How much can I sell my intarsia carpentry for? This is the question that I get asked all the time. So I know that at least some of you are considering trying to sell your work.
So how much are they worth?
The early days: a typical scenario
An exciting new woodworking skill called Intarsia has started. You can’t get enough. Your family and friends are really impressed with the things you are doing. So that each new piece easily finds a home.
He is happy to gift his finished pieces to his close family and friends. But then friends of friends start wanting pieces. It occurs to you that while you certainly enjoy doing them, there are other costs involved besides your time. And even if you don’t feel like you need to be paid for your time, it would be nice to get some kind of return for your work.
Medium intarsia crisis
Well, maybe it’s not a crisis, but now you’re starting to think that it would be nice to sell some intarsia pieces to recoup the costs. And how much easier it is to get the boss to accept a new machine in his shop if he shows a return. “Dear heart, I have already earned a few shillings and with that money I can buy a new one … insert your preference here – to be able to do my intarsia even more efficiently and then I can easily make that new coffee table that you have always wanted and deserve so much. “Woffle wofle woffle.
The big question: “How much are they worth?
“How long is a piece of cord?
The Golden rule. “They are worth what customers pay for them”
Which doesn’t really tell you anything. So let’s look at a couple of pricing scenarios.
The academic approach
A Master of Business will tell you to do something like this. First calculate your total cost of production.
* Wood including any waste – $ Very little
* Plywood backing – $ A small amount
* Hangers from a frame store: a few pennies
* Sandpaper: $ more than you think at first, but not much yet
* Glue – a few pennies more
* Varnish or oil finish – $ a few dollars
* Workshop rental: it may be your garage, but someone had to pay for it at some point.
* Broom to sweep
* yadda yadda yadda
* Cost of local flea market stall / car boot sale
* Travel cost to get there
* Your time sitting behind the stall all day.
* The cream on top you deserve on top of your salary for running your own business. And now the big one.
* Your local mechanic charges $ 50 (or $ 60 or $ 70) per hour to repair your car. And he’s probably the first-year trainee who’s gotten the job done anyway. It took him 84 hours to make his masterpiece (he has carefully recorded the hours) and it looks fabulous. You’re not greedy, so maybe $ 20 an hour is fine. That makes $ 1680 plus the $ 50 for all supplies, etc. $ 1700 +. You probably won’t get it at the local flea market.
Okay, let’s be less ambitious and work for $ 5 an hour, I don’t really need anything, this is just a hobby. And I’m sure I must have been wrong in those hours, let’s assume it was only 40 hours of work. So $ 200 plus a little more for supplies, let’s call it $ 220 total. That sounds more reasonable, so despite the business degree, what we’ve really done is guess the price. There sure is a better way. You’re right, there is.
A part Sitting all day in the sun at a local flea market hoping that a gambler with $ 220 in his pocket will pass is fine every now and then, but not a regular, reliable income stream. Oh you say, but if you take your work to a local gallery, they want 40%, or 50% or more for them. And all they have to do is hang it on the wall, I had to do all the hard yakka to do it. Shock. But if you’re going the gallery route, you don’t have to go all day, every day looking for clients. They do that. That’s what you pay them for. And they have to spend the money to make their gallery look good, not you. We always try to do quality carpentry to be able to interest the best galleries on earth. Way to go. Happy to pay their share as long as they keep them on trucks.
The two-month rule
I take my finished woodwork to the local craft gallery and talk to the owner. After a bit of discussion we came up with an agreed initial price and its percentage. Listen to the owner. If they are good, they know their market. Your beautiful intarsia hangs on the wall. Hopefully, the first thing the customer sees when they first enter the gallery.
* If the work is sold in less than two months it is too cheap.
* If it takes much more than two months to sell, it is too expensive.
* And you guessed it, if it sells in about two months, the price is right.
First time I did this I wore 2 intarsia frog on Thursday. They both sold that weekend. Priced too low, but knew there was a market.
Well, now you know the price at which you can sell them. But you might only make $ 5 an hour based on how long it took you to do the first one.
So what have you gained? The knowledge that you can’t expect your customers to pay for your inefficiency.
So what can you do about it? There are many ways to optimize your production. You will make your 20th frog much faster than the first. As you gain more experience, you will come up with all kinds of shortcuts. But that’s another article.