Career advice

Discussion in 'Carpenters' Talk' started by Dayro, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. Dayro

    Dayro New Member

    afternoon guys iv been working and bench joiner/cnc operator for the past 3 years and the company i was working for has since shut down and am thinking of going the self employed route, I’m comfortable with working on own and have all my own tools but i was just woundering what are ur guys bread and butter jobs? And where’s best to find these jobs also is it worth going to an agency or just finding the clients myself? If fitted a couple kitchens, doors and studwalls off my own back but not much other experience outside of the workshop. I just don’t know what to expect any advice guys?
  2. AlvyChippy

    AlvyChippy Active Member

    Pain in the back side SE, pain is to work for some commercialists clueless people too...
    Easiest bit is to be joiner, harder next bit is to be carpenter and most annoying and hard mentally work is to run own business.
    (Will expand on my views and experiences once home) ;)
  3. Dayro

    Dayro New Member

    I’d really appreciate that Alvy and do you know anywhere I could look for some good information on this topic :)? I thought running the business would be the fun part ;D though I don’t understand how tax works.... it’s a confusing world mate :)
  4. Mr. Handyandy

    Mr. Handyandy Screwfix Select

    Drag a mattress behind ya, so you'll always have something to fall back on!

    Mr. HandyAndy - Really
  5. Astramax

    Astramax Well-Known Member

    Don't worry about understanding how tax works, HMRC knows everything!
    That's what accountants are for.
  6. joinerjohn1

    joinerjohn1 Screwfix Select

    If only they did. :D:D:D:D:D:D
  7. Dayro

    Dayro New Member

    What about getting the work in the first place :p? And what type of work is most common
  8. AlvyChippy

    AlvyChippy Active Member

    (hate typing on a phone ;) )
    all above posts should be giving you idea, what experienced tradesmen thoughts are.

    As I said earlier:
    Being SE- "business" is nightmare due to tax man issues, unreliable dealings, endless paperwork; accountants- greedy-lazy fiddlers, refusing to be sensible and all and everyone all they want- FREE money

    Getting right jobs, pricing them, foreseeing all of the inevitable pitfalls, managing costs (or absorbing them), getting fair pay on time- takes years not just skill, but intuition and luck TBH.

    Contacts with other trades- paramount importance as these days, apart from needing to be covered by all of the Public Liability insurance, H&SE directives, Local legal planning regulations, adhering to impossible seems at the times is hard work, especially, when you'll end up needing way above your knowledge IE Plumbing and electric installation warranties and regulations, safety tickets etc...

    As said earlier< joiner- , just read the drawings, know your materials, have the skills required- make the product-pleasure TBH
    < carpenter all of the fitting backward calculations of most of the things, seeing ahead of all pitfalls and complications, having responsibility of your labour to be in a frame of completion expectations and often you'll learn there are well known issues, that smarter ones are trying to pass over to you to resolve for free... IE had to finish few rafters, boxings on a roof, that roofing company has been kicked off (3 days work , no???)- vualia, steels are twisted (unparalleled, not level), windows to the roof-line fitted to the line of ground work and suddenly I'm sweating for a week with what's been said to be "just finish that bit" 14 rafters, Gable end ans plastic fascia and soffit boxings. Once finished, site agent, the one that was moaning "it's taking you bit long", turns out knew the problems already, hence he's refusal to pay extra to roofers caused them leaving, now is very happy with minimal extra costs for labour and material, considering steel fitting firm already long ago paid and gone... grr

    all above considered, you should learn the trade inside-out intricacies working for somebody decent, before even considering "fun of running business"
    No offence, just honest advice fella ;)
    kitfit1 likes this.
  9. Dayro

    Dayro New Member

    Thanks for all the input guys and no offence taken alv and i didn’t intend for it to look like I’m just in it for fun I just meant that I’d also enjoy that side of it, what kinds of jobs did you do a lot of in your first year of business alv? I understand it’s a great undertaking to go self employed I’m just looking for the input of others and experiences to decide which route to take career wise
  10. AlvyChippy

    AlvyChippy Active Member

    The way tax system set up is, you'll have to be SE (90% of work is that way), although most likely will find yourself working for somebody 90% of the time.
    Inevitable, I believe.

    I started as apprentice over 20 years ago and very soon the aspects I explained earlier.
  11. sospan

    sospan Well-Known Member

    Your location will influence your decisions - down here in West & South Wales carpenter jobs are being advertised for between £12 - £14 an hour, Shuttering carpenters £19 to £20. So around £100 - £150 a day. You may get that from a private customer to fit or fix a few bits and pieces. Smaller jobs customers are pretty good at paying it is when you start doing larger projects, some customers can be difficult and reluctant to pay the full price - if it all.

    There is plenty of advice out on there on starting a business and an accountant will tell you what you need to know and do about tax, national insurance etc.

    It is a big step whether to go by yourself or find another employer and wish you all the best
  12. Bob Rathbone

    Bob Rathbone Well-Known Member

    As Sospan observed, it's cold outside, self employment is not the easy route. Why not build on your CNC knowledge, that surely is in demand, think outside the box, think any CNC not just wood.
  13. sospan

    sospan Well-Known Member

    Interesting just searched for commercial CNC Timber cutting in my area, absolutely nothing. Maybe there is an opportunity in your area especially servicing your old companies previous customers
  14. AlvyChippy

    AlvyChippy Active Member

    I keep on rambling as how many good joinery workshops closed, as most these days items are mass produced in factories when even bigger workshops (IE one in Cranleigh), that had all sorts, including CNC machining also gone, as it is impossible to remain competitive and productive these days.

    Myself, I do enjoy "real carpentry"- joinery tasks, but have to admit, those are lesser and lesser to come by, as happens end up doing carpentry for month's in the end, without any real wood in hand. IE most mouldings are MDF, doors/windows are ready made and finished even before fitting, kitchens these days 90% any wood free, floors are either carpet or any other "timber imitation" material and so on.

    Makes me wander sometimes, if Carpentry (Joinery) as trade is going to disappear altogether?
    Jord86 and WillyEckerslike like this.
  15. sospan

    sospan Well-Known Member

    Certainly seems like it.

    When I saw that shuttering carpenters in my area get £5 more an hour than regular carpenters, I was quite shocked. Shuttering carpentry always used to be the "rough" end of woodworking.

    It is just like one of the jobs I am doing for myself - renovating some 1970's-80s hardwood windows in a cottage. I removed the window and boarded it up and then It must have taken me 5 days to clean it up, patch and recut the depth for double glazed units. Then coat with timber preservative and many coats of paint . Add on the cost of getting 12 panes of double glazing and then cutting the moulding to hold them in, putty, etc then refIt. As a chargeable job it would be well over £1,200 a window and I could probably get a UPVC unit for half the price. Quite often it isn't practical for home owners to pay for a good job even though it is more aesthetically pleasing.
    AlvyChippy likes this.
  16. chippie244

    chippie244 Well-Known Member

    Putty with D/G :eek::eek:
  17. sospan

    sospan Well-Known Member

    After spending days and days removing whatever they used for putty on the first window - resisted heat, chisels, multi tool blades. I never want to see the stuff again!

    I going to use a new synthetic version - can't remember its name. This is used behind the moulding with some butyl tape to make a watertight seal. Apparently it is much better than silicone and will withstand the wind, rain and sun down here on the coast.
  18. chippie244

    chippie244 Well-Known Member

    Linseed oil in putty eats D/G seals.
  19. sospan

    sospan Well-Known Member

  20. chippie244

    chippie244 Well-Known Member

    Good stuff.

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