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Thread: Pricing ones work.

  1. #1
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    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
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    Pricing ones work.

    I know this has been discussed many times before but I figured that i'd share my method. First of all I try ti get the client to tell me "what is the budget". Usualy they don't know or are unreal in their expectations. gives me a starting point. Then I come up with some designs that I feel are workable within said budget. Then I research the web to find like pieces made of similar maters as a comparison. Then I set a price that is at or slightly below what they would pay elsewhere taking into account if they would have to pay freight. Then I present the price and if they bite fine, if not well I move on. So how do you set your pricing.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  2. #2
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    I've only priced out a few pieces as I'm usually honest with my current capabilities. Given that those were for friends, I went by estimated cost of materials plus $50 to cover missed materials and tooling. In every case, I was 2-4 times higher than the particle board wal-mart items used as a starting point.

  3. #3
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    I know you didn't pose this as a question so I am not going to try to answer it.

    I will say though - that the question has been asked so many times on so many different forums.

    I have never seen a truly acceptable answer, in 6-7 years on 4-5 different forums I spend time on.

    There is no way - it can be truly answered.

    The one thing - I have seen in every case - is the respondant in post #2

    What we do is always more that it cost at WallyWorld, Home Depot, Lowes - etc.

    Sure - we can "say" what we do is better quality - and it is.

    In reality - most people today do not need or want a lifetime heirloom to hand down in generations to come. Many years ago yes - today - no.

    The times we live in are temporary - only to be "remodeled" in 5-10 or 15 years. We want a different look - new stuff. We don't want the thing that is going to last 5 lifetimes.

    Sooooo - Sears, Borg, Wallyworld - is fine - cheap and fits the bill for our temporary desires.

    What we do ----- is a really hard sell!!!

    So we generally give it away, for a fraction of what it is worth - cause we like to make it.

    I have priced stuff out to people. They generally don't even want to pay as much as the material costs, never mind time to make it.

    There IS a market out there for high quality stuff - but it is not the average Joe. I have read that 2% of the most wealthy Americans will buy high quality furniture. But not from a small guy in a one man garage workshop.

    What I DO actually make decent money on is - signs, plaques, branding irons, and other related CNC stuff. Also, pens, but even that is getting harder. Things that are simply NOT available at Wallyworld, Borg or other such places. I also make decent money doing handyman work - I can make at least $30 per hour - in a bad economy. More in a good economy.

    I don't even try - with furniture - I don't even offer it anymore. I make it for family, friends and for my own needs.
    Last edited by Leo Voisine; 01-30-2010 at 02:06 PM.

  4. #4
    Leo I think that you've said it all , this is the way people live . I usually don't sell many of my projects unless I have time to make them and if they don't want to give me a far price I just tell them I really don't have time to make it ........Marshall
    Usually Busier than a Cat In A sand Box : Arkansas Red Wolf & Razorbacks Fan

  5. #5
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    Marshall,

    One thing I can add,

    When I decide I am going to make something for someone - I >NEED< to know that they will >appreciate< the thing I make for them - otherwise I just will not do it.

    If I "know" they will "truly" appreciate it - I will gladly do it.

  6. #6
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    new york city burbs
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    the few things Ive made for people Ive been paid in kisses and hugs.(some people feel inclined to give me 100 dollar gift cards, I dont refuse them)
    Ive made only a few items that I actually got paid for.
    One contractor friend I know, offered me 175 each for radiator covers similar to what I made for myself for one job they had. I refused.

    I do have one radiator cover job on hold because I dont have the time right now.(for a neighbor)


    (amateur ranking ofcourse)
    Last edited by allen levine; 01-30-2010 at 03:11 PM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Warfield View Post
    I've only priced out a few pieces as I'm usually honest with my current capabilities. Given that those were for friends, I went by estimated cost of materials plus $50 to cover missed materials and tooling. In every case, I was 2-4 times higher than the particle board wal-mart items used as a starting point.

    Matt at no point in time should walmart even be considered as a starting point.
    If they are shopping walmart for furniture than that's where they need to buy it.
    When they come saying I saw this at walmart can you make it? A one word answer is all it takes. No.
    N ow if they have just come from Ethan Allen. At least your comparing apples to apples. Your still probably going to be higher but it's a hand made one of a kind.
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Thoits View Post
    Matt at no point in time should walmart even be considered as a starting point.
    If they are shopping walmart for furniture than that's where they need to buy it.
    When they come saying I saw this at walmart can you make it? A one word answer is all it takes. No.
    N ow if they have just come from Ethan Allen. At least your comparing apples to apples. Your still probably going to be higher but it's a hand made one of a kind.

    I agree totally.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  9. #9
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    Oct 2006
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    it`s really difficult for me to price "stuff"......90% of my business is from folks who have tried imported "stuff" off the shelf or who know that odd-ball architectural items don`t come cheap.

    i try to be fair to all involved both the customer and myself......as i get older i seem to have less enthusiasm for jobs that challenge my intellect at the cost of my pocketbook.....not good from a craftsman's standpoint..

    but i never compare my work price wise to others on the internet...every shop has their own issues and all must make money in order to survive, a millwork shop in long-island will have different overhead than i do... just as joe in his garage will....
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  10. #10
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    well i tried to stay out of this,, but the more i thought on it the more i had speak up, i am not the caliber of most on this thread in work quality but the couple things i had made in the past were for family and the last one i did got some of the responses that leo mentioned.. it was somewhat compared to IKEA,, and then to add insult to injury they made another comment at the time of delivery that sealed the deal for me.. so i am in the middle of another project i was asked to do for another family member and this will be the last one ,,unless i get asked.. no more volunteering..when a sleigh bed gets compared to IKEA,, i quess our world and our kids or family are completly brain washed..take what you can get for price, and like chuck said if they compare to the chain stores ,,JUST say NO?!!!
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

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