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Forum topic by Matt1475 posted 11-23-2015 04:35 PM 1093 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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58 posts in 1461 days

11-23-2015 04:35 PM

When trying to sell a project, what hourly wage should be charged for high end woodworking? This is a project i am thinking about selling.

11 replies so far

View conifur's profile


955 posts in 1116 days

#1 posted 11-23-2015 04:42 PM

I would not just figure labor, but uniqueness of the product and is there any competition for it, plus what the market will bare.

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

View JollyGreen67's profile


1663 posts in 2727 days

#2 posted 11-23-2015 04:45 PM

The problem of “computing an hourly wage” is just about impossible – especially with what you created. Most, if not all, customers will not consider how much time it took to build/create/assemble/turn an object. All they want to do is get it as cheaply as possible.

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected !

View Woodknack's profile


11479 posts in 2345 days

#3 posted 11-24-2015 12:28 AM

A lot. If someone in your family doesn’t call you an idiot then its not high enough.

-- Rick M,

View ste6168's profile


255 posts in 1136 days

#4 posted 12-10-2015 01:16 AM

For that box, holy cow! 75 hours it took, plus materials, and who knows what else! I wouldn’t sell it for less than $1500, likely i’d want more.

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 2440 days

#5 posted 12-10-2015 02:20 AM

That is a beautiful box, but it is just a box. You are fighting use against “art”. IMO you are way past the “point of no return”. As beautiful as it is, the price people will be willing to pay will not reflect the effort and time you spent on it.
Best of luck, you sure did a great job with that.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2326 days

#6 posted 12-10-2015 02:24 AM

The same as your local car dealer charges for repair work.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View a1Jim's profile


117062 posts in 3542 days

#7 posted 12-10-2015 03:51 AM

It is high-end woodworking, put in a gallery @$2200 or sell it for the discounted price of $1760 same price minus the 20% the gallery would charge.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View JAAune's profile


1788 posts in 2281 days

#8 posted 12-10-2015 04:06 AM

If you are making a product line you don’t set an hourly wage. Instead, determine the market price and figure out if it’s possible to make it fast enough to profit.

It’s only on custom jobs or time-and-materials jobs that you use shop rate.

-- See my work at and

View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 1195 days

#9 posted 12-10-2015 12:21 PM

Really this is similar to asking “how much do I love my wife” to me.

This is a question only you can answer. I have books about charging for woodwork but in the end they cant answer the economic questions of supply and demand—market demand. And to me, there is a line between, say, cabinet making, furniture making and what you listed above, which I see as another form of art. Though all 3 are art there is a different segment of the market for them all. All houses need cabinets. Some will elect to buy them at the Depot, some will spurge and get custom made.

All need furniture. Some will elect to buy from Rooms 2 Go. Some will drop the cash on something they can pass to their progeny.

Not all need this 3rd kind of art. So once you find the people interested in it then get them on a Christmas card mailing list and “court” them. Make them feel special. I see this as more of a luxury item then cabinets and furniture. And the people who buy it have disposable income. They are not as confined by common econ. For instance: I almost took a job designing yachts. I asked how they were affected by economic downturns. The reply was surprising: “The people who buy these are not as affected by the economy as the people who buy Vacuum cleaners (the design job I had at the time). Because they HAVE money.” For reference the name of one of the current projects at the time was for a family with the last name Wrigley (as in gum).

All that said: Who else makes what you make?—not many, your price goes up. Who are the clients?—People with large incomes—the price goes up. Is there demand for it?—The price goes up.

Like I will tell my son when he starts to look at professions (He is 6 and this conversation has already started): “Josh, i know you like to make superheros out of Legos but there is no market demand for that. You will go hungry if you want to make a living doing that. But if you change it a bit and make something that people WANT then you will be paid to do it. No, dont get a degree in art or Psychology because your mom and I want you out of the house ASAP. So find the demand and supply it.”

I would say to start with the price high in your eyes and work from there. if you still sell at a “high” price then you arent charging enough. You may feel “bad” by charging that much—I wouldnt—you have to remember that you only have so many hours and can only produce so much in a day.

(Pshyc-up speech) You are no altruist, this isnt the soup kitchen or feed my freakin sheep. You are a craftsman—Na, an artist who is responding to market demands. You dont feel bad for charging what the market will bear. You are going to send you kid to college…no you arent, you are going to tell your kid he has to plan to save money like dad if he wants to go to college, you and your wife are planning on a future cruse of the Rhine river and a new shop when you get home. You will not apologize for being successful.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View Tennessee's profile


2860 posts in 2479 days

#10 posted 12-10-2015 12:56 PM

This is a “will it sell in Peoria” question.

In the gallery I sell in, there is sort of a ceiling on how much money people will spend. From time to time, they get in an artist that has items in the range of say, $300 to $600. Almost always, their stuff just sits, beautiful as it is. A lot of people may admire it, but it just doesn’t sell.

In a gallery in downtown Chattanooga, on the North Shore and in the Warehouse district, there are galleries that have items that sell for hundreds, and sometimes easily over one of two thousand dollars.

So how much is your piece worth?
Let’s run it down, and completely forget hourly rates, cost of materials, all of that normal stuff. Let’s look at market, and as SirIrb says, the difference between the yacht and the vacuum cleaner people.

Same box, same quality every time.
At Goodwill, at the bottom of the heap, your box might bring $39.99.
At Walmart, your box might sell for $79.99 in the cheap furniture section.
In a Kohls, or Macy’s, your box might bring say, $119.99 as an accent piece partnered with some higher end furniture.
In a specialty furniture store, (you know them, one-offs that often do a lot of design work), your piece may bring in as much as $250-300, when they use it in a design job. It may or may not do well on the floor as stock.
In a low end gallery, maybe $350-450, minus the 20-25% they take. You could push the price to $500 and see if it sells, based on the gallery owner’s suggestions.
In a high end gallery, especially if you had two or three pieces of your style and work, it might bring as much as $800-1400, less the 20-30% they would take.

Finally, in a geographic area like New York City, it would almost double over a place like where I live near, Chattanooga, TN. If I can get $200 for something here, in New York that would almost always go to $400.

So what is your piece worth? It depends on how it is presented, to whom it is presented, and where it is presented.
We’ve all seen pieces in galleries that have prices of four or even five digits that we say, “I can build that – sheesh!”
But not many of us make it into those galleries. There are some on this site, certainly, but not many, not many at all.
Good luck if you decide to sell it.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View FancyShoes's profile


550 posts in 1329 days

#11 posted 12-10-2015 05:18 PM

Charge a normal shop rate of $150/hr that is how much I charge for my business. Some business that cant charge $150/hr like hvac, or other competitive industries are at a $80/hr rate.

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