I can’t believe I have to write this post.
After a recent interview, I was stunned to be in the minority for including an hourly rate in my prices. Ladies & gentleman, if you are charging for materials only, you will never have a viable business. Ever.
How to Price Handmade Goods
Cost of Materials + (Total Hours x Hourly Rate) + % Margin (15-30%) = $ Price
Now you do it & don’t you dare calculate your hourly rate at minimum wage. Minimum wage is reserved for unskilled labor. You are skilled labor + every other department in a business. Charge at least double minimum wage.
Comes out to be pretty expensive, doesn’t it? That’s what the prices should start off as in the first place and why it’s infuriating when customers ask for discounts or when other makers charge for materials only. Don’t worry about others undercutting your pricing. They won’t be around for long. You are in this for the long term.
What about someone who can whip up something in a jiffy?
The man/gal hours may decrease but it probably took you years of school & grunt work to get that fast. Increase your hourly rate. Less time ≠ lower price
My favorite response to someone asking how long it took to make something is “25 years.” Think about it. Skills build on top of skills. If you didn’t have the experience and knowledge, then you couldn’t have figured out a better way to make something. You need to take this into account when pricing your goods.
Why a margin?
In order to do business, there are extras you have to pay for unlike being an employee. There is software, office supplies, equipment, travel expenses, continuing education, possible business loans, etc. Running a viable business without a margin is risky as the possibility of a single client putting you in the red is high. You also need a buffer for advertising, unexpected material costs, mess ups, lost packages, etc. This is not “screwing over” your customer. This is ensuring you are still in business to serve your customers in the future.
Are you a calligrapher? Check out this deep dive into pricing from Holly at Sablewood Paper Company
Next in the series: How to Discount Bulk Orders