Pricing advice

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Stigmorgan

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Hi guys I need your help/advice, since the girls at work found out I make pots/bowls etc on the lathe and seen a couple of pieces I've made as retirement and birthday gifts they have all been pestering me about when I will be selling my works, there are 2 issues here, the first is that I currently only have 6 pieces ready that are (in my opinion) good enough to sell but that's my problem to deal with, what I need help with is what to price the pieces at as I've been told by a friend that I always undervalue my work and time.
20211208_183508.jpg
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spalted birch box
Plain birch bowl/pot
Sycamore box with pine finial
Oak pot
Spalted birch dish
Oak pot
I've added a ruler to the picture to give you an idea of sizes, they are all sanded to 320 and finished with Briwax furniture wax polish. I'm going to take these in next week along with any more I make this week.
I really appreciate your advice
 

doctor Bob

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go to a trade fair or xmas market and compare, prices will vary depending on area.
Put them in a trendy shop in Shoreditch with Farquar carving spoons in the window and it will be £250 a pot, on Jaywick seafront a tenner for 2.
 

RichardG

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I make things because I love too, if someone wants something I've made, I'm chuffed and give it to them with an understanding they make a donation to a charity. For me, as soon as someone asks for something specific, or a set of 'n' or I've charged money, then some of the enjoyment seems to disappear. It doesn't stop me making something for someone but it does change my approach and attitude.

I agree with @Phil Pascoe, a harder finish would be beneficial, Briwax gives a nice shine but it does wear off and benefits from a regular application. For small tables I've made then I've used lacquer as it gives and nice hard wearing finish. For bowls then I often use Treatex which is a hard wax oil and is both food and child safe and reasonably hard wearing.
 

Stigmorgan

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Can't help you on the price but just wanted to say I love your work!
Thanks buddy, I've a long way to go before I would call myself even competent but I'm thoroughly enjoying myself at the minute. We are spending Xmas this year very close to the Yandles store, im hoping they are open so I can go nerd out and spend all my Christmas cash 😁

I'm aware my finish of furniture wax Isn't the best but at the minute it's what I have, I've no intention of turning into a business, I'm just enjoying making things, I don't have space to keep everything I make so if people want to buy them I'm more than happy to sell, the money I raise will go towards buying more finishes and tools/materials to help me improve, I'm just a school caretaker on part time hours so money can be tight at times, especially this time of year so if the hobby can help support itself that's great.
 

Dave Brookes

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I was told some years ago when I first started turning that “in order to make a small fortune from woodturning, you must start with a large fortune”. It didn’t stop me and some 20 years on I am no richer (financially) but in satisfaction and joy from fellow addicts I am quids in!
Dave
 

MARK.B.

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Always a hard one when friends want something made, your time is priceless as you don't get that back but on the other hand the experience and knowledge gained producing those very nice bowls is also priceless. If you are not doing it for profit then consider how much your blank will cost to replace, your costs in machine time power usage and the costs for various finishes all need to factored in to how much you charge :)
 

J-G

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You mention in your first post that you've been told that you undervalue your work. That is the biggest problem you have.

It is virtually impossible to raise the price you charge - for 'similar' produce - once your pricing history is known. So if you charge one 'friend' (say) £20 and he/she recommends you to someone else but they want a more exotic timber or more intricate work it becomes difficult to charge (say) £30.

Always consider your time as valuable - whether or not you want to make more than 'pin money' which pays for a 'hobby' - if you charge just enough to cover your costs you will be poorly treated and not valued - nor will your work!
 

D_W

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Look at etsy actual prior sales and see what you find. That probably means find someone making comparable bowls/size/etc on etsy and check through their feedback to find actual sales as there are a lot of listings on there that don't sell.

Local craft show is also a good idea but my mother did the craft circuit for 40 years and you might find the same thing for $10 (in the US) in some places and $40 a few rows over. My mother was on the low end for price charged, but probably higher than average at the place where she sold in terms of hourly earnings because she learned to work continuously and get more and more efficient by hand.

All of the makers there were very efficient before the wave of imported goods started to take over (that's in the last 20 years). They're usually not allowed but market owners with more spaces to sell tend to look the other way.

I have a suggestion, though - before you set the price yourself, if you're at the outset of this, ask others to pay what they would expect as you're not set yet and you don't want to pigeonhole yourself into a low price that you realize you can't meet later.

Last comment - if you get some inventory and can go out with a big spread of stuff, it'll help your selling - pay tons of attention to what sells and at what price level. For everything, there's almost always a price level where things stop being a reflex buy. My mother painted elaborate things and then a lot of simple things. 90% of her revenue was probably the small stuff (I've heard the same thing from an art deco jewelry maker - don't remember the figure, but it was something like $60 both online and in person - people are weird and you just figure out how to cater to their wants - if they want smaller stuff, you can have a few bigger things for cred and set them to the side or behind the stuff that moves fast.
 

Stigmorgan

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Thanks guys, hadn't thought of Etsy. I usually end up just giving my stuff away as gifts but seeing as the girls at work have asked to buy it I'm more than happy to do that, I just have no clue what to price stuff, will search through Etsy tonight.
 

Kayen

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Unfortunately, most artisan-type products won't usually fetch basic, minimum wage - I suppose we'd all be artisans if they did. I would suggest X times the cost of the wood as a rule of thumb.
 

martin.pearson

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Really difficult question to answer because there are so many different factors to consider, but the bottom line is that you are the only one who can truly decide what the price should be & if you struggle to believe in your true worth & ability then pricing is always going to be a problem for you, (ask me how I know lol)

First think is to decide on is are you running a Business or is this purely a Hobby. If it's a Business then there will be a minimum price you can charge for your items based on costs & the profit you need to make for the Business to be a success & grow. If it's a Hobby then you don't rely on it to Live & pay your bills so your pricing could be different BUT that doesn't really mean that you should be selling things cheaper just because it's a Hobby, you still have the same worth & skills regardless.
If it's a Hobby then you could just make stuff & give it away as someone else has already mentioned, asking people to donate to a charity is an idea I quite like, if you do just give stuff away you will quickly find you have a lot of new friends lol.
You could price it just on what it has cost you to make so your Hobby is basically free to you BUT if you do that then don't forget to add something for things like consumables, rags, polish/finish, sharpening stones, tool wear etc etc Oh & don't forget about electricity unless you have a foot treadle lathe & even then you need to eat to be able to power it.
You could price it the same way but add a small profit that you could put to one side so in the future you can buy new tools & equipment, treat the family to something or what ever else you fancy doing with a little extra money. Researching somewhere like etsy might work looking at the lower to middle end of what people are selling items for, where you pitch yourself within that is really down to you.
Or you could price it with a much higher profit margin more like a Business, to do that you would have to research quite a bit on what that sort of item generally sells for, if your doing that & looking at places like etsy, not on the high street etc etc then look more at the higher end of what things sell for. Also make sure your looking at like for like items, things like spalding, figure etc generally give things a higher perceived value & can also take more time & attention to make well.

Always difficult to tell just from pictures but it looks like you have done a good job on those items, biggest problem you may have is convincing yourself that your work is worth what you are asking for it. lol
 

gregmcateer

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I pretty much agree with all the above comments.
As a hobby turner, I to struggle to 'price' my work. As far as I can tell, almost all craft work, (esp wood for some reason), is always undervalued. Obviously, as we improve our skills and become more efficient, we can produce saleable work quicker - as our hourly rate MIGHT be recoverable. Think of e.g. one of your bowls. If you allow minimum of a tenner an hour, you need to produce it from blank to FINISHED bowl in under an hour to sell it for a tenner. And that doesn't allow for wood cost or prep, or machine costs, tools, abrasives, electricity....
Depressing, isn't it!!

I just try to enjoy the learning and keep trying to improve
 

Phil Pascoe

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I remember reading 30+ years ago a letter in one of the mags from a turner. He had a bowl (he said it was one of the most stunning pieces of a particular timber he'd ever seen) that he'd left it on a sale or return in a gallery (so their mark up was a third or a half or something, not the doubling up or more had they purchased it). They had it priced at £45 and it had been in the window for eighteen months. He read an article on perceived value, and when the gallery owner suggested it was time for it to be removed, he said stick £90 on it for a week and see what happens. It sold.
 

Stigmorgan

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Thanks guys, at the minute the only cost I've had really is the electricity and the sanding sheets as the wood has all come from trees felled around school (I'm a live on site caretaker at a primary school) the tin of briwax polish I've had so long I don't recall where it came from. Any money I get for them will go towards getting my sharpening station finished, ive got the craft bench grinder now I need jigs etc, something I plan to look at when I'm down at yandles over Christmas if they are open on the days I'm down that way.
 

Paul Hannaby

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Figure out an hourly rate - if you need help on that one, find out what your local garage charges per hour for servicing your car.
Add the cost of materials - if you process the wood yourself, work out the time to produce the blank based on the above hourly rate plus overheads, fuel etc.
Add a cost for overheads - include workshop space, heating, electricity, cost of equipment, tools, consumables, depreciation and insurance.
Add the cost of selling (40% wouldn't be far off the mark).
If you turn over more than £1000 per year, add enough to cover your income tax too.
 
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