What would you pay? HELP! - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 Old 04-26-2011, 08:15 AM Thread Starter
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What would you pay? HELP!

Morning all!
I few months ago i posted a picture of the baby changing table i made. Well now i have quite a few people who want me to make things for them. My issue is pricing. I am new to this so my work im sure isnt 100% perfect but i wouldnt sell anything i wouldnt put in my home. I recently built this provect below. 18 shelves 6 doors with a shelve in each door. I had about 30 hours making it. It is going to be painted so i used wood screws and glue. putty where needed. He is going to paint it after i install it. I have no clue what i should charge so anyhelp would be great. I have $250 out of pocket to make it

THANKS!



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post #2 of 15 Old 04-26-2011, 08:50 AM
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$250 for materials plus 30xwhatever hourly wage you want to make. Also depends if friend, family or whoever. For smaller projects, I typically use a formula of labor = 3xmaterial costs.

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #3 of 15 Old 04-26-2011, 08:54 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you! it is a co worker. and like i said i am just gettin goin with this wood work thing. I cant get enough of it but i need to get my pricing down. Thank you!
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post #4 of 15 Old 04-26-2011, 09:36 AM
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Plus, add about 10% of total cost to cover overhead and carrying costs, i.e, gas to get lumber, electricity, holding material time between buying wood and selling project, etc. Or, you can mark up can markup your materials 30- 50% to cover the extra costs. You have to account for all the little and unknown costs that could end up eating you alive. Good luck making money doing what you love!!!
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post #5 of 15 Old 04-26-2011, 09:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sawdustfactory
$250 for materials plus 30xwhatever hourly wage you want to make. Also depends if friend, family or whoever. For smaller projects, I typically use a formula of labor = 3xmaterial costs.
+1 on the 3xs thing...

But honestly, you have to be reasonable with the pricing when your starting out. You want people to feel like they are getting a deal enough to overlook the occasional oopses... And reffer you to others. While you also still have to feel it's worth your time to continue building AND LEARNING so that you stay motivated.

It can be tough at first because you will have a bit of attachment to at least the first couple dozen pieces you build.

I generaly tell friends I will build projects for materials plus marginal shop cost (bout $10/hr). But I also tell em if they want to come work on projects with minimal baby sitting they need only show up with materials and go at it.

~tom
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post #6 of 15 Old 04-26-2011, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firemedic View Post
+1 on the 3xs thing...

But honestly, you have to be reasonable with the pricing when your starting out. You want people to feel like they are getting a deal enough to overlook the occasional oopses... And reffer you to others. While you also still have to feel it's worth your time to continue building AND LEARNING so that you stay motivated.

It can be tough at first because you will have a bit of attachment to at least the first couple dozen pieces you build.

I generaly tell friends I will build projects for materials plus marginal shop cost (bout $10/hr). But I also tell em if they want to come work on projects with minimal baby sitting they need only show up with materials and go at it.

~tom
+ 1 on what he said.

You also have a bad economy right now so another reason to try and stay reasonable.
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post #7 of 15 Old 04-26-2011, 10:23 AM
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This is a very tough question to answer. If you aren't in business and do this as a hobbyist, and it's for a friend or relative, just covering your costs can seem inappropriate. But, even in this setting, it's time out of your life.

Beyond that philosophy, if you are doing this for a living, your costs can be done as a line item to show your clients. Even general contractors do it that way. They have a line for labor, materials, overhead, and profit. That seems to be a legitimate way of presenting costs.

Then, you have the relative value of the item you are making. In other words, what does that item sell for in stores, or what could they buy it for if they shop it around. Even with that, the items they look for will not be "custom made". Your work is to order, of specific sizes, and design. Nothing downgrades a piece of custom furniture other than the piece itself. That being if it is made to a certain standard and has that "custom" touch.

If the work is laden with repairs from mistakes in fabrication or finishing, that would have to be addressed, and that only becomes a bargaining point if it is allowed, either on your part (for mentioning it), or their part (to get a cheaper price).

You have an investment in tools and equipment, along with the talent to produce a piece of furniture. If the piece turns out real nice, what difference does it make if it's your first or 15th piece. I went through the same questions when I started out. Not knowing what to charge, and feeling guilty.

There are a few ways to figure what to charge. The 3X method may cover your costs and put some money in your pocket. You said you have 30 hours and $250 invested. Time out of your life isn't based on an hourly charge. But, since this is an exchange of furniture for money, you may figure out what the 30hrs are worth. Labor at $10/hour is far from what a skilled cabinetmaker is worth. But, when you get more experience, you will likely have a per foot charge, which will get very close to what's fair. By that time, you'll know from your paperwork, figuring and fabricating, how much lumber, plywood, and hardware it will take for how many cabinets/doors.

Having a price per foot will enable you to estimate projects quickly, as you will be within the parameters of a profitable job. I have a price per foot for base cabinets, upper cabinets, counter tops, back splashes, doors and drawers. It is a variable method for the type of cabinet (mica laminate, or finished wood).

So, pricing can be done a few ways. Trying to beat someone else's price may only put you in the hole. Not only for time and materials, but psychologically. Just knowing that you could have easily collected another hundred or two, or thinking you are really working for nothing. Even in this case, with the $250, as a fixed amount, and 30 hours (@$10/hr) you are talkin' $1050. That doesn't cover the cost of a place to do the work, utilities, and likely the consumables used on the job.

I don't know if I helped you or not. You have to be satisfied with your pricing structure if you think it's fair. Just remember that it's easier to come down in price than go up.








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post #8 of 15 Old 04-26-2011, 10:29 AM Thread Starter
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wow! thanks for the message back! I went with the $10 an hour. for now. as i get better i am going to be charging alot more. How do you figure out per foot?
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post #9 of 15 Old 04-26-2011, 10:30 AM
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I think that you are asking this question a little late. What did you and your co-worker discuss before starting. Was there any mention of money? What does he/she think you are going to charge? If no previous discussion of monies were made then I certainly think that any pricing should be on the low side.

George
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post #10 of 15 Old 04-26-2011, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArickMiller View Post
How do you figure out per foot?
You add up all your costs as mentioned, and start with an even number, like a 10' kitchen base cabinet. Divide all your costs by 10 and see what you get. You then compare what you figured to what's available on the market. You'll see that the per foot price could be the best method.

When you get to that point the profit margin should be higher, as having a per foot price may have to cover some fancy details that aren't considered standard casework. Actually, any cabinet you make can be figured that way.

For example, take the size of what you made, add up your costs, and divide the length...see what you get.








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post #11 of 15 Old 04-26-2011, 12:19 PM
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Looking at you photo and reading your post again I would like to make a few suggestions. It appears that you screwed threw the face frames or have some serious joinery issues that you need that much wood filler. If anything goes directly through the face frames it should be trim nails from a gun. However the goal for higher end woodworking is to make the best fitting joint possible and have any nails or screws hidden. Don't get ahead of yourself by charging to much while your still learning. A lot of woodworkers like pocket screws, Personally I don't but they are very strong and hidden. Those face frames can be attached with pocket screws, just glue or I like to take the extra effort on some pieces to cut a dado on the back of the frame. The sides or dividers slide into the dado either fully or partially with a rabbet. Glue the joint and some hidden brad nails gives strength and a finished look.

I'm not knocking your work but trying to help with the question of pricing. Quality of material and craftsmanship plays a large part in pricing. Your craftsmanship will improve with experience. Your also going to get faster as you get more experience which means you will make more money later. Don't work for free but keep in mind the fact that you are learning and any money you make now is paying for that experience so you can learn more get fatser and make more in the future.

I also agree with I think George if you didn't discuss a price before hand you should in the future. Your price should be on the lower end for this time if you didn't discuss it first.
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post #12 of 15 Old 04-26-2011, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the advice. You are correct i did use wood screws for it. Time to upgrade. like i said. learning with time and good advice from all of you
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post #13 of 15 Old 05-12-2011, 08:44 PM
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I would echo rrbrown's comment on the nailer. And while I'm at it, I would like to thank two guys- the one who invented air nailers, and the one who invented those black LuLuLemon pants!

Lloyd Kerry Creator of the new Kerry-All Truck Pouch

The foolproof water-repellent storage pouch for your pickup truck that’s built to withstand the elements.
http://www.kerrywoodworking.com/the_kerry-all_truck_pouch
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post #14 of 15 Old 05-15-2011, 07:35 AM
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I was going to comment on pricing but enough was said in that dept. But I will reiterate what was said about quality.

Start building your paint grade as if it's stain grade. PG is not a license to be a hack.

At the very deliver your work primed ready for paint. One, it will show how good or how badly you filled your mistakes, (so you can go back and refill) and two, it will just look neater overall.

and each project should be a learning experience to make the next that much better.

Have fun

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post #15 of 15 Old 05-15-2011, 08:50 AM
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yea you should price it to begin with hahaha


and don't think for one minute that you can't sell cabinets that cost as much as a nice used car. ive done it several times ya just have to have the right clietele, i can tell ya they usually don't work with you though lol
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