Need to learn to say NO

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Rustic posted 03-04-2010 06:13 PM 1820 reads 0 times favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Had a client the other day ask me to build 2 footstools out of oak. I told her the price would be $15.00 for one. She hemmed and hawed then said it was too high. I should have said “then I can’t do it” Instead I said how does 10 dollars a piece for 2 sound. She then said that was a deal.

Moral of the story is price the wood before I give a price. I paid 35 dollars for a 96 1/2 inch long piece that was 10 3/4 wide. Lesson learned.

Even Jockmike2 told me I was way underpriced. Should have listen to the man. Oh well it won’t happen again.

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

27 comments so far

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4741 days

#1 posted 03-04-2010 06:24 PM

Hindsight being 20/20, what do you think that you should have charged?

At $15 each, time was not considered at all right?

I would have figure in time to pick up material, manufacture, deliver, and the time spent working with client to figure out what they wanted. I can guarantee that they would not have been less than $100 each in my shop.

If they were a normal part of my portfolio and I was able to do production runs, then the cost could come down.

The most expensive ones to make are always the first ones of a new design.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3945 days

#2 posted 03-04-2010 06:26 PM

heck i dont walk out to my shop for less then 50 bucks…...and thats just for labor….....i feel for ya guy…ya wanna be nice and do things for folks…and a chance comes along to make something for someone and your excited and want to do it…but you learned your lesson on this one….but your a good guy…was nice of you to do it…next time she asks for something…get your money back…lol…...charge up the hilt…grizzman

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Rustic's profile


3256 posts in 4237 days

#3 posted 03-04-2010 06:44 PM

Todd you are right I did not consider my time. I guess I was just excited about the sale. Next time I will price the wood and add in my time.

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View Porosky's profile


619 posts in 4005 days

#4 posted 03-04-2010 06:52 PM

Learning to say NO is always a costly lesson to learn and often one we need to be reminded of, unfortunatley that is also a costly lesson. Thanks for the free reminder.

-- There's many a slip betwixt a cup and a lip.--Scott

View BillyJ's profile


622 posts in 3844 days

#5 posted 03-04-2010 06:53 PM

I agree with grizzman, too. I separate every job into one of two categories – those for friends and families or money-makers. If I have templates and jigs already made, and can complete in a short amount of time, I go with my $30/hour shop rate + material and markup. If it is for friends and family – it is probably free labor and sometimes even free material. That means either a good dinner or a “thank you.”

-- I've never seen a tree that I wouldn't like to repurpose into a project. I love the smell of wood in the morning - it smells like victory.

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 3932 days

#6 posted 03-04-2010 06:57 PM

The only time a non family member has ever asked me to build them something, I did what I thought was a careful accounting of time and material (at reasonable rates), but I never heard back after giving them the quote. Oh, well, I don’t build stuff in my shop for a living.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View Peter Knight's profile

Peter Knight

53 posts in 3797 days

#7 posted 03-04-2010 07:05 PM

The next thing you need to get on your radar NOW, is how you are going to handle the next order you get from this customer… She likey knows she is getting a steal of a deal and will come back looking for the same.

View blackcherry's profile


3344 posts in 4464 days

#8 posted 03-04-2010 07:07 PM

Just for a reference what ever it cost you in material multiply that by 2 and a half times for labor plus material. So your project should of been around 122.50. I have a bare min. charge of 225.00 for anything over 2 hrs shop time. This is a good general rule or just give a hourly charge which today should be around 40 to 60 per hr.Trust me on this a few low ball and you’ll learn to say no in a heart beat.

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3911 days

#9 posted 03-04-2010 07:19 PM

Wow what a deal….Ill take a dozen at that price! You do not consider your time worthwhile? I would only make an item at cost for family or the most dear of friends. Otherwise, I charge for my time, the material, and a bit for the bother (overhead and profit – in commercial terms – consider the gas to buy the material. The time to go to the lumberyard or box store…the sandpaper and the wear on your tools (bits and saw blades)...etc…etc). Consider that you are giving up valuable leisure or commercial time everytime you make an item for “free,” and price it accordingly…as so many above me have said…. For me, my projects are on my own time usually, so I always consider when I am asked to make something for someone – or if I am asked to sell something I have already made – the amount of time I made the item that I could have spent on say a more important repair item for me or a “honey do” that would get me in better graces with the better half…LOL…when you ask yourself that question…you should price it with some cost for the time and bother.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Uncle_Salty's profile


183 posts in 3714 days

#10 posted 03-04-2010 07:22 PM

I have been called several names by “Christian” people because I gave them bids that they thought were “overpriced.” But in my bid, I always have the price(s) for material, hardware, finishing, transportation, shipping, and, of course, labor.

That generally quiets the tirades.

I frequently will build items for non-profit auctions and such. But these items are a tax write-off.

When I am solicited to do a piece, such as an entertainment center or built-ins, I almost never get turned down. I guess my $28.50 an hour isn’t enough! When it is time to make mone… I make money!

View Jeff's profile


21 posts in 3655 days

#11 posted 03-04-2010 07:34 PM

I don’t remember which book or which author, but I remember a pro woodworker saying that all the time potential clients tell him that his products are way too expensive. To those people, he agrees that his work is way too expensive (for their pocketbook) and sends them on their way, knowing that he charges a fair price for a fine product, somebody will come along, understand the product, and purchase it for the listed price.

-- Jeff

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4888 days

#12 posted 03-04-2010 07:53 PM

I will not say I told you so buddy, we had that talk. You just undervalue yourself too much. Damn it you are worth more than that. You have to believe in yourself. Don’t let people take advantage of you, they don’t care if you starve or not. Nuff said. Till next time buddy. Semper Fi.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Rustic's profile


3256 posts in 4237 days

#13 posted 03-04-2010 07:56 PM

I know Mike, I guess I need a sledge hammer to hammer it in to my thick skull. LOL Do or Die

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2545 posts in 4599 days

#14 posted 03-04-2010 08:28 PM

I feel ya on the one..I get so excited that somebody wants to buy some of my work that I just blurt out a price without considering even the price of materials, let alone my time. I recently made a couple cutting boards for someone to give as Christmas large side grain and one 9×9 checkerboard end grain. I should have charged what I got for both pieces for the endgrain by itself..with all the extra labor it takes to make an end grain, patterned board. I know better now..I adapt myself to the 2 1/2 times rule..that seems fair to me.


View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4741 days

#15 posted 03-04-2010 09:17 PM

Rustic – Just want you to know that I have done the same thing as you earlier on.

As a business and suffering the need to survive or not make the house payment, I had to get a true understanding of my numbers.

I do not use the multiplier number as a rule for figuring my estimates, but most of my projects work out to materials x 4 or 4.5. But keep in mind that my overhead needs are different than the hobbyist doing it for fun and a little extra money.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

showing 1 through 15 of 27 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics