Job Pricing

Hi everyone! I have not received my Glowforge yet, but I was wondering how you all are handling pricing? I do graphic design, printing and picture framing. I understand basic pricing as far as materials and art go, but the actual lasering aspect of it is what I’m curious about. Do you price by square inch? By job? By square inch according to material? By customer’s attitude, lol?! Thanks!


This is not an answer, but since I’ve been wondering the same thing, here are my thoughts. I plan on working on a catalog of things to build up something to make a useful amount of income. I wasn’t thinking so much about the electric bill, or the cost of the machine, but the cost of materials and of replacing the tube - whenever that is. Those are quantifiable. But the creation of the art will vary. How much time to design a coaster, how many do I intend to sell, what will the market support?

For instance, I bought some leather coaster blanks from $10 for 4. (Not including shipping) Probably can’t sell them for much more than $20. People may not care about them being leather. So, really not much design time that is billable. This makes me think though that I need to cut my own blanks. I do have a laser after all.


Also, when thinking of tube replacement, the amount of laser time should be the factor. You should think of a laser-heavy design costing you more than a laser-light one to produce.


Ran across this earlier:

I’ve ordered leather from them before and it was a good experience. This is some good, thick stuff, and it is veg tanned, so laser safe. Plus, this is a really good price!


This has been discussed at length elsewhere in the forums. Just search “charging”.

I’ll do it for you! :slight_smile:

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That’s the real conundrum. I think it’s a mistake to determine sales price based on costs. Sales price should be based on value to the customer (what would they be willing to pay).

The cost side of things just comes into play when you try to decide if it’s worth it to you to make something for sale. There are things customers simply won’t pay what it costs you to make and it’s no reflection on either you or the customer.

I’ll pay for a Lexus but the cost of a Maclaren exceeds my valuation of the extra quality & performance. So I don’t buy one and they don’t sell them for less than the cost so I would buy one.



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You expained this far better than I could. I have had several product ideas that looked good at first but when I added up my time and materials and then ask myself “what would a resonable person be willing to pay”, at which point I simply dropped it as there was no incentive left in it for me.

Other things can be just the opposite, I’m selling valentines for $15-20 that use $3 of :proofgrade: and 5 min of my time and 10 min of the laser.


If it’s a production type of thing, I understand pricing what the market will bear and you can make out better in the long run. A custom one off piece should demand more because it’s a one off. I deal with it all the time with t-shirts. Clients tell me they can get a shirt at Old Navy or Target for $3. That’s great, but it’s not going to have your stuff on it.


You’re totally right. I have a few products I sell (non laser related at the moment, hopefully changing soon) that I’ve had to stop offering. I make them, sell them, and can usually determine the item’s value by the demand surrounding it. I mess with the price up and down to determine what the market is willing to pay. Then, when I look at costs and if it is not worth my time for what the market is willing to pay, I will just no longer product that item. There’s no need trying to raise the price for it, because there will be no demand for it (in my example).


Oh for sure, when somebody comes to me I’ll always make a quote but they may not like it but if they do great!

$80/hr on the actual functional/finished cuts/machine time. (not design/creative time and definitely exclusive of material cost.)

You have to keep in mind that the customer is not expected to pay for any failures/miscuts due to operator/equipment issues, and you WILL need to do test cuts for fit/finish/positioning. You need to cover your costs for those minutes spent. Also don’t forget that there will be other overhead (planning, file transfers, GF issues, and dealing with the customer etc.).

If all goes well, gravy, but when it goes south you will have to eat it. You’ll probably net 50% on average and if you mess up on the final cut on customer provided material, YOU need to replace the material.

This estimate is based on 27 years of design consulting. People will be paying for your equipment/expertise, the biggest mistake you can make is to under-charge. It is always easier to issue credit or offer discount than to surprise the customer with a price increase later…


This is spot on. Something is only ever worth what someone else is willing to pay for it.

Just to add, when figuring out if something is worthwhile, you also need to factor in how much energy you’ll spend trying to sell it. You have to make sure those costs are covered, too, or you’re wasting your time. People sometimes spend way more time managing a website, advertising, dealing clients, answering emails, packaging, etc, than they expect.

After all, you have to actually sell the thing in order for it to be worth selling.