Pricing restoration work

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Forum topic by danriffle posted 11-04-2009 10:42 PM 1036 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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73 posts in 3542 days

11-04-2009 10:42 PM

Yes, another pricing question…

I’m looking at advertising for refinishing/restoration work. Anybody doing this kind of work? Do you charge by the job, by the hour, or some other method? Any good resources on making estimates?


Dan in WV

7 replies so far

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3253 days

#1 posted 11-05-2009 12:34 AM

Eric Saperstein (Artisan of the Valley) does awesome work. He might be able to help you. He has a blog right now you can check out.

-- John @

View pommy's profile


1697 posts in 3659 days

#2 posted 11-05-2009 12:45 AM

Thats easy to answer i charge by the job and only in rough estimate as i never know what i’m going to come up againist so i get room for movment on the quote

-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

View Gary's profile


9326 posts in 3401 days

#3 posted 11-05-2009 01:00 AM

I charge by the job. I stay within the range of the surrounding area.

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3545 days

#4 posted 11-05-2009 02:00 AM

I guess anyone can advertise for restoration but not everyone can do true restoration. If you don’t do the restoration properly you can destroy a pieces value and make it impossible to correct what you attempted to do. I’m not addressing you specifically Dan “You ” is meant as the person doing the restoration. Even using the wrong glue makes a big difference.
To answer your question Dan I would suggest contacting antique stores, Pawn shops, music stores. museums.
And a general add in you local paper.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View ssflyer's profile


10 posts in 3163 days

#5 posted 12-11-2009 08:20 PM

I recently completed a small part of a restoration job. The end client had ~5’ wainscoting, hand craved in the 18th century, imported from Belgium. Several of the hand carved panels and Lion/Gargoyle head corbels had been too damaged to repair. The actual installation was done by a custom cabinet/mill-work shop, but they could find no one to reproduce the panels and corbels. I was able to duplicate them, bit it was a time consuming process, and ended up costing the client a premium price. My biggest cost was in time.

What you charge has a lot to do with area, but perhaps more importantly with need and your particular expertise…

-- Ron, Pope Valley CA -

View Shamus's profile


16 posts in 3086 days

#6 posted 12-12-2009 02:42 AM

I’ve been involved with furniture restoration for several years. First as a hobby then later as a business in conjunction with home restoration.

Typically every piece is unique. The best rule I’ve come to use is offer a ball-park and error to the highside. I know to often what appears to be 4 hours turns into 10. I charge based upon what I have in the finished product. If I do it in 1/2 the time quoted, that’s what I charge.

Initally your going to make money on some and lose money an a few. That’s part of the learning curve. Some projects you’ll be good at and others you’ll shy away from.

After a while people come to you because of the work that you’ve completed for their friends. They don’t ask price and they don’t ask when it will be done. I’ll call them within a few days and tell them what I see and let them know about where it will end up and my proposed completion date. I’ve yet to have anyone ask for the piece back. And with any business, keep them posted through-out the project. They like to know your actually working on it.

Just my 2ยข

View blackcherry's profile


3337 posts in 3791 days

#7 posted 12-12-2009 04:23 AM

Excellent advise Shamus, I’m one to never rush to judgment on any project. I take my first look and take some time to think it out and if possible take the piece in question back to shop. With a game plan in line I’ll let the owner in on course of action and estimate price with a not to exceed price. Experience play a big role in restoration work always lean towards caution than a rush to make a buck, my two cent on delicate work…Blkcherry

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