Author Topic: should I take my game to the next level????  (Read 6397 times)

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Offline Branham762

  • Posts: 2
should I take my game to the next level????
« on: May 03, 2016, 04:47 PM »
i'm new here and would just like to say hello to everyone. i've been building furniture and cabinets almost all with hidden storage compartments that's my signature i guess for almost 15 years now started as a hobby that turned into a side gig and i'm seriously considering doing it full time now cause let's get real who doesn't wanna do what the love for a living right? I currently work at a lumber company not a big box store a real lumber yard with milling done daily and specialty lumber in stock and it's been great i can spend all day looking though a massive stacks of lumber of almost any species to find exactly the grain pattern i'm looking for. the best part is the prices i get i only have to pay cost which really gives me a great margin for profit i believe in giving a great product at a fair price i'm not greedy and only started selling furniture so i could make more. obliviously if i go full time i'm gonna have to up my production this is where you guys come in are the festools really worth the money? i think we can all agree they cost a pretty penny and to me this is a HUGE investment upgrading my shop for this which if my wife see's how much i'm actually planning on spending i would probably be a dead man . so really the question i'm asking is after owning these tools for a while would you buy them again? i don't feel like they can make my products better i try not to have anything leave my shop that isn't perfect and i achieve this with what i have now i just looking to up my production and still stay precise. just looking for some honest feedback more than what the salesman can tell me they will tell you about anything you want to hear to get you to buy the product and everything looks pretty squared away but surly not everything festool makes is golden even though the price might think differently is there anything i might wanna stay away from? thanks for any replys.

Offline JBag09

  • Posts: 220
Re: should I take my game to the next level????
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2016, 05:04 PM »
I can tell you first hand that my Festools were well worth the money! Not only am I able to get more done in a smaller area but I can do it faster. Looking back, I can't imagine going back to the old way of dados everywhere and lugging full sheets on the table saw. As far as the dust collection, it is simply amazing. Everyone of the sanders I have are awesome, have barely had to clean the shop in 2 years since getting into it. And I've done ALOT more projects since then.
So if your thinking of taking the plunge, you won't regret it. Yes the tools cost more than others, but your buying quality.
Hope this helps. And don't tell your wife this is all my fault {wink}


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Offline Alex

  • Posts: 5754
Re: should I take my game to the next level????
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2016, 05:08 PM »
If you're going to start up something new, something professional, keep your start up cost as low as possible. Starting up a business is a risky affair, don't blow a lot of money on stuff you don't absolutely need. Paying double just to get Festool does not seem like a smart move to me.

Tools from other brands will do the job too. Very few Festools give a real advantage over the competition. Domino joiner comes to mind. The sanders are really nice. But beyond that, hmmm.

Once the money comes flowing in, you can get into the more expensive tools, one by one as needed. It took most people here years to build up their collection.

 

Offline Branham762

  • Posts: 2
Re: should I take my game to the next level????
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2016, 05:29 PM »
i'm not looking to go full tilt boogie all at once i wish i could afford to but just not logical just looking if it was worth the investment over the years ya know i'd really be a dead man if i went all in at once

Offline bobfog

  • Posts: 838
Re: should I take my game to the next level????
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2016, 05:37 PM »
If you're going to start up something new, something professional, keep your start up cost as low as possible. Starting up a business is a risky affair, don't blow a lot of money on stuff you don't absolutely need. Paying double just to get Festool does not seem like a smart move to me.

Tools from other brands will do the job too. Very few Festools give a real advantage over the competition. Domino joiner comes to mind. The sanders are really nice. But beyond that, hmmm.

Once the money comes flowing in, you can get into the more expensive tools, one by one as needed. It took most people here years to build up their collection.

 

I think this is basically all you need to know. I think investing in Festool's along with the premium offerings from a few other manufactures is nice and might make your work a bit more enjoyable and gratifying using the tools. But for a start up business that's got to go from hobby to putting food on the table, I'd be as prudent as possible and not blow a tonne of cash on Festool's straight off the bat. Build your collection tool by tool  over a period of time without adversely affecting your cash flow and reserves for those slow months.

Offline rizzoa13

  • Posts: 585
Re: should I take my game to the next level????
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2016, 08:01 PM »
I come from the camp of buying the best, most efficient tool possible for the job. I typically work on jobs where I do 10-15 different types of work. As a carpenter i may do a tile floor, trim, Spackle and some type of exterior work all in a given day. This is all based off of what needs to be done at any given time to move the project along. That being said I need to be efficient. If I can forsee somethjng making me quicker AND better at the task I'll spend almost any amount.

In regards to going full tilt buying festool? That's not a great plan. You can easily spend too much at once that way. Buy the tools as you need them and it'll justify your purposes and keep you on an even cash flow. There's no sense in dropping your savings or even worse buying stuff on credit all at once. This could be a good plan if you absolutely NEED something. Like a siding installer needs pump jacks or a furniture makers needs a thickness planer. Just upgrading the tools you've already got to festool is not a necessity.

Offline ear3

  • Posts: 3612
Re: should I take my game to the next level????
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2016, 08:07 PM »
Will you be able to use the stationary machines at the lumber yard, or will you have to invest in some of your own?

Just curious where in the country you're located?  Location can be important when it comes to custom woodworking as far as being near places where people have disposable income and/or status anxiety such that you would be able to charge what a good quality handmade piece is really worth.
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Offline mrB

  • Posts: 493
Re: should I take my game to the next level????
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2016, 08:24 PM »
-Track saw is worth every penny (there are worse and possibly better alternatives out there)
-Domino is unique and wonderful, if you need it and can afford it.
-The drills are a luxury if/when you can afford them (centrotec is Key here, but costs a pretty penny on top. Like the drills it's awesome, but only if you feel like treating your self. The cost is high over much of the quality competition)
-The Trion jigsaw is as good a basic jig saw as anything out there. The carvex jigsaw has some awesome features worth looking at (as always largely at extra cost), but it's reputation is up for debate in these parts . .
(know the requirements of blade guide adjustments on festool jigsaws before you make a decision here)
-The routers are pretty nifty with good dust collection and being able to guide them with rails. Also a lot other accessories can be purchased at further cost. In the more basic routing uses and certainly in a table they can be matched by cheaper options.
-Dust Vacuums, festool seem great, reliable and quiet and can stack Systainers on top of them. Cheaper options work also.
-MFT is amazing! Again if you buy all the the bits. . .


If you need to understand festool tools better, YouTube is often your friend.

I buy festool mostly, but only when I need it and if I can afford it. Cheaper tools can normally make do, but it's often less easy and fun.

I design and build all sorts from furniture to theatre sets to kitchens and tree houses professionally for over 10 years. I love festool, but be clever and buy only what you need when you need it.
there's nothing like the right tool for the job

Offline mrB

  • Posts: 493
Re: should I take my game to the next level????
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2016, 08:28 PM »
Ha ha. Edward makes a wonderful business point. .
there's nothing like the right tool for the job

Offline TSO Products

  • Retailer
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  • Posts: 653
    • TSO Products
Re: should I take my game to the next level????
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2016, 08:46 PM »
Branham,
I can only agree with the general theme of the advice above in regards to tool selection and buying.
You have shown you can build furniture people like well enough to pay you for it. Very satisfying for you.

One suggestion I would add though:
Demonstrate to yourself that you are capable of learning the BUSINESS of making furniture.
What if you tested the market by raising your prices to a level approaching what you would need to make a living?

Ask some of your recent customers what other cabinetry sources they had considered and what that would have cost them.

I would also suggest you subscribe to FDM Magazine - Furniture Design and Manufacturing. A lot of BUSINESS information in there. You might dig into their annual pricing survey helpful, too.  Look under their SMALL SHOP section.
http://www.fdmcdigital.com/small-shop/pricing-survey.aspx

Also look into networking and learning the BUSINESS through the Cabinet Makers Association http://www.cabinetmakers.org/contact-us.html

You can do it - keep asking questions!
TSOproducts.com

Home of the GRS-16 and GRS-16 PE Guide Rail Squares -  the MTR-18 Triangle and Work Holding solutions

Offline Steve-Rice

  • Posts: 291
Re: should I take my game to the next level????
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2016, 10:16 PM »
Branham,

It appears there's some very sound business advice given in this thread.  Concentrate on saving your money.  Most business advisors will say you should have enough capital to support yourself for at least 6 months with no additional income when starting a new business. Take that to heart before plunging into expensive new tool purchases. 

As far as Festool tools are concerned, with the exception of the Domino, there are less expensive alternatives that will get the job done for you. I love my $500 ETS EC sander, but I sanded many projects quite successfully with a $69 DeWalt, prior to that Festool purchase. Be smart, stash your cash until your business is making a steady profit, then think about possible tool upgrades.

Just my two cents.

Wishing you the best of luck in this new exciting venture,

Steve

Offline Nigel

  • Posts: 641
Re: should I take my game to the next level????
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2016, 03:32 AM »
Seems you are already successful selling your product. I would start with two core tools and go from there. The track saw and a sander. Festool tracksaws have a riving knife which I reckon you need for solid timber some of the other makes don't. If I was to choose between the 75 and 55 now I would go 75 as the old 55 is a bit under powered. As for a sander the Rotex sanders are the best you can get . There might be a better sander in the Festool lineup for furniture making though depending on the level of finish you require. You would also need to get an extractor so three core tools really - again Festools are the best and in my opinion outclass anything else. If you decided to add a fourth tool at some stage the domino machines are obvious choices if you need  m+t capability. So basically I reckon the saws, sanders and extractors are where you gain most in efficiency over the competition albeit at a price. Good luck!

Offline Holmz

  • Posts: 4010
Re: should I take my game to the next level????
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2016, 03:55 AM »
I guess it depends on what tools you need?
I would assume you may need a table saw rather than a plunge saw.

You must have been making this stuff for the last 15 years with something??
Is that equipment available?
Or what do you really need?

Festool is in general a safe bet.
However there are a bunch of quality tools that one spend money on. (I have a couple of Lamello tools, the Mirka DEROS, and some Mafells.)
I can easily come up with particular cases where one tool is obviously the best choice, but between a Domino, and some of the other options there are at least 3-4 ways to accomplish most of the common tasks.

And if one adds in chisels and hand made joints, it is easy get a whole other set of complexity in tool decisions.

I'd be interested to see some picture of example pieces...

You could kick yourself for leaving, or kick yourself later for not trying it on your own.
It is probably easiest/safest to stay where you are build up more of a shop and client base.
That means 1-1/2+ jobs of work...

Offline Tim Raleigh

  • Posts: 3542
    • Oakville Cabinetry
Re: should I take my game to the next level????
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2016, 09:47 AM »
i'm new here and would just like to say hello to everyone.

Hey Branham762

Your post contains poses a lot of statements and questions. Some are related some not.
Here is what I think you are asking:

1)Should I quite my job and move woodworking hobby to a full time business?

2)If I do start a woodworking business can the use of Festools improve the efficiency, quality and rate of production.

i've been building furniture and cabinets almost all with hidden storage compartments that's my signature i guess for almost 15 years now started as a hobby that turned into a side gig and i'm seriously considering doing it full time now cause let's get real who doesn't wanna do what the love for a living right?

Running any business is more than a full time job. For some people what they started out of love turns into more work than they planned for. While it helps to like what you are doing particularly when you start out, starting a business because you "love" it isn't a good reason.

obliviously if i go full time i'm gonna have to up my production
Not necessarily. You could raise prices, selling at higher prices allows you to keep overhead, and cash flow at current rates and helps you focus on finding customers (marketing) to pay the higher price. Higher production means more raw material inventory, more overhead, employees and generally higher operating costs. Yes you have more customers but getting there can bankrupt you unless you are properly capitalized.

This is where you guys come in are the festools really worth the money?
Yes, but they won't solve what seems to be your more important issues like pricing and marketing.

i think we can all agree they cost a pretty penny and to me this is a HUGE investment upgrading my shop for this which if my wife see's how much i'm actually planning on spending i would probably be a dead man .
It sounds like your relationship with your wife is important as it should be. If you have a family depending on you for your salary, keep your job and spend time with them. Buying tools that will puts financial stress on you and the family and then working harder to pay for them is not a good idea. Starting a business is a sacrifice, unless everyone buys in you are headed for a lot of heartache.

So really the question i'm asking is after owning these tools for a while would you buy them again?
Yes.

i don't feel like they can make my products better i try not to have anything leave my shop that isn't perfect and i achieve this with what i have now i just looking to up my production and still stay precise.
These tools will not increase production. If used properly they will help you increase the quality of your work. You need to look at your work flow, raw material costs, overhead, staffing etc. and figure out what machines will help you increase production to meet demand. Of course there is the practical issue of who will buy your furniture so marketing will be an additional cost.

Hopefully that helps.
Tim


Offline scary

  • Posts: 27
Re: should I take my game to the next level????
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2016, 12:00 AM »
Save you marriage.Get a business account.
I never would have made it 22 years...in business and marriage if my wife was looking over my shoulder all the time.
Do side work until you can take the leap to full time. Get hooked up with young designers or contractors who need to pad out their portfolio,too. Bust ,work weekends and nights,take chances,lose sleep, have fun!

Offline Pnw painter

  • Posts: 176
Re: should I take my game to the next level????
« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2016, 04:54 AM »
If you want to take your game to the next level then you need to focus on developing your business.

How can I improve production rates. How can I accurately estimate projects? How do I market my company?

Owning a business can be a lot of fun, but the first few years can be difficult as your business evolves and you develop processes for running your business.

Learn from your mistakes and constantly strive to improve every aspect of your business.


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Offline JimD

  • Posts: 350
Re: should I take my game to the next level????
« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2016, 09:02 AM »
I think the advice so far is sound and I will just comment on which Festools may be worthwhile, when you have a need (all in my opinion of course).  The quick version is the Domino is unique and looks like a significantly faster way to make mortise and tenon joints.  The other tools are nice but unless they do something you can't do otherwise, they won't be quicker than the better tools of other brands (that are cheaper).

The Rotex sanders with their extra mode will speed things up but Bosch has one with that capability now too - and it is around half as much.  But Bosch only has the big one, Festool also has a little one.  So if you need a smaller sander that will sand more quickly...

In track saws the extra depth of the 75 Festool could make it worthwhile if you need it.  I have a DeWalt which does what I need it to.  There are more accessories for the Festool but DeWalt offers a router attachment for their tracks and I made my own parallel jig and like my simpler track setting jig better.  So I see nothing Festools saw would add for me but your needs could be different.

In jigsaws, most people believe Bosch makes the best and it is cheaper. 

Cordless drills I don't think Festools would add anything other than a nicer feel for me. 

The Festool vacs are quieter and pull harder than most but the Fein are rated a little better and are  little cheaoer.  I believe a cyclone and HEPA filter are more important than loudness or extreme pulling power so I use a Rigid with dust deputy, quasi HEPA filter, and auto-on switch (that handles 15A unlike the Fein and Festool vacuum switches). 

I buy tools when they do something I need to do.  I buy the tool to do the job, not caring if they are top of the line.  But I don't want to buy multiple times so quality is important. 
« Last Edit: June 26, 2016, 02:38 PM by JimD »

Offline HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 819
Re: should I take my game to the next level????
« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2016, 09:56 AM »
I have a domino because it does things no other tool can do well in so little time.

I have a dust extractor that started out to be for the domino, but I decided to add a sander to the dust extractor for safety.  Safety issues can turn into time issues if you're not careful, and I have some history of dust-related sinus infections.  Every time I've done a drywall project, I've gotten a sinus infection, so I don't do drywall finishing any more.  If I had any passion around doing drywall, maybe I'd get the Planex + auto-clean vac, but that would be like paying big bucks to have someone put bamboo shoots under my fingernails.

Offline mkasdin

  • Posts: 121
Re: should I take my game to the next level????
« Reply #18 on: June 28, 2016, 12:35 AM »
I have no regrets about the few festool purchases I have made. These are tools so I can depreciate the tools over 5 years for my business.

Just start with a few tools and go from there. I thus far have purchased the midi vac, ro-150 and a txs drill. I'm intending to purchase the track saw soon but it's currently on hold along with the domino and MFT-3 table.

Most of my other tools are an assortment of yellow, red and blue.

Offline cubevandude

  • Posts: 37
Re: should I take my game to the next level????
« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2018, 09:36 AM »
i've been building furniture and cabinets almost all with hidden storage compartments that's my signature i guess for almost 15 years now started as a hobby that turned into a side gig and i'm seriously considering doing it full time now cause let's get real who doesn't wanna do what the love for a living right? I currently work at a lumber company not a big box store a real lumber yard with milling done daily and specialty lumber in stock and it's been great i can spend all day looking though a massive stacks of lumber of almost any species to find exactly the grain pattern i'm looking for. the best part is the prices i get i only have to pay cost which really gives me a great margin for profit i believe in giving a great product at a fair price i'm not greedy and only started selling furniture so i could make more. obliviously if i go full time i'm gonna have to up my production this is where you guys come in are the festools really worth the money?
Did you take the leap?  Sounds to me like you should keep this as something you can do for enjoyment.  If you go full time you probably won't get the lumber at cost as you won't be working there anymore, and if that is where you think your profit advantage is, then you're thinking is not right.  If you need tools with dust collection, Festool would be a viable option, but you will have to look at focusing on maximizing your income levels and that might just knock you out of your own market.  A man is paid for his labour and if he is paying himself properly, he has no profit, the  compensation for his labour just goes up.

Offline Cincinnati

  • Posts: 51
Re: should I take my game to the next level????
« Reply #20 on: December 27, 2018, 04:48 PM »
Regretfully, I didn’t have time to read everyone’s counsel before adding mine.  I’ve run a couple of non-woodworking businesses, including a photography studio, so my advice comes from trying to make an undercapitalized business profitable. I’ve seen more people transform a profitable part time business  into a miserable failure than I have make it a successful career.  The common link is in what startup items they choose to invest their available capital costs during the transition/growth phase.

If you’re building and selling items now, you obviously have what it takes to complete the job.  I would keep going and adjust your pricing so you can set aside money for replacement tools or for tools that fill the gap and do something you currently can’t do.  For your business to be viable, it will have to cover all your costs, including tool replacement, your salary, and a profit to grow.  Otherwise you fall into the trap of buying business cards, postage, and tools from the family budget.

To answer one of your concerns, Festool has some tools that shine above the competition in my opinion. - sanders, the Domino, and the track saw. I think there are better choices in a cordless drill, and maybe the jigsaw although I have both. If you can justify their routers, they are well made, precision tools, have little vibration, excellent dust collection, and very little runout. I prefer the 1010 or 1410 for hand held routing. But for a router table I’d go with a Milwaukee 5625-20.

If you can continue your business with what you have that is a wise choice. 
« Last Edit: December 27, 2018, 04:51 PM by Cincinnati »