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I don't charge for my time.  I don't take commissions.  Maybe because I'm so slow that no one would be willing to pay me what I'd have to charge to make it worth my time, and maybe because I don't have fun woodworking for money.


I could never accomplish that much in 3.8 hours.  And probably wouldn't want to.  It would take me 3.8 hours to select my parts and cut up the rough lumber.  Just the way I like it.


I originally wrote a response to this thread but deleted it, thinking I misinterpreted the question when I didn't. Won't rehash it, but one point I made was that regardless of how much time it takes, I don't prefer to take small quote jobs. One example of why was a woman who got referred to me once who wanted a cane rack, showing me a photo of something she saw on eBay. Now a cane rack sounds simple, except this particular design would involve bent lamination and would undoubtedly increase the quote...honestly not worth it. Long story short, after sending the quote I never heard back from her and she likely just got that cane rack on eBay, costing all of $90. Can't blame her.


Point being, I find that anyone who send a link/picture of something already existing / mass-produced for cheap - and wanting it completely replicated - is likely not really willing to put out the extra money for custom-built and is better off buying that from the stores anyway (unless it's a stability concern). If I do take on something, it will be for a larger project for a more high dollar paying client, simply because what they want can't be found anywhere else and they're willing to pay for it.

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I can't speak for others, but there is at least 3 hours of finishing work there for me.  I would charge somewhere in the $500-$650 range. 


Figuring, 6-8 hours of hands on shop time @$25 /hour, $150-$200

Finishing 2-3 hours (sanding, staining, topcoat, etc) $50-$75

Lumber (vary by species / figure), Assuming about 50-70 bf rough cut @ ~$4/bf, $200-$300

Misc Shop stuff (sand paper, finishing supplies, brushes, etc) $75

Add profit as you see fit. 

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It would depend on who it's for. a client that knows exactly what they want- would depend on details-hand cut dovetail drawer or machine cut-mortise and tenon or pocket screws?

A client that doesn't know what they want, but that's not it, x some factor of at least three.

Want it cheap and fast, don't waste my time.

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How many notches are holding the bottles? If you say 16 or even 8 you cost yourself a bunch of time. 


For the sake of my education, how would you do it? I've got it down to 4 holes: Cross cut 1 board in half (to length), which you stack on top of each other, drill the four holes then rip the two boards down the middle creating 16 notches.


Can anyone tell me what wood the original piece is made from?

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Most times when I read discussions on how much to charge, there’s usually a time+cost+profit margin calculation that’s done. I’ve also known too many people who tried to give it a go using that formula who didn’t make it for me to believe that time+cost+profit margin is a good way to run a business.


Here’s another analysis that makes much more sense to me. Assume that your woodworking business needs to gross $100,000 in annual sales to survive. Remember, everything has to come out of that $100,000: your salary, insurance, taxes, utilities/supplies/overhead, etc.


If you work 50 weeks a year, 6 days a week, that means that you need to gross $333 per day in order to make it as a business. And that’s working 6 days a week, taking only two weeks of vacation in a year, with a salary that’s probably only going to be in the $30-40K range. And that’s assuming that your salary and overhead are actually within range of that $100,000. With more realistic numbers, the per day rate can get pretty big pretty fast. For example, taking the whole weekend off bumps that daily sales rate to $400/day. If you want to pocket more money, that bumps up the rate. Adding tools or machines (capital investment) will do the same.


So if a project takes a day to make, you need to charge whatever that daily sales rate works out to be for it to be worthwhile, regardless of what that project is.

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I am a hobbyist and I only make a few big pieces a year, at my leisure.  I get asked often by friends and friends of friends to make things for them, as I'm sure you all do.  The way I look at my hobby is that I only build the things I want to build, and I make this clear to people when they ask me to build things.   I've turned down more jobs then I'll ever take and at this point that is just fine with me.  I have no interest in building "crafts" and a crappy looking table you saw on Pinterest.  


So with being a hobbyist and building at my leisure I tell everyone that my time is worthless.   I base all of my prices off of the material costs.  I look at it as if someone else is paying for me to do what I love.    Close family or good friends I will usually build for cost.  Other friends 1.5x materials.  Farther removed 2x or 2.5x materials. 


The best way to ruin a hobby is to try to make money at it.

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Okay okay, Let me chime in here!


I am a hobbyist woodworker (although I created a business for tax reasons), and take on 4-10 jobs a year depending on how busy my day job is... which is busy. 


I value my time like anyone does but I would say I am a believer that my shop time rate can be a little cheap because I really enjoy working in the shop. I always say that when I am working on a commissioned piece I am learning on someone else's dime 


My initial thoughts was to design it in Sketchup (I love using sketchup and am very fast at it, and I don't mind wasting a few minutes at night while watching tv) and see how much lumber it takes, what different joinery options that can be done, and decide on a few finishing options. Once I calculate cost of material, I will give it a rough time table and see how long it would take me with the up and coming day job work schedule. I figured 1 full  weekend and another week of evenings. 


The reason for posting this and asking "how much would you charge?" was to see how each individual goes about the process and develops final quote. I have not had very much experience with only doing 4-10 jobs/year (last two years) with quoting projects. 


So going forward with this thread, I would like each interested individual to break down this situation and show, as detailed as you wish, on how you would go about quoting a piece like this. 



I do appreciate all the insight on this thread... when my phone dings I can't wait to check it!

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Thread has been cleaned up. Please feel free to resume discussion as it pertains to the original poster's question about pricing. How would YOU price the posted piece?


Anyone who wants to debate general business theory and practices should feel free to start a thread in the Going Pro section. Just keep it civil and all will be well.

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Hey pb master great topic :)

For me sadly woodworking isn't my day job, it was once and I'd really like to be working at it full time again.

If a member of the public came up to me with a picture of something they wanted reproduced I'd try and get as much information about the piece as I can and ask them what exactly are they looking for ? and how much do they want to spend ?.

Did they just hear about this guy in a workshop who makes things from wood and they decided to show him a picture from a catalogue and ask him to reproduce it hoping to get it done for less ( which sadly is usually the case for me :-/ ), or are they fed up of buying these nice looking pieces that just don't seem to last.

If the piece is made from ply or MDF I'll ask if they want it made the same or from solid and explain that the price would be greater in solid and explain why.

Id also ask when do they want it and if they're happy with butt joints just screwed and glued together or mortice and tenon joinery, and both are perfectly ok but for me the final price would be different.

When doing my final pricing I have certain obvious rules or guidelines I will stick to (kind of .. I'll explain later )

Cost of all materials must be covered !!!! Whatever about not being properly paid for my time I will not leave myself, another business or another person out of pocket on materials that I purchased and I usually ask for materials cost upfront to guarantee this. Also I do not charge extra for materials, if I pay X amount for wood, glue etc etc that's what I charge the client even if I'm getting a good deal.

I run through the project in my head and how I'm going to make the piece and what tools I use and add the cost of wear and tear on blades and machines and also electricity, for me this usually bounces around the 20% to 30% of the cost of materials, I use a percentage because the more materials I have the more machining I usually have to do but I do run through the process in my head over and over again so I can keep it to a minimum.

After that I earn €10 an hour in my day job and it's what I pay the people working with me so for me it's a fair amount and if I'm in my workshop on someone else's dime I work as fast as I safely can to produce what the Client is looking for.

With all that being said

I was asked to reproduce a wardrobe by girlfriend, the originals were mass produced of ok quality in a material that I have never seen before!!! I made it from mahogany mortice and tenoned all the joints and painted the whole thing . ( got a great reaction from our brothers in the forum for that :D )

My girlfriend doesn't know what a mortice and tenon is and she couldn't tell mahogany from sandpaper.

The materials alone cost me around €300 I spent about 6 days total including gluing and finish and the final price for my lovely lady was ........ Private !!!!

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