Pricing first job

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 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.
Thanks Scott
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Wed, Jan 3, 2007, 11:25pm (EST+5) snipped-for-privacy@ns.sympatico.ca (Scott) doth ask: <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 are.
JOAT To listen is an effort, and just to hear is no merit. A duck hears also. - Igor Stravinsky
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I'm in Halifax, Nova Scotia a city of about 350,000 people
(Scott)

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Scott wrote:
> 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 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.
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.
Lew
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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.
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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.
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Scott wrote:

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 money. 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 payment.
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