how much should you charge for woodworking

How Much Should You Charge for Woodworking?

I struggle with this topic once in a while, however, there are some factors I always fall back on that help me figure out how to charge for my woodworking. I see woodworkers asking this question all the time and if I could direct them to this article, I would. I also see quite a few woodworkers that just don’t understand how to price their work by the amounts I see them charging. 

So how much should you charge for your woodworking?  There are four factors to implement when figuring your charge for woodworking. These factors are: 1) setting an hourly rate, 2) passing the cost of materials on to the customer 3) researching similar projects sold in your region for pricing 4) being fair in what you charge.

If you consider the four factors listed above, you should have no problem charging accordingly for your woodworking projects. That being said, it’s not that cut and dry so we will go over each of these in detail below. I am going to explain how to apply them as well as look at some other items to consider, when applicable. 

So, if you’re ready to learn more charging for woodworking, then please keep reading. 

How to Figure Out an Hourly Rate for Your Woodworking?

This is a tough one if you just have no clue as to what hourly rate you should charge. A lot of woodworkers, among other tradesmen, will decide they are worth X amount of dollars without any research and them charge that for their work. This method is fine, however, in my experience, it doesn’t always work. Here are some methods I recommend you consider to come to an hourly rate. 

The How Much Income Vs What You Expect to Sell Each Month Method

woodworking when you live in an apartmentThis one is just like the headline says. Everyone has a certain amount of money or income they want to achieve every month. Yours might be $1000 or $5000, once you know what that number is, the next thing you must come up with is how many pieces of woodworking you expect you can sell each month? The last bit of information you need is how long it will take you to complete each piece, for example 1 hour, 3 hours etc. 

For an arbitrary example, I will say we want to earn $1000 a month and we expect to sell 3 pieces each week and each piece will take approximately 2 hours to complete. This means, on average, we will sell 12 pieces a month and the time it will take to make these items is 24 hours. All you do now is divide the $1000 X 24 which gives you $41.67 per hour. Therefore, you would charge 41.67 per hour for your woodworking. In my case, for the example above, I would round that number down to $40 even. 

Let’s look at some more ways to find an hourly rate. 

How to Research Your Market to Charge for Woodworking Properly

This one would make it so much easier if other woodworkers would share what they charge per hour. The fact of the matter is they usually won’t, unless you know them outside of doing woodwork. It’s a ‘dog eat dog’ world and everyone wants to collect what’s theirs! Regardless, here is where to look and how you can figure out what their hourly rates are. 

One of my favorite places includes local woodworking Facebook groups. Craft shows are also an excellent location to find out hourly rates. All you need to do is find items somewhat similar to yours and ask the vendor how long it takes to make something like that. Don’t let on that you are a woodworker because they will put up a figurative wall very fast.

The other thing to do is identify the materials used and what they potentially cost to purchase. That’s it! Once you have the time it takes to make the item, the approximate cost of the materials and of course what the vendor is charging, you will have a very good idea of what their hourly rate is. 

Use this method on a handful of woodworkers and average out their hourly rates to come up with yours. Again, what I would do after I found this out is then round down the rate a bit.  

The Proper Way to Charge for Materials

This one is straight forward. Whatever you paid for materials should be passed on to the customer. 

Sometimes, however, you will have materials that spread across multiple pieces of woodworking. For example, I have a project I like to do that involves ¼” good one side plywood and 1”x3”. I make multiple pieces out of the plywood and use differing lengths of the 1”x3”. The pieces I use out of the plywood are never the same because I make this item in different sizes, depending on what is selling at the moment. 

What I do, though, is identify how many pieces I will be making out of the plywood and divide that number by the $40 or $50 it costs for that material and apply that amount to each piece. The same goes for the 1”x3” pine or spruce. 

So I always try to charge for the actual costs of materials. This includes brad nails and finishes etc. Some tradesmen will mark up the materials 10% or more, trying to make a profit on that. I don’t think that works very well for woodworking pieces, however. On the other hand, it can work just fine when pricing out framing a basement for someone. 

What about Power and Sand-Paper ETC? 

table saw not cutting straightI know a lot of tradesmen will add-in the cost of all materials, including supplies needed to get the job done. For example, things like sandpaper, cloths, paintbrushes, etc. If I am doing one big job like developing a basement, I include those items in the cost as I am at the customer’s location and will need many items like this. 

If I am making a small table in my workshop, I don’t charge for these things.  Chances are I can use the same sandpaper or paintbrush on the next project so I don’t charge anyone for it. For me, it is a business expense. I list this things under shop supplies. I consider this just part of running a business 

You can do whatever you like though. I am just throwing this one out there as food for thought for you. 

Being Fair in the Price You Charge Will Net More Sales

Someone who isn’t selling much woodwork might not be charging a fair price. Yes, I know you deserve top dollar for your workmanship, however, you are only ever going to get what the customer is willing to pay. I call this a fair selling price. The fair selling price should be fair to the customer and you and the woodworker. If you know it’s not a fair price for you, then don’t sell it at that price. 

If you have a unique talent and create items that only you can make and are selling in your area, then customers will be willing to pay a higher price. This will be the new fair price. 

Also, look to see what other people are charging for similar items in your region, if you’re pricing is fairly close then perfect, that’s what I would consider a fair price. Don’t make the mistake of looking at an item being sold 1000 miles away for much more than you are selling and think it’s okay to raise your price. Every market dictates what the fair price will be. 

I hope this made sense. The one thing I want to stress is don’t try to get rich off each item you sell. If you do that, you will slow your sales and progress.

Put the Customer First and Reap the Rewards

Lastly and most importantly, creating your projects for the love of doing them and pricing them to be fair to your customer will put you on the right path of putting your customer first. 

This holds true with anything in life. If you provide value to others, you will be awarded. In this case your reward will be sales and earning a nice income. If you follow everything I have gone through so far in this article, you will be well on your way to achieving your goals. 

People are naturally attracted to others who offer something for them. In this case, it is a beautiful piece of woodworking at a very fair price. Customers will be ok with the price and if the quality of the workmanship meets their desires, then they will recommend you to others. This, of course means more work and money for you. 

Let’s face it, unless you are just doing woodworking because it’s your passion and you like to give your projects away, then the continued work and extra money rolling in is what it’s all about. Don’t you agree? 

Good luck!

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Hey, this is Brian and Gene Luoma. Since the two of us have pretty much been self-employed our entire lives, we have a lot of experience designing and creating all sorts of DIY projects for businesses and homes—projects that have helped us make money or save money through the years!

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