There are some professions that it seems will never see a drop in demand. Carpenters and joiners are among those and anyone with skills in this area who might be thinking of starting their own business could do far worse than putting those valuable skills to use. Starting a home-based carpentry business can be an appealing option with low overhead, no shortage of work and low stress.

There are some professions that it seems will never see a drop in demand. Carpenters and joiners are among those and anyone with skills in this area who might be thinking of starting their own business could do far worse than putting those valuable skills to use. Starting a home-based carpentry business can be an appealing option with low overhead, no shortage of work and low stress.

Carpenters and joiners make and install the wooden fixtures and fittings found in household and commercial construction projects. These include floorboards, kitchen and bathroom units, window frames and doors, etc.

Carpentry jobs are divided into two areas: structural or detail. Structural work is framework or roofing or other construction that becomes the skeleton of the building. Detail covers the more intricate work, such as cornicing and fitting staircases, dado rails, and skirting boards.

If you’re thinking of starting a carpentry business, the likelihood is that you will already have a professional qualification such as a City & Guilds in the required doctrines. Having a relevant qualification proves to customers that you have the right skills to do the job properly, plus you may be confident that your qualification is respected within your own industry.

Lack of training would result in low quality final output and this would significantly affect the competitiveness of your products in the market place. Therefore, if you are an individual with lack of knowledge and training, it would be a very good idea a follow a course on carpentry before you enter the business. A technical college would be the ideal place for training and education.

You might also be able to get into this line of work through an Apprenticeship scheme. To be eligible, you may need GCSEs in subjects such as maths, English and design and technology, or vocational qualifications such as a BTEC Certificate or Diploma in Construction (carpentry options).

Of course, if you’re an artisan and your chosen career is something creative, such as the intricate design and manufacture of furniture, then it may be possible that a formal qualification may not be necessary – the quality of your work will secure both interest and new commissions. However, it is important to ensure that the quality of your work is up to scratch. No matter how beautifully crafted, news of a bespoke chair or table whose leg has fallen off will travel quickly and lose you valuable future business.

As a joiner or carpenter, work may also fall into one or more of the following areas:

  • First fixing (site work) – fitting the wooden structures, such as floor and roof joists, roof timbers, staircases, partition walls, and door and window frames
  • Second fixing (site work) – installing skirting boards, door surrounds, doors, cupboards and shelving, as well as door handles and locks
  • Machining – cutting timber for floorboards, skirting boards and window frames
  • Bench joinery – making and assembling doors, window frames, staircases and fitted furniture
  • Shopfitting – making and fitting interiors for shops, hotels, banks, offices and public buildings.
You could be skilled in all of these or you may want to specialise in just one or two.