Monday, June 8, 2009
Here we go again, this is my 3rd economic down turn I've seen in the 20 odd years I've been a Custom Woodworker. Usually when the housing market takes a down turn so does the contractors, which has a direct effect on the cabinet shops since they usually rely on contractors for most of their business. I've never worked directly with contractors, so I'm not affected as far as that goes. In fact, when the housing market slows, the more individuals tend to spend on improving what they already have. That's usually good for me.
I was pretty new in this business when I went through my first economic down turn, so I didn't know any better and ran the business as normal. I worked very hard on building a reputation of building high quality and not being cheap! I held my standards and while a lot of cabinet shops started cutting their prices just to stay busy, which in turn they started cutting corners and cheapening their work just to stay in business, eventually a lot of them went under.
I learned a lot from that experience and was glad I never compromised my quality or price. After 9/11/2001 when the economy took another downward spin, I had a better understanding of what was happening and what to expect. By this time I had 15 years building my reputation and I made a quick decision not to allow myself to fall into the cut throat pricing I was seeing happening all over again. The end result was the same and again a lot of woodworkers went out of business, Simply because they cut their own throats.
So here we go again, this is probably the worst I've seen as far as housing taking a hit and taking contractors down with it. This is a little different scenario, because I moved my business to Myrtle Beach, SC about 3 1/2 years ago, so I don't have the customer base built up like I did when in Raleigh, NC. I'm still holding my guns and not selling out my quality, which means I'm not giving away my work. Lets hope this will turn around in the near future, but I'm already seeing the same things happening over again with the same results.
I hope any Cabinet Shop or Woodworker that is experiencing this for the first time will not get caught up in the cut throat pricing and start compromising their quality and work ethics with the hopes of staying afloat. To put it bluntly, it's hard to rebuild your reputation when you become a wood whore.
Don't compromise your quality, keep your business ethics strong and honest and have faith that your customers will appreciate that over a cheap price for junk.