Pricing on making wholesale items? + Business marketing tip

I’ve been thinking that writing the GF off after three years would be a way to get a value of any work time on it. Just divide the up front cost with your estimated involvement with it over the next three years. Probably add in a replacement tube, if your expected work load exceeds the quoted tube life(whatever that is !)
Hope that makes sense ?


It’s going to be a few bucks an hour for machine plus electricity, plus the cost of the space (less for you, substantial for the makerspace), plus the cost of you paying attention at least part time…

The other thing about this is that if you’re thinking in serious-business terms, your cost also has to cover the time that you’re not directly generating revenue. Time between design/zapping jobs, time spent on the GF forums, time spent trolling the intertubes for ideas for designs, for marketing and so forth.


Correct. But that would be an addition to the OP’s calculations as it looked like the cut time was a measure used for labor time.

There should be some amortization of the tooling. $5000 over 5 years(?) plus costs of running it like tube replacement, lens wipes, etc. Hard to do that with any precision though without some historical information. It’ll be something of a guess for awhile.


Those are all very relevant points that I haven’t even got to yet ;p Honestly, design is what I do best, selling/marketing/etc. is something that I have very practical knowledge of…trying to feel it out as a I go. Getting all of the registrations and licensing etc has already been a pain in the brain in Georgia, since there really isn’t much of a guide on how to start a microbusiness(everything is based on small business). It is bad enough that I have to charge a different tax rate for every flipping county in Georgia, I don’t even want to think past that!

The $0.75 came from one of the other pricing discussions, it seems like a good number to go by :wink:

Since I have to be around to monitor the laser and listen to it roar at me, I figured that would be labor. And as for the winner’s curse, finding that somebody is often one of the more time consuming jobs :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


My take on this (and a cornerstone topic of one of my speeches for work):

  • If you were going to be a Doctor: You would go to University, study, learn all the skills necessary to allow you to do your job.
  • If you wanted to drive a car: You would go to a driving instructor, to be taught and tested so you had the necessary skills.
  • etc

So why is it that the majority of people who run small businesses do not do even a basic course in small business management?

@jamely if i can suggest, look for a local education provider. Here in Australia we have Certificate Level courses provided through TAFE, Adult Education or some Universities (which might be too ‘socialist’ for the US of A as most of them are subsidised :wink: ).
When you look at small businesses it is immediately apparent which ones have taken the time to learn the most essential skill in running a business = making a living.

Now the obvious response to this is “but it is all common sense” - and to be honest that is mostly true.
However, if you take a look at the failure rates (and reasons) you see that (as usual) ‘common’ sense is not so common


Thanks for the suggestion @bdm, I wish there were anything around like that (small town). What I am really peeved about is that a Fine Art degree program doesn’t require all students to minor in entrepreneurship. It seems like that would be common sense! Too bad I didn’t figure that out until my last year (but also, thank Llama’s that poop is done :roll_eyes: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: )

The things that I have found available only have about 10% of relevant information for me. I’m not trying to get a business loan, so I hardly need to write up a 60 page business plan or learn about the tax consequences of hiring employees! Writing out goals and directions is something I have done, it just isn’t in a form to submit to anyone;p


I think that might be a difference to over here.

Many courses at University or even Diploma Level in Oz, that are designed to allow you to run a business, either include a Small Business Management course as a 4-unit (i.e. full 1-semester subject for University) or as a Certificate Level (i.e. 1 week course on the basic for Diploma) as standard or, at worst, as an option.

You know, i could not agree more… for musicians too… artists are one of the most exploited and least successful businesses despite the demand for their services.


or even a single business class. That would have been way more helpful than the “math” credits that I was required to have to graduate, which was a joke.

Have you looked into resources from the Small Business Administration? I got lots of great advice from my local SBA office when I was first starting my shop.


There is a longtime wholesale business customer of ours in the midwest (their company has been around for 70 years) that had a change in ownership 2 years ago. The original owner passed away and since he had no descendants, his will stipulated that the company be sold to the site manager for $1. We’ve known the manager for a long time, and treated him as a friend, and worked with his father, too, when he was alive. Nice guy, but a little slow business wise.

Anyway, in less than 2 years, he took a business with $6 million in annual sales down to zero because he did not understand how costs and profit margins and taxes all need to be factored in to determine the selling price for his goods. And he was too stubborn to take basic accounting classes.


I’d still recommend doing it to the degree that you can. It will help you understand your business, your goals, your challenges, etc. much better.

For example, a thorough business plan would actually begin to answer these questions that you’re having. It’s going to make you put pen (pencil would be better) to paper and say hey, this is going to work - or, this isn’t going to work.


agreed. it may not need to be 60 pages, but putting it all down on paper and in a spreadsheet will help you understand what you’re trying to accomplish.


Amen to that

Australia was ruined by 26 years of uninterrupted economic growth.
We now have an entire generation of business owners who do not know anything but ‘the good times’ which they consider to be normal business conditions.

Over the past 7 years the economy has been shrinking and the old mantra of “we lost money on this job but will make it back on the next” is sending people bankrupt.
At least weekly we still talk to business owners in the $5m+ bracket that cannot clearly delineate ‘turnover’ vs ‘margin’


Not immediately relevant to @jamely, but another point that’s been alluded to: either give something away, or charge what it’s worth. When you’re doing something as a hobby it can be tempting to charge a nominal amount to cover materials, etc. but as soon as money is involved the expected quality/support/relationship changes.

Even if you know that something is worth $100 and you’re only charging $20 to recover some of your costs, it’s really easy for the other person to think they’re buying it for $20. So when it breaks/it’s slightly different than they wanted/they want another one in blue it can quickly turn into a job that you’re locked into doing for pennies, instead of a hobby you’re doing for fun.

Not to say that it’s an ironclad rule, but it’s something to keep in mind for the hobbyists.


Forgive my ignorance…what is PEMDAS?

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The mathematical order of operations: Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction.


Doh! I knew that too…been a while. Thanks. :wink:

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I used to do a ton of calculations when pricing logo design. After a while I found out that for all my planning and we’ll thou models, was still charging ⅓ of what everyone else was. My client quality wasn’t great, I spent way too long on nickels and dimes, and it took all of my time.
Now that it’s more of a side hustle, I have a base price plus a mental ”I don’t feel like it” charge that varies. Way happier.


I did make an attempt, although the closest one is a decent trip from my town. I tried my local chamber of commerce because their website had a bit of a mention on it, but was met with lack of knowledge and a recommendation of a website to visit. Which I already had been to, as well as having picked up a flyer in that office saying the same and with more details than the office greeter? secretary? knew about. It was just an effort in futility, but I did have a decent discussion with a guy that helps run our local Fablab that was very helpful about general knowledge and starting a business where I live. I can figure lots of stuff out from the internet’s and books, but nothing beats living people for getting relevant and abstract information when you need it :smirk:

i’ve used that line item in my calculations before. i usually underestimate that, too. cuz if they still say yes, i coulda asked for more. :slight_smile:


If they don’t have to think before they agree to pay then you are not charging enough