I got a prospective client who would like their maple lobby desk refinished.
I'm not really sure what to charge.
The job involves refinishing the top surfaces of a maple lobby desk
that has been worn from use. Approximately 30 sq feet of flat surface.
Additionally the front entrance side is another 20 square feet of maple
veneer. The customer wants this re-stained to match the existing finish
and a satin protective finish. As a final touch the customer would like to
have a brass kick plate installed at the base.
this would probably be 3/16x4x12feet long.
Any pricing guidelines I should follow? any help on what price range I
Here is a formula that I have arrived by using my experience and the experience of
many other people who estimate work.
This formula was not derived for just woodworking, but just in general.
((first guess of time X 3) + 15%) + materials = cost
Or for those who took some sort of engineering use PI (3.14)
Remember use the first estimate of how long you think it wll take. The multiplier of
3 is how long it will probably take
and then the 15% is for unknowns.
5 to 50% is pretty vague. This will help break it down:
Labor Rate Per Hour $20.
If you Wait $25.
If you Watch $30.
If you Help $40.
If you Worked on it Yourself $50.
If you Laugh $60.
I used to have one of those in my work area when I was wrenchin'.
The only thing missing was the last line. Man, I'da been rich!
When I moved into the computer repair arena, I got lots of nice
Marines who had worked on their computers first. I probably made
well over $1,000 just on replacing the autoexec.bat and config.sys
files which the nice Marines had put through WordPerfect. I loved
Now I produce real web pages from FrontPage-afflicted code. ;)
"Be the change you want to see in the world." --Mahatma Gandhi
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
http://diversify.com Website Application Programming
I think you might be missing two critically important factors. Wouldn't it
be a good idea to have an hourly cost in your formula? And your costs are
no business of your client. Your price is.
Say: > ((first guess of time X 3 X $25 [or whatever]) + 15%) + materials price [not cost - you're trying to quote a price, not a cost].
You are right, after I posted it and reread it, I noticed the same. Here is my
(((first guess of time X 3) + 15%) x hourly rate) + materials = cost
How to determine the hourly rate in your area ? Ask a plumber, electrician, car
mechanic and finish contractor in your
area what theirs are. Throw away the highest and lowest. Average the remaining 2 and
use that for your hourly rate.
That's a good start. Factor in your skill level and how much you want to
earn. The right clientele will pay a higher rate for excellent
craftsmanship. No one wants to pay for a hack. People that will pay
$20,000+ for a Maloof chair, probably would barely cover the cost of wood
for one of mine.
Hourly rates can be misleading also. If you pay $20 an hour and the hack
takes 10 hour to do a job, it is not as effective as paying $50 an hour for
the pro that gets it done right in two hours.
_The_ most useful post I've seen on this ng on pricing work came from
_that_ guy. You know, the one that doesn't contribute anything 'roun'
heah and just has his hangers-on do his work for him...
If the specifics are a bit over the top for your circumstances, the
principles should still apply.
Subject: Re: how to charge for a job
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003 15:14:35 -0500
X-Newsreader: Forte Agent 1.7/32.534
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
X-Trace: snip-news 1044994490 sarc9b67.snip.net (11 Feb 2003 15:14:50
On 10 Feb 2003 16:12:55 -0800, email@example.com (Luis) wrote:
M+L+O+P (Materials plus Labor plus Overhead plus Profit)
MATERIALS COST = Cost plus Tax plus Acquisition Cost (going to get it)
plus carrying costs if financed. Make sure you do your take-offs
cleanly and add for waste.
LABOR COST is a bit more difficult. You need to break the job down
into individual operations and make sure that you charge for all of
Once you have your number of hours figured you need to figure your
Maximum number of hours available for work = 2080 (52 weeks x 40 hours
= 2080 hours).
Minus vacation time = 2000 (2 weeks x 40 hours = 80 hours).
Minus holidays = 1944 (7 days x 8 hours = 56 hours).
Minus non-billable hours = 1555 (20% of 1944 hours = 388.8 hours)
(marketing, selling, bidding, bookkeeping, purchasing, emptying
So, you now have 1555 billable hours in which to earn your money for
How much do you want to make a year as your wage (not including
profit, that's a different animal)?
Let's use $50,000.00 a year just for fun.
Labor Cost per billable hour = 32.15 ($50,000 / 1555 billable hours $32.15 per hour).
OVERHEAD COST = All the costs of doing business. Some of what I put
here should go into a thing called Labor Burden but screw it, I'm
putting it here, which works if you're a one man shop.
Shop Cost = 3.86 (We'll include heat and electric, etc. in here,
$500.00 per month x 12 months / 1555 billable hours = $3.86 per
Machinery Cost = 1.29 (Acquisition, repair, maintenance,depreciation,
$2000.00 per year / 1555 billable hours = $1.29 per hour).
Truck Cost = 2.22 (34.5 cents per mile x 10,000 miles per year / 1555
billable hours = $2.22 per hour).
Office Cost = 1.16 (Space, furniture, computer, supplies, etc.$150.00
per month x 12 months / 1555 billable hours per year = $1.16 per
Insurance = .64 (Contractor's Liability, building, etc., $1000.00 per
year / 1555 billable hours = $.64 per hour).
Health Insurance = 1.93 ($250.00 per month x 12 months / 1555 billable
hours = $1.93 per hour).
Professional Services = .64 (Accountants and lawyers, $1000.00 per
year / 1555 billable hours = $.64 per hour).
Other = .5 (All sorts of consumables and other stuff that can't be
directly billed to a job, $.50 x 1555 per billable hour = $.50
Total Overhead per billable hour = $12.24.
Labor Cost plus Overhead Cost = $44.39 (Labor @ $32.15 plus Overhead @
$12.24 = $44.39)
PROFIT is not how much you make as wages, it's how much the business
A rough split on the cost of jobs is 1/4 material and 3/4 labor (Labor
Cost plus Overhead Cost).
If your yearly billing for labor plus overhead is $69,026.00 ( $44.39
per billable hour x 1555 billable hours = $69,026.00). Then your
yearly materials cost should be about $23,009.00 ($69,026.00 / 3 $23,009.00).
Annual Sales = $92,035.00 (Does not include profit, yet, Labor @
$69,026.00 plus Materials @ $23,009 = $92,035.00 per year).
Profit = 8.88 (15% of gross annual sales, $92,035.00 x 15% $13805.00 / 1555 billable hours = $8.88 per hour).
SHOP RATE = 53.27 (Labor Cost plus Overhead Cost @ $44.39 plus Profit
@ $8.88 = $53.27 per hour).
ANNUAL SALES = $105,840.00 (Labor Cost plus Overhead Cost plus
Materials Cost plus Profit).
QUARTERLY SALES = $26,460.00.
MONTHLY SALES = $8820.00.
WEEKLY SALES = $2035.00
Every time I start thinking like this it makes me want to go back to
working for somebody else.
I'll probably catch hell for this because no accountant would ever
group things together the way I have. Also, they don't, as a rule,
make as much use of the WAG method as I have for cost estimating.
They like GAP, I like WAG (they be rich - I be poor). I guess my
point is: If I'd had someone present things to me in this way when I
started, I probably wouldn't have started at all but, at some point
you have to start thinking this way, preferably with the aid of a real
accountant, or you won't really be in business, you'll just have a
very expensive, very time consuming hobby. And, for you guys who
think that 15% is a gaudy figure, yeah, so do I.
Thomas J. Watson-Cabinetmaker
<address snipped by mjb>
Hope this helps,
Congrats on getting this job. Your client must know you can do it. As
to the pricing: I don't have a good idea for you. Here's a quick
idea: they might have a budget for this (won't hurt to ask). Also,
snope around other refinishers in your area. You might ask them what
they charge for a smiliar item. This "competitive analysis" is done
all the time and is perfectly legit. You can also do, what's your time
worth x a rough guess of time. Also, if you're starting out, you might
want to "low ball" this job to get and secure the business and the
client reference. Tho, watch out for this, your client might have more
work and they might get use to your "lowered prices".
The 'consulting' price I charge for professional work of any type is
"What Sears Roebuck charges in your area to 'fix your washer'. "
This is automatically adjusted for different areas of the country and
inflation! And it's hard to argue with. Here is rural Vermont it's
about $45 per hour. Just call Sears in your area and find out.
I use this for Professional Photography, Music Mixing and Editing, CD
artwork production, welding, repairing Broadcast Transmitters etc...
Regards, Terry King ...In The Woods In Vermont
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.