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Thread: Chairs........ Mission Accomplished!

  1. #1
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    Chairs........ Mission Accomplished!

    OK first off, there are going to be some questions, then hopefully some pictures and some more stuff.

    I was contacted by a fellow foreigner here in Japan that a world famous circus that have shows here in Tokyo need some woodworking done, he would have been happy to do the work, but lives quite far from Tokyo, so he introduced me to this company. You all know the company, but I would really appreciate it if you do NOT mention their name. I do not wish to harm any relationship I am building with them, they have not told me that I cannot discuss the work I'm doing for them, so I think it is OK, but I'd rather avoid the problem, so please just nod and say "OK, I know who you are talking about" but don't mention them by name, so search engines can find this thread. Sounds silly but trust me

    They have an act that uses chairs, stacked on each other, >> LINK << their current chairs are reaching the end of their useable life. They had new chairs built, but they need some work, some tweaking at best, partial rebuild or out right junking at worst. The new chairs are built from Linden wood, also called Lime and Basswood, not exactly the first wood I'd choose to make chairs from

    Some questions, for checking these chairs and figuring out if they are salvageable they want to know a price. I have trouble pricing my work, as I do mostly stuff in house, not for hire. I'm thinking of saying $30 an hour and at least 10 hours to partially tear one apart and fix it.

    So does this sound too low?

    Too high?

    I am not a pro, but I know I can do this work, true the video makes me worry about my work, but I know I can do this work.

    What do you pros charge for bespoke work?

    I don't want to price myself out of a job here, these guys could be worth a lot of work from time to time if I get in with them, they have all kinds of issues dealing with the locals, cultural and language for starters.

    Sorry if this is a bit rambling, I'm at the L shop being constantly interrupted while I write this

    Thoughts?

    cheers!
    Last edited by Stuart Ablett; 08-22-2011 at 02:16 PM.
    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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    $30 an hour seems a little low, unless it's plus materials.
    Richard "Butch" Leshner

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Leshner View Post
    $30 an hour seems a little low, unless it's plus materials.
    Thanks, I had not thought of that, I guess I'd be providing everything, wood glue etc. If I have to rebuild parts, then wood would also have to be bought, hmmm, I think more like $50 an hour all included sounds better...?

    Thanks!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  4. #4
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    That sounds better, but I would check supply prices. Say it takes an hour to replace 1 chair, it isn't hard to spend $50 on the wood alone...
    Richard "Butch" Leshner

  5. #5
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    in this case stu i think you need to look at liability as well.. check with a local on there pricing for doing a normal chair.. this company is bigger than your liquor shop and wont hesitate to get reconciliation if there start falters because of a faulty chair in there eyes. the normal rate in that country for that type of work is where yu need to start then add in the extras..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by larry merlau View Post
    in this case stu i think you need to look at liability as well.. check with a local on there pricing for doing a normal chair.. this company is bigger than your liquor shop and wont hesitate to get reconciliation if there start falters because of a faulty chair in there eyes. the normal rate in that country for that type of work is where yu need to start then add in the extras..
    All great point Larry, thank you!

    You are certainly correct about the liability we already had that conversation, there will be paper work saying that once I hand the chairs off to them, and they are inspected and accepted by them as OK, I'm no longer liable, as they do modify the chairs on almost a daily basis, with shims and other stuff, to suit their needs.

    For Bespoke work like this, the going rate would be $100 an hour easy, if they can find someone to do the work, which they have not been able to do. I do not wish to be greedy, I want a long term profitable relationship for both sides. I think I have a lot of talents that they could certainly use for fabrication and thinking outside the box, something the locals are not very good at, not to mention my communication skills..... in English!

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  7. #7
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    If the going rate for the craftsman in the area is 100. Than charge 100 Nothing worse than a home hobbyist cutting the price on the guys trying to feed there families.
    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
    If the going rate for the craftsman in the area is 100. Than charge 100 Nothing worse than a home hobbyist cutting the price on the guys trying to feed there families.
    I agree, but the pros here have been contacted and no one wants to deal with them funny talking foreigners..... it is NOT like I'm taking work away from the pros, they don't want the work.
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Ablett View Post
    I agree, but the pros here have been contacted and no one wants to deal with them funny talking foreigners..... it is NOT like I'm taking work away from the pros, they don't want the work.
    True but you still need to hold the line on pricing
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  10. #10
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    For walk in work, (such as the local Woodcraft sending people over who "just want a cut or two that turns out to take an hour), I charge $1 per minute, including time required for whatever billing they want. Yes that comes to $60 per hour, but it is "interrupt" time, not always done when I would schedule the work. When someone walks in, I point to the shop clock, and say "I take the starting time as (a few minutes past what the clock says), and they agree. When I am done, we look at the clock again, and they say "an hour and 15 minutes for just those few cuts?" and I say, "That's what I see." And then I have to add sales tax.

    I estimate my projects at $50 per shop hour, but as an old retired guy, I don't always work hard, and am interrupted by such things as doing the laundry and playing on the internet, so the actual time is perhaps twice what it would have to be. Do I count that as $25 per hour? Or is it $50 per hard working hour?

    Shop time in either case includes any machine, glue, sandpaper, and such consumables, but no materials - wood and hardware and anything unique to the project. Since I offer a fixed price before I buy the wood, I use the board foot price from the lumber yard, and estimate waste - depending on species, usable percentage may only be 50%. If there is a lot of shopping time for materials that is part of the design estimate - at least $200 for most projects. And if the customer wants to buy the veneer or other material, fine, but anything coming into the shop that isn't in the final project remains mine - I don't want to get into the game about did I do a good job using and preserving "scrap."

    I have noticed that things in Tokyo tend to be a little more expensive , from the cost of your shop space to tools and materials. Therefore I wouldn't hesitate to charge more than I do.

    You might want to set what you consider a modest rate "for the first project" and then adjust the rate based on whether you consider it profitable, and how much you want to do more. They should understand that you don't have an established shop rate - so are willing to try one project at „xxx per hour, with the understanding that both parties can renegotiate before any subsequent project.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

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