How to come up with a $ amount for a file

Hello, I was asked to build a box with a drawer for a craft group out of MDF. It took me about 1 hour to design the file as I struggled with the box fit. But I finally got it. now she is requesting the SVG file. how much do I charge for this file?


How much do you value your time? What per hour price have you decided is acceptable for the time you spend designing, etc.?

There isn’t any type of set standard for labor hours in the crafting industry, it’s an open market, so think about the value you place on your time and go from there.

I set my design/drawing fees at $45.00 per hour.


What they said!

and I, an absolutely a hobbiest doing this in my spare time, charge $50/hr for friends, and $75/hr for strangers.


I would say no lower than $45.00…$50.00 would probably be a good average


Same here - $45-50 an hour depending. More hours, lower rate.


Giving the file is essentially giving up the copyright or at least the control of the file.

I’d just say no or would charge a lot. Design services are way more expensive than retail item costs.


I’m a touch confused by, “asked to design a box,” and then “now she’s requesting the SVG file.”

Was she requesting a cuttable file the whole time? Did you do it just to help out? Are you going to be selling the file? Is she?


Did you make the physical box itself? How much did you charge for it?


That reads to me like the OP was asked to build a box, then the person who made the request for the box decided they wanted the file, presumably to make more for themselves and or others.

If it were me, I would probably shy away from selling the file outright, now knowing that there is a market for the boxes.


Hi, yes I did design and cut the box for her. It was made per her dimensions. It is for a craft kit she is putting together and selling. I will be cutting and selling her the boxes for the kits. Her sister lives in the UK and will need the file to cut for the kits there. Just not sure what would be a reasonable price.

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Prime consideration if I read all this correctly.
Once sold so they can make their own, there will be no further ‘sales’.
So it inherently becomes a one-off sale.


Sorry, still some confusion. Will there then be two people selling the ‘kits’…one here and one in the UK? Which means that you will still be cutting the boxes for the person in the US and that the file will go only to the person in the UK?

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That’s quite the predicament.

You’re in a supplier relationship. By transferring over your IP (selling or otherwise), your client now has a ton of leverage over your relationship.

She can shop you against other suppliers and get the exact same product. In a maker world where people traditionally undervalue their time and product, I would bet she could undercut your deal in about ten minutes.

Or, she could just start making her own with fairly minimal investment and again cut you out of the loop at will.

Granted, replacing a supplier happens everyday in the business world but not so much with the exact IP unless the client owns the IP— more so with similar, but not same.

It’s kind of like asking my adhesives manufacturer for their recipe so that I can make it, or have someone else make it, and cut them out of the deal.

I don’t know the answer to your ultimate question. Just making a few observations.

Once you sell the sister the IP, you are at tremendous risk of being cut out of the loop… from an at scale perspective and just plugging in a few numbers, if you sold it for say $100, and you charged $10 for the boxes, if they find someone who will charge $9, they are only 100 boxes from breaking even on your IP.

If they make it themselves for $5, they are only 20 boxes from breaking even on your work.

Sure, you could come up with some kind of licensing strategy, but that requires enforcement — which most folks, beyond being keyboard warriors, aren’t inclined to put the time, energy, and dollars behind.

Essentially, this is similar to stock photography… where you can buy the non-exclusive rights to an image for just a few bucks. But if you want to transition to exclusive rights, that price will skyrocket up to hundreds, or even thousands of dollars.

The value of something like this isn’t in an hourly rate: it’s in the value of the design itself to a single user.


Thank you, you are making me really think of what would be best for me. Bringing up items I did think about. Will need to discuss with her.


This sounds like one of those situations where terms were not set up front before any work was performed, or now that some of the work is done one party is trying to change the scope of work.

Remember once you supply a file, you’re basically washing your hands of future production work.

On the other hand, it’s just a box, and is easy enough for her to find any myriad of people willing to pattern and make for her.

Since the terms weren’t established up front, I may not charge for the file, but I would require a certain number of kit sales before “qualifying” to receive the file. Whatever that number is, is up to you but this way you can buffer in any design time, prototyping/model building, etc. into the initial production run.


Or even make and sell his/her own product. I would say at least $40 plus the box you made, if you did.

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I would not sell the file at all for all the reasons listed. That is your IP even if you made them to customer’s parameters. The product you agreed to sell was a physical box. The file and anything else you produced along the way is yours.


I want to thank everyone for the input you have sent me. I have discussed this issue with the person and we have come to an agreement of how it is going to be handled. thanks again.


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