Full time turning help please

Full time turning help please

Post by MadeOfWoo » Fri, 28 Feb 2003 07:13:05



I am considering becoming a full time turner and was wondering if you guys
could tell me how much you earn on average? I realise it is a personal
question but i can't find anywhere what the average earnings are and your
answers would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

 
 
 

Full time turning help please

Post by Joe Mora » Fri, 28 Feb 2003 08:15:00


I know someone who has been a fulltime woodturner for 20-25 years and the
last time I spoke with him about it he said his "shop rate" was $30 an hour.
That was a couple of years ago.  Hope that helps.  Joe


Quote:
> I am considering becoming a full time turner and was wondering if you guys
> could tell me how much you earn on average? (snip)


 
 
 

Full time turning help please

Post by Steve Worceste » Fri, 28 Feb 2003 09:47:47


Perhaps a better question (to ask yourself) is ... how much would I need to
earn?
Then look at what type of woodturning you can do well, and where it will
sell.
If you are a spindle turner, perhaps architectural reproduction. If you are
a faceplate turner, bowls. But think about where you can sell your
merchandise and perhaps a multiyear plan on how to get there.
I have long thought about doing woodturning for a living, but the lifestyle
I have become accustom to, and two college tuition bills in the upcoming
years, means I stick at what I am doing (computer guy) or struggle to
readjust to a new (economic based) lifestyle.
Don't get me wrong, but if you make $30k today in your real job, it will be
several years probably before you can CLEAR $30K as a woodturner.
Very few of them do just woodturning though. They write, demonstrate, teach,
and most aspire to be able to make a living doing art pieces. Alas, they
usually do production work , at least at first.(or sell sandpaper :) )

--
Steve Worcester
www.turningwood.com
Better Woodturning through Technology
(And a hell of alotta practice)


Quote:
> I am considering becoming a full time turner and was wondering if you guys
> could tell me how much you earn on average? I realise it is a personal
> question but i can't find anywhere what the average earnings are and your
> answers would be greatly appreciated.

> Thanks

 
 
 

Full time turning help please

Post by Steve Wolf » Fri, 28 Feb 2003 16:29:43


Quote:
> I know someone who has been a fulltime woodturner for 20-25 years and the
> last time I spoke with him about it he said his "shop rate" was $30 an
hour.
> That was a couple of years ago.  Hope that helps.  Joe

  Yes, but "shop rate" and "earnings" are two entirely different things....
I think that the original author was looking to find out how much he made in
a year, not how much he'd make in an hour *if* he got work.

steve

 
 
 

Full time turning help please

Post by Mike Pauls » Fri, 28 Feb 2003 18:22:11


A $30/hr shop rate might sound pretty good, but you should realize that
you may spend only half your working time in billable hours.  There's time
spent with clients if you do custom work, maintaining relationships with
galleries if you go that route, and time spent at shows.  There's time
spent doing bookkeeping, maintenance, marketing, and procuring stock (you
won't believe the mountains of wood you are going to need if you turn all
day every day).  There are expenses including self-paid "benefits."  Then
there is the productivity issue. You need to do professional quality work
and you need to do it very quickly.  You can only raise your prices so
far, and you can only work so many hours.  After that, the only way to
give yourself a raise is to go faster.  For example, I read an interview
with Richard Raffan where he echoed what Chris Stott once told me: that
anyone with basic skills can make a turned box in an hour and a half, but
if you want to make money at it you need to have another one sitting on
the shelf every 20 minutes all day long.  That really takes the fun out of
it for a lot of folks.  I happen to enjoy that myself, but not everyone
does.  Then there are the vagaries of business.  About half my galleries
have gone out of business in the last 2 years.  That probably isn't
typical, but it can happen.  David Ellsworth once remarked during a
demonstration that you can be on top of the turning world when suddenly
the market changes and your stuff no longer sells and you have to try to
find a new niche if you can.  There's no guarantees.  Yet another
consideration is the self-employment issue.  If you are a one-man company,
you wear a lot of hats, and you need to be at least competent at nearly
all your roles or suffer the consequences.  Marketing and sticking to a
schedule are my two personal demons, and believe me, I pay the price for
it.  If turning was very profitable, I think the top names would stay home
and turn, not be out there teaching, selling tools, or writing books and
making videos.  It seems like nearly everyone has a sideline, even if it
is turning related.  That should tell you something.  I think the bottom
line for most people is that turning is a great hobby but don't take it up
as a profession unless you have an overwhelming compulsion to turn, turn,
endlessly turn.... Having said that, I like to see people pursuing their
dream, and for me at least, the satisfaction is enormous.  Best wishes on
whatever you decide.

-mike paulson, fort collins, co


Quote:

>I know someone who has been a fulltime woodturner for 20-25 years and the
>last time I spoke with him about it he said his "shop rate" was $30 an hour.
>That was a couple of years ago.  Hope that helps.  Joe



>> I am considering becoming a full time turner and was wondering if you guys
>> could tell me how much you earn on average? (snip)

 
 
 

Full time turning help please

Post by Dave Ree » Fri, 28 Feb 2003 19:17:47


My advise on becoming a full time woodturner is when you get the
feeling, go into a dark room and put a black bag over your head and
wait for the feeling to pass.Then get on with your real job that pays
the bills.Having said this I have always told my sons that if you get
up in the morning and don't want to go to work CHANGE YOUR JOB. I had
been turning for some 20 years as a hobby, but I did this 7 years ago
and I have not regreted it, but it is ***y hard work.

In the beggining I was making over 1000 bowls plus all the other stuff
fruit vases etc a year. Over here in the UK finding markets was the
hardest job, over in the states it might be easer as you seem to have
a different attitude to turning and you do have a lot of chimney pots
as my old dad use to say .Also there is the health risk,DUST is a
major factor. Although you can take precautions against dust it still
is  dangerous and  must not be taken lightly when you are mass
producing articles.

Having said all this I would not go back and I now have a wonderfull
life as Steve says I teach demonstrate and write and sell my tools,
but I still get a real buss from cutting up a tree in somebodys garden
and producing what I like to think is a work of art that somebody
wants to buy.Oh  By the way I do now earn a reasonable living.
Dave Reeks  

Quote:

> Perhaps a better question (to ask yourself) is ... how much would I need to
> earn?
> Then look at what type of woodturning you can do well, and where it will
> sell.
> If you are a spindle turner, perhaps architectural reproduction. If you are
> a faceplate turner, bowls. But think about where you can sell your
> merchandise and perhaps a multiyear plan on how to get there.
> I have long thought about doing woodturning for a living, but the lifestyle
> I have become accustom to, and two college tuition bills in the upcoming
> years, means I stick at what I am doing (computer guy) or struggle to
> readjust to a new (economic based) lifestyle.
> Don't get me wrong, but if you make $30k today in your real job, it will be
> several years probably before you can CLEAR $30K as a woodturner.
> Very few of them do just woodturning though. They write, demonstrate, teach,
> and most aspire to be able to make a living doing art pieces. Alas, they
> usually do production work , at least at first.(or sell sandpaper :) )

> --
> Steve Worcester
> www.turningwood.com
> Better Woodturning through Technology
> (And a hell of alotta practice)



> > I am considering becoming a full time turner and was wondering if you guys
> > could tell me how much you earn on average? I realise it is a personal
> > question but i can't find anywhere what the average earnings are and your
> > answers would be greatly appreciated.

> > Thanks

 
 
 

Full time turning help please

Post by Darrell Feltmat » Fri, 28 Feb 2003 21:02:32


I have worked as a part time turner and still do. I was going to work
full time at turning but a church needed me and persisted and it becomes
a long story so now I am a part-time turner selling in craft markets,
gift shops and galleries. If you want to make money at painting, paint
houses. If you want to make money at turning, turn spindles. I can sell
a lot more kitchen spatulas than bowls and as far as one of a kind fancy
burl pieces, well... I turn mushrooms. Sometimes I turn mushrooms for
three days straight at an average of three to four minutes a mushroom.
The first one was fun. I am not a pen turner but when I get an order I
turn fifty to a hundred. C$15.00 retail for a slim line means you have
to be fif*** minutes from log to finished product. Quality has to be
high. Most of the full timers I know have wives with other jobs. Ken
Bullock seems to do well but he has a lock on a market that provides him
with hundreds of potential customers a day at Kings Landing Historical
Park. He also turns out high quality quickly. There is a big difference
between hobby and full time. If it is your difference, find a market and
go for it.

God bless and safe turning
Darrell Feltmate
Truro, NS, Canada
http://www.FoundCollection.com/~darrellfeltmate

 
 
 

Full time turning help please

Post by George Saridaki » Fri, 28 Feb 2003 22:16:17


Folks,

Some thoughts on this include:
1) Have a spouse who is supportive emotionally as well as financially of
your effort
2) Make a business plan and test it against reality
3) Realize it will take longer to do everything in your business plan than
you originally estimate
4) Buy most of what you need for your business before you quit your day job
and fill a business savings account with more than you think necessary for
those start up items you did not think about and also your operational costs
for the first couple of years
5) Be prepared to seriously undertake full quality control (assessment,
analysis, and improvement) of all your processes (woodturning and all the
rest) because you will need to be able to increase already high quality work
while decreasing production time, and wear multiple hats efficiently at the
variety of tasks it takes to be a successful small business person
6) Realize that you need to develop an understanding about marketing and
develop a realistic marketing plan which includes developing high quality
publicity and marketing collateral
7) Be prepared that you may initially start working at $10/hr (count all the
hours of every aspect of your business) and that it will take both time and
lots of effort to be able to double or triple that

Having pointed out my thoughts, let me say that I don't regret in the least
giving up my hi-tech job of 28 years to follow my dream of working wood and
having my own business.

Good luck with your new venture

George Saridakis / Wood Artisan
559 Chicopee Row
Groton, MA 01450
978-448-2682
978-448-2682 (Fax)
www.saridakis.com


Quote:
> I am considering becoming a full time turner and was wondering if you guys
> could tell me how much you earn on average? I realise it is a personal
> question but i can't find anywhere what the average earnings are and your
> answers would be greatly appreciated.

> Thanks

 
 
 

Full time turning help please

Post by Gene » Sat, 01 Mar 2003 02:10:21


If you look at what George said, it's more about business than making chips.
Get a good foundation in running a small business from where ever you can.
There are a lot of businesses run by talented people that fail each year.

Many of us work 9-5 and think that life would be better if we were our own
boss. Being able to play golf when we wanted, etc. Ask any self employed
person that struck out on their own. They work a lot harder and longer and
get paid LAST.

Will doing it full time, ruin it as a hobby for you? I also enjoy
photography and have run a part time wedding photography business for the
last 35 years. Many people have suggested that I should open a studio and go
full time. I like the idea of not having to shoot a wedding if I don't think
it will be fun....read Bridezella. A friend of mine, a very talented
graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography, tried it full time and loved
the photography, but hated the marketing. Again back to: it's more business
skills then craft skills that make a successful venture.

Gene


Quote:
> Folks,

> Some thoughts on this include:
> 1) Have a spouse who is supportive emotionally as well as financially of
> your effort
> 2) Make a business plan and test it against reality
> 3) Realize it will take longer to do everything in your business plan than
> you originally estimate
> 4) Buy most of what you need for your business before you quit your day
job
> and fill a business savings account with more than you think necessary for
> those start up items you did not think about and also your operational
costs
> for the first couple of years
> 5) Be prepared to seriously undertake full quality control (assessment,
> analysis, and improvement) of all your processes (woodturning and all the
> rest) because you will need to be able to increase already high quality
work
> while decreasing production time, and wear multiple hats efficiently at
the
> variety of tasks it takes to be a successful small business person
> 6) Realize that you need to develop an understanding about marketing and
> develop a realistic marketing plan which includes developing high quality
> publicity and marketing collateral
> 7) Be prepared that you may initially start working at $10/hr (count all
the
> hours of every aspect of your business) and that it will take both time
and
> lots of effort to be able to double or triple that

> Having pointed out my thoughts, let me say that I don't regret in the
least
> giving up my hi-tech job of 28 years to follow my dream of working wood
and
> having my own business.

> Good luck with your new venture

> George Saridakis / Wood Artisan
> 559 Chicopee Row
> Groton, MA 01450
> 978-448-2682
> 978-448-2682 (Fax)
> www.saridakis.com



> > I am considering becoming a full time turner and was wondering if you
guys
> > could tell me how much you earn on average? I realise it is a personal
> > question but i can't find anywhere what the average earnings are and
your
> > answers would be greatly appreciated.

> > Thanks

 
 
 

Full time turning help please

Post by Joe Mora » Sat, 01 Mar 2003 00:43:23


Steve, I was giving him the information I had on the subject.  I don't know
that most full time turners are advertising their annual earnings.  One can
make some assumptions with an hourly rate and how many hours one might
expect to devote to turning and make a reasonable estimate of annual income.

I was trying to contribute the information I had to the thread, I'm not at
all sure what you are trying to contribute.


Quote:
> > I know someone who has been a fulltime woodturner for 20-25 years and
the
> > last time I spoke with him about it he said his "shop rate" was $30 an
> hour.
> > That was a couple of years ago.  Hope that helps.  Joe

>   Yes, but "shop rate" and "earnings" are two entirely different
things....
> I think that the original author was looking to find out how much he made
in
> a year, not how much he'd make in an hour *if* he got work.

> steve

 
 
 

Full time turning help please

Post by Russ Fairfie » Sat, 01 Mar 2003 01:22:45


Good advice from all, but there are a couple of things that I would emphasize.

The business aspects - things like marketing, quality control, productivity,
and location will be more important than your skills as a woodturner.

Do not ignore or underestimate the liabilities and insurance requirements that
will come with your commercial woodturning activity.

Nobody has mentioned location. Woodturning full-time is a messy business.
Besides an analysis of their cost, you will need to know what effect wood
procurement and waste disposal activities will have on your neighbors. Your
backyard can easily take on the appearance of a small sawmill operation. Even
though it may be legal within the zoning restrictions of where you live, do not
underestimate the legal and nuisance problems that can be caused by a neighbor
who doesn't share your love for woodturning, appreciate the sound of your
chainsaw, or the daily traffic that can become a part of the business.  

The real money is in spindle type turning for architectural, restorations, and
custom furniture. These items are small-lot quantities or custom items that
cannot be done on a high-speed automated machine. These are markets that not
all woodturners will have the desire or ability to serve. If you want to turn
bowls, you will have every hobbiest woodturner in the Country competing for the
same market, and at prices that you cannot match.

Whatever route you take, develop the skills, buy the tools, and explore the
markets before leaving your regular job.

Russ Fairfield
Post Falls, Idaho
Russ Fairfield
Post Falls, Idaho

 
 
 

Full time turning help please

Post by MadeOfWoo » Sat, 01 Mar 2003 01:53:25


Thanks you have all been very helpful. I realise that it is very hard woork
but didn't realise the huge difference in peoples earnings. I may keep it as
a hobby but doing it as a job would be a dream.

Any other advice would be great. Just wish i could find a web page that gave
the average money earned by a turner!

 
 
 

Full time turning help please

Post by Peter Charles Fa » Sat, 01 Mar 2003 03:51:24


Full time woodturning is a minefield!  I have been trying for the last
2.1/2 years without a great deal of success.  It is not the turning
that is the problem, it is getting the public to buy!  I am assuming
that you are in the UK and wishing to supply galleries, shops, craft
outlets etc etc.  You will work damned hard for little reward.  Mind
you there are many who are willing to help, do not underestimate the
advice and guidance offered by the Inland Revenue, you will need it to
fill out the Self Assessment Tax Forms.

As for the near future you MUST have a business plan.  Mine is for 5
years but the oft used saying is very true "Things do not go according
to plan!"  IF you are fortunate in having a niche in the market you
might just hit it off lucky but I reckon that for the majority of
those who think they can make a living from woodturning the first year
will prove otherwise.  It can be a most rewarding exercise, the
contacts made can be an excellent source of more contacts and
hopefully future sales but it takes time.  If you have savings, hang
on to them as long as possible!  DO NOT invest them in your scheme
until you have proved that there is a market.  Be realistic.

Income is entirely dependent on sales, I cannot survive on the money I
earn from woodturning, I now have a part time job just to pay for my
food, drink and housekeeping.  I do know of one woodturner who does
survive by only woodturning but he has no other commitments, family,
house and few friends, lives alone in an old caravan in the woods.
Not for me and I guess not for many others!

Do not let me put you off trying.  Go for it, you might never get the
chance again.  The rewards are unaccountable, but money wise, plan,
plan and plan again!

 
 
 

Full time turning help please

Post by Al Kyd » Sat, 01 Mar 2003 05:34:58


Quote:

> I am considering becoming a full time turner and was wondering if you guys
> could tell me how much you earn on average? I realise it is a personal
> question but i can't find anywhere what the average earnings are and your
> answers would be greatly appreciated.

> Thanks

Good luck MOW. I've been turning for a living for almost two decades
now. It was tough at first but now I make a good living. Nobody else
seems to have the nerve to answer your question fully so I will bite
the bullet and give you hard numbers. Last year I cleared 3.7 million
dollars. Thats right, I said 3.7 MILLION!!! I would have broke 4 if I
had not made that trip to Africa to do missionary work. Boy that was a
flop. I'll never do that again.

Now some of you may question these numbers and granted it is probably
consideraby more than lesser turners like say Jordan,Ellsworth,or that
Godless Nish charachter make,but they are accurate. They have been
verified by the accounting firm of Flatt & Scruggs.

If any of you wish to learn my secrets feel free to contact me
privately and I can send you information on ordering my series of
audio tapes that will enable you to become an internationally
respected and well paid artist like myself. Without my secrets most of
you will be destined to failure I'm afraid.
Al Kyder

 
 
 

Full time turning help please

Post by Mark Hancoc » Sat, 01 Mar 2003 07:02:16


Dave

"In the beginning I was making over 1000 bowls plus all the other stuff
fruit vases etc a year..."
Sounds like hard work <G> - what number you up to now?

--
Mark Hancock
South Wales, UK
http://www.markhancock.co.uk