HOW TO BECOME A CRAFTSMAN: BASIC INFORMATION

You have an idea in your head: you want to change your way of life and you wonder how to become a craftsman.

You no longer believe in large companies, in financial speculations, you do not feel like investing years of study for a freelance. To then find yourself, perhaps, buried by bureaucracy.

Instead, you dream of an activity where you can express your creativity and your know-how.

The artisans are divided into various types of categories, which include installers, repairers, maintenance technicians, mechanics and many other types of activities.

An increasingly pursued idea is to turn to a cultural heritage that is even more alive than ever in our beautiful country: the centuries-old tradition of arts and crafts.

Becoming a craftsman, recovering the pleasure of seeing the birth of an object, a work, built with our hands is inviting.

And it is becoming a real vocation for young and old who aspire to be protagonists in their work.

For all those who have understood the importance and desire of handmade.

A sort of rejection of the depersonalization and homologation of mass-produced objects, now the result of the run-up to the cost-product ratio.

On the other hand, it is a battle that has already been lost for Italian companies and the banality ends up homologating.

You have a deep respect for tradition but if one eye is on the past, the other must be well directed towards the future.

In fact, you have to revisit the usual production processes but with the use of new technologies, in a continuous intertwining of tradition and innovation.

 

HOW TO BECOME A CRAFTSMAN: DISCOVERING AN IMPORTANT TRADITION

A craftsman is someone who produces goods in limited numbers through their own personal manual labor.

And, if you do not have the age or the desire to undertake an apprenticeship with an artisan who already carries out the profession and intends to teach it to you, you will have to choose to “go on your own”.

Pursuant to art. 2 and 3 of Law 443/1985: the artisan entrepreneur is the person who personally, professionally and as owner, carries out the artisan enterprise, assuming full responsibility. And assuming burdens and risks, mainly carrying out their work, even manual, in the production process.

REGULATION: Framework law for craftsmanship: L. 8 August 1985, n. 443.

Hence, as an essential feature, it denotes the first person involvement in the production or repair of goods.

The craftsman manually works the material to produce unique objects, perhaps for a few imperceptible details, but always different from each other.

 

ATTITUDES OF THE ARTISAN

Among the skills necessary to become a craftsman, the most important is undoubtedly manual skill.

And this is not invented. You can certainly improve at school, improve, but good dexterity in the use of the hands is essential.

Although very different materials are processed, from wood to glass, from metals to fabric, skill remains fundamental.

It represents the common denominator, the ability to coordinate hand-eye-thought and the speed to translate it into precision and movement are innate.

Another essential skill is the ability to concentrate, especially when it is continued over time.

Working on an object for a long time, with repetitive movements, building the small details that make each finished product unique and unrepeatable.

All this constitutes the essence of the handmade.

It is precisely the details that make the difference. But it is also these small procedures that give us the charm of seeing something that is born and takes shape thanks to our hands.

After all, more and more customers, especially the wealthiest, want to spend their money on something unique, original and with personality.

 

AND, LASTLY, BUT CERTAINLY NOT AS IMPORTANT, THE ORIGINALITY

What distinguishes a product from the other, which differentiates it from the anonymity of mass production, which sometimes upsets the usual aesthetic canons, is often achieved by pursuing innovative and unusual ideas. Originals, in fact.

Whether it is in the choice of new materials to build classic shapes, or in a new way of working them, or in the use of the object for new functions. In short, as we said, you must have an eye on the future and a great desire to experiment, try, dare.

Don’t settle on tradition, use your mind and learn to use creative thinking.

Fortunately, today the web has expanded the audience of knowledge and changed or added new ways of obtaining customers, just think of social media, web marketing.

It takes passion, however … We specify this by thinking back to the notes of a beautiful song.

That’s what makes the difference. The only infallible ingredient for success and the sure way to push you to free your creativity.

So you will not feel the weight of the hours spent repeating meticulous gestures that will fly chasing a detail.

You will have an idea on how to make an object or a service and, consequently, you will become more aware of yourself.

After all, Confucius said: “Choose the job you love and you won’t work a single day of your life.”

 

HOW TO BECOME A CRAFTSMAN FACING BUROCRACY

Once, but in part even now, to become a craftsman, as a young man, one began to work as an apprentice in the workshop of a craftsman registered in a cooperative.

You were not paid because you “learned a trade”, you were trained to be recognized as workers, capable of producing an object according to the cooperative’s standards.

At that time, people were entitled to pay, but often a new shop was opened.

Obviously this pushed masses of young people to the factories, where they were paid immediately even if they chained themselves to the same job, and here we are talking about repetitiveness, for a lifetime.

Today, the artisan apprentice receives a paycheck by law (and the factories have proved unsafe).

THE IMPORTANCE OF TRAINING

And, while not substantial, it allows him to invest years in his training.

For the start-up of some craft activities, it is necessary to have a professional qualification.

And, although the best way to “learn the trade” is still to support an expert craftsman who teaches you the technique and the secrets, there are training courses.

In addition to real schools inserted in the territory where these masteries have their roots.

Just think of the glass masters in Murano Venice, the leather school of Florence, the violin making of Cremona.

And, again, at the Vicenza School of Art and Crafts where they teach how to work gold, at the Marangoni Institute in Milan for fashion and design, just to name a few.

Furthermore, for many artisan works, the same trade associations or the Commissions of the Chambers of Commerce organize training courses.

And for those who are no longer of the age of apprenticeship or are already experienced in knowing how to do something, it is necessary to become self-employed.

That is to create an artisan business, individual or not, open a VAT number in order to be able to register your business in the Register of Artisan companies at the Chamber of Commerce.

 

OPEN AN INDIVIDUAL BUSINESS IN 2020 WITH A VAT NUMBER ON A FLAT SYSTEM

Fortunately, today, between ComUnica and the flat-rate regime, it has become easier, faster and more convenient to open a business: how does it work?

First step: you must register your business in the Register of Companies of the Chamber of Commerce and in the REA (Economic Administrative Repertoire) by paying the Chamber Law.

This is the annual tax that economic activities must pay in order to be registered in the Business Register by completing the Single Communication.

Then you must submit the Single Communication for the attribution of the Tax Code / VAT number by the Revenue Agency and the Chamber of Commerce;

And fulfill the social security obligations of the INPS, an open position with the registration through the Single Communication.

Registration automatically triggers the obligation to pay social security contributions, which must be paid in four annual installments.

To fulfill the insurance obligations of Inail (the artisan entrepreneur is required to insure against accidents at work and occupational diseases), deriving from the open position with the Single Communication.

And then the report of the start of business to the Chamber of Commerce. This is a mandatory action for all those who intend to open any economic activity.

And it consists of a declaration to be submitted within 30 days from the start of the activity or from the establishment of the company.

In accordance with various forms, it is possible to report the immediate or postponed start of activity.

To start some craft activities, a professional qualification is required (hairdresser, beautician, plumber, electrician, optician, mechanic etc…).

 

HOW TO BECOME A CRAFTSMAN: USE COMMUNICATION

The ComunUnica tool, which is mandatory, makes it possible to electronically send all the information of the company and the entity that constitutes it. Tax to the Revenue Agency, social security to INPS and insurance to Inail. The special software called ComunicaStarweb “ComUnica” is used, which is present on the official website of the Business Registry.

Based on the description of the activity presented, the Business Register assigns the ATECO  Code which will also be acquired by INAIL.

The presentation of the request to open the VAT number is the moment in which to declare the chosen accounting regime to the tax authorities.

Therefore, to access the flat rate scheme and take advantage of the substitute tax of 15%, at 5% for the first 5 years for start-ups, it is necessary to possess the necessary requirements already at the date of the opening application.

 

HOW MUCH?

Using ComUnica today it is possible to open a business and a VAT number at no cost and online. The only expenses to be incurred are for secretarial fees and stamp duty.

 

HOW TO BECOME A CRAFTSMAN IN SOCIETY

A craftsman can work alone or with a limited number of collaborators.

So, if you want to share this project with other collaborators, you can start an artisan business in partnership.

You can choose the legal form to give it by opting between Limited Liability Company (SRL or simplified SRLS), Limited Partnership Company (SAS) or General Name Company (SNC).

What changes? The first has legal personality, the others are partnerships.

The latter cost less and have more streamlined accounting but do not separate the responsibilities of the company from the personal ones of the partners.

Once the company has been established, you will proceed with the procedure illustrated above.

If all this scares you, know that it is harder said than done.

You can still contact a good accountant or, a cheaper but absolutely wise choice, a trade association.

Therefore a nice visit to the Confartigianato or Casartigiani offices would be really useful.

But if you are really lazy or have little time and you want to find a “turnkey” shop or laboratory with assistance in all bureaucratic procedures, why not choose franchising?

There are all kinds and for all budgets and basically it’s about taking advantage of the experience that others have gone through before you.

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO BECOME A CRAFTSMAN

In addition to the bureaucratic process, an artisan company will have to equip itself with the tools necessary to carry out the activity.

Here it obviously depends on the type of work or repair as the artisans sector is very complex.

From personal services (hairdressers, beauticians, masseurs, wellness activities, tattoo artists and piercings) to activities in the food sector (ice cream parlors, pastry shops, kebabs, delicatessens).

Non-food sectors included (blacksmiths, carpenters, photographers, goldsmiths, glassmakers, tailors).

In short, a multitude of professions that often border on real art.

It will also be necessary to have a suitable space: a shop, a laboratory, an atelier, a showroom, a warehouse.

It is important to distinguish whether the space should be open to the public or not.

It will be necessary to program the furnishings, any equipment, the cash register if there is direct sales to the public, software and hardware for the management of a warehouse.

In addition to any means of transporting goods and people, such as the classic van.

Also consider that an artisan company can have employees. Within certain limits, since as already mentioned, the craftsman carries out his work manually in first person.

Again these limits depend on the sector, on the presence or absence of apprentices, on the automation of the production process.

 

SOME EXAMPLES

  • Construction companies cannot have more than 10 employees, including a maximum of 5 apprentices.
  • For transport companies, no more than 8 employees are foreseen including apprentices.
  • Companies that work in series cannot have more than 9 employees, including a maximum of 5 apprentices.
  • For companies with non-automated processing, no more than 18 employees are included, including a maximum of 9 apprentices.

Finally, companies in sectors of artistic, traditional and tailor-made clothing cannot have more than 32 employees. Including apprentices not exceeding 16.

In addition to employees, it is possible to be assisted in work by family members within the third degree of kinship. To do this, it is necessary to submit an application to the Register of Artisan Enterprises.

COURSES THAT COULD HELP

Once the bureaucratic process is finished, how to make your passion fruitful so that it becomes a profession capable of generating profit?

We have seen that the ideal is to be trained by an expert, or to create a company with someone already capable.

But if this solves the technical-practical part, a next step remains to be faced, such as becoming an entrepreneur craftsman.

There are countless online courses that will allow you, once you have assessed your level of competence, to start climbing the peak of knowledge from scratch.

You can also start from a more advanced level until you get to make the most of your new business to make it profitable too.

Here are some examples:

  • How to get new customers .
  • Promote your business online using LinkedIn .
  • Network with Facebook .
  • Promote your business with Instagram .
  • Promote your business with whatsapp .
  • Course to become a micro-entrepreneur .

READING TIPS

“ Hand made. Crafts in Italy , (discovering regional artistic traditions) ” is the first book not to be missed.

A guide that explores the many crafts still alive in our country and collects hundreds of shops and laboratories.

Ceramics, leather, lutherie, marble, cabinet making, wrought iron, traditional jewelry, masks, laces, perfumes, fabrics, glass, mosaics etc.

The guide explains why “made in Italy” is recognized all over the world as a synonym of quality, elegance and creativity.

A fascinating journey through the local knowledge of our Italian tradition.

” Research notebooks on craftsmanship ”

They scientifically deal with the handicraft and small business system in Italy and in the world.

And they pay particular attention to the ability to adapt and respond to social changes.

Examining the production sector which is a true expression of the connective tissue typical of our economy.

We try to really understand the world of crafts and small businesses which have always represented a pillar of the local and national economic system. An exhaustive examination of the culture of diversity so dear to our country.

“ From certainty to uncertainty. 40 years of research between architecture, design, craftsmanship and the environment ” .

The volume traces the most significant moments in the professional career of the critic and architect François Burkhardt.

An important path, poised between different sectors. And, at the same time, a design research aimed at investigating social and ecological aspects connected with art, architecture, design and craftsmanship, combining constant experimentation and contamination of disciplines.

Alternatively, here is a selection of books on the knowledge you need to start your entrepreneurial career:

  • Become a successful entrepreneur .
  • From subzero to entrepreneur .
  • How to become an entrepreneur manager .
  • Starting from the why. Like all great leaders, they know how to inspire employees and customers .
  • Accounting and budget .

FINAL CONSIDERATIONS

  • Now you are ready, you have a dream to fulfill, dare, embark on this journey, but before leaving consider two things:
  • Identify your skills (or those of your employees).
  • Choose a product-service that you are passionate about and that you know, it will be far easier for you to get better results to destroy the competition and to live better.
  • Calculate material, manufacturing and overhead costs well.
  • Consider how many orders you can fulfill based on the volume of activity you can carry out; are you alone or have collaborators. If you can’t count on quantity, always try to raise the quality.
  • After a careful market survey, study the most suitable marketing strategy to promote your business.
  • Focus on your target market, how much demand is there for the product you offer and, if there are competitors, evaluate their prices.
  • Communicate with your market through classic advertising, but also interact with new forms of communication. The social networks that have lower costs and greater penetration speed. Open your Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram page, and make yourself known, present your story and how your product is born.
  • Consider any e-commerce or, in any case, the possibility of collecting orders, over the phone, online or through an App.
  • Develop the distribution plan for your products; whether the goods are perishable or not to understand the speed of delivery.

 

DO YOU STILL WANT TO BECOME A CRAFTSMAN?

If you now have clearer ideas, if you are driven by enthusiasm, but you have understood that you have to act with your feet on the ground, let go and leave.

Along the way, you will correct the load and remember to ask for all the help you need.

Also remember to pursue your goals through originality and creativity by giving space to your ideas. And that by copying from others you always remain second.

The originality and the courage to propose new ideas is the basis of craftsmanship, it is here that handmade can find its absolute strength.

 

Leave a Comment