Tuesday, July 28, 2009

how to set price

I got an inquiry from a box maker, Bob, who is making boxes for his first show and he asked the question, how to set price? That question is a doozie. When you are in your shop working on boxes, you can run things through your head, "I spent this amount on material and hinges, then if I make this many and sell them for that much, I'll make that amount of money." Those calculations fail to give the full picture. "How much do you think your time is worth when you are out of the wood shop?"

If your objective in selling your work is just to clear a few things out so you can make more and perhaps buy a new tool, and you are looking forward to sitting in a booth for a weekend, wondering when you can take a bathroom break, you may be satisfied with setting a selling price that fails to consider your marketing costs.

Galleries have mark-up on work because they have expenses. If you are selling your work direct, you also have expenses that should be reflected by mark-up in the selling price. Recently in a woodworking magazine, an editor was discussing his disappointment at a local craft show. He walked through and said to himself, "I could make that as nice as that for less money." But the fact was, he didn't and was unwilling to sit in a booth and sell his own work at that price. So here are a few of the things that craftsmen don't consider when doing their first show, and that should be considered in setting price: printing expenses, booth fees, travel expenses, packing materials, a margin to cover your time trying to sell the things. You can choose to just do the whole thing as a hobby, and in doing so, undercut the pros who are trying to make a living. They really do have to consider all the expenses in bringing their work to market. Their consideration of those costs is a matter of survival. You may have the luxury of not thinking about those things. But do yourself and the professional craftsmen of the world a big favor. Charge your customers for all the expenses. That will be good for your pocket book and sustain the market value of professional craft work. Would you really want to undercut their inspirational endeavors?

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