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  1. #1
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    Default How much to charge

    A guy at work asked me to make his wife a jewellery box for her Xmas last year, but obviously with my thumb being how it was, and my own wife's present not getting done, I had to pass.

    now I have almost a clear schedule, so will start talking woods with him.

    how much should I charge him to make a jewellery box roughly 300x180x75, with trays etc? This is where I feel most uncomfortable, putting a price on my work. Should I feel guilty about charging a lot, and how much would all of you charge?

    im interested to hear people's thoughts.

    Richard

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  3. #2
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    This is the way some people work it, your time is worth $X per hr, add traveling time to get there, select the pieces, and drive back home.
    The cost of the timber = $ZZ.00
    Items to finish, sealer, sandpaper, finish, hinges, catch, flocking etc = $YY.00
    If it takes you 8 hrs to make the finished box , 8 X $X= $???+ $ZZ.00 + $YY.00 + 10% for wear and tear on machinery = $???.00
    Even if you have the timber and components on hand, there is time to collect/search for the replacement items.
    Unfortunately not everyone wants to pay the actual cost of an item, regardless if it's at a craft show or friends,
    If you told him it would be $250.00 what would he say??????
    I try to work on $50 per hour, as that includes my electricity etc. not very often I can get that sort of money though.
    HTH
    Kryn

  4. #3
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    Kryn is on the money so to speak.
    But a different approach may be ask him what he wants to spend.
    You then know weather your buying timber from Bunnings and some nails.
    Or your going looking for some furniture grade timber.

    Cheers Matt,

  5. #4
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    Hi Richard,

    Much depends on the quality of the box, hardware and linings. If youíre using expensive hardware (like hinges smartBoxmaker - Fine Wooden Boxes | smartBoxmaker smartHinges, smartLock, smartWare hinges and locks this will add $130 to the price. If you use pigskin suede for lining add another $40.

    if youíre making a top class box such as made by Andrew Crawford (Home - Fine Decorative Boxes) or Ian Hawthorne (Bespoke Wooden Boxes) you are looking north of $9000. If you are making a very (and I mean very) basic jewellery box itís around $350-500 (no hinges or lock). See, for example https://www.etsy.com/shop/YanniWoodAlchemy

    Leaving aside that it is for a friend I suggest you charge more rather than less. People donít value or respect what they get cheaply. You are a skilled artist who does good work - charge accordingly. My own experience is that Iíve had more work when I put my prices up (management consulting not boxmaking). If people arenít willing to pay then they clearly donít understand the value of your work. Smile and move on.

    Some other examples:

    https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/AustralianFineBoxes

    http://theartofcontainment.com/page2/page6/

    http://fineboxmaker.com/for-sale/


    The two rules are:

    1. Donít sell yourself short.

    2. There are no exceptions to rule 1.



    Hope this helps, Richard.

    Brian

  6. #5
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    I can see people putting a lot of thought into this basically simple question 'How much should I charge?' and a lot of calculation. But I suggest the calculating really only applies to serious commercial transactions and this one is a 'love job'. Ask him how much he wants to spend first and get that out of the way. If he says $100 then he will get what you can do for a hundred and so on up the scale. If he loves the product so much that he orders fifty for company gifts next year then you can start calculating.

  7. #6
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    If he loves the product so much that he orders fifty for company gifts next year then you can start calculating.
    That's OK, except that when you quote him $400 per, for boxes that you did as a 'love job' for $100, he won't like it.

    For real 'love jobs', i.e. for close friends & rellies, I say "Pay me what you think it's worth in red wine." That way, you find out how much they value your work.
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  8. #7
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    All good points, and if I charged $100 I know I'd be selling myself well short, considering I have seen lesser work in galleries and shops go for 4-5x that. And I would put the same care and detail into it as I would for $500 because i don't feel good about selling something inferior, or letting someone down. I'm not a "what do you expect for a hundred bucks?" Kind of person.

    i agree commercially it's a different kettle of fish, it's your lively hood but being a request for a gift for a colleagues wife, its a bit different. If I had an online store or sold them at markets etc and he came to me to make something personal, that would be a different story, as he can see what I charge and if still interested then he can go from there.

    i'll tell him to look on Etsy and the like and let him see what he can get for his money, and then he can make an offer.

    thsnk you all.

  9. #8
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    Knowing what to charge has been something I have struggled with for my whole working life. Being a Carpenter has led me to a huge variety of different jobs, from putting roofing on a carport roof, to the odd cupboard in a house, to a one room extension etc. I usually charge; material then hourly rate X the number of hours. At this stage I usually feel quite apprehensive wondering what the customer is thinking. Then when you get paid I walk away thinking is that the "right Price"? Could I have charged more/less. I never feel comfortable.

    I don't mind doing jobs for people and I get a "kick" out of doing something that makes that persons way of life that much better because of what I have done for them. But I really hate the money side of it.

    I do some bits and pieces for a couple of people up the road and have been charging $30 an hour. They had a bloke in to cut their grass and he charged $40 an hour and didn't quibble at that price. It was on a weekend and he wanted cash (so I suppose it was "under the radar"). So I charge them $40 an hour. (I feel that Carpentry jobs have got to be more valuable than cutting grass)
    Just do it!

    Kind regards Rod

  10. #9
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    Default How much to charge

    Donít forget that if youíre a hobby woodworker, you will be doing any work in your leisure time, which may be worth more to you than a standard commercial rate.

    As an example, I enjoy making pieces for those I love, or WANT to help out, and will charge between free and cost of materials. I do it because I feel good helping them. Thatís my payment.

    My skill level simply isnít at a point where I could comfortably charge what I value my leisure time at, so when asked for a quote to build a piece, I refer them to the local furniture makers who can produce a quality piece at a lower cost.

    Lance

  11. #10
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    No I am not saying do a $400 job for $100. I'm saying that the calculating only works when it is a bigger-than-one-off job. For example I would look at the cost of hardware - brass, timber, sandpaper, laquer... as the bottom line and then add whatever you think on top, say $50, $70 or $100. Trying to calculate a dollar per hour doesn't work because 1) it's a hobby so your time is worth nothing or less. 2)If you are not selling regularly you have no way of knowing if your time is worth $5 per hour or $50 or $500. 3) Comparing with other work in galleries is fraught with error because you have no idea of the costs to the producer or the retailer, the time involved or the amount that is being sold. When AlexS says
    "That's OK, except that when you quote him $400 per, for boxes that you did as a 'love job' for $100, he won't like it." I reckon he'd be really happy knowing that he got a $400 box for $100.

  12. #11
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    This is what i charge based on rates i have been using for a few years
    To put a box together i have 4 rates base on the overall length of 4 sides.
    300 x 180 x 75 = $67,
    I add a premium for over 70mm high = $16
    $14 to remove the lid
    $40 for a full tray.
    $25 for strap hinges.
    $28 for lining the box and tray base.
    For a basic box i think $180 - $220 is fair.

    Of course there are many other factors like timber handles of feet or beading and inlay and the price of the hardware to think about.

    I find the best way to get straight to the point is to ask him what his budget is.

  13. #12
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    You take pride in your work. You are going to pay attention to detail. It is going to take you hours to make the box. You have said you will include trays so that means lining the trays too. You might include inlay if you want to impress. Your workmate asked you because he believes you will do a good job. He also will likely believe he is going to get mate’s rates. I assume you are not using pine.

    I would be looking to charge $400 but would tell him that the box is worth $500, which to me will not be a lie for box of that size. It will be handcrafted, one of a kind and made with Australian timber, which immediately makes it impossible to compare with Asian mass produced boxes. I would guarantee the workmanship but not against scratches or being dropped.

    Tel him you can reduce the price if he doesn’t want trays or dividers or inlay.

    If he pays $100, it will be less than a bottle of decent perfume. It will go on a table and get knocked around and bumped off. At $200 it is more than most perfumes but is nowhere near heirloom status. At $400 of his hard earned money, both his and his wife’s attitude to it will change if you explain it right without lying. It is a custom made gift that your workmate commissioned to make his wife happy. Emphasise that it deserves to be treasured, put on display and is something for your workmate’s wife to brag about to visitors. It will be treated like gold.

    Don’t undersell your time, skills or the beauty you create. So many people lose courage when it comes to charging. You are not competing with the Asian manufacturers. You offer both a product and a service they do not. You are also more likely to get commissions if people believe you have the right to charge more than a trifle. It means people will believe you are good at what you do. And it sounds like you are.
    Graeme

  14. #13
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    This is exactly why I do not do commission work. It is very difficult to walk that tightrope between not making the sale and working for minimum wage. If someone sees one of my completed works and asks me, "How much?", I tell them. The rest is up to them.
    ...there is secret agents and insurance agents and real estate agents and all kinds of agents and you can't trust none of the bastards...

  15. #14
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    Bookend & Ciscokid have it right. You do no one any favours by undercharging for your work. When you're first starting out, perhaps you should charge a bit less, to build up a client base and get your name spread around, but once you're established and doing quality work, you should charge what it's worth. If you don't, people won't respect your work, and you will be taking work away from professionals, from whom you have probably had a degree of free tuition & advice, through clubs and forums like this. A guide for pricing if you're doing quality work might be: look at the prices for comparable work in a gallery; reduce that by say 30-35% to account for the gallery's commission (later you can reduce that to value the goodwill you've accumulated); Reduce it by maybe 5% to account for the fact that you will (probably) get your money straight away. I've only had one job where the customer (from these forums) dropped of the face of the earth and I was left with a red cedar box with custom engraving that I can't sell to anyone.
    You can adjust your prices depending on a few things. Do you operate a market stall? Increase your price a bit. Is it for a friend? Reduce it a bit. Has the client been a PitA? Put it up a bit. Have you had the box for a while and do you want to get rid of it? drop the price a bit. There are a lot of other factors, but these ones are important.
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  16. #15
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    I think most of the above comments have nailed the various aspects of doing work for "friends and family".

    For me personally, I used to get hammered constantly by people wanting all manner of things done, because to them your time and effort is far less important to them, than them having to pay for it elsewhere.

    "Oh you trained in electronics, can you look at my .....(insert almost any appliance including fridges, computers, etc)?"

    "Oh you have a mill, I broke this $2 bracket, can you make me another (so I don't have to shell out $2)?

    Etc, etc.

    The other prevailing aspect of doing work for people you know, is a lot of them genuinely believe they are enhancing your life or increasing your satisfaction level by giving you "things to do" very loosely related to whatever you trained or work in.

    This can destroy friendships as it invariably leads to annoyance on their part if somehow the simple thing they asked you to do is delayed, you get grumbly that you're very clearly being taken advantage of, and there's no appreciation for what you've created, which can really bring the day down.

    As others have pointed out, it just can't be emphasised enough do NOT undervalue yourself, as you will then be taken advantage of, and they will simply never fully appreciate the effort or skill involved.

    For all the stupid stuff I get asked to do but don't really want to, my standard response now wavers between a flat out no or depending on the amount of effort on my part "yes I'll have a look at it, but it's very low priority for me so if your happy to wait, I'm sure I'll be able to get around to it when my workload permits, however long that is".

    For stuff I actually don't mind doing, like personalised picture frames, glory boxes, etc for family and very CLOSE friends, I get a kick out of them so I'm happy to do them as time permits as a love job, and maybe they just pay the cost of the raw materials, or not! And the friendship stays intact!

    My mother in law had a friend that was a carpenter, and when she wanted the inside fixings and wall linings done he said he'd do a discount rate being a friend, but he then said that as it's a discounted rate he can't do as good a job as he would normally, and boy he wasn't joking, it was a crap result. The panelling looked horrible and very low grade boards.

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