can’t find the time to advertise traditionally, be your own walking advertisement with unwavering professionalism and enthusiasm. 

Get Online

The first place most of your customers turn to find local cabinet makers and mill workers is the Internet, which is why it would be unwise not to immediately give your business a presence online. Having an easy-to-find, well-made, user-friendly website can make a world of difference when it comes to attracting customers, so don’t underestimate the value of putting in a little extra time to your website. 

Having an online presence also makes it possible for your customers to leave reviews of you online, something many other business owners and consumers use to judge whether they want to work with a service provider or not. Satisfied customer reviews are an incredible resource for drawing in new business, and you can even feature some of these directly on your website for visitors to peruse. 

Expand and Improve

A common mistake many first-time and exploratory business owners make is purely working “in” their businesses rather than working “on” their businesses. The day-to-day responsibilities of a cabinet maker can be tiring and stressful, and if you aren’t careful to focus on growth, it can be easy to get sucked into your work to the detriment of the quality of your work. Constant improvement is the key to long-term success, so be prepared to commit to making changes regularly in order to keep your business on the up and up. 

Learn more about millwork, cabinetry, and furniture manufacturing by visiting OnePointe Solutions online. We have tons of amazing resources just like this one on our blog that can help you build a bigger, better career. 

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