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Forum topic by JA728 posted 11-21-2016 04:30 PM 859 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 786 days

11-21-2016 04:30 PM

First, I would like to say I am new to lumber jocks. popped in here looking for various plans from Google from time to time. Most of my furniture is not of my own design, I just tweaked it at times and yes the places that I have got the plans from give permission to make and sell their designs in writing. I have been trying to figure out my pricing system for the last month or so and have been actively trying to sell my furniture on facebook to my local community. I let my wife set my prices the first time, as I think I am bad about setting prices. She set them really high, I understand that she was proud and wanted it to sell for a lot of money. But, my gut was saying to lower them to something more reasonable. I have a bench 40”L X 16.5”W X 18”H selling for 45 which barely makes me any profit at all. People still want it for 20 dollars or they want it all most 8ft for 45 dollars. I just can’t do that and still turn a decent profit. I built a 3ft X 3ft X 30” kitchen table and 2 chairs and was selling them for $150. Within 20 minutes, I had 8 to 10 people liking and commenting on them and then they would say the price was too rich for them. ( these are not college kids on a shoe string budget ). I literally only make about a 50 to 60 dollar profit on it. I might just have to close up shop, if things keep on. Rant over. I don’t know how to add pictures to show you the bench and table or I would.

5 replies so far

View muleskinner's profile


923 posts in 2671 days

#1 posted 11-21-2016 05:16 PM

Yeah, a couple pictures would give some perspective to your rant. But that aside, holy cow! 50 to 60 buck profit on a table and two chairs?! Don’t know how fast you work but for me, that would be slave wages.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View verdesardog's profile


171 posts in 2846 days

#2 posted 11-21-2016 05:19 PM

Seems like no one wants to pay for custom woodworking any more when mass produced stuff is so cheap. I think the only way a woodworker will be able to make a living would be to make very high end stuff and sell it to people with so much money that they don’t know what to do with it all. There is no way we can compete with mass produced CNC manufacturing.

-- .. heyoka ..

View jmartel's profile


8276 posts in 2384 days

#3 posted 11-21-2016 05:22 PM

I wouldn’t even start up the machines for a $150 table or $45 bench. Those figures are too low, even. I don’t know what they looked like, but I try to charge enough to make ~$25-30/hr profit on it. Sometimes I hit it, sometimes I don’t. But I’m doing this on the side and not for a living.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View JayT's profile


6003 posts in 2446 days

#4 posted 11-21-2016 08:29 PM

A couple years ago, my boss showed me some displays in a catalog and asked if I could make some in my off time and the company would pay me. I politely informed him that the company would be ahead if he either bought the commercial ones or let me do the work in my shop while clocked in at the office and being paid according to my salary.

He questioned, but I just informed him that if I was building what someone else wanted instead of what I wanted to build, than $25/hour was the minimum my time was worth. I ended up doing the project while on company time.

Moral of the story. Other people will never value your time as much as you do. Plus, they just don’t understand what all is involved in building a good quality woodworking project. If you cut your prices to what everyone will pay, you’ll go bankrupt and starve to death. I’d rather work 15 hours at $25 per than 40 hours and $8 per. At least the first leaves some room to be able to take on more work or find a part time job to help make ends meet.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View Steve Peterson's profile

Steve Peterson

395 posts in 3317 days

#5 posted 11-24-2016 06:36 PM

In my opinion there are only a few ways to make descent money selling custom woodworking. You either have to make something really fast or else it needs to be really fancy.

If you try to make generic furniture, then you have to make them very fast. You will be competing with mass produced products from China that sell at Walmart for less than the prices of the raw materials. There really isn’t much profit to be made here and you can’t spend a lot of time on each piece.

The other extreme is to make really high end furniture that can sell for thousands of dollars. The quality will need to be top notch and you will have to be really good. Supposedly, there is money to be made here. It probably takes many years of hard work before you make it big.

There may be some small niche products that you can make if you live in an area with a lot of tourism and/or art galleries. The target price range is probably around $50-100 which means you would need to wholesale it for around $25-50. This means each item would need to be simple enough to make in 20-30 minutes when you are doing them in batch mode.

-- Steve

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