How and Why Shop Owners Use SketchList3D

At least once a day I receive an email and a telephone call from a wood shop owner, who found SketchList3D in an internet search. There are three common questions:

1. Does your software generate a cut list?

2. Can it do shop drawings?

3. Does it make drawings that I can use to show my prospects?

Before I continue, let me say that the answer to all three questions is yes.

Furthermore, these are just a handful of the questions people have when they call. Numerous times people don’t ask all of the questions they want, so the discussion usually proceeds as follows:

“What do you want to achieve by using the software for your custom woodworking business” and the list of questions grows.

Every single person I’ve talked to about SketchList3D in the past 4-5 months emphasized that they can no longer go on generating proposals with hand-drawn images. The primary reasons for this are that it simply takes too much time, and it’s hard to impress a new client and get them to spend tens of thousands of dollars with a hand-drawn sketch.


Last week, I spoke to someone who told me his business is really doing well. So much so that he spends 2-3 hours generating proposals every day. He needs the designs to sell the job, and following this, he needs the reports to get materials necessary to begin work in the shop. I explained to him how SketchList3D will save him time in both design and report generation.

These are the 6 steps he needs to take, assuming he makes an investment of 8 hours or so over the next 5-6 days.

1. Make a decision about how much detail is necessary to do the job. Part of that decision is the amount of detail necessary to ensure your purchase orders contain all materials necessary for a job.

What this means: SketchList3D allows you to put varying levels of details into a design. However, in order to sell the job, it isn’t necessary to add every screw-hole, rabbet or drawer slide. We have users that provide the bare minimum amount of detail in their initial design proposal and finish it off after the job is won.

2. Learn how to use SketchList 3D, focusing on the tools and functions you really use.

What this means: Set priorities for yourself. If you use pocket whole-joinery you don’t need to learn how to place a dado on a board. You may want to know how to do this in the future, but it’s not a priority.

3. Create your own library within SketchList 3D. With the exception of the most artistic, unique and custom woodworking designs – everything you make will have common building blocks.

What this means:  SketchList 3D enables you to establish a library of 3,4,5 building blocks. When you sit at your computer screen to generate your next client proposal, you can drag in the appropriate building block, resize it to fit a proper location and if necessary, modify it by adding doors or drawers.

4. Set a custom format for your reports.

What this means: Set up a certain order of columns, sorted in a certain way, and selected by – for example – material type. Set this up once and save your default report settings.

5. Communication is key. Every so often, I’ll have a conversation with someone who says this: “I just spent four hours designing the corner cabinet. I don’t have time for this.” I could have taught him to make that cabinet in 15 minutes. With every piece of communication that’s sent to customers, I urge people to communicate with me. Send me an email, call me, whatever is most convenient for you. When a customer indicates a problem, for example, the corner cabinet design – I suggest one of two possible solutions:

  • Watching one of our training videos. Visit our training page and search for “corner cabinet.”


  • Let’s schedule an online session where we can work together to design your cabinet.

6. Communication – part two: I have a list of very experienced SketchList 3D users who are willing to help new users. They share ideas, experiences, and advice.

If you make the time investment to learn SketchList 3D, following the 6 steps presented in the post, I’ll bet you can save half of that time. As you become more familiar with the software tools, develop your own work methods & best practices and establish your own library you will find that you can generate proposals in an astonishingly short period of time.

As always, here at SketchList, a large part of our job is making you as productive as possible, as quickly as possible so that you can generate proposals to increase revenues and profits.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have.

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