Part-time home-based manufacturing enterprises are a good way to supplement your income, or you can make a good living with them on a full-time basis. Success, however, depends on a number of factors. It is essential to research the potential demand for your product, and to look at start-up costs, ongoing material costs, production times and transport expenses and how all of these will affect your overall profit.
Low start-up costs and simple manufacturing techniques make this an ideal first-time home manufacturing project. Plans for traditional wooden toys are easy to find for free online and you only need a small workshop or garage stocked with relatively cheap woodworking tools to manufacture your products. Wooden soldiers, wooden beads on bendy pipes, wooden cars and trains, as well as simple building blocks and jigsaw puzzles are easily and quickly made toys to start with, but once you are proficient in the basics, you can start adding your own toy ideas to your product range. The Entrepreneur online magazine explains that if you can make your products from recycled materials, using reclaimed wood, for instance, not only are costs reduced, but this unusual aspect of your business becomes a valuable marketing tool also.
For a more advanced woodworker, furniture is another product that can be manufactured at home in a workshop or garage. Set up costs may be higher, but bookshelves, chairs, tables and display cases are furniture items that will always be required by society. Again, using reclaimed wood, for example, would give you a special marketing angle while keeping costs low.
Attempting to get into the soap industry when there are so many brands already on the market may seem a little daunting, but if you can come up with an idea for a soap that is not already being made, you will always have a customer base for fans of your particular soap product. This is another business with low start-up costs that can be run from a garage, or even from a spare room in the house.
Design and Make Handbags
This is another home manufacturing business that has low start-up and running costs. If you have a flair for fashion, designer handbags could be the home manufacturing niche for you. If you can use unusual materials and make your bag designs something out of the ordinary, you have a special angle to help market your goods. Think about which age group you are aiming for and think also about product expansion and diversification. For instance, you could move into design and manufacture of other bag types and branch out into other accessories, like matching umbrellas, or hats and scarves.
Selling Your Product
When you start small you will probably sell your products through craft fairs, local advertising, local shop-keepers, online and by word of mouth. This is fine if you want to stay small, and you get to retain the majority of the profit. If demand takes off, however, you may want to join forces with a larger business, or look to expand past the home-based production phase. There are even businesses now that will help market your product on a no-sell, no-fee basis.
Steve Sparkes started writing professionally in 1982. He was a journalist and photographer for "The New York Waste" magazine for a decade. Sparkes has a diploma of art and design and a Bachelor of Arts in history of art from the South-East Essex School of Art. He also has a Master of Arts in photography from the London School of Printing and Graphic Arts.