How to charge for finishing materials

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Forum topic by Matthew posted 12-06-2014 11:42 PM 836 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Matthew's profile


92 posts in 2057 days

12-06-2014 11:42 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question


I am trying to get a good quote together for a customer that wants a “relatively inexpensive” table. They specifically said they want to use a cheaper wood such as poplar, and stain it a darker color. So, I’ll give the customer what she wants. Now, I am slightly concerned about botching, and do not usually stain very many pieces.

That said, here’s my question:
In the past, I typically finish pieces the same way, a sealer followed by a few coats of wipe on varnish. So if I only use a 1/3 of a can, that’s what I charge the customer for, because I know that I’ll use the rest for another project.

In this case, knowing that I don’t stain very often, if I were to buy stain and a blotch control product for this project, should I bill the customer as I typically have, by just what I use, or do I charge them for the whole can of product, in the likely case that I won’t use the product for another project.

I would appreciate feedback from jocks who may have been there and done that before.


-- Matthew, Columbia - South Carolina ----- Jesus was a carpenter...

4 replies so far

View AandCstyle's profile


2539 posts in 1678 days

#1 posted 12-07-2014 12:38 AM

Charge the customer for the materials you purchase for the project. That should be a relatively minor expense in the scheme of things. If you will feel better about it, give the remaining finishing products to the customer “if you ever need to do any touching up.”

-- Art

View JAAune's profile


1614 posts in 1738 days

#2 posted 12-07-2014 12:45 AM

For special order items, do as Art suggests and bill for the entire cost – shipping included. Of course, this is easier said than done if working on very small projects.

-- See my work at and

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1275 posts in 1356 days

#3 posted 12-07-2014 02:26 PM

Charge for the whole can

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Matthew's profile


92 posts in 2057 days

#4 posted 12-07-2014 02:34 PM

Thanks for all the feedback.

-- Matthew, Columbia - South Carolina ----- Jesus was a carpenter...

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