I am making a couple of mailboxes, with some scrollwork on the side
and bottom back, as well as MAIL scrollworked on the front. I plan to
make some in various woods and various finishes ( In our neighbourhood
their is no direct rain or snow hitting the box).
Can someone give me an idea on how to price something like that?
TIA (many times...)
By price, do you mean like in charge? As in you are going to sell mailbox?
I don't know where you live, but in my area, close to Detroit, MI the local
Postal workers are real hard nosed about mailboxes that conform to "approved
by Postmaster General" non-sense. If the mail box is not on some list, they
won't deliver the mail. The only exception is if you take an "approved"
designed mailbox, and enclose it in your scrollwork, that may be OK.
If you sell a mailbox to someone, and they mount it you could be in for
I hope your area has thinking human beings at your post office.
On Fri, 03 Jun 2005 16:45:26 -0400, Another Phil wrote:
From near the top of your link:
D041 describes the standards for letterboxes or other receptacles for the
deposit or receipt of mail. It also contains the standards for curbside
mailboxes. 1.0 Basic Standards
Except as excluded by 1.2, every letterbox or other receptacle intended or
used for the receipt or delivery of mail on any city delivery route, rural
delivery route, highway contract route, or other mail route is designated
an authorized depository for mail within the meaning of 18 USC 1702, 1705,
1708, and 1725.
I don't see what is so restrictive about "other receptacle". Moreover,
the use of the term 'intended' opens up a lot of ground. If nothing else,
simply marking the box with the word "MAIL" should be sufficient to show
intent. It does need to be of a size sufficient to hold the normally
expected mail burden for each day ... but the customer is free to make the
initial determination of this ... and it cannot be locked such that a key
is required for the USPS to use it nor may it bear advertising (so the
"Burma Shave" and the "Mail Pouch" themes are probably a bad idea). It
also cannot bear a caricature likely to be offensive to a letter carrier.
Ya gotta walk lightly there, even standard religious or political symbols
could fall under that heading.
The rules are re-stated here:
I find no mention at all of any 'authorized' list. Would you care to post
a link to it?
I also live in Detroit.
Pricing is one of the most difficult parts of the manufacturing
business. This isn't just me saying it or my personnal experience but
what I was taught in business school too.
Another point about pricing is that pretty much anybody can make a
product that is profitable if they sell it at retail prices. However,
it takes a very professional approach in every respect to be able to
make a profit at wholesale prices with enough margin left for the
There are a few approaches.
1. The most simplistict one, which can be used as a rule of thumb is 3
times the cost of materials. I usually use this a quick check. Some
items will necessarily vary widely from this rule but it ain't bad.
2. Or you can use cost plus. Add up the cost of materials, figure in
the labor at some reasonable rate, contribute some of the overhead
burden (cost of shop, tools, insurance) and add some percentage of
profit. As you can see, this ain't simple.
When figuring the labor, you won't be competitive if you are figuring
it on a one piece basis. You need to figure in the machine setup time
as a very small percentage of the time. For instance, figure what the
labor price would be if you were making 100 items so 15 minutes of
setup is amortized over those 100 items at only 15/100 of a minute (.15
3. What the market will bear. See what like kind products are selling
for. This is getting tougher every day if you are making things that
look a lot like things coming from China.
These are just some basic ideas but the market will dictate ultimately.
What are you willing take vs what are the willing to give. (?)
This is probably the most important of all outlined. If you use $50 in
material, $100 in labor, but Wal Mart has a similar item for $19.95, you
won't sell it. If it takes you 5 hours to make an item but others can do
it in 1 hour, you won't get paid for the extra time just because you are
slow. OTOH, if you sell an item and have more requests at the same price,
you will find it more profitable once you find all the shortcuts and lower
Just put them in any order that looks good to you, then file a change
of address with the post office.
Kinda the same way the phone company did it when a cable got cut down
the street. They put it back together, then called us to tell us our
new phone numbers.
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