Carpentry

Startup Costs: $10,000 - $50,000
Franchises Available? Yes
Online Operation? No

THE BRIEF

Carpenters perform customized work in homes and offices, making bookshelves, furniture, flooring and various built-in additions. Often they'll have carpentry shops of their own at home, if local zoning allows, or in a rented space. There, they'll need to invest several thousand dollars into such items as a table saw, joiner, radial arm saw, compound miter saw, bandsaw and more. Those items can be purchased second-hand at auctions and from newspaper and online classifieds.

ASK THE PROS

How much money can you make?

The median pay for carpenters in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was $46,590. Glassdoor's average base pay for carpenters as of June 2019 was higher -- $53,345.

What kind of experience do you need to have?

Though only a high school diploma or GED is required, beginning carpenters who complete internships or work as a carpenter's helper or take shop and drafting classes at a college or trade school will be at an advantage. Unions and commercial contractors are good sources for apprenticeships. Young people must generally be at least 17 or 18 years to undertake such training and may be required to take a pre-apprenticeship course -- the BLS cites the need for about 6,000 hours of practical training over four years' time, along with coursework in safety, blueprint-reading and basic mathematics. An apprenticeship may lead to journey worker status in some cases -- and even an associate's degree.

What's the most important thing to know about this business?

The old saying "Measure twice, cut once" applies here: Customized carpentry is an advanced skill that takes many months, or years, of training and experience, so those going into this line of work need to be sure of what they're choosing. Once that step is taken, the next priority for inexperienced carpenters as to be safety, as the equipment they'll be working with can be dangerous and lead to severe, life-changing injuries.

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