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Forum topic by LarryB posted 05-30-2011 09:43 PM 1021 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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LarryB

60 posts in 1382 days


05-30-2011 09:43 PM

Topic tags/keywords: labor charge question

I’m a newbie to the forum.
A friend found a modular cube system of bins, shelves and drawers that is no longer available in the store and has asked me to build the unit for her.
I can figure out the cost of the materials list but also need to give her a labor cost.
Any suggestions on how to figure out what to charge?
Thanks!


14 replies so far

View SCOTSMAN's profile

SCOTSMAN

5594 posts in 2339 days


#1 posted 05-30-2011 09:51 PM

Whatever is the going rate in your area perhaps with a decent/reasonable discount according to how much of a friend he is .Just play fair and all will be well re pricing. Have fun and good luck Alistair

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

View rance's profile

rance

4149 posts in 1914 days


#2 posted 05-30-2011 09:56 PM

Just remember, you can’t compete with Ikea. Your price will likely be higher. At least $30/hr x how long it would take you.

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

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LarryB

60 posts in 1382 days


#3 posted 05-30-2011 11:32 PM

Hummmmm. I plan to be more than fair and figured that I have the advantage over Ikea (none in our central Iowa area though) in both quality of materials and customization.
The press board with vinyl just doesn’t cut it.

View Puzzleman's profile

Puzzleman

346 posts in 1698 days


#4 posted 05-31-2011 01:42 PM

LarryB, The goal is to give the customer what they want. If the customer doesn’t want more than press board with vinyl, then you need to price accordingly. Remember, the one with the money (customer) controls the pursestrings.

I think that your advantage in this possible job is that IKEA doesn’t offer it anymore.

Before you start making plans, find out what the customer is thinking about in price. If they are $200 and you are thinking $500, then you have to either walk away from the job or lower quality and/or increase efficiency to get more in their price range. OR they can just say forget it. Don’t waste your time designing without a clear idea of what the customer wants to spend.

-- Jim Beachler, Chief Puzzler, http://www.hollowwoodworks.com

View Howie's profile

Howie

2656 posts in 1676 days


#5 posted 05-31-2011 02:09 PM

I think Puzzleman has it right.
People tend to want things “custom” made …..until they find out what it costs.

-- Life is good.

View nate22's profile

nate22

435 posts in 1629 days


#6 posted 05-31-2011 08:25 PM

Like Howie said people want it custom made until they find out what the price will be then you never here from them again. I would sit down with her find out what she wants and go from there.

-- Gracie's wooden signs. Middlebury, In.

View verdesardog's profile

verdesardog

105 posts in 1365 days


#7 posted 05-31-2011 10:37 PM

Custom made is always going to be very much more expensive than any off the shelf item no matter what it is. The thing about custom is you get exactly what you want but you have to be willing to pay the price.

-- .. heyoka ..

View doninvegas's profile

doninvegas

332 posts in 1661 days


#8 posted 06-01-2011 12:22 AM

I had a potential customer a couple of years ago that wanted a price quote on an oval coffee table and matching round end tables foe their living room. They wanted it made out of red oak to match the other pieces they had. They send me a picture of the style they wanted they got off of a furniture store website. I quoted them a price of about $900. They declined. They tried to get me to lower my price but I explained to them they difference in custom solid wood and tighter joinery and the price difference. They understood but still declined. I later look on the net and found the picture they sent me. The store was selling that 3 piece set for $250. They wood alone would have cost me that or more. I didn’t budge and I never heard for them again. Personally, I won’t give my work away. Those are not the type of customers I want and I don’t want to fall in the category of “call Don he will do it cheaper”.

-- "Courage is being scared to death -- but saddling up anyway."

View Puzzleman's profile

Puzzleman

346 posts in 1698 days


#9 posted 06-01-2011 10:00 PM

Don, Your story is why I keep saying to find upfront what the customer is thinking about in pricing. I congratulate for not cutting your prices. You can work for their price but why do it when you don’t make money. You will find the customers that will pay the price after you get the ones who won’t out of the way.

-- Jim Beachler, Chief Puzzler, http://www.hollowwoodworks.com

View LarryB's profile

LarryB

60 posts in 1382 days


#10 posted 06-02-2011 12:24 AM

Thank you all. I really appreciate your thoughts and comments. I’ll let you know how I come out. This is the first time someone has wanted to “buy” some of my work. Previous projects have been personal and for family. In any event, I have a ball and get so much fulfillment turning trees into beautiful projects.

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

2253 posts in 2300 days


#11 posted 06-02-2011 03:15 AM

Larry, I started out building for friends and family. I built for the price of materials. I had a full time day job and just to get the material paid for meant I got to practice and play in the shop for “free”. Things have evolved into a full time custom cabinet shop, in fact I am finishing a large kitchen we sold for a “lot” of money. Year to date we have sold a very lucrative amount of custom work. So we are not likely in the same shoes at this time as I rely on the money to support my family and run the shop.

But back when I was doing this for friends, I was happy to practice for free and give my friends and family great products. Now I look back, and a lot of stuff I blessed family with were really not all that great. In fact, I have a door in my shop I have to repair from a family job I did a few years ago. So now we are capable of much higher quality of building because my skills have grown and our equipment inventory is larger also.

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net

View LarryB's profile

LarryB

60 posts in 1382 days


#12 posted 06-02-2011 04:49 PM

Jerry, your story is encouraging. I too hope to increase and upgrade equipment. I can’t afford the “Cadillac” so I have to try to find the quality I want on a S.S. budget.
That’s partially why I look to the experiences of other LJs to guide me through the searches.

Larry B. in Iowa

View Howie's profile

Howie

2656 posts in 1676 days


#13 posted 06-03-2011 02:57 PM

@don: are the people that sent the picture sure they were looking at solid oak tables or veneer? I looked at a chest(approx 12×30x 10) in a store that was supposed to be oak….when you looked close it was veneered shelving type planks. prices at 300.00!!! I suppose they would find some sucker.
BTW I used to live in Vegas in the 90’s.

Larry: you will find that the more you strive to do better, the better your product will be, no matter what your tools. Very few guys on here started out with a complete shop. They added as their skills progressed and the need was there.

-- Life is good.

View rance's profile

rance

4149 posts in 1914 days


#14 posted 06-04-2011 12:22 AM

I agree, listen to Puzzleman. He’s steering you right.

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

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