I am going to have a booth for the first time at an arts and crafts fair. I
am not sure how to price things. I don't want to over price but I don't
want to sell too cheaply. Most of my pieces measure 9x19 . Some are
flowers some Victorian. Is there any formula I should follow?
No. There's no formula. You had to learn how to cut glass and how to
solder. Now you'll have to learn how to price.
Do NOT confuse costing with pricing. Costing is science. Pricing is
art. First you determine your cost by recording your time, adding
your materials costs, then adding overhead.
Materials cost + Labour + Overhead = Total Cost.
Basically your selling price will be cost plus whatever profit you can
get. Choosing that price is as complex as creating an original
design. It'll depend on the product, where you're selling, what time
of year, and likelihood of appeal. Sailboats will command a good
price in Annapolis but not in Amarillo. Horses top dollar in San
Antonio but not necessarily in Seattle. You might have difficulty
selling a piece for $100. at a craft show but easily sell it for $500.
in a quality gallery. Everything sells at Christmas.
It'll take you much longer to learn to accurately price your work then
it did to learn how to do that work. There's no simple formula that's
acceptably accurate, but a "guide" you can use for approximation is
$20/sf for materials plus $4.00 per piece of glass for labour.
Pricing per square foot is so totally inaccurate it's just plain
stupid for other than a very rough guesstimate. The "guide" above
also isn't totally accurate but it'll get you pretty close. Use it as
a guide only. Learn to accurately measure materials costs and keep
accurate records of your work times. After a while, you'll be able to
use those records to develop a reasonably accurate formula that
specifically customized for you.
Obviously you're just getting started, so I'll suggest you NOT worry
about underpricing your work. Worry instead about selling enough of
it to keep busy. Many business were created by starting on cost plus
$1 - some even run at a loss to start. Launching a business can be
compared to pushing a car. The hard part is to get it started. Once
it starts to roll, it's not hard to keep it rolling. Once it picks up
some speed, it'll usually keep rolling on it's own. Start your
business by getting it rolling. Worry about better prices later when
it's picked up enough speed that you're full time busy. First just
get busy - as busy as you possibly can. THEN start increasing your
Yet one follows....guess you just made it up on the fly, eh?
As you just illustrated....there's no simple formula that's acceptably
accurate. Unless you want to go broke.
Absolute total nonsense on your part. As usual.
One would not even be "close", they likely wouldn't be in the same
hemisphere with the reality of doing business.
Take a 4'-0" square bathroom window for example. Simple design with a bevel
cluster and two clear textures. We have 16 ft sq, a cluster which costs
$30, and maybe 30 total pieces in the design. Plus lead and zinc framing
and solder and putty, no IG, or delivery, or installation.
Using your "guide", we'd be charging $320 for materials and another $120
for labor. A whopping $440 for building a window that costs about $250 in
materials (not allowing for scrap or matching the texture patterns). We
haven't factored in any time for design, customer consultation, gasoline for
trips to the retailer for the materials, bad scores, the overheads of
utilities , rent, insurance, telephone, yellow pages, bank fees, wear and
tear on the equipment, bandaids, coffee, delivery of the window to the job
site, and whatever else.
And we haven't valued our time. I dunno about anybody else, but it'd take
me 8-10 hours to build this window to the point it is ready to putty. Add a
couple of hours for putty and clean-up, and we are working for $10 an hour.
Personally, I'd rather stand at the local Walmart as a door-greeter for the
On the other hand, my technique of pricing this same window at a minimum of
$80/sq ft plus bevels, I'd sell this same window for about $1300.. $80 x 16
ft + Bevels= $1300, +/- That $900 or so difference seems pretty
significant to me.
I "round up" ovals, archtops, octagons, and circles into the next "divisible
by 2" measurement for height and widths into a square/rectangle and divide
by 144 for square footage. I've learned that the scrap created by circles
and ovals is higher, so I convert every design into an imaginary
rectangle/square. I take the design, count the pieces and divide them into
the square footage, and then modify the base rate according to the design
and glass colors/textures (or metals) needed.
For example: A radius top bath window, 38 3/8" by 61 3/4 tall would be
calculated this way. Round up the 38.375 inches to 40" and round the 61.75
up to 64. ( I know, I know. That isn't 'zact math. Live with it.)
40"x64"=2560 or 2560/144=18 sq ft. (Yeah, I round that up, too.)
Then I take the piece count in the window and divide it by the 18 sq. ft.
If, for example, the design were real simple, and had only 30 pieces, giving
me less than 2 pcs per sq ft, I'd probably leave the basic rate at $80.,
plus upcharges for colors/bevels. On the other hand, suppose I were making
a FLW prairie design window that had several hundred pieces, I'd certainly
modify my basic square foot rate based on the complexity of the design and
the additional metalsand colors required, maybe to as much as a 3x increase.
Of course, all this would go out the window if I could bead solder at 1 ft
per second like Dennis claimed a while back.
Visit us in Victoria. "Turbo Soldering" is one the many things we'll
demo. Talk is cheap. Come see for yourself.
I'm also teaching a class called "Price Precise" to teach how to
remove the guesswork from pricing.
Yes, talk is cheap. And I don't have to come to Victoria to know that.
All I need to do is read your posts.
Based, I presume, on your guidelines posted yesterday to charge $20/ft and
$4/piece? If that's your idea of precision....thanks anyway. I'll use my
old prehistoric ways and stay in business..