You mean to tell me there is a group of cabinet and millwork shop owners and managers very similar to me spread all over the United States, Canada and beyond, that exists to make each other’s work easier and more profitable by sharing knowledge, resources and by opening up their shops to see what each is doing? They get together when they can in person, at major woodworking shows and online to figure it all out, make work easier and more profitable?
How do I join the Cabinet Makers Association?
That was my reaction in 2011 when I took some classes at a woodworking show and was invited by the presenter to keep asking questions. That night I met even more shop owners from all over the country doing all kinds of work, some with 50 or more employees and quite a few guys working solo; many of whom I still speak to regularly and some we have done some very large projects with. Others have given me the knowledge to do projects that may have been out of reach previously. As much as I think I know everything in this business, there’s always someone out there who shows me something new: sales, drafting, contracts, techniques, tools, time-saving methods, troubleshooting machines, insurance, hiring and training and simply a wealth of great advice. Additionally, great help not found anywhere else – real-world experience from people just like me on selecting software, CNCs, edgebanders and so much more.
On top of having hundreds of other shops around for problem solving and sourcing, I have been attending CMA events such as shop tours and open houses. At these regional events, local cabinetmakers, as well as some who travel across the country, suppliers, manufacturers, as well as shops just like yours attend to find better ways – solutions you may not have known about or are already looking at – and to see machines in operation and speak with the guys who actually run and maintain them.
It’s not free, but it’s really pretty cheap at $275.00 per year to be a member. I can tell you that if you come to one regional event or shop tour and ask a few questions on the forum you’ll wish you had known about this sooner, and you’ll quickly become one of the regulars. I will say it’s the best investment I make every year.
Since first learning about the CMA in 2011 I have become pretty active with the association and can attest that our business has made huge strides in growth and profitability since that time. When I have a question of how others may do something, or am in need of a source for a piece of hardware, material, or finish, this is where I turn to. The pictures and ideas I bring back from the shops we visit are priceless.
So the big secret to success is out – and it’s the Cabinet Makers Association. What are you waiting for? Isn’t it time you make things much easier and more profitable for your business, too?
Matt Krig is president of the Cabinet Makers Association. For information on the association, visit CabinetMakers.org.
FDMC Special Edition: Cabinet Makers Association