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Forum topic by Rich posted 06-03-2018 04:26 AM 2199 views 1 time favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Rich

4551 posts in 1006 days


06-03-2018 04:26 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tip

My number one decision is, do I want this job? There have been plenty of discussions on LJ regarding this. There are many potential red flags, too many to list here. After a while, you just know.

Profitability should never be an unknown. Bid the job intelligently and execute it expertly, and you will never take a loss, and in the event you do, it’s your fault. Hey, we all screw up.

I have worksheets for every type of job I do. If it’s something new, I develop a new worksheet.

For example, if someone wants a residential door, I plug in a few numbers — width, height, thickness (interior or entry), number of panels and the current bd ft price for lumber in the species the client wants. Immediately I know what to price the door for based on average waste and my markup. I always have my iPad with me when I visit clients and can give those prices on the spot. Quantity pricing is based on the same hard numbers.

The same goes for cabinetry. Given dimensions, number of doors and drawers, and the material allows me to plug in a few values and out comes the cost for the piece, if it’s custom. Most aren’t and I have worksheets that, based on current lumber and hardware costs, spit out prices for standard cabinet sizes and configurations. Only then can I start to discuss layouts and price options. I never say ummm and toss out a number. That’s a recipe for failure.

Furniture is easy. Listen, compared to high-end stores and boutiques, there is a ton of cushion. Go high. You know you’re good and you’re worth it, so never skimp on the bid. People value your work as you do. Someone looking for custom work is happy to pay more. They brag about it to their friends. If they balk, it’s OK. There are lots of fish in the sea.

I guess the bottom line is to value your work, work your numbers, and if they hire you, you will make money. If you’re desperate for work and bidding low, you’re doomed.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki


11 replies so far

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woodbutcherbynight

5966 posts in 2825 days


#1 posted 06-03-2018 04:35 AM

Good info and some good things to practice if you are trying to make some profit. I liked the first sentence best, do you want the job? Hmm, for me that would be a NO. LOL I want to be left alone to get my own 5 lifetimes of projects done.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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cathyb

839 posts in 3661 days


#2 posted 06-03-2018 07:28 AM

Hi Rich,

This is absolutely true. I’ve been making furniture for 25 years. When I first started, I was so thrilled to get a commission, I worked for practically nothing. This brings to mind something my neighbor often said, “No one will respect you, until you say ‘no’ and mean it”. It took awhile for me to reach the point where turned down commissions that I did not want to take. It scared me at first because I thought I would end up with no commissions. Instead, I got more work for more money. If you are creating quality work and no one else is in the game, you need to be paid the big bucks.

Cathy

-- cathyb, Hawaii, www.cathyswoodworking.com

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Rich

4551 posts in 1006 days


#3 posted 06-03-2018 08:15 PM

I really like that quote, Cathy. Those are good words to remember. Thanks for the rest of your feedback, too. I sometimes wonder if I’m way out in left field with some of what I do.

In my first career as an engineer, I saw many times where someone tried to work way over their heads. They ultimately failed. Paraphrasing Dirty Harry, I always said that a good engineer knows his limitations. I do the same thing now. Working mostly in mesquite I sometimes am approached to do large projects like mantels. Working with a 6 by 12 inch slab of mesquite several feet long isn’t something I feel capable of, so I simply tell them that I don’t do that sort of work. Fortunately I’m pretty well tied-in with some guys here in town who do have the means to provide what they want, so I refer them to those woodworkers.

One guy in particular deals with massive mesquite pieces for very wealthy clients. Doors that weigh hundreds of pounds and the like. In return he sends smaller jobs he doesn’t want to bother with my way.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

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woodbutcherbynight

5966 posts in 2825 days


#4 posted 06-03-2018 09:49 PM

If your work is unusual or hard to find people that do it, pay should be a premium. My boss takes in electrical repairs from body shops all the time. Since no other shops have someone to do this, the boss of course charges accordingly. Many times the insurance company specifically asks for us to look into it before ordering pricey wiring harnesses. Even at our rate it is cheaper to pay us than wait 1-2 months for a wiring harness that cost $3000 and pay to have that installed.

Now if I could just get the boss to be more patient while I find the problem life would be better. 5 minutes in and he wants to know am I done yet.

LOL

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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000

2859 posts in 1316 days


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

Two jobs I have to bid. (both are approx. 48” wide)
Anyone want to take a guess at them?

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Rich

4551 posts in 1006 days


#6 posted 06-03-2018 10:27 PM


Two jobs I have to bid. (both are approx. 48” wide)
Anyone want to take a guess at them?

- jbay

I don’t do that type of work :)

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

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woodbutcherbynight

5966 posts in 2825 days


#7 posted 06-04-2018 01:22 AM



Two jobs I have to bid. (both are approx. 48” wide)
Anyone want to take a guess at them?

Have no idea but I wouldn’t mind watching, and learning something.

- jbay


-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Dark_Lightning's profile

Dark_Lightning

3466 posts in 3525 days


#8 posted 06-04-2018 01:29 AM

Without knowing what the construction details and materials are, I wouldn’t hazard a guess.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

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Woodknack

12842 posts in 2797 days


#9 posted 06-04-2018 01:42 AM

Just for s&g I’ll guess $3700 and $1400

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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Rich

4551 posts in 1006 days


#10 posted 06-04-2018 02:15 AM


Just for s&g I ll guess $3700 and $1400

- Woodknack

In the spirit of The Price is Right I’ll bid $3699 and $1399.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

View woodbutcherbynight's profile

woodbutcherbynight

5966 posts in 2825 days


#11 posted 06-04-2018 02:53 AM


Just for s&g I ll guess $3700 and $1400

- Woodknack

In the spirit of The Price is Right I ll bid $3699 and $1399.

- Rich

$3701 and $1401

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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