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Hourly Rate of Pay

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Forum topic by DIYWaterDog posted 04-06-2018 06:28 AM 2366 views 0 times favorited 33 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DIYWaterDog

59 posts in 849 days


04-06-2018 06:28 AM

What is a reasonable hourly rate for woodworking?

I have an open ended agreement with a local business to do a routed sign with a local high school theme.

Since I am a woodworking hobbyist I could not set a price or guarantee super quality craftsmanship. Really had no idea the time it would take to do the job.

We have a tentative agreement that I will work for credit at the business if they like the piece I am making. If they do not, then I will be donating it to a local fundraiser or perhaps hang in my garage.

Besides cost of materials, what would be a reasonable rate to charge? As I am already into the project, I estimate the project will take about 10 hours.

Look forward to your replies.

DIYWATERDOG

-- Why pay somebody when you can DIY?!?


33 replies so far

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Loren

10477 posts in 4070 days


#1 posted 04-06-2018 07:05 AM

lol.

$10-50+

Can they get it for less from Ikea? (not custom)

Can they get it for less from a handyman? (custom?)

What is the snafu factor in said handyman’s skills?

supply, demand, etc.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysistrata

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HokieKen

9979 posts in 1561 days


#2 posted 04-06-2018 12:05 PM

For me, as a hobbyist, I make such decisions based on how much is my time worth to ME? I have limited shop time and a list of projects I’d like to do longer than my leg… For me, the number is about $30/hour. Any less than that and I’d rather spend my shop time doing whatever I want. But for that amount, it’s usually worth it to me to take on a project. Gives me some spending money for new tools :-)) Of course, that’s on top of material costs. YMMV of course, that’s just my opinion.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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John Smith

1889 posts in 585 days


#3 posted 04-06-2018 12:08 PM

I have an open ended agreement with a local business to do a routed sign

so – you are not actually making the sign yourself? you are only helping the “woodworker”?
is this guy a sign maker, furniture maker, general handyman, or what?? any CNC work involved?
pretty vague question without knowing a little more about the project.

basic hand carved signs with hand tools (NO CNC) was about 125-$250 per hour a few years ago…...
the basic hand routed sign would be about 75-$250 per square foot for a single sided sign.

so – you need to be a little more specific about the sign you are making. how complex it ???
how big is it, single or double sided, indoor or outdoor, what wood did you use, yada yada yada
a sketch or drawing of your project will help the gallery help you.

here is one of my signs that is your basic redwood with routed graphics.
a box configuration to bring the thickness to about 10” and 3’x5’ in size, single sided:

I made the redwood sign panel and hired my mason buddy to build the concrete stand
with crushed oyster shells embedded in a stucco finish.

.

-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

View DIYWaterDog's profile

DIYWaterDog

59 posts in 849 days


#4 posted 04-06-2018 02:43 PM



For me, as a hobbyist, I make such decisions based on how much is my time worth to ME? I have limited shop time and a list of projects I d like to do longer than my leg… For me, the number is about $30/hour. Any less than that and I d rather spend my shop time doing whatever I want. But for that amount, it s usually worth it to me to take on a project. Gives me some spending money for new tools :-)) Of course, that s on top of material costs. YMMV of course, that s just my opinion.

- HokieKen

- HokieKen

Thanks for the reply. Excellent point on “time worth to ME” And the option to buy some additional tools after costs. I was thinking $30-$50 myself

DIYWATERDOG

-- Why pay somebody when you can DIY?!?

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DIYWaterDog

59 posts in 849 days


#5 posted 04-06-2018 02:52 PM


I have an open ended agreement with a local business to do a routed sign

so – you are not actually making the sign yourself? you are only helping the “woodworker”?
is this guy a sign maker, furniture maker, general handyman, or what?? any CNC work involved?
pretty vague question without knowing a little more about the project.

basic hand carved signs with hand tools (NO CNC) was about 125-$250 per hour a few years ago…...
the basic hand routed sign would be about 75-$250 per square foot for a single sided sign.

so – you need to be a little more specific about the sign you are making. how complex it ???
how big is it, single or double sided, indoor or outdoor, what wood did you use, yada yada yada
a sketch or drawing of your project will help the gallery help you.

here is one of my signs that is your basic redwood with routed graphics.
a box configuration to bring the thickness to about 10” and 3×5 in size, single sided:

I made the redwood sign panel and hired my mason buddy to build the concrete stand
with crushed oyster shells embedded in a stucco finish.

.

- John Smith

John,

Thanks for the response.

Your response made me think about my experience as a web site designer/developer. What also started as a hobby 20 years ago. I think 20 years ago I started at about $30 per hour. Over time I moved to $75 -$125 per hour once my knowledge and skill set grew.

FYI… this is a one sided hand routed sign. 6 stenciled (carbon paper trace) letters. Nothing complex, but will be a one of a kind on reclaimed bleacher plank from a local school. Quality of sign will be based on my steady hands with a Bosch 1hp Colt router.

DIYWATERDOG

-- Why pay somebody when you can DIY?!?

View Rick  Dennington's profile (online now)

Rick Dennington

6571 posts in 3617 days


#6 posted 04-06-2018 02:56 PM

When I build a piece of furniture, or just something pretty simple, I usually charge around $20 an hour, depending on what they want….Here where I live, we mainly have old folks in the community, and most are on a fixed income….So I try to give them a fair shake….Because maybe, just maybe, I’ll have a return customer, which happens quite often when they need something custom made, and can’t find it anywhere else….!!

-- " At my age, happy hour is a 2 hour nap".....!!

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MrRon

5576 posts in 3666 days


#7 posted 04-06-2018 03:09 PM

In my area, someone with “handyman” status gets $15-$20 per hour. Working with someone without a track record doesn’t warrant more.

View JayT's profile

JayT

6228 posts in 2634 days


#8 posted 04-06-2018 03:27 PM

My view is pretty much the same as Ken’s. Only difference is my number is $25/hr.

I’ve had friends, family and co-workers get annoyed when they ask me to do some woodworking for them and I come back with that number. For some reason, a lot of people seem to think that just because this is my hobby, then I’ll do any woodworking or teach them how to do woodworking for free. I have to give that same explanation—”If you want me to spend my hobby & relaxation time doing a project you want instead of what I want to work on, that’s the number it’ll take.”

-- https://www.jtplaneworks.com - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View Mike_D_S's profile

Mike_D_S

595 posts in 2637 days


#9 posted 04-06-2018 03:28 PM

I’m in Houston and I do a reasonable amount of side work doing custom pieces. My market is primarily referral and word of mouth. As I still have a full time job, my goal here is to earn some extra money to help with current college expenses. The jobs tend to be medium size. As an equivalent, I usually describe it as less work than a 10×10 kitchen but more than a single cabinet. On average I’m doing one of these jobs a month though it’s often two one month then nothing, then two, etc.

On a job where it’s something I may not have done before I may go to $40-50/hr giving some time for me to figure things out if needed. But generally if I’m confident I can produce a quality piece I charge $60/hr. These are typically single price quotes and not time and materials.

The hourly rate question is really personal. You have to weigh the value of your time, the hassle of being on someone else’s deadline, the cost to do the work, how well you can estimate the time it’ll take and then what the local market will bear.

I normally work with my next door neighbor (who also has a full time job) and when we started, we were using $40/hr and rapidly realized that while there was nothing wrong with it, but we didn’t feel like it was equivalent to the time we were giving up. At $60 we do jobs that are a little larger, for people who are more interested in the custom aspect and we feel better about it, so it works out.

To give an example, here is a divider partition we put together for a repeat customer to help keep her your kids from throwing stuff down the stairs on accident. We priced this out at $55/hr as she’s a nice lady and this is our third piece for her.

Mike

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

View darthford's profile

darthford

612 posts in 2347 days


#10 posted 04-06-2018 03:29 PM


here is one of my signs that is your basic redwood with routed graphics.

- John Smith

That’s cool!

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1889 posts in 585 days


#11 posted 04-06-2018 03:34 PM

Quality of sign will be based on my steady hands with a Bosch 1hp Colt router.

I’m still a little confused here – - – you are doing the router work ?
what is the “other business” shop doing for you ?

6” letters should not take more then 10 minutes per letter to rout.
depending on how you will finish the letters and wood, add that time to the total.
so – at $30 per hour, maybe two hours into the project will be $60.00.
as a novice woodworker, that will probably make you comfortable with your time and pricing.

I made a nice routed sign for a lawyer’s office. Took me maybe an hour to do it total.
I charged him $350.00 for it and he was very happy. We hung it up outside his office
we took some photos and he wrote me a check. . . . and as I was leaving, he asked me:
how long did it take you to make this beautiful sign for me ???
I replied ~ mmmmmmm probably an hour. He became very aggitated with his tone and
blurted out that was $350.00 an hour and he is an experienced trial lawyer with 6 years
of law school and I only make $75.00 an hour . . . .
and I calmly replied – yeah, that’s all I made when I was a lawyer, too !!!

so ~ the moral to the story is never sell yourself short. never tell a customer how long it actually
took you in time, never deliver a sign the same day. (wait a few days).
consider your design time, computer artwork, going back and forth to the store for materials,
the janitorial duties to clean up after you are done (routing can be very messy).
and if you deliver and install, that is another fee to consider.
this is when an “inexpensive” project can eat up your profits pretty quickly. and if you do more
similar projects in the future, you have already set the bar pricewise in the first project.

[as a novice] for a simple 2×12” x 4’ routed sign, I would charge $25 per square foot. (100.00)
which would be more than the $60 if you charged by the hour.
your time = your call. good luck !! please post some photos as you go along.

.

-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

8320 posts in 3220 days


#12 posted 04-07-2018 12:24 AM

I’m a retired professional woodworker (boatbuilder) so I try to remember that some people are still out there trying to put bread on the table. With that in mind I try not to undercut their pricing just because I don’t need the money.
If I’m doing something different like marquetry that no one is commercially doing in my area, that’s different and I tend to price based on the perceived market for the piece.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese! http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

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bandit571

23215 posts in 3106 days


#13 posted 04-07-2018 12:59 AM

I have/had one factor in what I could charge…..LOTS of Amish around here, willing to work for almost nothing…..

Got to the point, I would quote a price as 1/2 materials, 1/2 labour….with 1/2 upfront, 1/2 on delivery…..130 chest of drawers later….I just walked away….was taking away from my fulltime job. and wasn’t worth all the hassles.

Now? I build just for me, and family….not selling. Donate some items as I go along.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Dark_Lightning's profile

Dark_Lightning

3471 posts in 3531 days


#14 posted 04-07-2018 02:34 AM

It depends on what it is. I’m a beginning carver, so I only carve fun things for my family. If it is something for sale, I generally expect a return of at least $50 per hour, from which the utilities and material costs are deducted. Those items are made using machinery, not hand carving tools, and generally require minimal materials, usually about 5% or less of the sale cost. One of my previous carving tool chests piqued the interest of one of my fellow carvers, who inquired how much I would sell it for. Since it was a learning mule (and used, to boot), I told him $800. As a comparison, Gerstener makes a 5 drawer chest of red oak, the same material as I used (mine is 8 drawers, and customized for tools, to boot), as a KIT that has to be built, for $500. I’m not claiming that I’m better than Gerstener, BTW. It’s just a point of reference. If someone asked me to make one like it new, I’d ask $1600, and wouldn’t budge on the price. Their grand kids would be using that chest.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View Klondikecraftsman's profile

Klondikecraftsman

52 posts in 475 days


#15 posted 04-07-2018 03:25 AM

I use material cost plus $40/hr. That rate covers my time, electricity, shop supplies etc. Depending on your level of proficiency of course. An accomplished woodworker may do a higher quality job faster so when starting out compare prices of similar work to get an idea of where you need to be.

-- It is a sin to covet your neighbor’s wife, but his woodpile is fair game.

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