We built and installed pillars (see alt.binaries.pictures.woodworking) for a
mine. Now we have been asked to make and install similar pillars for a not
so close friend and they are willing to pay us to make them. The question
is what should we charge. It will probably take about 20 hours from design
to final paint touch ups and the material will cost about $100. Any advice
on what a fair rate is would be great appreciated.
Wed, Jan 3, 2007, 11:25pm (EST+5) firstname.lastname@example.org (Scott)
<snip> Any advice on what a fair rate is would be great appreciated.
Yep. Ask people in your area.
Depends on where you are. I've seen homes on the north side of the
closest real city to me go for $10,000 more than identical homes on the
south side of the same city. The same job would cost a lot less is West
Virginia then it would in Californery. You didn't even say where you
To listen is an effort, and just to hear is no merit. A duck hears
- Igor Stravinsky
> We built and installed pillars (see
alt.binaries.pictures.woodworking) for a
> friend of
> mine. Now we have been asked to make and install similar pillars
for a not
> so close friend and they are willing to pay us to make them. The
> is what should we charge. It will probably take about 20 hours
> to final paint touch ups and the material will cost about $100.
> on what a fair rate is would be great appreciated.
About $1,500 should just barely cover it.
$100 = Materials.
$1,000 = Estimated labor: 20 hours x $50/hour.
$400 = CTA fund to cover unknowns.
Is it something you would enjoy doing, or would it be a dull chore that
takes time away from something good? To me that is essential. I build
furniture for about $15/hour because I have the time and I enjoy doing it.
If I didn't, I would charge 4 times as much.
The other issue is how easy they are to build. Obviously no one will pay
you $1,500 if any handyman can do it for $500.
First you have to determine if 20 hours is fair. By that, can a carpenter
do the job in 5 hours because he is more experienced? If 20 hours is
realistic, we can go from there.
Is this a little sideline for cash operation or do you have a legitimate
business and all the expenses that go along with it? As a strictly cash
under the table deal for a friend of a friend, $!5 to $20 an hour is fair
and I'd expect pizza for lunch. If you are a business, then $50 is more
realistic. And buy your own lunch.
If you charge 17% (absolute rock bottom) markup on materials, you will
break even. Less you loose money. If you buy at wholesale you will be
paying 15% and 30% below retail, and simply need to bring the price up
to retail or a little higher to break even for your time and using your
For your time, look at it this way:
How long would it take a craftsman of the trade to make the product?
That is how many hours you charge, because you can't expect someone to
pay your learning curve. If you are faster than the average craftsman,
you still charge the same hours, but because you used less actual hours,
you are earning more money. You maintain this edge by using better tools
to save time. If you have to use some of your wages to buy better tools
and keep tools functioning well, you charge a little more per hour to
ensure expenses don't eat you up. The goal is to make a better product
in shorter time, and charge the same money as others would. The next
goal is never have much of your own money tied up. You should get money
enough up front to cover materials and don't let loose of the product
unless you get paid. If it is custom work, you should have enough money
up front that you don't lose a dime if the customer reneges.
Always keep a financial record of your materials and expenses. Keep
track of your receivables. Keep track of your hours. If you don't you
will never know if you are losing money until you can't make a house
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