how much to charge for woodworking work

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If you are too busy with that kind of work then you are charging too little. If you are not busy enough then you are charging too much.
Doug
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$40 per hour or more.
cm

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If you want to be business-like, you have to consider your overhead. Not just electricity, but wear and tear on machines, an allowance for maintenance, costs for consumables (like saw blades and sharpening expenses), etc. How much do you have invested in equipment? Do you feel like you should get some return on your investment in addition to a fee for labor? What if you screw up something and have to buy more wood, who pays for the mistake?
If the answer to all these items is no or not me then you will get more work than you want or need. To keep from being taken advantage of you must charge at or near market value for your work.
Cliff
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AlohaCliff wrote:

If you charge proper rates, you will often get referrals from other pros and even suppliers.
Charging "hobbyist rates"? You'll get treated like one, by suppliers as well as your local peers. There's actually nothing at all wrong with that, as long as we remember that it dosen't usually work both ways.
Also remember that if you exceed a sideline income threshold, you're open for business in the eyes of the IRS and local tax authorities, whether you want to admit it or not. The IRS doesn't really care if it's your full-time gig or not. The good news is that stuff you would have bought for your hobby now becomes deductible against the income it brings in. Have a really bad year in between some really good ones? Small business losses can actually reduce your "day gig" tax burden.
A few hours with a good local CPA can be a great value if you really want to make a go of it. He or she can help you get properly set up, get a simple accounting system going (like Quickbooks), and sleep better at night.
Have fun!
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It depends on your goals and capabilities. I would like to make the hobby pay for itself and have some fun. In general, I charge 3x the cost of materials, after I have planned it out. My shop (garage) doesn't allow much efficiency, so I don't try and don't charge by the hour. I can adjust up or down as makes sense.
Steve

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The couple of times I've charged for my work I've quoted on a per job basis after figuring materials and time, and then logged every task and the time it took.
I was looking to get $25 - $30 an hour. The reality was about $15. That tells me that
a) my expectations for the market are high
b) I'm a lousy estimator
c) I'm not as good/efficient a wooddorker as I think I am when quoting
d) all of the above
But it depends on who you're quoting to. A few years back, a neighbor (my son and their's were school chums) asked if I could modify the cabinets where their fridde fit. It wasn't a big job, but at the time I didn't have a blade for the circ saw I trusted for cutting melamine, so I told them I'd do the work for the cost of a blade.
Suddenly, the modification wasn't that important to them. They wanted a freebie, plain and simple.
;-)
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For friends, $0 per hour. I don't do any work for money. I refuse to make a hobby a business because it is not fun any more.
If I wanted to make money at it, I'd have to charge a minimum of $30
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depends on the situation. I'm retired now, so income from the shopis really just beer money (or tool money....). My goal is to keep the shop self-supporting, and to maybe make enough extra to cover some materials for the occasional thing I make for myself or family.
When folks want me to build them something from scratch, I usually tell them to take a loof at a high end furniture catalogue (I keep a few in the shop), and find something simialr to what they're looing for, then add about 10-25% to get a ball park price range (this is for customers, not friends). I use pompanoosic mills, Ethan Allen, and a Maine craftsman who's name escapes me right now.....
For folks that want to learn how to do it themselves, I charge a flat $25/hour plus lumber (I supply sandpaper and normal expendables. dependingon their finish, they either can use somethign I have on hand, or buy their own....). I always point out that this will almost ceratinly end up costing them more than if I just built it for them. This is also what most of my "income" business is now.
For friends, it really depends on the job and circumstances. I've had friends come to me when they were on hard times, and really needed something for themselves or thier kids - they're not looing for anything fancy, but something to coer a need. Usually in those cases and have been able to find enough stuff to make it for them. I also have friends that insist on paying full price - they can afford it, know what the stuff I make is worth, and understand that it is not necesary, but is appreciated.
YMMV
--_JD

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Cyrille de Brbisson wrote:

I like the "you owe me one" answers best. The problem with charging for your labor - even a modest charge - is that you immediately become classified as a pro in the minds of those paying and they can get pretty picky.
--
--
dadiOH
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Cyrille de Brbisson wrote:

I don't.
The guy for whom I do most of my handyman favors feeds my cats and changes the litter box when I'm out-of-town. That may be a comment on the quality of my work.
You can charge enough so as to keep the volume of work at an acceptable level. or start bumming favors in return, or ask your friends to help you so they can learn how to do for themselves.
--
FF
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In all things, it depends. If, for example, you are making a custom sized sofa table of furniture grade quality, stop in to a quality furniture store, get the retail price of a similar item, and price your work to a friend at 50% of retail, getting the material cost up front. Often, I have said "hey, I'll make one and if you like it, you can buy it, if not, I'll keep it" and price it on the above basis, and guess what, they have always bought it, likely because they see the quality and craftsmanship.
On the other hand, if its a pine bookcase out of straight oneby stock and/or plywood with applied edging, 2 or possibly 3 (depending on whether you are to stain or otherwise finish the work) may not be unreasonable.
Bottom line for me with friends and family is not to try and compete, or suggest you are competing, with the Walmart/Target/Kmart furniture of the world, and if that is what your friends expect, tell them to go to Walmart as it is cheaper in the short run. Then after they move once or twice and the particleboard falls completely apart, they'll be back for some quality work at a price that will give them value long term. I've done this several times and guess what - they do indeed come back once they realize the long term value of a solid piece of woodworking.
Mutt
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In second paragraph, I meant "2, or possibly 3 times material cost"
Mutt
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I don't have much time for working for other people, but usually do it for free for good friends. For neighbors and others I suggest a gift certificate from woodcraft or rockler. I never specify an amount and I know who I want to do favors for now. My next door neighbor is in a band and goes on the road, I told him I would feed his animals for free as he's my neighbor. He insisted on giving me something. Again I suggested gift certificates which he could do on line. Near as I can tell all woodworkers should take care of pets. If he goes on the road for a month I've got my wide belt sander.
Mike M
On Mon, 20 Mar 2006 22:16:07 GMT, "Cyrille de Brbisson"

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