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Forum topic by snowgoer posted 12-07-2014 02:39 PM 2076 views 0 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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107 posts in 2865 days

12-07-2014 02:39 PM

I saw a post this morning that struck a nerve. The guy went on to say that he saw an item somewhere and was unwilling to throw down the bucks to by it. I know we are all do it/make it yourself people , so I am not questioning his motives. My question is, after someone exclaims how beautiful my project is, that I just spent two or three days working on, they think it’s ok to offer me $100. I know about cost analysis and my be I’m slow.
But that kind of treatment “hurts my feelings” How about you?

27 replies so far

View bonesbr549's profile


1576 posts in 3265 days

#1 posted 12-07-2014 03:37 PM

I don’t let someone “offer” me something. I put a price on my items. If they want custom made then they will pay.

Many years ago I did the local craft shows, and generally (not the upscale ones) required pricing in the 20-50 range to sell. Luckily my skills have progressed, and my attitude is that I’m not working for free. If you want my wares at my price great!

I even gave a gent that ordered two big pieces from me a discount. But if you don’t then fine move along won’t hurt my feelins.

Now if they try to compare my cost to Ikea, then i won’t be doin business with them with the walmart mentality anyway. I guess I’ve officially become a curmudgeon. Have a good one!

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3775 days

#2 posted 12-07-2014 03:39 PM

This kind of thing is brought on by woodworkers who say there in business but charge 10% less than what they paid for the material they used for the items they sell. I guess they are fooling themselves into thinking they are professional woodworkers.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View RockyTopScott's profile


1186 posts in 3677 days

#3 posted 12-07-2014 04:17 PM

I would ask them to respond “If you spent xx hours designing, building and finishing this product, how much would you charge for your efforts?”

I agree with bonesbr549, put a fair price on the goods and stand behind it.

-- “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.” ― Thomas Sowell

View ChefHDAN's profile


1172 posts in 3048 days

#4 posted 12-07-2014 04:59 PM

Agreed to the above, and it’s not just in the wood crafting trade either, people meet me through family, church etc. and ask if I cater and I tell them straight out, “you can’t afford me”, because A) I do hate that aspect of the business after several years of it and B) they either have no idea what the true costs are or respect the fact that the reason why my prices are SO much higher than a Subway sandwich platter is because my food is that much better and I don’t have hundreds of thousands of pounds of food preorderd across the year to get my purchasing costs to the other guys margins.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View JAAune's profile


1853 posts in 2515 days

#5 posted 12-07-2014 07:17 PM

My brother is an organist and he’s had people request that he play the organ for their weddings free of charge because “he enjoys it so much”. Naturally those people find themselves without an organist despite having spent thousands of dollars for their wedding day.

There are cheapskates out there but it’s still important to remember that operating a woodworking business is not the same as making stuff then sticking a price tag on it. You have to have a product, know the market value, find people who want it then figure out how to manufacture it fast enough to sell at market value.

Some stuff will never be profitable because the market is already saturated with such items and they sell at very low prices. Make sure that you’re offering something that’s not available anywhere else for less money. Nobody cares how much time you spent making the item.

There are a couple routes to take. One is to offer something custom or customizable. That eliminates competition from stores. The other is to find a niche product and get really good at making it so competitors struggle to keep up.

-- See my work at and

View JAAune's profile


1853 posts in 2515 days

#6 posted 12-07-2014 07:23 PM

Another bit of advice…

If someone asks for a discount, require a good reason for giving the discount. I did one large job where somebody wanted to get the price lower and I did accommodate but he had to pay the entire cost of the project up front and give me several weeks extension on the deadline.

He got the discount and was happy and I was satisfied because I could schedule other jobs at my convenience and could invest in a few items without waiting for the end of the project.

-- See my work at and

View NoThanks's profile


798 posts in 1727 days

#7 posted 12-07-2014 07:30 PM

But that kind of treatment “hurts my feelings” How about you? – snowgoer

It wouldn’t hurt my feelings. I just make some comment back like I wish I could sell them for that, I would have to be mass producing them to sell them for that much, but these are custom made. Then just laugh it off.

There is always going to be people that don’t know the value of what your selling and you shouldn’t worry about it because those people shouldn’t be your target market anyway.
If your putting your product to sell out there in that manner, then you have to expect a percentage of people to be like that.

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3783 days

#8 posted 12-07-2014 08:34 PM

I have written my thoughts on this topic many times and so won’t write a long reply tonight as I am totally exhausted however,the general public have zero idea about the manufacturing implications of solid timber, bespoke furniture.
Like I say and have said many times they have all had their furniture education from IKEA etc.They therefore think along Ikea prices route, not realizing that the two are totaly dissimilar pieces of furniture,In fact I don’t mean to say this just to get a laugh, but is the stuff Ikea selling really furniture at all?I don’t believe Ikea use any real hardwoods incorporated into their very temporary meagre efforts. Allbeit they sometimes can look really quite nice,they are not bespoke furniture with longevity built into the design concept.
In fact if you get it home without wear and tear you are really very lucky.Basically and again I don’t mean to be flippant their man made mushed up ,formaldehyde reconstituted sawdust, with a very thin plastic coating which is always flat packed, And yet again nothing wrong with this concept either so long as it is done correctly,it has been around for hundreds of years,see military campaign furniture.It has done well enough that for hundreds of years you can still find good examples of these well thought out designs.However they were all made from reall wood which grew on trees, just like all good antique examples today which fetch amazing prices many years after there original construction long ceased to be in existance.
In short and ( yes I despite promissing myself faithfull not to do so have rambled on about this sad, and very frustrating, problem) simply becaus of the injustice it brings to young and old craftsmen and women,who are struggling.
My heart goes out to these young and not so young people involved in furniture making and dependent on paying the bills as a result of their hard learned , and hard earned efforts.
Their equipment,and then premises,electricity heating in winter,combined long years of serious training in both manufacturing technique, and design. Add also to this list very expensive real wood , and fittings of the highest quality add to this many usually quite unseen sundrie costs.I.E glue etc nails, screws ,you all know what I mean.As I have said many time Ikea is a very good stop gap, for young people who can’t afford the real thing just yet, and the longevity/investment argument is put off until they grow older wiser and also more affluent.So that they can eventually at last buy with an educated long term investment for their and their childrens future.
Has anyone ever seen beautiful old quality hand made furniture lose money as the years pass by.We all know these things are actually a very clever long term investment. So that you have many fine years of wonderful service from these beautifully made pieces of real art and functionability, sometimes even made to your very own design too if you so wish .,and all that time during which your choices in bespoke hand made items will outlast many generations with minimum care.
OH OH OH Enough already,I am just glad I only do this for the sheer therapeutic joy and am not in any way depenent on my families survival as a result .
From my heart I wish all of you wonderful friends of mine here, and those still to come every well deserved happiness and peace of mind for their future God Bless your brother Big Alistair

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

View iminmyshop's profile


287 posts in 2192 days

#9 posted 12-07-2014 10:49 PM

Most people who offer very little compensation do so out of ignorance. They have no idea of the kind of time it takes to design furniture, the cost of raw wood, the time it takes to choose lumber for different parts properly, create joints that will last a lifetime, the time it takes to create a beautiful finish, the cost of creating and maintaining a shop etc. etc. They are comparing what you are making to thin, veneer covered particle board put together with dowels and sometimes even staples. They are comparing things built in China to the cost of living here. I wish them all well. But I do tell them what is involved and how much time it will take. You are doing very highly skilled work. If they don’t want to – or more often – can’t afford custom furniture, I understand and don’t do business with them.


View runswithscissors's profile


2892 posts in 2223 days

#10 posted 12-08-2014 05:13 AM

I wonder how much of that sawdust-held-together-with-snot Idea junk will achieve antique status? I can see it now, with the plastic chipped off and sawdust dribbling out. But I do admit, it’s very heavy, which surely is a reflection of quality.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3240 days

#11 posted 12-08-2014 05:45 AM

Luckily most of my work is custom, if they dont like the price i dont make it. Ofcourse there can be a little bardering involved but that’s what makes it fun. Handyman work is by the hour work not negotiable, unless they have something I want.

Don’t let the guy get to you, he just doesn’t appreciate hard work. Maybe he has something you need, make the guy work for the 100 dollar offer then deny him.

View bobro's profile


320 posts in 1509 days

#12 posted 12-08-2014 01:31 PM

The radical devaluation of labor and talent is an absolute prerequisite for the way things work today. How else can we possibly justify paying Asian children a dollar a day?

I read some articles on why zombie apocalypse and such like movies are so popular. None struck directly on the most obvious reason: people long for connection with hard reality, where skill and work pay off, where a farmer is worthy of a great wage and a lawyer of little.

-- Lao Ma: You are so full of anger and hatred. Xena: Everybody's gotta be full of something.

View Tennessee's profile


2893 posts in 2713 days

#13 posted 12-08-2014 02:12 PM

The Asian connection notwithstanding, no one has addressed the “where does this attitude originate”?

The first fact on that slapped me in the face a few years back when I was shown the statistical reality that the largest furniture retailer in the United States is…wait for it…Walmart.
As you all know, the biggest lines they sell are the “screw it together yourself” stuff, mainly made by Sauder and others. This is the lowest possible line of furniture, and it is totally impossible to compete with. Actually, makes Ikea look like good stuff.

The second reason came to me in the last couple years, when my wife and I, as a hobby, started visiting thrift shops, pawn shops, and donation stores such as Goodwill, ReStore, etc. I was just floored at the amount of furniture these places sell. It’s not just for lower economic class people anymore.

I was in a large Goodwill on Saturday. among the sofas, cabinets, etc, they had in the back ten-twelve sets of solid pine head and footboards. the posts were 4X4 turned, and the panels were all solid pine. They were really nice, and I could not for the life of me figure out who would have donated these. Turns out, a motel. You could have one of these sets, headboard/footboard, in a twin, including the rails, for $14.99. The queens were $20.99. I actually thought of buying one or two just to harvest the solid wood for things like bar fronts, etc. I might still go back.

My wife has been after me for about two months to make her one of those large, vertical mirror jewelry boxes that swivel on long legs. I was just about ready to start it when I saw an ad in a Kmart for a solid wood version for $89.99 on Thanksgiving evening.
We went, and I never thought we would get one. We showed up about 6PM, and there it was, on the rack in a box. I paid my $89.99, took it home and had it together in minutes since I only had to put the legs together. It is mainly that Asian rubberwood, but solid wood, none the less.
I looked it over, and thought to myself, “I could not buy all the nice hooks, swivels, hinges, felt and mirror for less than about $35.” If I added wood, I would be over $89.99 before I cut the first piece of wood. This was easier…

That is why my only outlet is a high-end museum gallery that sells to the rich. And my guitars have a final quote before I get a deposit. The deposits are not refundable. I aim for $20 an hour plus materials and shop costs, very fair for a semi-retired guy, I think. I don’t live off of it, but it makes for nice walking around money.


-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1317 posts in 2133 days

#14 posted 12-08-2014 02:38 PM

Don’t let it get you down. People are always going to ask to have stuff made cheaply. I just bid 5 pieces of custom wood, glass, and metal furniture for a business. They called me back and said it was considerably more than they wanted to pay. I said, “I’m sorry, but that is the price”. I told them I could knock off 3 or 4%, but that was it. They said they would call me back.

It is much easier to sluff this off when it isn’t your primary source of income. If they don’t want to pay, you just forget them and make whatever you want. If this is your primary income, you have to find people who will pay, which no doubt can be difficult.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View slickrick's profile


1 post in 1472 days

#15 posted 12-08-2014 05:57 PM

Snowgoer I had a similar experience awhile back, built a great walnut live edge bench, the couple came to visit my shop the wife spotted it & fell in love,a couple days past Husband calls my wife. He offers 2 bills… my wife said that was an insult. Long story,short. They ended up buying at 15% off my asking. Never really wanted to sell it..UGH !!! But thought the couple would turn into good clients, nope..just cheep!! Been at this bout 27 yrs.building custom Furniture, still tough spotting these. I do agree with the above about Ikea & wmart mentality, but it could be money is tight, I usually hit in the 90% mark of getting bid jobs, but of late it seams to about 20-30 %....just gotta keep bidding .

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