For those about to Dork for dough, I salute you

A guy I know has a gift store, and he asked me (or I asked him, I can't remember how I got into this mess) if I wanted to Dork up some projects--they were "accent tables" now that I'm thinking about it--in his store to be sold on consignment. Now I have 2 accent tables, 2 end tables and an adirondak chair with ottoman and the guy is telling me he has a customer who wants a bar, a bar-type round table (48" height) and 2 chairs to go with the pair of end tables I have in the store.
Keep in mind, these tables have been sitting for a few weeks with little to no interest. All of a sudden, a guy wants a whole room of furniture? Yeah, right. After some key questions get asked, I find out that the guy wants a table to match one he saw at a furniture store, and I go look at the one he's talking about.
For $500 (the retail price of this 3-piece bar set), I couldn't even come close to building it. Solid wood, no ply, lots of, um, fancy-ups (inlaid rope mold in the table apron, flower carvings in the legs, etc) and 2 Windsor-style bar-height chairs. I spoke to the store owner today, and told him that if the guy likes that set, go ahead and buy it, because he doesn't even want to know how much I would charge for it.
Now I know that there have been about 2 gazillion threads about how much to charge for stuff, but I've decided that as long as this is my side job (I had WANTED to keep it a hobby) and not my front job, I wasn't going to work for nothing.
Having said all that, all of y'all who ARE Dorking for your front job, having to compete against stuff like that, my hat goes off. I know that custom work demands a custom price and all that, but you fellers sure have to know what you're doing in order to keep your labor costs down enough to make a living against prices like that.
-Phil Crow
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It was somewhere outside Barstow when snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

You don't - there's just _no_ way you can compete against that imported Indonesian stuff. Just the body filler bill for the dovetails would break the budget.
If you want to make a profit on it, you have to find a different niche to play in. Going head-to-head on this stuff hasn't a hope.
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"Andy Dingley" wrote in message

Noticed yesterday at Sam's that the teak rockers have been further reduced to $139. These are large, extra wide rockers, well designed and not badly put together, although a bit of joint tightening will probably be in order sooner rather than later.
I have two sitting on my front porch that they have held up well for a couple of years and are as solid as new.
That much teak would cost me over $200/chair ... at my wholesale price.
You're right ... there's "riches in niches", but there's no competing with that kind of material cost and cheaper labor.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 11/06/04
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Most people have no clue how much labor/skill/tools goes into anything. They've never done it. I've bemoaned the fact a number of times & then found myself in the same situation.
I wanted some curtains. I looked in Sears & thought everything was ugly & it cost $50. I wasn't going to pay $50 for a couple of rags to hang on a window! So I made my own.
I'd never done that before & was clueless. I wound up with about 12 hours in, spent $30 on materials & the bottoms of the curtains aren't very even, but I like them. I now think that $50 for a set of curtains that I like is a bargain! <G> Live & learn.
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