Quotations for future projects

Hey Guys and Gals.

Has anyone got any ideas how you will be quoting projects for business?
so say someone wants a clock making and to laser cut a face GF says 15minutes plus your own time or just an engraving on a chopping board.

Are you charging per minute, 15 minutes and also what if you have 5 minutes of 40w power and another job of 20w power for 15 minutes?

Sorry if its confusing, I really have thought about this before asking this lol


I’m still working on how I’m going to charge but time spent is a big factor.

The most difficult thing I’m trying to figure out is job time when I don’t have a glowforge here to tell me how long it will take.


My plan for now:

Existing design/straight to print - Set Price

Custom Design - To be quoted


Time is time (until some smart alec brings up something physics related…). Trying to charge differently for power would be a nightmare.


You mean like saying it is just a big ball of wibbly-wobbly-timey-whimey stuff? :relaxed:


Unless you can squeeze that wibbly wobbly ball of time to send you back in time to buy milk for 50 cents a gallon, time is time in this respect :slight_smile:


I like this, but with once caveat. Set price for existing design should include one hour of print time. Anything over that should be extra. Otherwise you could get some fairly complicated engraves that could take up a lot of time!


Don’t forget to include maintenance cost into your pricing structure. Material, too, unless your customers supply that. In some cases you might well have more scrap material from a job than in the actual cut/engraved item. Marking material, like CerMark can also add quite a bit to your cost of making and Proofgrade will be more than big box store material. Also design time is usually priced higher than laser cutting/engraving time.


Yes - sorry I should have elaborated. The set price is different per product depending on the design/time needed to print.

Here is my made up idea:

Example for the set price (Design straight to print):

This is $XXX (Material, Labour, Print time etc… everything) + Tax/Shipping

This is $XXX (Material, Labour, Print time etc… everything) + Tax/Shipping

Custom Designs are by quote

Edit: These are not my design - these are from pinterest - I’m only using the picture as examples


There’s a YouTube video out there by a woodcrafter who suggests that the only way to keep yourself from competing with yourself is to price your work in days. His viewpoint is that if you try to price things based on the number of hours it takes to make then you’re a worker. If you price it by the piece you’re an artist. And artists in his mind get paid more. The other reason is that it is hard to factor in lots of costs - how long did it take you to drive to the store to buy the wood you’re going to use? How much of that piece of wood are you using vs recovering for another project vs throwing away? How much of that cost gets applied to this project? How much time does it take to put on a coat of varnish? And then do it 3 times? And sand in between? Etc. etc. etc. Point is you’ll bleed away massive amounts of time if you try to build up to a price based on figuring out how much time it takes to make one of something.

His method is to make a day rate (yeah, it’s an awful lot like charging by the hour :slight_smile:) and figure your work in days. So if your day rate is $500 or $1000 that’s where you start. Now you can’t charge $500 for a clock face but you take that and divide it by the number of clock faces you could make in a day - maybe 20, or engraving that chopping board - maybe 10. So your clock faces would cost $25 each and your chopping boards $50. You then have to see if they’ll sell at that price. If they won’t you either figure out how to make more of them in a day or you don’t make them because you can’t sell them at a fair price for your time & effort. It’s a fair approach and helps keep you from doing things you can’t really do profitably or that you end up doing custom one-off artistic work for minimum wage.


Good point - he is thinking of economies of scale. Which is good for mass production of 1 design ordered by customers. Like wedding favours for 100 guests… etc…

The per piece method is in my opinion a safer/conservative option since one is not making a bunch of the same thing and hope they sell. It’s make when an order comes.

So much to think about! Loving all the ideas/opinions here!

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I think the philosophy would be the same, whether you make it to order or keep it in inventory.

For example, a couple items you offer designs for -

Assuming you have a day rate of $500

Item A. You can make 8 in an 8 hour day, between cutting/assembling/packaging, materials are $10/per. That would be $72.50 between time and materials.

Item B. You can make 20 in an hour day. Materials are 2.50 per. Thats $27.50 per.

Item C. Custom Request. Takes you 8 hours. That’s your day rate plus materials.

Regardless of whether you make them in advance and store them in inventory, your time is your time. Basically, it’s just an easier/another method of breaking stuff into a realistic hourly figure.


Yes - you are right that it’s just an easier method to calculate to a realistic hourly figure.

I fall in the line of the artist in the pricing matter.

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:smile: :smile: :smile:


Lots of ways to figure it, I’ll just add that if you are not embarrassed you are asking too little.


bahaha!!! Best method goes to you!


Like most artisan/craftsman endeavors, the biggest part of you cost will always be your time. While we certainly have to factor in the cost of materials, wear and tear on equipment, a round number usually works well because next to your time it’s usually a rather small fraction of the total cost (unless you’re doing large scale manufacturing and wholesaling, then it’s a whole different ballgame, which I doubt anyone will be playing with their Glowforge, but then I may just be short-sighted. :upside_down:


I had a small photo gallery until they re-purposed the building. My prints were priced “as an artist” and not based on materials.

One day I had somebody asking about a print that I think was listed at $240. After explaining both the image and the printing process he said, “You know, if you used a less expensive paper and sold them for $30 you would sell a lot more prints.”

I bet he was right but the paper isn’t what cost $210! :joy:


This sounds familiar, but I remember him breaking it down into Full Day and Half Day. It’s still a good method either way.

Epilog has lots of E-brochures on their site with useful info, this one in particular about starting a laser business has a pricing example: https://www.epiloglaser.com/resources/e-brochures/syob.pdf



You might also want to read up some articles in The Engravers Journal; laser engraving is featured often; digital editions available here. I believe it is a business publication and often has pricing articles.