Help with priceing

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Forum topic by lunn posted 11-22-2012 12:37 PM 1251 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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215 posts in 2307 days

11-22-2012 12:37 PM

Does size matter when priceing
A guy stopped by the shop yesterday with 3 blueprints for flower stands. 2 are walnut the other red oak. The wood is no problem i’ve got it (scrap). The problem is the size, the biggest one is only 12”x17”x4” high, very ornate. 2nd one is 12” high 8”x8” sq with a 1/2” thick framed raise panel on top. The 3rd can’t remember the size. My way of thinking is that i could build a full size coffee table etc. in the same time i could build these little stands. So how whould you price them?

-- What started as a hobbie is now a full time JOB!

9 replies so far

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2656 posts in 2921 days

#1 posted 11-22-2012 01:25 PM

if you know the time it will take, and can make up a material list, just add them up.

-- Website is No PHD just a DD214 and a GED

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3284 days

#2 posted 11-22-2012 01:39 PM

Jim pretty much said it in a nutshell. It doesn’t have as much to do with size as it does with the length of time to do each one and the materials involved. The more ornate or details involved will require more time to produce. It may be the smallest one to build, but take the longest to produce. Even though you may be able to use what you call scrapes to make them with, I would still figure a price on the lumber. If the customer was going to build it, they would have to buy lumber.

As woodworkers, sometimes we shoot ourselves in the foot on pricing because we think we should price it simply by it’s size, or it’s simply a flower box, or someone may think it’s too much, so we talk ourselves into selling ourselves short.

But remember; it’s totally up to you to determine how much your time, your knowledge, your shop and tools and materials are worth…....after that, it’s a piece of cake! LOL.

-- John @

View jerrells's profile


918 posts in 2883 days

#3 posted 11-22-2012 01:48 PM

The first two responses said it clearly, however; material, time, labor and a little profit. I will charge as much for a small piece as a large one if it comes out in the formula. HOwever, at times it just will not sell at that price. Then tyou make a decision – make it or walk from it.

-- Just learning the craft my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ practiced.

View Gary's profile


9331 posts in 3431 days

#4 posted 11-22-2012 01:56 PM

Compare the price of a humidor and a bookshelf….

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

View tncraftsman's profile


92 posts in 3138 days

#5 posted 11-22-2012 04:02 PM

Material costs + finishing materials + overhead + time to design and plan on how to build these items + PITA cost (optional step) + profit = price

If this first number looks too high then play with the final number until you think it fits. How hungry are you? Very hungry = lower price, not hungry = higher price

View TheDane's profile


5423 posts in 3662 days

#6 posted 11-22-2012 05:10 PM

I know a guy that charges $1 per minute plus materials and ‘handling’. By ‘handling’, he means overhead (rent, utilities, etc.), administrative costs (billing/collection), and tax.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2486 days

#7 posted 11-22-2012 06:12 PM

Along with all other recommendations, get 50% or more up front! Otherwise you are doing it on spec and may end up eating the total cost if the customer doesn’t like it.

We have a no refund rule listed on the door. We also tell the customer up front that if there are any change orders, the price will go up. If they wait to do a change order until we are done and delivering or showing, the price triples. After all, if they don’t want what you made to their specs with their approval all the way along the line, all you have is a piece of firewood or a door stop. (Don’t tell them you’ll sell it to some other customer, that’s something they don’t need to know).

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View JAAune's profile


1798 posts in 2315 days

#8 posted 11-22-2012 07:00 PM

I use a spreadsheet that I’ve been slowly refining over time to determine how much to charge for a project. Since I try to track time and expenses somewhat on every job as it’s being built I can modify the spreadsheet based upon real information.

Everything is itemized on the spreadsheet down to the smallest details. Several things to look at are listed below.

truck rental and/or driving expenses
design time for concepts and working drawings

material handling (based upon board footage)
wood selection (based upon board footage)
milling (based upon board footage)
sanding (based upon square footage)
jig making
shaping and shaping
glue up and assembly
finishing (based upon square footage)
finding a stain match (4 hrs for custom matching)
packaging and loading for shipping or delivery

shop cleanup (about 1 hr per 7 hrs of fabrication)
tax rate (minimum 33% of total profits)

Last but not least is the labor rate. This is the amount I actually want to pocket at the end of a job and is the multiplier for the hrs needed to do the above listed fabrication steps. If a job involves over-sized items (meaning too big for my machinery) I up the labor rate by 50% to compensate for the extra handwork and material handling that will need to happen.

Once I plug the numbers into the spreadsheet the costs are automatically added up.

-- See my work at and

View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 2960 days

#9 posted 11-22-2012 09:36 PM

Lowes gets 100% up front on special orders. Take the $$$ and give him some sort of receipt. This covers both of you- he paid, you make.

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