Pricing Survey Results

  • Advertise with us

« back to Sweating for Bucks Through Woodworking forum

Forum topic by huff posted 07-22-2010 08:53 PM 2344 views 3 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3283 days

07-22-2010 08:53 PM

I would like to start by thanking everyone that has participated in this survey, for taking the time to complete their quotes and return them to me. I hope the following information will help others when it comes to pricing their work, but remember there is a lot more to it then just the final price we came up with for our quotes. I hope everyone will take the time to really study the survey, not only from the pricing aspect, but also look at the material cost, build times, finishing times, hourly rates and any special comments.

I’m posting the results for everyone to be able to view, study and take any information that might be helpful…………but not really looking for comments (especially negative ones). That’s not what this was about. I know no names are attached other then mine, but each number is a Person and whether you may agree or disagree with their bid, for whatever reason, I don’t feel negative comments will add anything worth while to this forum. Thanks for respecting your fellow LJ’ers.

I sent out 50 survey packets and only 8 actually filled them out and returned them. No one bid on all five project, so I’m second guessing maybe I didn’t pick very good projects to bid on. I realize this was something new to everyone and even though I tried to pick projects I thought most woodworkers (hobbyist or full-time) might be able to bid on, I feel I might have picked projects that most felt they weren’t qualified to bid on.
As a professional woodworker, I have to bid on projects all the time that I’ve never built before, but forgot the hobbyist or part-time woodworker is probably a little more intimidated by having to do this. Sorry I didn’t get more results for everyone. Maybe we can try this again sometime with a better choice of projects.

Click Here for the Results:

..............And the biggest thanks goes to my better half. Tracy sent out all the survey packets, did all the spread sheets and posted everything on our web-site so we could see the results. Without her help I would have been lost.

-- John @

14 replies so far

View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3158 days

#1 posted 07-22-2010 09:10 PM

I thoroughly enjoyed this. Thanks.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 2938 days

#2 posted 07-22-2010 09:59 PM

John, thanks for all the trouble you went to. And also BIG thanks to Tracy for all her help. I’m going to study the results now…

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View fineamerican's profile


150 posts in 3113 days

#3 posted 07-22-2010 10:25 PM

Im very sorry I missed out on this if you ever decide to do one again I will be looking out for it. I checked out your site today, and thought it was tastefully done, good pictures too. Hows the beach? We are stuck in Greenville this summer and wont be down that way. Maybe in the fall

-- John A. Thomas, South Carolina,

View Wood_smith's profile


260 posts in 3023 days

#4 posted 07-23-2010 04:33 AM

Awesome work, John and Tracy- thanks for all the work!

-- Lloyd Kerry; creator of the Kerry-All Pouch,

View PflugervilleSteve's profile


99 posts in 3040 days

#5 posted 08-05-2010 06:24 AM

Enjoyed seeing the results. Thanks.

View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 3048 days

#6 posted 08-26-2010 12:36 AM


Thank you for taking the time to put this post together. It was an educational read, especially since I’m just getting into woodworking at the hobby level (so far).

I am contemplating the idea of beginning to sell some work, probably next year at a local market or two. I need to get my process down for certain items and need to acquire more hands-on knowledge of various skills. I thought I’d start small though… things like cutting boards, etc. and go from there.

This was certainly motivational for me and an eye-opener.

Thanks again!

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View closetguy's profile


744 posts in 3890 days

#7 posted 08-26-2010 01:10 AM

This is the reason I don’t make and sell these elaborate cutting boards. They make nice gifts and are fun to dazzle fellow woodworkers, but in reality they are too labor intensive to fit in the right price point for most shows. The only $300+ boards I have sold were very large custom size ones.

However, the labor costs in the survey can be a little misleading. This is based on quantity one. The labor costs decreases significantly per item when making multiple items at the same time. For example, it takes me two hours for a standard 12×16 end grain board. But I can do ten in the same time period. To get adequate compensation with a reasonable price point, you have to build in a production mode. This is the only way to make the numbers work, otherwise you can’t sell for the asking price or you work for $1 per hour.

Good information huff!

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 3048 days

#8 posted 08-26-2010 01:46 AM

closetguy, If I do begin selling items, they will be small to start with, as that’s what I have experience with so far. And I will definitely be in more of a production mode, as you said. Right now, if I were to sell anything, you’re probably pretty close in me working for $1/hour. ;-)

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3283 days

#9 posted 08-26-2010 03:05 AM

Jonathan and closetguy, Thanks for your input and your perspective on the survey. I’ve particapated in surveys for the professional woodworkers before, but I think personally I’ve learned more from this survey then any other.
First off, let me say I think I probably picked the wrong projects to put on the survey for the majority of the LJ’ers that particapated in the survey. Second: I thought I would have more of the full time or part time woodworkers fill out the survey (thought they would have more imput then the hobbiest) since the hobbiest usually has very little experience in pricing their work and that would be a big help for the hobbiest…...Boy was I wrong! LOL. Third: If you look at the survey again, you will see I’m the only one that bid on all 5 projects. The hobbiest seem to bid on the small projects and stayed away from the large projects and the woodworkers that has tried to make an income from woodworking, bid on the larger projects and said they didn’t bid on the small projects, because they really couldn’t make a living doing the small projects. Fourth: Did you notice how “I” fell in line with all the bids? If you look at the small projects, I was on the low end of the scale as far as pricing goes. It’s easy to see that I don’t make my living selling the small items. On the other hand,if you look at the large projects, I was on the high end of the pricing scale ( I can justify my labor and time spent on those projects and still get my $55.00/hr. shop labor rate. When I compare my pricing with a national survey on Kitchens, Home Entertainment Centers, Furniture, etc, I’m usually right in the middle compared to all the shops that particapate across the nation. I really want to do another survey…........Next time I would like to pick a better time of the year to hold it(maybe this winter), Pick a better selection of projects and would love to have more of the “big guns” particapate so we could really get a better feel of how everyone goes about pricing their work. If anyone would like to give me some ideas, feel free to PM me and again I want to thank everyone for their interest in the survey. Thanks, John (huff)

-- John @

View BTKS's profile


1986 posts in 3462 days

#10 posted 08-26-2010 03:57 AM

Thanks for all the time and effort you and MRS put into this. I learned on clear point! Build time estimates have a wide margin of error. Again, thanks and enjoyed reviewing the results.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View Ger21's profile


1074 posts in 3129 days

#11 posted 08-26-2010 04:20 AM

If possible, for next time, can you be a little more specific in the details? Especially on the kitchen. I was the other bidder on that one. I dragged my feet on the whole process, and did all the bids in about 20 minutes. Had I spent more time, I’d have probably been a bit closer to you.

One other thing that I don’t think was mentioned, was that my bids were based on doing the work as a “side job” or hobby, with no overhead or bills to pay. If I had to cover all the shop overhead, my prices would have probably been higher than yours. :-)

Thanks for all the work you put into this.

-- Gerry,

View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1117 posts in 3058 days

#12 posted 08-26-2010 04:31 AM

I think charging an hour is the wrong approach of doing it.

View closetguy's profile


744 posts in 3890 days

#13 posted 08-28-2010 06:44 AM

You just picked the wrong forum Huff. Even though there are full time woodworkers here, the majority are not full time professionals. Conducting surveys on bidding casework projects is a little pointless considering that all that type of information is available on Shop rates and overhead have no meaning to those who don’t derive their living from woodworking. I watch a lot of weekend warriors buy wood for $20, spend three days building a widget, sell it for $40 and in their mind they made $20 profit.

Lumber Jock members are geared more toward the small stuff. Even though I build custom casework full time, I seldom talk about it here. I find the discussion much more lively when talking about building and selling widgets. But even a survey of nothing but small stuff is pointless because you have to build widgets in quantity to make the numbers work out. If you are building something for yourself, or a gift, then the cost is irrelevant.

Like you pointed out, you should have sold the cutting board for $385. Even if I used 24kt gold inlay, I could never sell a 12×12 cutting board for that price. I highly doubt that I could sell that size board at a show for $125. The real question is how many can you build and finish in a week. Then look at the actual unit cost. I sometimes build a prototype widget and after calculating how many I can make (or want to make) in a certain time frame, I find I can’t hit the projected price point and drop it.

You just can’t compare widgets to casework. Having built both for a living, widget pricing can be more complicated. Unlike a sold cabinet job with a down payment, widgets are built on a hope and a prayer out of your pocket. Even if the profit numbers are dead on, the cash flow may be like a dripping faucet.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1117 posts in 3058 days

#14 posted 12-24-2010 07:41 PM

Oh crap wrong thread..

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics