Million Dollar Woodworking
Advise for some reason seems to be something people are always eager and willing to give, and I think for the most part this has always been true, no matter what the subject there is always someone who knows all about it. I myself have always been open to out side advise and input when it comes to subjects that I may not know much about or things that I am trying to learn, as long as the source of this knowledge is credible you have my full attention.
Lately the topic of how much you should charge for your woodworking has become a popular subject. And I think a lot of this sudden interest comes from the boom in content creators with in the woodworking community, people who are just starting out and looking to make a living with their woodworking. Just like everything else there is plenty of input and advise on this subject, from charging hundreds of dollars a day to tripling or ever quadrupling the cost of materials to try and make money.
Before accepting any advise the source of that advise needs to be considered especially if you're looking for an honest answer, and woodworking is certainly no exception to this. If someone is telling you how to price your woodwork, the question should be do they do commissioned work ? There is a difference between making things with the hope of selling them and having someone commission you to build something.
In the twenty plus years I have built commissioned pieces I have learned a few things about pricing the work I do, and first and foremost is to always be honest with your potential customer. Figure out exactly how long it will take you to do each individual step of the project, milling, joinery, assembly, this is your labor, then add your material costs and shop supplies and that's your estimate. With your estimate written out this way the deciding factor usually is your labor rate per hour, and the easiest way to determine this when first starting out is to just find out what the shops in your area are charging. There is nothing magical or mysterious about it, just be honest your labor + lumber+ supplies = your estimate.
How you price the work you do should not based on an idea that you deserve crazy amounts of money daily or by ripping people off by ridiculously over charging for materials and supplies because you feel you deserve it. Just be honest and stand behind your estimate, provide quality work with out cutting corners and you can make a living, I have for over twenty years and still do.
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