In the not-too-distant past, a young lady and her new husband spotted a ‘farm house table’ project on Pinterest and thought about building it for their new house. A family member recommended me as someone who might be interested in completing the project for them.
It’s the first thing I’ve ever quoted and been paid to make in my shop. Going through the estimating process was introspective, in a way; deciding how long it would take to build vs. actual, billable time was something I’d never considered before in a project. It also meant dividing the tasks into chunks that could be estimated and tracked. An hourly rate had to be set, and materials estimate were needed. And while that was being pulled together, the anxiety of possibly not getting the work set in as well. I asked a few questions, pondered life as a for-profit wood butcher and decided to move towards accepting the challenge. All while internally questioning my own ability to make the piece.
At the end of the process, I was happy with the quote sent forward; there were hours to do all portions of the work in a productive way (I wasn’t going to bill for learning curve or set-up time, for example). By counting actual, working hours and not setup time, ‘thinking,’ and trial and error, the actuals data I’d collect during the build would be valid and reusable for like-tasks in subsequent bids. I also placed a small adder percentage on materials to cover shopping, taxes, etc. Finally, I made it a fixed price offer; even if it took longer (and I somewhat expected it would, being my first time out of the gate) no more would be charged.
Before the quote was sent, however, I was asked to include a second piece: a buffet table built to match the farmhouse table in overall design and style.
I agreed, updated the quote and sent it for the client to consider. When the ‘half down’ check arrived, the clock started ticking! I’ll capture some of the work for this blog series, and hopefully it’ll turn out alright. Thanks for looking!
-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --