How to Price Projects

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“What is a fair guideline when charging for projects to sell or building a small cabinet for someone? What is reasonable when considering cost of material and labor? Do you mark up the cost of material? What is a fair labor rate?” Submitted by: D. Bender Projects you might be interested in: How to Make Cabinet Doors, Build a Bedside Table, DIY Bed to Bench Project, How to Build a Canoe, Dimensions for Building a Dresser woodworking gift ideas WWGOA Editor Response: As a general guideline for how to price your woodworking projects try using your material costs multiplied by a factor of four. Use this as a starting point, then apply some common sense. Some projects can be small and labor intensive. Since they don’t require a lot of material, you’ve got to increase the price to compensate for your time. I start by doing the math as stated above. Let’s say I’m going to use $150 worth of material on the project. My projected price would be $600. The next step is to subtract the material costs from the final price, which in this case, leaves $450. This is to cover your labor. You have do decide if that’s a fair amount. Estimate how long it will take you to get the material and build, sand, and finish the piece. Then decide if you’ll be happy with the profit amount. You’ll need to decide how much per hour or per day you’re willing to work for. Here are a couple additional tips. If you do good work, don’t be afraid to charge fairly for it. Quality woodworking is a finely tuned skill that takes a long time to learn and can require a significant investment in tools, and you should be compensated for that as a professional. How much did you pay the last time you had work done by a plumber, electrician, or mechanic? Many woodworkers tend to undervalue their skills. When calculating your material costs, include ALL the material. If I have to buy a full sheet of plywood but the project only calls for half a sheet, I charge for the full sheet. The same goes for waste that you’ll have when working with solid wood. If you’re looking at doing this for a living, remember that you won’t get every job you bid on and you won’t be in the shop building projects (that you can invoice for) all the time. You have a fixed cost of doing business that includes traveling to customer’s homes, taking measurements, doing drawings, writing estimates, and using disposable supplies, like sandpaper and glue.Your profit margin has to cover the fixed costs, plus some. George Vondriska Managing Editor Got a woodworking question you need answered? Comment or Email us at woodworking gift ideas download

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60 Responses to “How to Price Projects”

  1. Dr Steve Taylor

    Excellent info! I try to judge what my time is worth and go from there. Materials can be very expensive, depending on what you use for parts. I also assure the customer that I want them to be very happy with the work I do, too…I will not be the cheapest guy, but I also won’t be the most expensive. I take my time and I do the job right! A good name in the carpentry business goes a LONG way in securing future jobs as well!

  2. Marty Nell

    Everyone tells me my prices are too low. Thanks for the help.

  3. John Goerlach

    Pricing. Sale items

  4. John Goerlach

    Hobby now....extra cash later on to supplement SS.

  5. DAVID

    I have been a member for about 5 years now, and I find that I usually underestimate how much wood I need for a project, even though I add 20-25% overage from my board foot calculations. Why do I always seem to short myself and have to go buy more wood?

  6. Rufus

    I had a friend that works for a <a href="" rel="nofollow ugc">cabinet door replacement</a> company. Even though he didn't actually make and sell any products, he explained that carpenters are few and far between and the hourly rate just kept going up for him and his skillset. Thinking to switch over from my fab job to try this! Thanks for the article.

  7. Howard Goodisson

    For years I've been undercharging for my services, I have been pricing based on this, cost of materials double it and then add 50% roughly 25% cheaper, I'm guessing the exact same methodology is the norm throughout the world and will be working on that basis from now on

  8. Dolf

    How to price woodwork items

  9. Ray Kavhu

    I a few weeks ago sent a comment on pricing custom projects where one's skill level is hard to match in the market and got a response that the comment was awaiting moderation, but since then I have seen no response.

  10. Ray Kavhu

    Dear George, Your article on pricing of woodwork was quite interesting and educative in so far as it related to, in my perception, general woodworking. My question comes in the form of, how do I price my work if it is custom, and my skill level is very high as to make the pieces that I make rare?