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Thread: pricing question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Oliver Springs, TN
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    pricing question

    I've had a couple of people ask if I could build one of these. I'm terrible at pricing and was just wondering if you could ballpark what would you charge. The carcass will be out of poplar and they have the windows. I have some weathered boards for the top and back.
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  2. #2
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    Oct 2006
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    5 times materials is often a good place to start, but it is very dependent on your area.

    For me here in Tokyo 8 times materials gets me in the ball park.
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
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    Gotta do your homework. What does something like that bring in your area? What is their cost expectation? Materials are at best, 20% of the fair value. You have the investment in tools and experience. You are footing the overhead of space and utilities. And almost everybody grossly underestimates the cost of consumables. Or the time to finish it.

    Cut to the chase. Find out what they are wiling to spend. And then decide if you want to do it for that much.

    In my neck of the woods, an IKEA quality case like this would be ~$600. I don't do IKEA quality work, either in craftsmanship or materials. So if they balk at IKEA prices, they do not want to pay you fair value.

    And no friendship is worth the discrepancy of monetary values.

    Hope that helps.

    Oh, my ball park in my area? ~$1500 for an heirloom quality piece.
    ++++++

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

    Power is not taken. It is given. Who have you given yours to? Hmmmm?

    Carol Reed

  4. #4
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    I usually agree with Carol except in this case the project looks fairly simple and looks like it is meant to be country or rustic and could be made pretty quickly. I would think that the material cost would be less than $150.00.

    Woodworking is a hobby for me and I'll never ever make a living at it, so that's my train of thought. I'd probably sell the piece for $500-700.00
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  5. #5
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    Location is a lot, Bob. Cost of living is different in different parts of the country also. Cost expectations differ as well. So, just what did you disagree with, Bob? Not trying to start something here, just want to point out that there are no simple answers to questions like this. I can't speak for John's part of the country. Just my humble opinion. BTW, every time I used a materials plus multiple factor, I lost money. Since it was more than a hobby, I could not afford to do that. And I stayed in business for 24 years.

    Hobbyists are the bane of the professionals. They set marketplace expectations that are not sustainable for the person who has to put food on the table. John needs to do this or not at a price he is happy with. All other conversation is pure speculation. Too many variables.
    ++++++

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

    Power is not taken. It is given. Who have you given yours to? Hmmmm?

    Carol Reed

  6. #6
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    Thanks guys. I realize I can't get Tokyo or SOCO prices in East Tennessee. I guess the reason for asking is I'm tired of underpricing myself.

    Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

  7. #7
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    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
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    when I priced stuff I would look around and on line and see what comparable pieces were selling for, then I would estimate my materials and labor and ask my self can I make it for that price and realize a profit. I had no intention of working for free, if that were the case I may as well just give it away. In some instances the client would balk at the price and i would simply show him what he could buy it for elsewhere and give him a choice give the money to me or to my competition.I never lost an order to the competition . sometimes the client decided to not go through with it but at least i never lost money and my clients always felt they got what they paid for.
    "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

  8. #8
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    I agree Carol. I always value your ideas, experience and opinions very highly. In this case I think that we are talking apples and oranges. Most of my work has been done for family and friends. They pay for material and a bit extra for my time. I'm in it for the fun. I have a few clients that I charge for material and the difficulty or style of furniture they want. If I was selling the piece that John is making I think $500.00 would be my price.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Daugherty View Post
    Thanks guys. I realize I can't get Tokyo or SOCO prices in East Tennessee. I guess the reason for asking is I'm tired of underpricing myself.

    Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk
    Advice by Carol is spot on. I believe you have made two mistakes taking on that project. First you have not calculated what your personal skills and shop use are worth. And, you did not agree with the buyers beforehand what they could, or would, pay. If you underprice, you hurt yourself and set yourself up for future jobs that will only consume your time. If you overprice, in the minds of the buyer, it probably will cause ill feelings.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Gibson View Post
    I usually agree with Carol except in this case the project looks fairly simple and looks like it is meant to be country or rustic and could be made pretty quickly. I would think that the material cost would be less than $150.00.

    Woodworking is a hobby for me and I'll never ever make a living at it, so that's my train of thought. I'd probably sell the piece for $500-700.00
    Okay if you are only going to sell to family. Otherwise please please please don't ever sell for less than a professional would, if you do professional quality work. They have to eat and feed their families - you should not undercut them.

    I am retired and don't need woodworking to eat, but I have always charged a fair price, and have had the help, support, and friendship of many professionals.

    Don't underestimate your area either. My brother lived in a small town, and felt $5 per hour was a lot for that town, despite his excellent craftsmanship. He could not work in the winter because he could not heat his shop (surprise at those rates?). At the same time the local furniture store was thriving, charging big city prices with no competition. I never could convince him to increase his rate.

    By the way, if material cost is $150, then your price should be at least $750, and probably closer to $1,200. (I only use the material multiplier to check my estimates... if it is less than 5 times, I have almost certainly miscalculated or missed something.)
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

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