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Pricing your Work

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  • Pricing your Work

    When you sell your work, how do you determine the price?

    Of course there are overhead costs, such as project materials and supplies, and variable costs such as how you market your product, but how do you factor in your time into the overall price per unit sold?

  • #2
    I just look the peice over and if it look good I price it to what I might get for it . you can't price your time ?


    • #3
      I have a very basic plan when it comes to pricing my work. I have a notebook in the shop where I can keep track of the exact time spent on a piece. If I stop working to answer the phone or go for a bathroom run, I write the time down. Then I will just multiply it with the dollars per hour I feel I need. I just keep track of garage/technique time.

      This number has gone up since I first started, I figure the extra years of experience should count for something. The dollars/hr reflects the extra little steps I don't keep track of time for like finishing, tagging and labeling etc, so I do keep it at what sound like a higher number. My pieces are a bit larger (intarsia) so I keep nearly everything rounded off at 40, 45, 50 etc.

      We harvest and cut a lot of our own lumber, so in a way the whole time factor can go out the window. But in a way, a day working on the sawmill or piling lumber can be counted towards material cost.

      a few other factors:
      If I find myself constantly replaceing a piece, it goes up a little if I like doing the piece, a lot if I don't.

      If I really like the piece or if it was a particularly hard project I may bump up the price some. If I'm really not impressed with it I may bring it down some.

      I eye up other pieces I've made that sell well and compare the newer piece to them.

      There are so many factors involved when trying to recommend a pricing system. I guess that's why there are so many books out on it. I think there's a lot of trial and error involved when you first start selling. I really try not to look back to the times when I really underpriced my stuff. But then agian, when I first started, I did some really poor shows where I probably would have had a hard time selling all my stuff at half the price.


      • #4
        Thanks Joanna. You have made some good points.

        Pricing is a very difficult question to answer. What will sell in some areas, just won't move in others. Overhead costs and time are variables that change with each project.

        Interesting to see how others do it.


        • #5
          In the next issue of SSW, Judy and Dave Peterson wrote an article on making money/marketing your scrolled works...but that's a little down the road!



          • #6
            Here I am speaking as a carver again, but a carver who uses a lot of scroll saw pieces.

            I let a gallery set my prices and it works perfectly.... beyond all expectations. The gallery can ask and get $2800 for any of my more complicated Santas. I receive $1400 but if I tried to sell it at a craft show in this area I doubt if I would get $100-$200.
            However, at $1400 I'm not earning minimum wage, but I'm happy.


            • #7
              Wow! Nancy you sound like you have a unique situation compared to most crafters.

              Great to hear!


              • #8
                Scroll sawing is a hobby for me and I never expected to make a living at it. Like Nancy was saying, even minimum wage could not be made. There are a few who make a living from scroll sawing. However they have people working for them and they sell to wholesalers mainly. It just can't be done with a one person operation.
                I made enough to up-grade my equipment, like from a Delta to a Hegner. I made money mostly by stack cutting. That way I had 3 clocks instead of one in the same time.
                It is a hobby, don't think about money, just enjoy what you are doing.
                Mike M
                SD Mike


                • #9
                  Well - I think about money a LOT ... I don't want to be a stock clerk at Wal-Mart 40 hrs a week when I can sit home and carve with my CATS for 80.


                  • #10
                    I have been a carver for about 13 years, but I do mostly little stuff - just for the joy and therapy of putting tool to wood. I have sold maybe 7 or 8 things, for probably a total of $50.00. Each of those maybe netted about - hmmm... isn't there a cent symbol on a keyboard??-- well - 25 cents an hour - tops. Maybe enough to replace the wood. With scrolling, I made some of the nativity puzzles and sold them for $35.00 each - my materials and about $5 per hour. The orders are still trickling in - and I am still sawing. I was told that the puzzles would probably be priced near $100 at a specialty shop, but I haven't found that yet. May never. $5 an hour seems OK to a retired 60 year-old, but it wouldn't feed a family. I think the marketing is the key. Nancy sounds like she has the ideal set-up. Good luck figuring it out for your market. If it doesn't sell, maybe you are too high. If you can't keep up with the demand, maybe you are low. I would put a smiley face here, but I can't figure it out. Ah well...


                    • #11
                      Wow, I have to take exception to the idea that it's not possible to be a full time scroll saw artist without hiring people (that would be like a painter hiring someone to help them paint pictures!) or wholesaling. I know several people, myself included (8 years full time), that pay all the bills and expenses with their work.

                      Maybe it's because I'm forunate enough to live in a tourist area, but I can't count soley on the tourists (that's a somewhat short season up north), so I try to price items so the locals can buy it too. It might help that I don't have any competition in the intarsia area up here, also. Finding the market is without a doubt the biggest challenge here. I've see so many stores come and go since I started. I'm fortunate enough to have found a few very solid stores that don't take too high of a commision.

                      The whole aspect does change when your full time though. I find myself making repetative, but sure selling pieces (I still do make new things,but don't go overboard on it untill I get some feedback - and not from my mother or very close friends, they like anything.) . Sometimes I have to skip certain extra details I would like to put on a project, but the extra time involved would sky rocket the price too much. If I can't do a project for at least $20 and hour it is discountinued or reworked/simplified so I can. I do have some days that I would rather be doing anything else than working in the shop.

                      I usually work 7 days a week (many self employed people do) But hey, I'm
                      not complaining, I use to be a dairy farmer (one can argue about making a living and trying to cover their costs there too ) so I think I'm on easy street. It's not very physically demanding, If I'm sick I can take a day off, I can set my own hours and I can sit in a warm dry shop with the radio on. (You'll have to excuse me but after our last cold snap of -30's, I can vivided recall try to work out in that weather, and soooo appreciate the business I'm in )


                      • #12
                        Words of wisdom from a person who couldn't pay the vet bills .... your "area" doesn't matter. I ship/mail every item I carve to the gallery. Almost everyone I know mails their work to a far away gallery.
                        Joanna - CONGRATULATIONS, it's great that you're "making it" . That's really wonderful !! (I was born and raised on a Missouri dairy farm. It failed when I was 11.)


                        • #13

                          You did not understand what I said. To make a full time business from scrolling, people hire others to help. You might work 7 days a week and pay for all expenses. How about living expenses?
                          Do you clear at least $ 30,00.00/year or more? House payments, car, insurance, food etc. don't forget all the small bills.
                          Nobody ever showed me a W-4, who tell me that they make a living with scroll sawing just by them selves.

                          Mike M
                          SD Mike


                          • #14
                            ALL expenses (health, vehicle, garage and house insurances, food, entertainment, not a big one there, new vehicle, dentists, clothes, all shop expenses, land taxes, etc.) were paid from scrolling untill I got married 2 years ago. If it didn't, there was no one else to pay it.

                            I had some weird idea, probably from so many years living on my own, that I wanted to make sure my shop work was self supporting and debt free before I got married. But I must say my scrolling can not support myself and my husband, he's a bit more high maintence

                            What each person needs to cover their expenses can vary, I know I certainly don't need to clear 30,000 to live comfortable. I guess I can live cheaper than many people. I don't have kids, the years during farming paid off the house and land, we raise our own meat, and have some major gardens. I'm not a clothes horse. I hate traveling.

                            Good grief, only one time (1day)I had someone come in to help, never again.
                            I like working alone.

                            I know potters, weavers and painters that have supported their families for years, why would scrolling be any different?


                            • #15
                              Referring back to page one of this topic.
                              Did you find the ¢ symbol on your keyboard yet ? Get enough ¢ 's and they add up into dollars.


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