How to Find a Profitable Woodworking Niche

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Tired of making things for everyone? You make wooden toys for kids, racks and kitchen accessories for housewives, and also garage storage cabinets for husbands. Why don’t you find a profitable woodworking niche, and simplify your woodworking business? As we will see, a niche can also help your woodworking business in many ways.

1. What is a Woodworking Niche?

So, what is a Woodworking Niche? Is it a tree with a section carved out of it? No. Here’s the best description of a niche market I’ve seen:

A small but profitable segment of a market suitable for focused attention by a marketer. Market niches do not exist by themselves but are created by identifying needs or wants that are not being addressed by competitors, and by offering products that satisfy them.BusinessDictionary

Looking at the entire Woodworking market, one segment could be Tables, another could be Bookcases, while a third could be Wooden Signs. Actually, a person could even specialize further, and deal just with Coffee Tables, or Early American Coffee Tables, and so on.

2. Examples of Niche Areas

What are some Woodworking Niche areas? Certainly, there are many segments of the Woodworking market. Below are some of them:

Adirondack Table

This is made of individual slats and is finished for outdoor and patio use. The table is similar in appearance to the Adirondack chair.

Baby Changing Table

Actually, numerous nursery accessories and child items are made of wood. They could make great projects.

Dining Table

This might involve gluing pieces together and require the use of a jointer-planer power tool. If you have one, this could be a wonderful project.

Picnic Table

This might be easier to produce that the dining table above. For one thing, you would avoid gluing the boards together. Instead, the boards would be fastened with carriage bolts. The piece would have to withstand the outdoors. For that reason, you would need to finish it with polyurethane or some similar material. Wooden cabinets or Tables would take more time, with an increased number of cuts, joints, and intricate details.

Computer Desk

Mobile devices are becoming increasingly popular. However, many people still use Desktop computers. So, there is still a need for these items.

Easel for Desk

This is an Easel that fits on a desktop.

Many other segments of the Woodworking market exist. You can find others by extracting Data from Amazon and Ebay as shown in the earlier post.

3. Should you find a Woodworking Niche?

When you choose a niche, you only focus on a small segment of the market. So, you’re missing all of the sales for the other products you’re not selling, right? Not really. It’s important to think about the competition you face.

Imagine that you are one of many people in a large crowd. Let’s say that all the people are trying to sell woodworking crafts. You blend into the enormous crowd of vendors.

This is a large crowd. Think of them as vendors selling Wooden Products. How will you stand out of the crowd? How will people notice you?

Suppose a customer wanted to buy these things. Would the customer even know that you exist? What are the chances that he/she would buy from you, rather than another vendor in the crowd?

Now,  suppose that you specialized in Early American Coffee tables, for example. First, there would be fewer customers looking in that segment of the market.  Since fewer people were looking for that type of table, the sales would be less, right?

Not really. There would be a much smaller “crowd” producing Early American Coffee Tables. So, your business would be much more visible and you would not be “lost in the crowd”, like you are in the picture above.

There is even a possibility that you might become “well known” as one of the only businesses producing some rare type of item or specialized table.

You don’t want to be so “specialized” that your niche is overly small. You can certainly reach a point where there just aren’t enough people interested in buying your product. Your niche should be small enough that the “crowd” of competition is greatly reduced. However, you need to make it large enough so that you have enough people wanting to buy your product.

Here are some other reasons to find a niche:

Better Idea of Audience

Once you establish the type of item or items you’re selling, you’ll be able to get a better idea of your audience. Instead of making “something for everyone”, you can focus in on the type of people who are buying your item. After all, you’re attempting to produce something that they want, need, and will buy. To be most effective, you need to know your audience and customer. If the customer has to wait, or shipping is difficult, the customer may go elsewhere.

Fewer Supplies

You might end up needing fewer supplies. Here is an example to see what I mean: Suppose you were producing many types of tables, rather than specializing. Say you were making Modern ones, as well as Early American. The Modern ones might be made with hardwood surfaces. That sort of wood could be expensive, and it would be more costly to maintain your inventory. However, if you only made Early American items, you might be able to get by with just pine.

Less time for Set Up and Clean Up

It might take less time to set up and clean up your production environment. When you reduce the types of items you produce, you can reduce the numbers of clamps, patterns, and templates you’ll need. Because there are fewer of them, you’ll spend less time cleaning up and more time producing items to sell. All of this is more satisfying and leads to higher profitability.

Fewer Tools

You might need to use and buy fewer tools. Let’s say that you’re producing wooden signs with stenciled, customized messages. Then, there would be no need to obtain a router. This might be important, since a router is an expensive and dangerous and power tool.

Satisfy Customer

By making a good product and satisfying the customer, you can increase overall customer loyalty and interest. This can result in greater profitability. Also, there may be less of a need to make the niche small to reduce overall competition. Make sure that customer questions and inquiries are answered.

Your Interests

Do you really want to make this item? If so, the job will be easier. Some of this interest and excitement may be noticed by the customer. This may result in greater customer involvement and trust. As a result, you could make more money.

Available Tools

What tools do you have? Some Woodworking projects require certain tools, while others require different ones. For example, you might need to glue boards together to make a cabinet. This, in turn, might require a jointer-planer or similar power tool. A hand plane would really be much slower.

Customers might want more of one product than another. One way of checking this is described in the next section.

4. Find a Profitable Niche

We have seen that many factors can affect the amount of money you can make.

You can use the free Google Trends Application to check on customer interest. Google Trends allows you to check on the “interest” for particular terms. You can see how this varies over time: Is the “interest” increasing, or is it decreasing?

First, bring up Google Trends. Enter Wooden  Signs into the search field and press ENTER to start the search.

Main Google Trends screen. Wooden Signs has been typed as search term. Press ENTER on keyboard to start the search.

This will bring up a screen showing how the “interest” in Wooden Signs varies over time.

So the next natural question is this: How do they measure “interest”? Actually, this is done by measuring the number of searches for that term and noting how it varies over time.

Hmmm. Does this let us know how profitable a Wooden Signs niche is?

Possibly.  Here’s one way of looking at it:

  1. Interest or number if searches is not the same thing as money made in sales.
  2. However, we are assuming that increased interest “roughly translates” into increased sales.
  3. The more interest, the more sales, and the more profitable the niche is.

You might want to set the time period drop-down list box to Past 5 Years. This should help you see the trend over the last few years more easily. You can see that more and more people have been looking for Wooden Signs as time goes on.

The Interest in Wooden Signs over the Past 5 years.

You can get an idea of changes in interest. However, it would be good to compare one segment of the market to another. To do this, press + Compare. This lets you type in a comparison term, such as Wooden Cabinets. Repeat this for a third term, such as Wooden Bookcases.

This shows a comparison of the searches for three segments of the Woodworking market over the Past 5 years. There are more searches for Wooden Signs than Wooden Cabinets, and more for Wooden Cabinets than Wooden Bookcases.

You can see that many more people are looking for Wooden Cabinets than Wooden Signs. Also there are more people searching for Wooden Signs than are looking for Wooden Bookcases. The graph shows that there seem to be more searches around December of each year. To get a better idea of this, change the time period drop-down list box to Past 12 months. Then, move the mouse to the top of the Wooden Sign peak. That will open a box telling you the relative amounts of the searches. It will also list the date range for that part of the graph.

Comparison of search trends for the three woodworking market segments over the Past 12 months. Putting the mouse cursor on the peak reveals the Interest Detail Box.

The example in the diagram shows that the peak occurred on Nov 26 – Dec 2. Possibly, there were more searches during that time because of holiday shopping. Also, for every 100 Wooden sign searches, there were 32 wooden cabinets searches and 2 Wooden Bookcases searches.

So, the graph suggests that Wooden Signs would be a more profitable niche. However, the Google Trends analysis “should be taken with a grain of salt”. For one thing, “interest” can be higher than it should be if you do not make all the types of Wooden Signs.  That is, some of the searches may be for ones that you aren’t manufacturing.

Also, you must want to produce the signs. If not, the niche will probably not be profitable for you, despite a favorable graph. That is, niche selection is highly personal. You should not place too much importance on a graph.

Examples of other factors to consider are:

  • How long does it take you to produce a sign?
  • How much do you make per sign?
  • The same questions about cabinets, bookcases, etc.

Conclusion

In this article, we showed how to find a money-making woodworking niche. Also, we mentioned high paying projects to build. We showed how Google Trends can be used to give an idea of niche profitability. However, we cautioned that there are really many factors to consider and that the tool, by itself, cannot tell you if the niche will work out. Instead, it offers potentially helpful information.

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