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View Don's profile

Your project is worth more than that!

by Don
posted 12-18-2012 12:46 PM

30 replies so far

View maraziukas's profile


71 posts in 3247 days

#1 posted 12-18-2012 01:15 PM

Oh yeeee. I had even worse comment, when i priced my walnut rocking chair ( for 1500 $

-- Maraziukas, Lithuania,

View jerrells's profile


918 posts in 2851 days

#2 posted 12-18-2012 01:41 PM

I am having more of a problem setting pricing this year than last. If I set a realistic price, based on the price of the wood and the amount of time, it will not sell. If I set a price at which it will sell I am giving it away. I really have no idea what to do.

-- Just learning the craft my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ practiced.

View JoeinGa's profile


7735 posts in 1974 days

#3 posted 12-18-2012 01:46 PM

I have seen both sides of this coin. See my answer here…

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Don's profile


551 posts in 3209 days

#4 posted 12-18-2012 01:51 PM

Usually it’s the case of ‘your price is too high’ but in this case, the client actually told me that my price was too low.

-- -- Don in Ottawa,

View maraziukas's profile


71 posts in 3247 days

#5 posted 12-18-2012 01:59 PM

Wow … I wish I have even one such client in my life

-- Maraziukas, Lithuania,

View Pdub's profile


923 posts in 3147 days

#6 posted 12-18-2012 02:37 PM

I have people in my craft group ask if I am charging enough for some of my items. I know sometimes I am a little low but I don’t want to take home everything that I took to the show. I sometimes raise my prices for the next show if items seem to sell quickly but I always price them at a price that I can live with.

-- Paul, North Dakota, USAF Ret.

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2953 days

#7 posted 12-18-2012 02:40 PM

You know what’s really infuriating? I often get people tell me that… and then never buy anything. I did a craft fair a few weeks ago, and I made a bunch of stuff that I could sell, reasonably, at $20. Enough people bought them, but at least twice as many looked at the stuff, picked it up, examined it, complimented it, and then told me I was charging “way too little” and then …. walked away. -shakes head-

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3275 days

#8 posted 12-18-2012 03:29 PM

When someone tells me my prices are high I ask them what they think my time is worth. I let them know that I put a lot of hours into each and every box I create and I value my time and skills. My prices are not for everyone…but there are alot of people out there with plenty disposable income..
Like everyone else in the world, there are many things in life I really like alot but can not afford. Any person or business in existence makes things for a certain niche’ market.

I always seem to somehow find customers that can afford to spend money for what they like and want. I have never made inexpensive items for a show …however… I always seem to make sales and get commissions afterwards…enough to keep me busy.

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3711 days

#9 posted 12-18-2012 03:46 PM

When they tell me that my work is worth more than what I’m selling it for, I offer to sell it to them at a higher price. Haven’t had any takers yet. When I lived in Maine, it was nice to have the Stickley store 35 miles away, in Portland. Most folks looking for A&C furniture had already been in there before they talked to me, so they knew I was giving them a nice deal. Some ordered furniture from me, some had regret because they had already bought something from Stickley, but nobody ever paid me more than I was asking.

View Earlextech's profile


1160 posts in 2657 days

#10 posted 12-18-2012 06:06 PM

Some people these days are willing to say anything just to try and get a rise out of you. Don’t take the bait. When they say it should cost more, ask them at what price would they buy it and then push hard for the sale at that price.

I love telling this story – my wife owned an art gallery, a painting hung on the wall at $125 for a year, we raised the price to $250 and sold it the next week. Pricing has no reality. Don’t get caught up in what inexperienced people say.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View Loren's profile


10269 posts in 3615 days

#11 posted 12-18-2012 06:11 PM

Price your work at what you need to get to make
the business of making things worthwhile. You can
get paid what a plumber gets to do woodworking,
but you have to be a good marketer to get that
and you have to know what you can and can’t
make money at. Original designs consume a lot of
time to protoype, but if they become salable portfolio
items and you have the jigs and templates they
can be assets.

Only the affluent are accustomed to paying for
real craftsmanship. Some non-affluent people know
what such things should cost because they have
skills or know somebody well in the trade.

View ruel24's profile


79 posts in 2260 days

#12 posted 12-18-2012 06:35 PM

It’s going to be hard to justify one-off custom furniture prices when people are used to paying mass-produced prices. That’s the way it is. People can get some crappy table at Morris Home Furnishings with marquetry that looks like it’s silk screened on for $400, but for you to do something like that out of your garage with good hardwoods and quality craftsmanship would have to be priced double that to make it worth it at all.

View McLeanVA's profile


491 posts in 3401 days

#13 posted 12-18-2012 07:12 PM

Ah yes… the artist’s dilemma.

I hear that more often than not. And I’m perfectly fine with it. I take it as a compliment. I’m a pure hobbyist and am not in it for the profit. So long as my project sale covers my materials cost, it’s just a great excuse to do what makes me happy.

Full disclosure, I make (on average) $1.50 – $2 per hour of time spent on my projects. Not drying time, but actual moving, cutting, sanding, finishing, etc.

There is a hazy ceiling at which you will price projects just beyond a comfort zone and you will notice less sales because of it. I price my projects where I know they will sell and sell fast. Could I have made 10%, 20%, 30% more… maybe. But I’m happier to see my projects get gobbled up quicker than I can make them.

You should be proud of your work if someone is willing to pay more.

-- Measure, cut, curse, repeat.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

28946 posts in 2305 days

#14 posted 12-18-2012 07:16 PM

I am with Liz on this one. They say your price is too low and don’t buy anything.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Tennessee's profile


2861 posts in 2481 days

#15 posted 12-18-2012 07:32 PM

I’ve had this said to me so many times it’s gotten old. But the minute I put a guitar out there at a couple hundred higher, with added goodies to boot, it almost always rots. Last one I donated to my church for a Christmas giveaway. My 50th, I put everything into it I could, and I still own it…

I’ve come to the conclusion that people who say these things, either don’t really get what the market will bear, look at too may “Buy it now” numbers on eBay, or are just being nice.

As far as getting more for your work, if my name was one of the famous guitar builders, I could charge three times as much for the exact same product. There is definitely something to be said for a nameplate.

And I find that most people with a lot of disposable income these days are hanging onto that disposable income, what with the insecurity of the economy at this point.

Overall, right now I’ll show a loss, definitely, this year, like last year. Don’t really care, I’ve built some nice guitars and maybe someday someone will come knocking on my door. But I’m not betting on it, and my living is in NO way associated with profits from my guitars, cause there ain’t any!

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View degoose's profile


7228 posts in 3321 days

#16 posted 12-18-2012 08:04 PM

I think that only those who are actually making a living from woodwork really know the dilemma of pricing…
As to those who think our prices are too high or too low…Thank them for their input and then change the price and ask how many they would like at the new price….Then put it back to the regular price..

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3552 days

#17 posted 12-18-2012 08:15 PM

When there are no takers for your work don’t always believe it to be soley the price.Ihave sold(not my work but tools and machinery weeks go by and nothing then six or more bidders fight to buy it’s a strange world. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View EPJartisan's profile


1118 posts in 3092 days

#18 posted 12-18-2012 09:53 PM

I have given up on the idea of pricing as value… after todays work I think I am going to charge by how many splinter and nicks I get per project… $100 per blood letting… the thing I finished today would be $900.

I get told I undercharge all the time.. and yet I seem to not sell very much…. I do value far more seeing the reaction from a great gift I have made.. but I do need earn a dollar now and then.

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2936 days

#19 posted 12-18-2012 11:06 PM

I don’t make anything but commissions, even then, 90% are quoted before starting – and I invariably end up screwing myself by pricing too low. My favourite kind of job is done after agreeing with the client I’ll do it on an hourly rate. Those clients seem to be a different demographic to anyone else.
I’ve had a couple of ‘bonuses’ in the past, which was nice, but of late, pricing seems to be more of a Dutch auction.

View Puzzleman's profile


417 posts in 2911 days

#20 posted 12-19-2012 12:04 AM

Have had people tell me that some of my prices are way too cheap. I respond by telling them that if they are that cheap, you should by one. If they don’t, I remind them what a great deal they are passing up. If they pass up the deal, I move on as they are not my customer and were only talking. I do not take them serious unless they buy something or show a lot of interest. Just saying my prices are low doesn’t mean a thing. Just saying my prices are too high doesn’t mean a thing. What counts is how many people buy.

As far as setting pricing, I set a fair price at which I can make a profit. When I do a show where my sales are low, I look for shows elsewhere. One thing that I do before applying for shows is to find out the demographics of the area. If the average income, housing prices and number of luxury car dealers don’t meet my standards, I find another show. My time is too valuable to waste time at a show that will not have the income to meet my sales goals.

-- Jim Beachler, Chief Puzzler,

View jumbojack's profile


1674 posts in 2591 days

#21 posted 12-19-2012 12:40 AM

I’m with McLeanVA, I do what I do as a hobby and sell only enough to keep my lumber cost low. Last year I built four jewelry boxes with the intent to sell two and give two as Christmas gifts. My priest asked to buy the two and I priced them with the ‘friends and family’ discount. I never looked at the check until I got to the bank. He paid a little more than I would have priced them without the F&F discount. They bought more stuff from me this year. I dont do this as a vocation; just a little something to keep me off the liquor.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2647 posts in 2889 days

#22 posted 12-19-2012 01:16 AM

I have had other vendors (not of woodworking) tell me that my prices are too low, so I tell them ” buy my stuff and resell it at the correct price”. No takers so far. I have had three buyers pay me 33% more than I was asking. I find the higher priced stuff I make sells pretty fast though. I sell a high volume of lower priced items (boxes and plaques) and few, one of a kind items. (Intarsia mostly)

-- Website is

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


932 posts in 2322 days

#23 posted 12-19-2012 10:13 AM

Yes I have had people tell me I”m charging too little, and yes I’ve had some pay me more to. But then there’s also the point of reservation or the point at which customer’s aren’t willing to pay anymore for an item. The trick is to get what you need to do the job, aligned with the customer’s point of reservation so that you get a healthy price for your work. And that my friend is the hardest part of bidding a job.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 2469 days

#24 posted 12-19-2012 11:53 AM

I’d tell your client that you are happy with the price you quoted, but that he is welcome to pay more if he wishes.

Other than that, tell your clients that it’s not the price that’s too low, it is the skill and effort that exceeds their ecpectations at that price.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View Don's profile


551 posts in 3209 days

#25 posted 12-19-2012 12:40 PM

That’s basically what I did Tootle. I thanked him very much for the compliment and told him he can pay me whatever he feel like as long as it’s over the price I set :)

-- -- Don in Ottawa,

View Don's profile


551 posts in 3209 days

#26 posted 12-19-2012 12:41 PM

That’s basically what I did Tootle. I thanked him very much for the compliment and told him he can pay me whatever he feel like as long as it’s over the price I set :)

-- -- Don in Ottawa,

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2142 days

#27 posted 12-19-2012 01:02 PM

Sometimes, clients get to appreciate your work above your expectations.

View patbrennan's profile


26 posts in 2037 days

#28 posted 12-19-2012 04:05 PM

Worth and Value to a woodworker can be hard to put a price on. I was once a custom home builder and would sometimes build furniture to suit the customers needs. I found that a customer who was having me build them a vacation home would be of the mindset that having a custom built piece of furniture, door, stair and etc. was worth it and also had the money to pay for it. On the other hand if someone had heard that I could build furniture and “needed” a piece made they were not likely to have me build it once they heard the amount of time it would take and the associated cost for which they did not value. I have known many talented woodworkers who make custom furniture for a living. It is a hard life for them. I agree with McLeanVA that the average hourly rate is $1.50 per hour. However if I were to try and sell a tissue box cover I made for my wife for Christmas at a price equal to the time spent x $30/hour the box would sell for well over a $100 – not a good value yet she will consider my time worth the effort and value it as priceless. Worth and value are similar things seen from varying viewpoints.

-- "If the women don't find you handsome you should at least be handy" - Red Green

View BHolcombe's profile


180 posts in 2042 days

#29 posted 12-30-2012 08:17 PM

In the category of newly made furniture, Studio furniture is one of the highest tiers.

The lowest end would be the shlock furniture mill type stuff, no defined style, minimal quality, run of the mill, toss it out the door kind of stuff. Usually a mishmash of designs from various eras.

The next tier is low end furniture ‘inspired’ by great design but lacks a bit of the quality involved.

Then there is sort of ‘no-name’ mass produced furniture that works off of established but often copied designs, some of which come to mind are parsons tables, chesterfield sofas, ect. This has a wide range of quality.

Above that would be authentic mass produced furniture, often very high quality and utilizing good material designed by an architect or established design house.

The top tier in my eyes are studio furniture, meaning either commissions or short-run furniture created by an established shop and designed by a designer or artist. Off the top of my head, nakashima, maloof, ect. A sub category of this would be ‘inspired’ studio furniture which is also usually very high quality but made to resemble another’s design.

You’re doing a disservice to yourself if you are in these last two categories and are afraid or embarrassed to ask for a good price. As a client it’s a category that is aspirational, someone purchasing in this category should respect and admire the design and also the person creating it.

If you are doing inspired work than you will be bounded by the pricing of the original piece and if your work is of similar quality you will still be selling at a significant discount to the originals.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3447 days

#30 posted 12-30-2012 08:40 PM

The pricing thing can be tough for sure. I dont often do work for hire, but I do get a number of people, usually friends, relatives, and neighbors, asking me how hard it would be to make, lets say an end table, or dining room table. I may do the work, depending on my woodworking schedule and the fishing/hunting season…LOL… if they are willing to pay for it. I first ask them to give me a sketch or picture of what they want, and what wood they would like it made from, and then I can give them an idea of what it would cost to build. Once I say “what it would cost” they loose interest…they seem to think I’ll do it for nothing. I dont really care if they hire me or not…I dont do woodworking for a living. I have enough work for the next six months just keeping up with what I want and need for myself.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

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