For everyone out there I’m just wondering, if you knew then what you know now, would you have opened a cabinet shop? I used to make a lot of money installing, then I had a great idea open a cabinet shop. Five years later I am in debt from feeding the beast. I keep telling myself I will catch as soon as I finish the next job. Should I wise up and call it quits or keep feeding the beast? I could go on but I wanted to hear from someone else who has gone through or is going through the same thing.
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor D:
Yes, I would do it all over again - no question. But I would start sooner, smarter and be more prepared to do the business side - especially if I could know what I now know.
If you have been at it for 5 years, feel it is a struggle, and see no rainbow, then you should step aside. Why you haven't consulted a CPA (or a different one), other business professionals, or even done the search on this topic here at WOODWEB, I don't know. But the fact that you are where you were 5 years ago tells me you have no plan, and have no plan on putting a plan together. Perhaps it is time for an exit plan.
There have been several - many - good threads on just this topic here at WOODWEB, so I won't rehash that info. Look it up, see what you need to do, and make a plan. If that is too much to do, or it is too late, then it is time for a graceful exit.
Now is not the time to quit. Now is the time to buckle down and examine your costs and production methods. It’s not always easy to see what jobs you actually made money on and which ones you have lost on. Get with a CPA they can help define this.
I would do it all over again in a instant in spite of all the occasional problems. But I would have started my own shop sooner. Your statement about feeding the beast and getting caught up after the next job tend to make me think you are slightly under pricing your work/and or time.
I am not a big fan of business plans (just wishful thinking to me). Plans change all the time, so what’s the point? I am one who believes you should set reasonable attainable goals. Goals you are confident about being able to meet.
The fact that you are still in business after 5 years means, unless you borrowed to stay in business, you made enough money to survive. You'll do more than survive if you tough it out a little longer and get with a professional who can help you get a clear picture of what you are not quite doing. Once you do that you will know what to tweak to get you beyond surviving.
Installer plus: Low investment in tools. Very low overhead (just need a van and some insurance). You have flexible hours and good pay if you are competent and quick.
Installer minus: If you take a day off, then no money is coming in. You still have to deal with angry homeowners. If the job wasn't built or measured properly, the never ending return trips begin.
Cabinet shop plus: You are building a business. You control your own destiny. You answer to no one if you chose not to. If you have good employees you can take time off and still have money coming in. You can sell the business. The above reasons are good enough for me.
Cabinet shop minus: High initial machinery expenses and high overhead. You’ll also have the occasional angry client and long hours.
I've been at this for 7 years now (am 34 yrs old). The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter every day. I just bought the building we're in - 5k square feet. I just paid off the edgebander and leased a new slider and I will be buying line boring equipment within 6 months.
Aside from the lease and the mortgage, haven't borrowed a dime and bought my tools as I went. Every day I look for ways to improve what we do. I want better quality, faster than I did it yesterday. I'm excited about where I'll be in 5 or 20 years. I wish everyone who posted here felt the same.