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I recently finished a very nice (if I do say so myself) entryway table, on the way out of my school where I built it a teacher asked if I would be selling it and asked what it's price would be. I had no idea what to say and I kind of stammered around for a few minutes and ended up saying I would get back to her. How do you guys usually price your works? I can't find any similar tables around the internet so I can't even look for something to compare it too. I am sorry if this is already a thread but I would appreciate any help. Thanks!
 

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I have built a couple of outdoor projects and have the same dilemma. I am afraid I did not charge enough. But the way I looked at it, I had FUN doing something I have come to love….Woodworking.
 

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i base it on time/materials or anything invested. i charge based on time invested and material cost. i pay myself an hourly wage. for example i estimate the hours for a job. if it takes me ten hrs, then thats my charge. and if it only takes me 8 hrs then the 2 hours are profit. so i cover my materials, labor, and gain profit.
bottom line this is what ive got in it and gotta have out of it.
 

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I use to have the same problem when I started. For a while I under charged but you quickly find the need to place a value on your creativity, Test the waters and see how much your clients are willing to pay. You can always come down on your price if needed.
For custom work, I always start with a free estimate and hand deliver it to my clients over a lunch I pay for.
This way I can read their expression when they open the white envelope. If it looks like they would rather pass on the project, I would compromise. I use a Cost plus 30% formula as a general guide to do my estimates. Projects will more than likely take longer than you anticipate so make sure to calculate that into your time.
I also have had some pieces that, if I had to place an hourly rate on it, it would never sell.
If you love what you do money is never the driving force of your creativity, so be fare to your self and to your client.
Hope my endless blabbering helps.
 

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It is a balance, I sell through some local galleries and there some amazing pieces, but $800 for a bar stool? The bar stool has been sitting there for 3 years gathering dust.

I try to price an item based on what I think the market will bear. Certainly cost of wood, shop consumables and some money for my time plays a factor. I also have some repeat customers so I tend to treat them better knowing there is more business coming from them in the future. Though if you establish yourself as being "cheap" early on you also might have dug a hole for yourself.

Working the craft shows also lets you read peoples' faces and people like to haggle at shows. So it is always fun and I price the items up a little accordingly, knowing I will knock 10% off to let the customer think they are getting a deal, but still covering my costs and show fees.

If the teacher is interested in purchasing it you might suggest a price you are comfortable with and if they decline, ask them what they were thinking as a fair price. You could also take the piece to some retail outlets to see what they think.

Good luck.
 

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Congratulations Peabody,
That was a great compliment that the teacher gave you.
The short answer is …time and materials because you used the schools equipment etc. so those expenses don't factor in.
The long answer:
A few things to think about when pricing
Consider what a fair price would be for a hand crafted table.
What does your table have that can't be found in a store bought table of similar size and style?
Is there something special about the wood,finish or a unique feature?
Is this your design?
Once you sort out all that goes into the table and settle on what you feel is a fair price, take that price to the teacher. He/she will let you know if they think that it is a good price.
Sorry, I could not give you an answer like….A plus B plus C = the price, because there are several factors that effect the price, like geographic area ( material prices in New York verses Michigan) the economy etc.
Pricing is always a challenge….

Keith
 

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Well, I work at a museum where price is all about creativity and value and perceived value. I have a friend who has become a successful painter in Florence but once traded a painting to the butcher to cover his 18-month meat bill. Trust me, the butcher made out very well. Simple bottom line: recover material costs plus whatever. Think that someone else may see the piece and want to buy a copy. Charge more. But I love one of the above comments about having a piece priced where it sits for three years. When does carpentry become art? When people are willing to pay more for it.
 

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Besides what others have said about time and material. Lets think about what your buyer could be thinking . your a student and he or she is a teacher(not know for being rich) and they may be thinking $5.00 when you have $50.00 material or more in your project. when you plan on making a product it's best to find out who your buyer will be. In this case you have the product and prospective buyer. More questions do you really need to sell? Are you willing to sell for less than what material cost? Will this teacher bring in more customers if they buy your table? you can ask yourself a dozen more questions whether your selling because your broke.or will this be a sale to gain more business,or maybe you don't really want to sell that bad. Ok taking all these questions in account and other suggestions come up with a price. If none of that helps post some photos with type of material and measurements and let us vote on a price.
 

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I guess because I am retired - I have a different out look on pricing items. My time is not worth a dime, if I was not in the shop I would be working in the yard or fishing. Plus woodworking is a hobby - something that will consume my time - and a joy for me to be doing - I am not trying to make a living with this hobby. I price all my items that I sell as this : Material cost - double that price - and sell the item (s) for that price. Example is quilt racks that I build and sell - most of the material runs $30 dollars - so the quilt racks are sold at $60 dollars. Seems fair to me and the customers have never complained. I always show them the material cost (and this includes everything) and then they know in advance what the price is going to be. Very easy to get cost of material so the customer is not shell shocked.
 

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I use the same formula as Larrysch does, only because I have recently started to sell my services, right know it is only a part time money maker but eventually I hope to make it full time. Cost of materials x 2 is what I charge.
 

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Agree with others, but would like to see pictures. Of course ya know when you post the picture, you will probally get 15 different answers on price.

Right now I am finishing 2 Adirondack chairs and plan to selll them. In doing research I found prices anywhere between $49.95 and $300.00.
So since these are not built cheaply, and I used hickory, the backs and seats are curved for comfort, I will probally ask somewhere around $175.00 each. If I get a fair offer for one or both I may take it.

So to answer the original OP, ask for what you consider a fair price, add a little to that and thats what you tell the teacher. If she balks, then come down some. Its much more satisfying to ask a fair price and sell the object, then to sell it too cheap.
 

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Think of the best possible job anyone your age could have. What is the hourly wage for that job? Multiply that by how long it took add materials. Don't make it a complex calculation since your situation would be ideal for making money. No overhead, free use of tools etc. I have a friend who is convinced that he should make top dollar for his woodwork because it is "custom". Unless your name proceeds your work, you do not get the luxury of that added profit.
I may recieve a little heat for this, but. On a side note, as one who puts food on the table with wood, I would like to make this statement. People who value their time as zero and sell nice handmade products for department store prices devalue the work of all craftsmen and women everywhere.
 

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I back Rhett.

Steve1346- you should be using a x4 formula if you are using a simple multiplier. All you will be known for is doing incredibly nice work for cheap and nobody will tolerate you raising your rates.

Peabody - That is such a great compliment to have somebody ask to buy your table. Pricing can be tough and most of the comments on overhead and figuring your time are agreeable in my opinion.

My business costs are fixed and non negotiable. If there is a loss on a job, the first place to feel it is my wallet, not my suppliers or my electric bill. So knowing the overhead costs and what I want to make an hour is easy to figure, I just have to figure how long it will take each job and add it all up.

Being that you are in school and you really don't have any overhead, it makes it a little bit tougher. Rhett is correct in that you do not have a reputation yet so the market will not bear a higher price for your work at this time.

Without a picture, it is really hard to guess what it should go for.

Never show the client your material costs! That is none of their business. WalMart will not show you their material costs. The product is on the shelf with the price and it is "take it or leave it."
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
well I decided to keep the table, my mom liked it enough that she wanted it so no sales for me. Sorry if this is a wee bit anti climactic, I'll post pictures once I get the time.
 

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LOL, that's funny! That's what I do! I spend all this time figuring out the value of something I made, then along comes a big eyed admirer with no money and I give it or trade it away for nothing but a full heart and the satisfaction my work went to a good home. They are like children to me.

Got some good ideas though, good topic…......
 
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