Little Free Library - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 12-07-2019, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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Little Free Library

Hey everyone! What do you think would be a fair amount to charge for building one? Yes, I know it depends on all sorts of things such as materials, size, and style. But let’s just say a typical little free library - ballpark range - not including materials.

I feel like I have been losing out on jobs by asking too many questions right off the bat, and wanting those answered before throwing out a number. It seems to me that some potential clients just want a ballpark figure, perhaps to see if someone’s services are in their range, or if a particular project is even something they want to do at all. So I’m trying to learn from my mistakes, including my response to initial inquiries.

If anyone has built one before, besides the amount you charged, I’d appreciate any practical building advice, such as the best materials for the job.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 14 Old 12-07-2019, 06:14 PM
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Inside an existing building?
Building the building itself?
How many shelf units?
Probable material will be white oak
Ease of access in and out of location?

We have more questions than you do, and I have not even started.

My suggestion is to walk away. You are too unprepared.
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post #3 of 14 Old 12-07-2019, 06:27 PM
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I built a couple over 30 yrs ago but I nevered charged anything since it was helping the community. If it is outside I would make sure that the books inside was protected from the weather and I used old wooden windows as doors.
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post #4 of 14 Old 12-08-2019, 12:45 PM
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These things sell retail for anywhere between $200 and $400.
You might want to offer your services for free if they buy the kit. That way you will be the nice guy and they wont hold you responsible for the unit. If you made one from scratch and sold it to them, they will probably also ask you to mount it. By that time you will already have been working for almost free, with all the liabilities.
If the library will be housed indoors, try looking on the internet and see what they are selling for.
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post #5 of 14 Old 12-08-2019, 01:43 PM
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Building a library what?



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post #6 of 14 Old 12-08-2019, 02:54 PM
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have you googled it ??
they are trending 250-$400 online.
there is actually a website for them: FreeLittleLibrary.org
as mentioned above, if it is for a good cause, I would donate it
and place a nice engraved tag in a prominent spot with your info on it.

Little Free Library-shopping.png

.
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post #7 of 14 Old 12-08-2019, 03:00 PM
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it depends...

little free library, you see them all over. google 'little free library'
meant to be a good way for people to recycle books that they've bought
typically you replace the book taken with one of your own

as for price... they can be basic box to ornate artwork, depending on the home owners tastes
so anywhere from $25 to $10,000

i'm a voracious reader on my kindle, not sure i could ever read an actual printed book/newspaper again


basic


not so basic
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post #8 of 14 Old 12-08-2019, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony B View Post
Inside an existing building?
Building the building itself?
How many shelf units?
Probable material will be white oak
Ease of access in and out of location?

We have more questions than you do, and I have not even started.

My suggestion is to walk away. You are too unprepared.
I think this is harsh. You gotta start somewhere. I suggest giving the prospective buyer a verbal estimate range. Tell the buyer that it depends a lot on the details and you can provide an accurate estimate in writing once you know what they are.

-> Maybe try a verbal $250-400 range estimate and see what happens? Remind the prospective customer those are common prices that sell on the internet, and your quality is much better than the junk you see on the internet (hopefully true!). Remind them that you get what you pay for, and quality and workmanship cost money.

Note:
You may make or lose money on the deal, but that's how you acquire the knowledge to make better estimates in the future. Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.

Additional note:
People tend to latch on to what you tell them first. It is better to guess high, and you still may not get it right. When I worked for companies, I hated when bosses would demand a quick hip-shot guess without giving me sufficient information about the job. After that, you learn more details, discover the pitfalls, and your boss increases the scope of work. Sadly the boss almost always puts the original guess on the actual schedule, of course.
... and that doesn't begin to consider pushback you get when the boss doesn't like your guess or more accurate estimate.

Caveat:
I have never sold any of my woodworking projects. I have made many estimates for other kinds of work, and hate estimation more than any other aspect of those jobs.
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post #9 of 14 Old 12-08-2019, 05:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeC View Post
Building a library what?



George
A Little Free Library is a new trend where neighbors install a small weather-resistant bookcase in front of their homes or another public place. People remove books that they want to read and leave books for others. It is a community book sharing idea.

https://lmgtfy.com/?q=Little+Free+Library&s=g
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post #10 of 14 Old 12-08-2019, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _Ogre View Post
little free library, you see them all over. google 'little free library'
meant to be a good way for people to recycle books that they've bought
typically you replace the book taken with one of your own

as for price... they can be basic box to ornate artwork, depending on the home owners tastes
so anywhere from $25 to $10,000

i'm a voracious reader on my kindle, not sure i could ever read an actual printed book/newspaper again


basic


not so basic

Cute. I have never heard now seen anything like that How do they keep people from vandalizing?


George
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post #11 of 14 Old 12-08-2019, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by GeorgeC View Post
Cute. I have never heard now seen anything like that How do they keep people from vandalizing?


George
+1

Good question..
I am wondering..

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post #12 of 14 Old 12-08-2019, 10:18 PM
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Unfortunately vandalism is a problem in some areas, there was a one in front of the elementary school down the block that some idiots set on fire, seeing more and more of them as my dog and I go for walks.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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post #13 of 14 Old 12-08-2019, 11:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tool Agnostic View Post
I think this is harsh. You gotta start somewhere. I suggest giving the prospective buyer a verbal estimate range...........
Caveat:
I have never sold any of my woodworking projects. I have made many estimates for other kinds of work, and hate estimation more than any other aspect of those jobs.
This is not harsh, this is reality. The OP is asking the most basic of basic questions.
The OP does not know what materials to use or how long it will take to build or mount. This can get him in deep trouble.

The starting point would be to get on the internet and see what others are selling them for. Then learn woodworking.
I have had woodworking businesses before. I never give estimates, I give exact prices. You cant give an exact price and survive unless you know woodworking first. And in most cases like this, you should be able to make a sketch on graph paper and give a price immediately.
It's not rocket science, it's experience.

Most beginners risk embarrassing moments with friends and family at best. At worst, lose friends and family. When I started out woodworking, i didn't charge family for things I had made - not even for the price of materials. The best advice I can give is to just build stuff. The more stuff you build, the more experience you gain.

This post is not the same as posting on "how do I make this joint?" or "how do I make this repair?' or other technical stuff.

Tony B



Retired woodworker, amongst other things, Sold full time cruising boat and now full time cruising in RV. Currently in Somerville, Tx

Last edited by Tony B; 12-08-2019 at 11:56 PM.
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post #14 of 14 Old 12-09-2019, 02:04 AM
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See those all the time if you cruise through the Portland suburbs. Don't see them get vandalized too often In my experience there's never anything of interest to me in them though. I do really like the look of the ones with benches attached to them. Looks really good in a front yard.


-T
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