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Thread: cant build a box for profit

  1. #1
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    cant build a box for profit

    I wanted to see if I set up my jigs, used different routers, all set for same sized box, if I would be able to mass produce enough boxes for craft show(not me, I wont sit, but someone would sell with their goods and take a small percentage)to make it worth it for me.

    so these are simple boxes, lift off lid. Im not a great box maker,never claimed to be, but they are square and the top fits.
    Everything is simple so it can be made quickly with few setups. I havent glued the lid pulls on. Just experimenting with some scraps.

    I wouldnt make one or two, Id make 20 at a time.

    So heres my numbers-
    cost of material-7.00-14.00 each box.
    Labor-when all is set up, using different routers for each step, so only have to set up everything once, Id estimate approx 2 hours per box, without finishing.

    Finishing would be a tung oil mixture with a nice sheen.

    So tacking on a couple of bucks for each box for overhead, the cost of maintaining my tools and running electricity and heat/ac etc......and making a fair wage, I just dont see people paying 75.00 and up for these boxes. No way.

    It was an experiment, I used 4 different routers and have them all set now, and kept all measurements handy. but I wont pursue woodworking for profit with small crafts.
    Dont know how anyone can make any profit(On small items like this) unless they work for12.00 dollars an hour.

    and Im not trying to be a negative person here, I just dont see how it can be done in a home shop .

    (these pics, only sanded to 80 grit, no finish, lid pulls arent glued on, wrong angle on pics, the sides are walnut, box on right was one that I didnt toss, its just ash and spanish cedar lid, 2 other boxes I had to toss)

    the last pic is just how I double tape the sides together, cut patterns on paper, spray adhesive to side, then cut on bandsaw 2 at a time for uniformity.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 100_1409.jpg   100_1410.jpg   100_1404.jpg  
    Last edited by allen levine; 04-21-2013 at 09:00 PM.
    Human Test Dummy

  2. #2
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    Well Allen the last guy I saw selling boxes didn't have one under $100.00 Most where $175.00 seemed as though he was selling them but he was also in a high class craft event that the spots run $2,500.00 for the week and you have to belong to the club plus give them a % of your sales. He was right next to the guy with the 5K desk
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  3. #3
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    After saying that I can barely get 65 for my mugs at the events I show at. But I can sell 40 dollar cutting boards all day long.
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  4. #4
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    I've had a booth at a small town festival for the last 20 years. Selling wood projects has never been a money maker. I used to make these pine wooden roll top trunks that were (in my opionon) not too bad. I probably had about $20.00 just in material in each one. Each one would take me about 6-8 hours to build (maybe I'm just slow) I priced them at only $40.00 and people would pick up the price tag and say out loud....OMG I would never pay that! I would just smile and hope they walked away. The next person would walk up and look at the tag and say.....now thats not bad! I sold many of them over the years. The higher I raised the price the less I sold. This is a small country town not high end....the money is just not there for expensive wares.

    Here is one my wife has in our front room stuffed with her bears.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    This booth is more of a social gathering and fun event to do.
    It's not what you achieve in life...It's what you overcome!

  5. #5
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    I experimented with cutting boards a while back. Without a second cut, just glueing up strips, I can make cutting boards in approx 1 hour 30 minutes each one, from start to final oiling.
    (total time put in estimated since I cant finish them in one day with glueup and oiling)
    40 dollars is just about making the 25 dollar an hour, more like 20 an hour, and if one has to pay for booth, gasoline, setup and breakdown time, I think Id have to move 20 boards a day to make it worth it.
    But this is my estimates. If I had other items where I could make big bucks with, Id fill a booth with less profitable items just to have a variety.
    Human Test Dummy

  6. #6
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    tom, you say you were working for 2.50 an hour? is that what IM reading?
    20 bucks material, 8 hours work, 40 dollar price?

    I understand the entire social thing, and I understand people saying, well, it just trickles in some money for the other projects I like to make, etc...and so on.....

    but, underpricing items, for me, it makes zero sense.

    I value my time, and whatever tiny skill I have, and Ive made quite a large investment into my tools. And since its only a hobby for me, if I ever wanted to make a go at earning some money, I certainly wont underprice and work for peanuts.
    Human Test Dummy

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Thoits View Post
    Well Allen the last guy I saw selling boxes didn't have one under $100.00 Most where $175.00 seemed as though he was selling them but he was also in a high class craft event that the spots run $2,500.00 for the week and you have to belong to the club plus give them a % of your sales. He was right next to the guy with the 5K desk
    If I thought I could get 150-175 dollars for that box I posted there, Id hire a few assistants and bang them out all day long.
    Ive seen boxes at some decent shows, like in Rhinebeck NY, a huge show in may.(dutchess county fair grounds?)
    But those boxes had inlays, hinges, but still didnt think they were in the 175 dollar range.
    Last edited by allen levine; 04-21-2013 at 11:12 PM.
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  8. #8
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    xxxxx
    Last edited by Steve Southwood; 04-25-2013 at 01:39 AM.
    If you don't take pride in your work, life get's pretty boring.

    Rule of thumb is if you don’t know what tool to buy next, then you probably don’t need it yet.

  9. #9
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    Allen, Is that one of those new fangled "D" ring router handles in that router bit case in the first pic?

    I think Chuck hit the nail on the head, just have to find the right show/clients that have deep pockets. Also comes down to marketing to the customer as to what they may use it for, some folks just have no vision. Might be able to spend a couple of extra bucks at the dollar store for some crafty paper and pen to sell as a writing box, or sewing store for some kind of craft box.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  10. #10
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    I've talked with a couple of people showing wood items at craft shows. Nothing expensive and nothing that an average woodworker couldn't make. When I asked how they make a profit by selling at the prices they do, the answer was simple. They use their woodcraft "business" to pay for trips all over the country. All they have to do is break even at the end of the year and they've had a bunch of "free" vacations. Just sayin'.....
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
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