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Forum topic by krisrimes posted 05-14-2013 05:07 PM 1497 views 1 time favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View krisrimes's profile


111 posts in 2557 days

05-14-2013 05:07 PM

I build and sell outdoor furniture as a bit a side gig. I recently had a potential customer contact me about making a table and 4 chairs. The kicker is they want it made out of teak. It looks like the best I can come up with for materials would be $2000. How would you go about calcualting a price for this. This is a set that I do not normally make and am actually kind of nervous to be working with materials that are worth that much. I am just curious to see what you folks have to say.

23 replies so far

View HerbC's profile


1763 posts in 2881 days

#1 posted 05-14-2013 05:33 PM

1. Estimate how long you will take to build the set.
2. Double that time to come up with a total time estimate.
3. How much per hour do you think your time is worth?
4. Double that value to obtain a reasonable value for your time.
5. Multiply total time estimate and the reasonable value of your time per hour to calculate total labor charge.
6. Add together the $2,000 material cost for the teak; at least $200 for supplies such as stainless steel screws, glue, finish material; $200 to cover miscellaneous shop overhead (tool depreciation, utility, rental, etc); and the total labor charge.
7. Add 20% to the total for a minimal profit.

If they accept your bid, do a good job. When it’s all done, give them a small discount if everything went well.

Good Luck!

Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3670 days

#2 posted 05-14-2013 07:10 PM

A couple of months ago somebody approached
me with a plan for a platform bed – they thought
it would be nice in Walnut so I gave them a
ballpark figure… they were like “eek – how
about Teak?”.

Clients are often naive about material costs.

If you’re looking at $2k for the wood and you
really want the experience, then give him a
ballpark figure. That’s what I do. If you want
the job I’d say ballpark it in the $3500-$4500
range like this:

“Teak is a very durable but also costly wood and it’s
very hard on the tools used to cut it and takes
a lot of time to sand it smooth. Ballpark, you’re
looking at $3500-4500. About half that is the
cost of the wood.”

Then let the guy squirm… or not. Sometimes they
say – “ok” and you say, “ok – I’ll make the drawings and
come up with a firm quote for you.”

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2308 days

#3 posted 05-14-2013 07:14 PM

And then get a deposit equal to the cost of materials.

View krisrimes's profile


111 posts in 2557 days

#4 posted 05-14-2013 07:44 PM

I did tell them that a ballpark is going to be $4000. I have no idea what they are going to say to that, it is for a company and the woman I am dealing with said she had to run it through their corporate office, so I guess we will see. I did tell them that there were other less costly options out there such as white oak or cedar. I guess it is a waiting game at this point. Charlie, there is no way I would do this without a deposite. I learned that one the hard way.

View Buckethead's profile


3194 posts in 1891 days

#5 posted 05-14-2013 07:47 PM

Herb lays it out nicely. And then double that. It isn’t that you’re trying to gouge the customer, but I can assure you, if you think you bid a job high enough to buy a boat when you’re done, you’ll have enough for groceries, but no boat. The good news, you already have experience building outdoor furniture. Your time estimate will be more accurate. Mistakes Made using Teak are more costly than mistakes made using treated pine or cedar. Still… It’s just wood.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View krisrimes's profile


111 posts in 2557 days

#6 posted 05-14-2013 07:51 PM

Buckethead, That is the biggest thing that I am worried about, messing up a piece of wood that costs $100 would be a painful pill to swallow.

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2537 days

#7 posted 05-14-2013 07:52 PM

I think Herb about has it nailed. I wouldn’t double the price. My going rate is about $20 an hour plus materials, tool wear, taxes, insurance. I only add about 10% to the materials, generally. But I am not in a shop so I have no rent. I try to be fair. You also have to realize that unless you get to hand pick the teak, you will probably be doing a higher percentage of wood loss than you might initially think. Nice to think you will end up with a lot of chunks to do little things, bad that you will spend a lot of time trying to maximize the wood usage.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3502 days

#8 posted 05-14-2013 08:25 PM

I agree with Herb too. If they accept the high bid, and you come in way under that, you can always tell them that it didnt take quite as long as you expected or the materials were a bit less than you had quoted, and give them a discount which always makes a customer feel good. I have done my share of work and ended up practically doing the job for nothing because of a low bid. Also, there are costs for gas to drive and get what you need, electricity for your shop, wear and tear on your equipment, and shipping materials and costs, etc so it sometimes costs much more than you would think to build something.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2095 days

#9 posted 05-14-2013 10:21 PM

Paul I have seen your work… your should charge $35 an hour and %35 on materials.

Never judge what you think some one will pay.. Only judge what YOU are worth. And carefully think of how much time, gas, and effort goes into high end materials. I routinely add %30 waste, and then a %35 markup to mahogany, teak, ipe (more for this one) re-claimed antique woods etc.

If you second guess this it can affect the word of mouth reputation. You may not want to pay 4000 to 6000 for a patio set, but I stick to my guns about my worth, and still get surprised sometimes. Some people like to flaunt there money, and would like to brag how much they paid for there locally sourced, custom built furniture. Check out the “light trellis” on my projects page. It was well into the 5 figure range… and worth every penny. The hardest lesson learned is taking that leap of what you are worth, and what people will pay.

-- Who is John Galt?

View DrDirt's profile


4424 posts in 3764 days

#10 posted 05-14-2013 10:27 PM

Good Plan with the Ballpark -

For timing – plan some additional time, and tool wear. Teak is hard on router bits, and also realy Requires a lot of predrilling.

Joey has it right – - what is your time worth to do this. If you low ball it, and have to struggle – you will hate your time spent in the shop FIGHTING to get things to come together and make little to nothing.

But do a good job – disgruntled corporate types can make life miserable. Regardless of your struggles – you will be held to the delivery date. This lady has her neck stuck out too, as you can be assured some beancounter has shown her a catalog with something “similar” for 2995 + free shipping delivered in 3 days.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 1971 days

#11 posted 05-15-2013 02:24 AM

how ever you price it be firm “this is the price take it or leave it”

View SquintyPolock's profile


99 posts in 1919 days

#12 posted 05-20-2013 01:09 AM

The lowest bidder is the bidder that missed some detail while estimating. But, that’s OK, you will figure it out and do fine as long as you are getting paid your worth.

-- It's all in a day's work...

View firefighterontheside's profile


18351 posts in 1879 days

#13 posted 05-20-2013 02:33 AM

While I know that I could make more money per hour if I would do as suggested and double this and that and give a high price and see if they bite, but I am more comfortable giving an estimate range that way they know what the high could be. When you come in under estimate they are happy. If you come in over, you remind them that it was only an estimate. I feel better making my twenty dollars per hour for sure and not risk making nothing while trying to make 50.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2991 days

#14 posted 05-20-2013 08:21 AM

Look at alternative species like iroko or afromosia if you can get them. Teak is prohibiitivley expensive here so iroko is used instead. It’s freely available and about the same cost as maple. Submit a price for teak and a substitute.

View 1thumb's profile


78 posts in 2179 days

#15 posted 05-20-2013 09:52 AM

a good rule of 1thumb is double materials if work on site, quadruple iif in your shop. Plus, you’ll burn up blades and bits on that material

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