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Thread: WW job offer

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Escondido, CA

    WW job offer

    Friday I met with a local custom woodworking shop to consult with them about a design for the chapel here at the seminary. I am to do the design.

    In the course of conversation, I got offered a job designing custom furniture for this shop. Next semester I might be able to do that part-time. But what should I ask my way of compensation? They will ask what I would want, I know. But I have no idea what this kind of work is worth.

    I am AutoCAD literate, along with Excel and Word, of course. I also have experience programming for CNC work. Picking up a new machine language would not be problematic. I also have people skills helpful to solicit exactly what the customer has in mind.

    Further, next spring, after I graduate from here, I will be looking for part-time work that I can do from my own computers from a distance. Having this recent work experience would be helpful.

    So what is this kind of work worth? Next summer I would think to search out custom shops and float a resume by them. Any ideas along these lines would be welcome.

    The reason for this, is that country preachers don't make any money to speak of, and I am unfortunately, addicted to eating, like sleeping under a roof, and society demands appropriate clothing, not to mention the ravishes of weather demanding some sort of protection. :-))

    Then there is money needed for utilities, gas, wheels (2 and 4), wood, tools, etc. But I digress....

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    you`ve asked about two distinctly different jobs, design and programing....then you`ve gotta factor in todays economy....right now folks programing stuff for cnc routers are looking to be hired on by framing crews for little better than minimum wage....and it`s really not going to get better in the near future that i can tell.
    the design though is a whole `nuther animal....especially if you can consult, design and export trademarked files to a job-shop...then given your speciality of ecclesiastical furnishings that are notoriously overpriced it`s entirely possible that your venture could prove to be profitable?
    start by studying what`s available for what money from schlock to nice-well made stuff then break the pieces you`re inspired by down into a realistic cost to manufacture vs profit.....
    i`m thinking that most job shops would gladly cut/assemble and finish your copyrighted designs for 30% of the profit once you have a track record....this leaves the selling and design, as well as protecting your designs to you....for 70% of the profit...
    in the end it`ll all depend on how much you can move and to whom whether or not you`ll be eating beans and walking to work or driving a nice car and schmoozing the clergy at fancy restaurants.
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Quote Originally Posted by Carol Reed View Post
    ...The reason for this, is that country preachers don't make any money to speak of, and I am unfortunately, addicted to eating, like sleeping under a roof, and society demands appropriate clothing, not to mention the ravishes of weather demanding some sort of protection. :-))...
    Sorry, no help on the pricing question, but your statement resembles the standard line I tell people to explain why I got out of the music business: I picked up a bad habit on the road called "eating food", and I couldn't support my habit. I told that to a fellow retired musician a while back and he said "Yeah, I developed an allergic reaction to Ramen noodles."
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Escondido, CA
    Quote Originally Posted by tod evans View Post
    then given your specialty of ecclesiastical furnishings that are notoriously overpriced and ...schmoozing the clergy at fancy restaurants.
    Gees, Tod, when I was doing this full time I never got those kinds of jobs.

    If you think dealing with building committees made up of people who have no clue about building custom furniture mixed with armature woodworkers who think they can build anything better than I can for less than the cost of materials is a walk in the park, you are sadly mistaken.

    In the end, if I made $10 hour for my labor, nothing went wrong, I got a better deal on the wood than I thought I could, and everybody absolutely loved what I made, I was in hog heaven. My shop made its profit in teaching, writing, and sidelining a line of router jigs. Most years those profits was around 3%, never in double digits. If I had the money I could have invested it in passive income investments and made more money.

    I didn't go bankrupt, which means by the federal standards for small businesses, I was a success. But my tax returns put me in the category of the working poor. And being self-employed left me with no benefits and no insurance.

    So, I think I am not very happy with your assumptions.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    i base my statements on a semi-local business who manufacturers the past decade they have grown from a mom-n-pop organization to having several employees, purchasing two cnc routers and a fairly large bufferington sanding line and some uhf glue machines...
    i`m sure you are aware of the costs involved with this type of equipment...knowing what little i do of the trade (carpentry in general) i think i`m fairly safe in assuming that they have had to bid against the garage shops too, it`s just the nature of the business....
    as for "overpriced" ....even if i`m doing fancy curved work i`m really lucky to extract 6-7x the material costs from my clients whereas in the pew business the norm seems to be 10-12x......sometimes more.
    the schmoozing comment might have been out of line, and for that i appoligize.....sales are not my strong point
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    St. Louis, MO
    In the architectural and planning fields, we produce our own designs and construction documents. We structure our business model treating them as essentially two tasks that overlap quite a bit. While we do some work pro-bono or at steep discounts, we don't compete for the lowest price in the market. There's always someone cheaper than you. So, we compete by offering high quality design and high value for the customer. You have some skills and experience that distinguish you from your competition. And make sure you pay yourself a liveable wage.
    On the front end, the design work is always a bit of a guess - you're never quite sure what it will take to get a design the client will sign off on. Sometimes we do this hourly - sometimes we put in a number and hope it's enough. Sometimes, when we do that, we allow for so many meetings and such in the proposal so that if it gets too far beyond what's typically reasonable, we can explain this to the client in order to push for a firm decision or cover our extra expenses.
    On the drawing production side, we typically price this as a lump sum amount if the project is well defined up front, or as a percentage of the construction cost or sale price. If it's more expensive to build, there's typically more detail, refinement, and research involved - more of your time.
    Good luck with however you work it out

  7. #7
    My boss has a saying, "a customer is only concerned about three things, price, quality and delivery. The problem is, you can never give them the price they want, but if you are diligent, you can give them the quality they want in the time frame they are allowing."

    WE work some pretty high end stuff, so maybe this will not be of help to you, but our company does not bid anything. Every boat we build is cost plus. They figure a boat will cost 10 million, they add a million on for profit and tell the customer anything over this price and they pay shop rates, material and overhead. This business model does chase some customers away, but ultimately the boat yard's reputation is growing and as a company we really work hard on the quality and on time delivery. As Paul said, there is no need to be concerned with the price, someone will always beat you on that.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Alpharetta GA ( Metro Atlanta)

    Some random thoughts.

    My first thought was some hourly rate. I would think $25-30 per hour.

    I would talk to the company ( people ) who proposed this to you. Ask them about some recent project where they think you would have made a difference. What would your role have been? Why would it have made a difference? How much did the project sell for and what what the profit?

    So with that knowledge you can then talk about what your role would have been and put some dollar figure to the work. You should be able to provide a better understanding of the work to start with, they will be able to deliver closer to their schedule and cost. So you become almost free to them.

    Other wise, they have to build your cost into the project and sell the customer on your value.

    It sounds like you may have a fit. Make sure of the ownership of your "ideas" They would own the specific designs your create for them, but NOT your experience and ideas, so you can go do this for someone else without any problems.

    BTW, my dad was an Episcopal priest. He was also a woodworker. It was his escape. He liked to say that he could run his church people through his saw.

    My dad is responsible for my WW passion today.

    So good luck with your new life and also finding something to put food on the table.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Hi Carol.

    I think that you should also clarify what are they expectin from your design work.

    By this I mean, will you have to do not only the design ( the creative and aesthetic part) but also all the construction drawings and bills of materials to make that design? Will you be asked as well to solve all the production/construction problems.?

    Will your designs be something like one design = one piece, or one design = 10 or 25 pieces? Will you be the one who talks with the customer to really get the idea of what the customer wants or will you briefed by whoever runs that bussines?

    Knowing all this, will help you to clarify yourself and them as well. All what I have mentioned is qualifyied work: designer, draftswoman,woodworker and saleswoman. Pick the one that you think you want to be regarded as and charge accordingly, even if your work involves more of one or some of the others.

    For instance it is not the same a draftsman that can also "design" than a designer that can also make the drawings. The draftsman that designs will always be paid and regarded as a drafstman, clever one maybe, but even then paid cheaper because is making a higher job apart from drawing.

    A designer that also makes the drawings will be paid more because by making the drawings the manufactures doesn't need to hire a drafstman. In both cases the manufacturer wins but in the second you should earn more or so I think.
    Best regards,

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _________________
    web site:
    I also dream of a shop with north light where my hands can be busy, my soul rest and my mind wander...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Delton, Michigan
    i think toni has a point here, i have seen it in my working life where some got more for doing the same thing just becasue of the titile not the work...if the company can make money of you and your skills they will, and not always give you what you deserve.
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

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