Am j priced to high? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 01-16-2018, 12:14 AM Thread Starter
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Am j priced to high?

Hi all, I did a bid for built in's around a fire place and got ran out of the customers house "for being way over priced and trying to scam them", it's 2 book cases 10' tall, 6' wide, and 20" deep each, bottom 3 feet is cabinets, both have crown moulding, and they would be built with veneer ply carcass and hardwood face and doors, all with white enamel finish, and both have led lighting on every shelf, I bid $13,250 and thought that was fair, is that a ripoff? Any help is extremely appreciated
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post #2 of 33 Old 01-16-2018, 05:18 AM
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Prices vary a lot around the country but I would have bid that for about half what you did.
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post #3 of 33 Old 01-16-2018, 08:13 AM Thread Starter
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Well I'm in st.louis, is that what you'd price it for your cost to you or for the cost to a customer when you need to make profit margins?
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post #4 of 33 Old 01-16-2018, 08:20 AM
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I also think people go to a place like Ikea and see the particle board crap there, and sometimes are under the impression that the price should closer to that.

How much would the materials be for that job, and how many hours of work were you estimating?
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post #5 of 33 Old 01-16-2018, 09:09 AM
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We wanted a reception desk for the front of our office and a local furniture maker worked with us on the design. It would've been beautiful, but came with a +$7,000 price tag. Way more than we could justify spending. The big box office furniture companies can ship us an adequate desk for less than $2,000.

Granted, the office furniture companies don't produce quality anywhere close to what a self-employed craftsman can, but there are realities of $$$.

As for your clients, @Cwilkerson26, what's their house look like? Are they living like people who can afford a $13,000 built in?
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post #6 of 33 Old 01-16-2018, 09:12 AM Thread Starter
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About 1100 for materials, about 12 days worth of work, and about the same price for painting as materials
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post #7 of 33 Old 01-16-2018, 09:13 AM Thread Starter
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And yeah they're definitely living like they can afford it
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post #8 of 33 Old 01-16-2018, 09:24 AM
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My two cents...it sounds like you are asking top dollar, maybe boarder line unreasonable depending on one's point of view. Is your work worth it...maybe? If I'm going to pay someone "expert, best in the business" money, I want someone with an outstanding reputation and several recommendations.

Are you too high? Hard to say without knowing what kind of work you do.
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post #9 of 33 Old 01-16-2018, 09:43 AM
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So you are saying this is $1100 materials, $1100 painting(is that materials only?), and 96 hours of shop/install time?

If so you are charging $115 an hour, only you can decide if that covers all of your expenses and provides a profit, from the outside not knowing your overhead that seems really high to me.
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post #10 of 33 Old 01-16-2018, 10:37 AM
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Iíve had a tendency to bid things too cheap. Iíve under estimated the time required on several projects.
I look at most things thinking it will be easier than they turn out. Because of this, I always stayed plenty busy but sometimes cut myself short on profit. If you bid too high, you also cut yourself out of profit because you get very few jobs and very few referrals.
The project you show is paint grade. That will bring material cost down.
In todayís market my guess for a job like that, delivered in 4 sections (2 lower and 2 upper units), I would estimate one full week for completion.
If I figure the hours, materials, any additional help needed and come up with a quote that would be closer to $6,000.
Iím in Texas. Iím sure the price would be much more if in New York.

If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #11 of 33 Old 01-16-2018, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cwilkerson26 View Post
Well I'm in st.louis, is that what you'd price it for your cost to you or for the cost to a customer when you need to make profit margins?
I've had my own woodworking business in the Dallas area since 1985. While I make a profit I've got my overhead lower than most. I work by myself and I have my own shop on my own land. Still, I get under bid from other shops in the area.

I think the estimate for the materials is about right. I think I could do those two cabinets including painting in eight to ten days. I charge $45.00 an hour so the labor would come to $3600.00 plus a day for delivery, $360.00. That comes to $5060.00 for the two cabinets.

If you were doing those cabinets you would have to put a center divider in it and put a wide strip of wood on the front edge. You can't make 6' long shelves without it sagging. I try not to make a shelf longer than 30".
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post #12 of 33 Old 01-16-2018, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cwilkerson26 View Post
And yeah they're definitely living like they can afford it
This is your problem, they think they should be paid top buck and a lowly craftsman should work for $7.25 per hour

I made my way in HVAC/R, and the best money I ever made was buy fixing antique well not really antique, just real old equipment no one else would work on. One time I gave a lawyer a bill and he about exploded, he screamed I charged as much as he did, I told him fine find someone else to fix your 40 year old chiller he said I can't find anybody else, I told him to pony up $350 per hour or $2,000,000 for a new chiller

He paid me
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post #13 of 33 Old 01-16-2018, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cwilkerson26 View Post
And yeah they're definitely living like they can afford it
I worked for some very exclusive, high income clients when I had my woodworking business. Many of them lived in private gated areas that only had 4 or 5 homes, each on 10+ acres and each doctors, lawyers, business owners with homes in the 6,000 to 10,000 sq. ft. range, with live-in housekeepers or nannies, etc. and there were several of these 'little' gated areas, some with guard protected access. I did work for each and every one of these people whether it was restorations, refinishing, or building custom furniture didn't matter - I got the call.

On a delivery trip after some extensive work for one of them the doctor told me that he really appreciated my pricing and work ethic. I thanked him and kept doing my job but he continued adding that every other contractor or worker that goes through the gate automatically adds 25% to 50% to a job because the people inside the gate can afford it. He said, "One reason you get all of our work and others like us, besides doing really nice work, is that your price is the same for me as it is for someone across town living in an apartment. You don't jack the price because we can afford it and we all know that."

I have never forgotten his message. I priced the job based on your requirements, not by where you live or what you drive or what your W-2 was last year.

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post #14 of 33 Old 01-16-2018, 02:14 PM
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And then there was the time a snooty banks CFO paid $9995 for a big blue wire nut, it would have been more, but I was feeling in a good mood that day
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post #15 of 33 Old 01-16-2018, 02:49 PM
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What I found is many folks don't really understand what goes in to making custom pieces. Their cost basis is on what they see in the big box stores, that is not custom built, it is mass manufactured, no comparison.

Unfortunately Craftsmen aren't always sales people. We get focused on designing the item, and producing the bid, and completely miss some crucial discussions with the client, such as "what is your anticipated budget" for this project? What are your must haves, and what are your would likes? Are you working with anyone else? The list goes on and on. I NEVER base a quote on my perception of their wealth, or lack of. For the price you quoted you should have provided a whole lot more than a hand drawn drawing. For $13K it should have been on a tablet, with a virtual walk through of what it would look like...

While I think Steve's hourly rate is low, it sounds like his overhead is low, but it still is likely close to 30% for taxes(15% just for SS/MC), insurance, etc, so he is only making $30 an hour. I think his hours are closer to correct for the project, and I actually do believe 6' shelves are OK as long as they are properly constructed. Those doors on the other hand are going to be really wide!
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post #16 of 33 Old 01-16-2018, 04:27 PM
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Several years ago, I tried to get estimates for some work here at my house. Of the 10 contractors I called, only 6 actually showed up and only 4 gave me estimates. Of the estimates, the highest one was from a guy that showed up in t-shirt and cut offs driving a 20 yr old station wagon. Another estimate was a little below that and the guy could not be reached when I had a question about his estimate. The low bid was so low I discounted it immediately. The last guy was a Mexican fellow. He wore a uniform of the company he worked for. The first things he showed me were the worker's comp insurance certificate and a letter from an insurance company that the company & employees were bonded. He drove a late model truck that was clean and well organized inside and had the name of the company painted on the truck. (Turns out he is the owner, but I did not know that until after the third job he did for us.) His employees were neat and clean, they were very professional I guess my point is sometimes, appearances and salesmanship make a difference
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post #17 of 33 Old 01-16-2018, 06:13 PM
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Catpower Regarding the lawyer: " One time I gave a lawyer a bill and he about exploded, he screamed I charged as much as he did, " You should have told him that you didn't charge that much when you were a lawyer either.
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post #18 of 33 Old 01-16-2018, 07:49 PM
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I'm not here to tell you if your too high or not......only you know your overhead and expenses

I will say there's many here that are too cheap for their workmanship/craftsmanship (NOT ALL as a few are overpriced for their lack of craftsmanship). Some price to be cheaper, some price at what they're satisfied calling a income, others know what and where their pricing can be according to their geograghic location .

I'm at the top price wise of my area BUT less than most craftsman 50 miles west of me. I don't price according to whom you are, where you live, what your income or anything else including family or friends ( I run a business, I Bless whom the LORD says to NOT according to whom you're relationship in my life).......I have a price to achieve and after that is profit... I actually have less lower income clients complain than the "ones that can afford it"( most of them have been ripped off in times past)....I find my clients are concerned about the quality and long term life of project....YES I loose some jobs BUT I actually didn't gain a headache as I do price for them.....TOO much TV shows that leave out all the important time consuming steps, I've heard the "ALL you got to do IS...." statement a few times....THAT is a redflag to watchout, they "know" more than you....there WILL be headaches!!!

I'm at the crossroads of changing from by the hour (as I've done 95% of my business ALL these years) to full bids not estimates. I'm seeing when you tell a person what you charge per hour MOST automatically get upset as they don't make that in a by the hour factory job....THEY don't understand the cost of doing business AND consider it ALL PROFIT......

OOOppppss sorry!!!! I'll get off my box. It's all up to you and your craftsmanship....with some business sense as to what you can or can NOT charge. YEEEEEPPP !!!! I've been told the same as you....maybe I was or wasn't......BUT several times I went back to do the repairs of what they could re-afford to correct....it costs about 3 times to redo.. ...tear it out.... correct problem....put it back right!!! Some still don't like that cost either!!!

Good day

Have a Blessed and Prosperous day in Jesus's Awesome Love, Tim
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post #19 of 33 Old 01-17-2018, 01:07 AM
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So you are saying this is $1100 materials, $1100 painting(is that materials only?), and 96 hours of shop/install time?

If so you are charging $115 an hour, only you can decide if that covers all of your expenses and provides a profit, from the outside not knowing your overhead that seems really high to me.
Have you been charging this same $115/hr rate for all of your other jobs? If you have, and your market is supporting that as the going rate, then you're in line.

I will say that just on the surface $115 an hour seems really high. Even if we're saying that you're overhead is 50% of that and the other 50% of that is essentially your salary (assuming your not paying employees), you'd be making a salary of about $110,000 on an annual basis. That's a pretty healthy salary in just about any locale of America.
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post #20 of 33 Old 01-17-2018, 01:07 AM
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For lower Fairfield County Connecticut...double your price.

If your have a good standing in traditional high-end woodworking...add 20%...and your still reasonable for that market...20% more if you have an established name that is or will be collected.

For example I did a "home to barn conversion" over 10 years ago for the Owner of a well known restaurant in your area...That price is just about perfect for his home and what he would want in it (minus the white enamel...ick!!!...ha, ha...I would charge double for that if a client wanted me to do it...!!!...especially on real wood)

All in all, you set your price depending on market, and your own "self worth," and that of the item itself. My work does not depreciate...Does yours? That's my rule of thumb...

I never ever charge someone more than the collective income of the household...on average...as I can either ascertain or by direct question.

In other words, I will facilitate a price for a customer to fit there budget if I can possibly do it. I don't (and never have!!) worked by the hour. I work by market standard. Myself worth, and that of my work, but I will take on clients...I like...that may have only a limited budget. My general pricing of product is relatively transparent, and if a client doesn't like it...??...Then I really don't want to work for them anyway...They and fate have done you a gracious favor.

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