First, let me congratulate you if you have achieved the skill needed to consider accepting a private commission. As craftsmen and craftswomen, we spend countless hours developing our skills and our understanding in order to produce quality finished goods. We often make huge investments in facilities and equipment. When others recognize that we are capable of such work, it can be quite flattering if not challenging. The principles and advice contained in this article apply to a broad variety of disciplines and not just woodturning.
Over the years, I have made hundreds of custom woodworking projects ranging from something small costing a few dollars to commercial projects at over $50,000. They all have certain elements in common. I would like to offer a brief outline of things you will need to consider when these opportunities arise to help you make good decisions.
Brief Case Study #1 Ė Porch Rail Balusters for
This project was going to be plain old hard work. The first few balusters would be fun, after that they would be repetitive, dirty, dusty, demanding chunks of wood. Before I gave the price, I located the wood supplier and calculated my materials cost to within a few dollars total. I estimated conservatively how many I could turn out in an 8 hour day so I could calculate labor cost and time to delivery. I figured in the cost of consumables to come up with a total cost. I always add a small percentage to allow for the unexpected Ė usually 5 to 10%. When the customer accepted my quote, I began the project, finished on time and everyone went away happy.
Brief Case Study #2 Ė Laminate covered work
tables & Magnetic Dry Erase White Board with Cork
What to do? I called the customer and apologized profusely that I had made an egregious mistake in calculating my materials cost and that I would need to submit a new bid that was almost $7,600 higher than the original. Needless to say that I got the job and it turned out magnificently. The photos below donít do it justice as this project was a little over $20,000.
Expanded discussion of each point is beyond the scope of this newsletter. You can find many articles on the web which will help you with the specific details. Be prepared to under bid some projects and live with the consequences. Be prepared to have customers accept some of your bids which bring you a windfall. When I give a price, that is the price, it is firm except for change orders the customer requests along the way.
In the end, it all works out the way it is supposed to, because wherever you go there you are.
Here is my inspiration for this article:
We will be in the Peachtree Woodworking Supply booth again this year at SWAT in Waco, Texas on August 26-28, 2016.
I will be demonstrating my Laser Cut Kit process at the Peach State Woodturners Club at their September meeting. The club meets at my good friend Don Russels shop in Oxford, Georgia (Covington area)
This Week's Sale
By Popular Demand - One More Week
Super Sharpen Deal
Save 45% off regular retail prices
Video #1 Ron Brown
Video #2 Sam Angelo the
CBN Grinding Wheels - Either or Both
Including Bottle Stopper Designs - 50 Plus classic designs. Free PDF