Madts 910 views

The price of things.

One of my big hero’s died two years ago. His name was Dick Newick. He was famous for his designs of sail boats with more than one hull. He designed boats that were light, fast and expensive.
Now Dick would always tell his customers, that they had a choice of the 3 choices; light, fast and comfortable. If you choose all 3 it would be very expensive. You could pick two of the above then you would be very happy at a lesser expense.

Now I see a lot of people on this site trying to price their products at fairs etc. Maybe the approach is to get you clients to answer the questions about fx. quality, design, woods, etc.
At this time everybody wants stuff for cheap. Not so any more. Prices have to go up and therefore engage the customer, push them for a commitment of the above issues.
I believe that will give you a better idea of what to sell and also better profits.

Tuesday night rants by;

Madts.

-- Tor and Odin are the greatest of gods.

17 Replies

lanwater

I don’t have that problem; I don’t sell woodworking stuff.

We do have that problem at work.
We are know for excellent quality and service and all our customer are referrals.
even with that we constantly being asked to match competitor lower price. It is painful but we take the time to remind the customer of the differences between us and the competition.
Unfortunately sometimes we had to let go the opportunity.
A good product cost more to make and great service require really well trained and knowledgeable people. They cost more too.

a couple companies in the woodworking business that are striving even with higher prices that comes to mind are Lee Valley tools and Rockler. I have bought stuff from both even when the price was cheaper elsewhere.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

Wheaties - Bruce A Wheatcroft ( BAW Woodworking)

All my woodworking projects are free for family members an close friends . I don’t even charge for the material . I just love to get out in the shop for a couple of hrs and forget about all my problems . The end result and the thank you is payment enough .

-- Wheaties

Brian

I have found in my construction business that the more I charge, the nicer people are. All of my worst clients were the ones with little profit (or losses in some cases) and low prices. Intuitively, you might think that should be the opposite, but it’s not, at least in my experience. I’m not talking about gouging customers or anything, but just standing firm on a good price. It helps that the quality of our work is very, very good and we also work by referral mainly.

jim webster

I have sold a lot of things I made and people will come to me and ask what I charge to make this and that I just charge a little over cost is all I really don’t make much just love making things

-- jim

James L Wilcox

Money is the route of all evil. Personally, I too love the act, creativity, and the solo time in the shop. If I make some money, it’s icing on the cake. Family and friends ask for more and more, I take this as a compliment. They must like my work or they wouldn’t ask. No I don’t charge family. The love of woodworking is deeper than making money with my woodworking. That being said, I do research pricing on things I have created for outside sales. I sell a few things.

-- Jamesw

a1jim

This is a subject that should be addressed and thought about by folks in the business,even when you’re not in business. As a contractor and furniture shop owner I have in years gone by lost work that I sorely needed in a tough economy by a well-meaning friend of my prospective customer by doing the work I bid on for free,a very impossible price to compete with. Does this mean I think you shouldn’t help folks out,that need it ? No but perhaps you should at least consider that someone is trying to make a living that has bid on the work your offering to do, and examine why your offering your work for free,is it because the people you’re helping can’t afford the work to be done? or is it that it’s just fun for you to do what ever kind of woodworking that the job requires. If it’s the latter then you might at least ask the folks that need the work done if a professional has bid on the work to be done and consider that someone’s livelihood might be at stake. I’m heard folks talking in public places about a bid they received from a contractor and how outrageous the bid was,but in my experience I’m many folks whom have not had work done by a contractor expect the work to be done for less than material cost.
Fair prices are relative when you take into account as to the expertise of the person offering the work to be done and the finished product’s quality.
Sorry to say this but folks that charge just the cost of material or nothing doing woodworking are the folks that cheapen the value of the woodworking in general, having the public thinking wood products should cost next to nothing and hurting the woodworking professionals that are already in a very competitive market.

-- woodworking classes, custom furniture maker

James L Wilcox

Jim, you are correct. I agree with you, it’s just hard to charge family. I have an Etsy account and a Facebook account. I find people like the work I do but, do not consider to buy. What you said helps me understand why. Thank you.

-- Jamesw

jim webster

true jim

-- jim

Wheaties - Bruce A Wheatcroft ( BAW Woodworking)

My goal was to retire at 62 and open a woodworking shop and start charging to make a profit , but at 55 life threw me a curve ball and I ended up on disability . Therefore I am not allowed to charge for my services . So I do it just to stay busy for a few hrs a day. I do how ever tell them how much it would have cost .

-- Wheaties

Madts

If you do work for free, tell the customer, family member to donate to a charity of your or their choice. And tell them not to be cheap.

Madts.

-- Tor and Odin are the greatest of gods.

James L Wilcox

Excellent idea, Madts.

-- Jamesw

a1jim

I agree James, family is always going to be the exception for doing , free work.
Sorry about you dealing with a disability Bruce, but your doing free work to “stay busy” still may cost someone a paycheck,but we all have to handle things the way things works best for each of us. I guess Madts approach would at least help someone out there.

-- woodworking classes, custom furniture maker

David E.

While woodworking is not my daily grind, it is still a side business for me. I struggle pricing things out just like everyone else. For me, I think it’s because I’m always comparing what I’m making to what is commercially available. Most consumers can’t see the value in the better materials, or better construction methods. Consumers have been trained to see most things as disposable after so many years and replaceable. They see two similar products that functionally do the same thing. One costs less, and that’s about as far as the analysis goes. I’m trying to get my brain to quit focusing on it, and price my work according to what its actually worth, but it’s a hard hurdle for me to jump sometimes. If I ever want to do woodworking full time however, it’s one that will have to be jumped. Can’t make a living competing with big box retailers.

a1jim

David
This is a problem folks that make things to sell have to deal with the "I can get it cheaper at Walmart,Ikea, etc. The only thing we can do is educate our customers why our products are better and why they cost more.It’s this thing called “custom”
If they want cheap you will never be able to compete,many times the places that sell cheap furniture will charge less than we pay for the materials. You just have to realize that’s the way it is and send the cheapie buyers on their way ,if that’s all the want is cheap.

-- woodworking classes, custom furniture maker

jim webster

you said it jim I have run into the same thing

-- jim