I’m sure there are other posts here with tips for how to price your work, and if so, please feel free to let me know, but here goes.
I have been getting more and more involved in woodworking for the past year or so now. I grew up with a father who did carpentry work on the side and a grandfather that was a craft show guy. I was always interested in woodworking but never really had the time, or space, to do anything. I decided that pulling all of my tools out a small 6x8 foot building, working in the yard, and putting everything back just wouldn’t cut it. I ended up building myself, with no real know-how and with limited help from my father, a 12x16 building in my back yard. I know it seems small, and it is, but it’s the size I wanted.
After making several projects for my fiance, I decided to get a small, inexpensive laser engraver. I went with a $200 Eleksmaker A3. Just a little 2.5w diode laser, but hey, it was a great learning experience. I made several small projects using it, and honestly, they all turned out pretty nice considering it wasn’t the greatest laser.
The real trouble came when it was time to price items…and that is still my problem. Here’s one example. I made someone four 8x10, roughly 3/8" thick signs. They were rough cut red oak that was given to me, so I didn’t really have any cost in materials. However, I did have quite a bit of time in milling them down, sanding, routing the edges, oiling them, THEN doing the engrave design and actual engrave work. Each sign took about 2 hours to fully engrave everything. Now this person was a friend, so I didn’t want to charge too much, so I asked if $25 each would work, and he was good with that number. I have since been told that that price was too low. I made a couple other smaller signs with materials that I actually purchased from big box arts and crafts stores. One sign I remember paying around $5 for a pretty large sign and sold it for $35. I made enough projects on the Eleksmaker to pay for it, and then some, but I still need better advice in pricing items. I basically have just been making sure that I cover the cost of materials, but I’m not factoring in any time really…and I know that’s a no no if I ever want to turn my “business” into a legit actual side hustle.
I just ordered my Glowforge Basic, and it should be getting delivered by this weekend. I’m going to have to start pricing items better to pay off the laser in a reasonable amount of time. I’m by no means a professional wood worker, but I’m better than a lot of people I’ve seen in my area. I’m also the only person that I’m aware of in my area with any sort of laser, and soon to have a Glowforge. Any advise would be great, so thanks in advance. Also, I’m not sure if I can post a link or not, so if it is against any rules, just let me know and I’ll take it down, but here is a link to my “business” page on Facebook. Thank you all and happy forging!
Niemer Design Co @ www.facebook.com/rndesignco