Fair and Appropriate Prices?

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Forum topic by cassiet717 posted 08-15-2013 06:58 PM 1281 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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39 posts in 1713 days

08-15-2013 06:58 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I am by NO means a professional (even calling myself “small time” is a stretch), but I have been getting a fair bit of interest in my furniture and I am hoping some of you guys might be able to give me some guidelines to follow when pricing my pieces.
So far I have built either for myself or for family, so my objective has mostly been to break even and support my addiction :). How do you all price your pieces? I am hoping someone can give me a magic percentage markup from raw materials costs to go from…
Thank you!

-- CassieT

6 replies so far

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3857 days

#1 posted 08-15-2013 07:10 PM

1/3 cost of of material
1/3 overhead
1/3 labour

take the cost of material and X’s 3 = selling amount

trying to give a price is somewhat subjective as demographics, reputation etc., change everything, as does the complexity of the work being sold.

I really like that simple tote box with leather handles

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View natenaaron's profile


442 posts in 1760 days

#2 posted 08-15-2013 07:56 PM

I own a business (not wood working). Never aim to “break even”. As with all addictions you are going to want to get more drug paraphernalia …er…tools or something like that. How much more than break even is up to you, but never sell yourself short

You also need to remember, when folks give you money it has gone from enjoyable past time to being a job. This is what has kept me from turning a hobby into a business. I did that once (not woodworking) and the joy disappeared about the time the ulcer appeared. Others may have different experiences and YMMV.

View JoeinGa's profile


7735 posts in 1970 days

#3 posted 08-15-2013 08:13 PM

Gotta agree with Nate. Folks tell me the same about my woodworking as they do about my cooking… “You should sell these.” – or – “You should open a restaurant”

And I always say the same. “I do this for a HOBBY because I ENJOY it. It is very relaxing in my shop (or kitchen) and I truly enjoy seeing the faces of folks when I give them something I’ve made (or cooked) and I can see they appreciate and enjoy it. But if I hafta start worrying about things like I gotta make sure I have enough of these for the weekend show… then it becomes a JOB and is no longer a hobby”

I know this isn’t really what you asked…. but I’ve seen where others use the same formula as Moron posted above, and they turn a profit at what they do.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Esko Lehtovaara's profile

Esko Lehtovaara

86 posts in 1709 days

#4 posted 08-15-2013 08:15 PM

That is a very good question. When I started selling my knowledge as restorer it was the most difficult thing to answer. First You have to evaluate your time. How mush does one hour cost. what is your price? I can’t imagine what it is in the states but lets say 30usd. Secondly How long does it take? example. how long does it take to remove the old filler(varnish and caulk) from the glas and frame? How does five hours sound with a window 1,5’x5’? To long time but 2,5hours could be.
Ask your self how much time does it take to do a sertain task. If you know your self you can’t go to wrong. If you wish to make a good job and make perfect finish remember that it takes 50% of all the time you use to get the job done. In the end count the hours and you have an idea what it could be.

-- Oisko aika oppia uutta? Go ahead and learn some Finnish at

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3248 days

#5 posted 08-15-2013 08:43 PM


Welcome to LJ’s and hoping you’re staying covered in sawdust! lol

As a hobbyist any percentage markup is magical; because the only figure that matters will be material cost and anything above and beyond that is considered a profit by most.

So it doesn’t matter if you take a material cost and times it by any number, because the only thing you know for sure when all is said and done is; you know you covered your material cost. The rest is just a guess-t-ment.

As a business (that is; if you are selling your woodworking for a profit), then you should price your work based on facts of what it truly cost you to build that project and that is something all together different then being a hobbyist and usually a very hard bridge to cross for most woodworkers. (bridgeing the gap from hobbyist to professional).

That’s why so many woodworkers can’t make a profit from their woodworking.

If you’re interested; I wrote a blog series on “how to price your work and make a profit”;

I hope it will help you better understand the difference of pricing work as a hobbyist and pricing your work to actually make a profit.

Best of luck.

-- John @

View cassiet717's profile


39 posts in 1713 days

#6 posted 08-15-2013 10:29 PM

Thank you so much for your responses! I appreciate the advice more than you know! Your suggestions have definitely given me a place to go forward from.
Nate and Joe – right now, I’m anxious for practice and experience so the opportunity to build period (let alone on someone else’s dime!) is a good thing! You both make important points though, I never want to resent something I love. And Nate you are right, my stuff is simple and I do it because I love it, but I still bust my butt doing it! That’s a big part of why I reached out to the “jocks” – I’d like to get some kind of scale set up before word of mouth grows too much, I don’t want someone I barely know to expect the same price I charged my brother…
Huff, I’m heading to your blog now! Thanks!
Thank you all so much again for all the advice! This site is such an amazing resource.

-- CassieT

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