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guineafowl21

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Someone likes this coffee table I made, and wants me to make them one:

448E8B91-3B12-499C-A2F0-5F5E1220902C.jpeg


Excuse the oily background - my bench gets gearboxes, cylinder heads, electrical items etc. on it as well as woodwork. That’s the piece of plywood I use to protect the surface from filth.

How much would you charge for it?

Materials essentially free - I milled planks from a Larch I cut down.

Rough cutting the planks, getting a face and edge (by hand, then thicknesser/table saw), and generally preparing the cutting list took half a day.

Probably another day and a half for joinery, glue-up and finishing.

It will be quicker next time, as I’ve bought a Wadkin planer, and the jigs for the spindle moulder are already made.
 

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Inspector

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I think you should factor in the going rate for the wood you would use if buying it in your price. If they became a "line" for you and you run out of the "free Larch", actually wasn't free if you had to cut, sticker and dry it, you are going to loose your profit buying the new wood. The remaining costs are in the power, consumables etc, you have to have to make it and then how much you want to make for your efforts and the extra for the tax man if they ever get wind of your business.

Pete
 

bourbon

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So two days, You are already at £300. Although you said you got the wood for free, you still have to factor in the cost of it. What if someone else likes the same thing and you have no wood? adding it all up You need to charge £450 at least. Weather you will get that, is a matter for you and customer
 

Chrispy

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How's this for an idea, seeing as your friend likes the table enough to ask for one the same and you I assume are purely a hobby woodworker then put the ball in their court and ask them to make you a sensible offer, you can then consider if that reflects your time and effort and except it or not.
 

Sideways

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Or suggest a trade.
Is there a tool that you need / want / would help you make the next bench ?
Suggest they buy you the tool and you make them a bench in return.
If it's a friendly relationship, and you are looking for fair recompense but not a commercial price, it takes a step away from the financial transaction, it helps them to understand that they're benefitting from you having invested in a bunch of tools to be able to make it at all, and they get to understand that good tools aren't cheap.
 

DBT85

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I imagine you are going to say "we'll it's 2 days work" and they would say "oh I thought it might be £60 or so"
 

Bod

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Too wit, you reply, "When did you last work for £30 a day?"

Bod.
 

DBT85

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People just don't understand the value of hand made stuff because they can go to ikea and get one for silly money. Some people do understand and those are willing to pay for your time appropriately.
 

guineafowl21

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Points taken about charging for the wood, and thanks for the replies.

I can’t really charge for two days’ work -

1. I’m slow, because of inexperience. The most time-consuming things are truing the rough timber (planer arriving soon), and finishing (four coats of shellac, which can’t be speeded up much).

2. Unless you’ve made furniture, you don’t know how long it takes to make properly. The main leg curves are done on the SM, but the swept chamfers and final details take a good (and enjoyable) 1.5 hours.

3. There is downward pressure from the likes of Ikea and oak furniture land. The ‘customer’ has an Ikea coffee table - it’s cheap, functional and looks like a pallet. There’s no comparison with a nicely made one, but the prices are always in mind.

Incidentally, knots are a requested feature. She talked of a woodworker (the bearded woodworker?) who inlays brass bow ties under them (yuck!).

Working at full tilt and with a decent planer, I might just get this done in one day, give or take, so something in the region of £150-£200?
 

TheTiddles

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Pricing is easy, it’s about 95% of the Client’s pain threshold.

Costing is also pretty easy as mentioned above.

There’s no reason why the cost is going to be less than the price, in which case it might not be good business.

If it were me and I wasn’t doing it for a business, I’d ask myself “how much do I like this person and how much will I enjoy making the piece?”

If the answer to those is a chunk more than “not much” I’d charge cost of materials +20% (or similar). Then you get the enjoyment, they get the piece and you aren’t out of pocket.

Sometimes people say “I’ll pay for your time”, I guess they don’t do that a lot to know how expensive time can be!

Aidan
 

sammy.se

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Personally, as a hobbyist, I'd decide what nice tool I want to buy next, and price to that :)

It would be a nice reward for building something for someone

Sent from my SM-G973F using Tapatalk
 

AJB Temple

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Many times over the years I have been asked by friends to make them things. It started with guitars but when I moved the prices up to proper hand made levels (it was just a hobby for me) I knew that orders would be few and far between (which was my aim).

I never make anything for friends or family now unless it is intended by me to be a gift. I simply think it is not worth it if they don't like it, want me to work for next to nothing, want to be dictatorial as to design and construction etc. I have learned my lesson. I once made a very large oak kitchen table for a female friend. It copied one of my own which had mitred thick oak planks all round the edge, and was built on a painted redwood frame. She agreed the price and then, when the table was made, moaned about the price and the fact that the oak moved seasonally. She had seen my kitchen table dozens of times, and that moved in exactly the same way.

She told her tale of woe to various mutual friends, so I refunded her money, took the table back, and sold it through an antique dealer friend who also did a nice trade in hand made quality furniture. I got double what I had charged her and she then proceeded to moan that I had ripped her off as she could have sold it for that price and I didn't tell her. I was about 36 at the time and decided as a lifelong rule not to do favours for people who don't value my time.

I hope yours works out. I would charge a commercial price for handmade furniture. I would not give the wood away for free. It is your stock and you always need to replenish wood stocks.
 

--Tom--

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Bonkers, that you ripped her off is quite a world view to have
 

sammy.se

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AJB Temple":22yhg6lp said:
Many times over the years I have been asked by friends to make them things. It started with guitars but when I moved the prices up to proper hand made levels (it was just a hobby for me) I knew that orders would be few and far between (which was my aim).

I never make anything for friends or family now unless it is intended by me to be a gift. I simply think it is not worth it if they don't like it, want me to work for next to nothing, want to be dictatorial as to design and construction etc. I have learned my lesson. I once made a very large oak kitchen table for a female friend. It copied one of my own which had mitred thick oak planks all round the edge, and was built on a painted redwood frame. She agreed the price and then, when the table was made, moaned about the price and the fact that the oak moved seasonally. She had seen my kitchen table dozens of times, and that moved in exactly the same way.

She told her tale of woe to various mutual friends, so I refunded her money, took the table back, and sold it through an antique dealer friend who also did a nice trade in hand made quality furniture. I got double what I had charged her and she then proceeded to moan that I had ripped her off as she could have sold it for that price and I didn't tell her. I was about 36 at the time and decided as a lifelong rule not to do favours for people who don't value my time.

I hope yours works out. I would charge a commercial price for handmade furniture. I would not give the wood away for free. It is your stock and you always need to replenish wood stocks.
A valuable lesson. Sad that she adopted that attitude...
 

sunnybob

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You made that table because you wanted to make it. I doubt you want a production line job making more.
Sell her that table, as a one off. Cover your costs only.
She's happy, youve got money to start something else that you want to make.

If anyone else wants a table, tell them no. You never make the same thing twice, and offer them something else you have already made.
Thats what I do with my boxes. I have to have my arm twisted high to make something to order.
 

woodbloke66

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TheTiddles":bxb2ni9d said:
Pricing is easy, it’s about 95% of the Client’s pain threshold.

Costing is also pretty easy as mentioned above.

There’s no reason why the cost is going to be less than the price, in which case it might not be good business.

If it were me and I wasn’t doing it for a business, I’d ask myself “how much do I like this person and how much will I enjoy making the piece?”

If the answer to those is a chunk more than “not much” I’d charge cost of materials +20% (or similar). Then you get the enjoyment, they get the piece and you aren’t out of pocket.

Sometimes people say “I’ll pay for your time”, I guess they don’t do that a lot to know how expensive time can be!

Aidan
Sounds about right Aidan :lol: If I make for anybody else (which I seldom ever do) it's done as a favour or at the specific request of SWIMBO so I usually say that there are a couple of things I charge for a) consumables (wood, router cutters, screws etc) and b) transport if required (or petrol money in lieu) so I'm not out of pocket.

I also never, ever give a date when the work will be completed as it adds to the stress level which I need like a hole in the head, so I tell folk..."when it's done it's done and not before" and if they don't like it I suggest they contact a professional maker to see what they charge :D - Rob
 

TheTiddles

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AJB - that’s not a friend! Is the correct term of the moment a “Karen”?

Aidan
 

guineafowl21

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Some cautionary tales, as expected.

I do enjoy the work, and don’t anticipate masses of business or awkwardness from the customer. The wood is very likely to move, being 12% moisture, but I can manage that in the design. I’ve put this version in a heated room and will see what happens to it.

On balance, I’ll see how long it takes and charge somewhere around £100.
 

doctor Bob

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I used to dread telling clients the proposed cost. Very comfortable doing it now after 17 years.
The important thing is to explain the value and not blink first ..................... :lol:
 
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