I wasn't planning to make a custom furniture piece. Life happened, I got an offer I couldn't refuse😁.
When I posted on FB marketplace that I can build a custom full-size floor house bed, I got overwhelmed with a response. A lot of people lived further than I was willing to travel so I didn't take their orders.
Then a woman messaged me and asked if I could make her the same bed but in twin size.
I've never made a twin-size bed before so I jumped on the opportunity. After all, I could use that video recording for my YouTube channel. Always a win in my decision making whether to take on the project or not😁
We agreed on the price and I started preparing. I made a plan in sketch up that is available at my store. You can get it here. Full tutorial is also available on my blog.
I asked for a 50% deposit since I think that's a fair trade. She responded immediately and I went ahead and made a trip to buy wood from Home Depot.
I figured it would be easier to precut everything at home and sand it. Since I didn't want to spend too much time at her garage and make it all dirty and covered in sawdust. Plus, I chose a 2x6"s that I had to rip on my table saw. And taking and setting up a table saw somewhere else is a whole new affair.
When the wood was ready I messaged her that I'm ready to assemble. So here are some tips that I learned from my first, and probably the last consignment built.
Tip # 1 - make a list of ALL tools and materials that you might need
Even though I thought I was very organized, when I arrived at the location I quickly realized that I forgot to take the right size screws with me. Oops. I finished most of what I could before getting to the screws and had to drive back home.
Good thing is that this lady lived 15 mins away from me. Bad thing is that I still spent the extra 30 minutes, completely because of my stupidity, driving back and forth.
Tip # 2 - take with you extra wood
Take with you extra wood as well!
That goes without saying that you should check the right measurements of the wood even before you leave. I thought I was correct but turned out I by accident chipped off 1" more from the board. Oops again. So I had to go back and get another board to continue building.
Things happened when you build furniture. You can hope that everything will go the way you want, but it's definitely better to be over-prepared. This way you won't have to make an extra trip in the middle of the project.
The lady was super cool about my trips though, but I wasted too much time on it.
Tip # 3 - discuss all the details and plan before you start building
In my advertisement, I listed a full house bed that I made a while ago. When the customer asked me to make a twin, I made a sketch-up plan and assumed that for twin she'd want it to be shorter than a full size.
I arrived at her place, assembled the bed, and after it was already done, she told me with disappointment that she thought the bed would be taller.
Totally my fault, I should've asked what exactly does she want.
So here is the most important tip - before you even start on the project, make sure you ask in full detail how they want the project to be made. That includes a type of wood, dimensions, plans.
It's better to discuss it all in detail before you actually start building. I couldn't let someone be disappointed in my build so I told her that I'll redo the bed. Even though it meant to disassemble what I already made and pretty much start from the beginning.
Lesson learned the hard way!
Tip # 4 - price your work correctly
When I originally priced the bed, I went lower than the market price. After all, that was my first experience building something for others.
After the cost of materials, I thought it was a fair price for my time. But of course, I underestimated how much time I'd need for it.
After all my back and forth driving, going to Home Depot to get the wood, cutting it, sanding, and remaking it in the end, it took me way more time than I priced it.
So my suggestion would be to calculate everything into the build, including your time. Which in my opinion is the most valuable thing!
Tip # 5 - Keep a positive attitude
The customer is always right! I didn't fuzz much about the fact that I had to redo the bed and just fixed my mistakes.
I feel a positive attitude is a key to making custom furniture for others. After all, if you have fun doing what you do, it's essential to be happy during the process.
These are my tips on how to have the best experience while making custom furniture for someone else.
Good luck with your builds and let me know if you ever made something for someone and what tips you have to ensure a smooth process.