How to Price Your Work

David Picciuto is a woodworker from Toledo, OH and has a YouTube channel called “Make Something” where he posts videos on creating beautiful art using wood as his primary material.  I have been a fan of his channel for a year or so now and I love the way he presents his videos and the things he creates.  Although I am not much of a woodworker myself, I find a great amount of useful information from his videos and vlogs.

A video that he did semi recently helped to answer a question that is always a huge topic of discussion for any tradesman wanting to make a living within their craft.  This question is “How to Price Your Work?”

How much is too much and how do we decide when we are at a level that we can ask a higher price for our work?  Every craftsman out there has a different take on this issue, and the school of thought usually has to do with material + labor and maybe + profit.  The scary part of the previous sentence is the fact that many… and I mean MANY craftsmen completely forget to factor in the “profit” portion of their equation.

Many times this comes from the fear that their customers will not pay for the work if the profit is factored in because the price gets too high.  The problem with this is that unless you factor in your profit then you are essentially trading hours of your life for money and that’s it.  Without profit, you will never see your business grow and your work will not receive the price that it probably deserves based on your specific talent and expertise.

I too have struggled with the pricing game for the better part of my career and I understand the fear that is associated with pricing your work incorrectly.  But I also have seen talented craftsman become bitter and burned out with their work because they are working way to hard for far too little pay.  If you find yourself here, and lord knows I have been there too, then there is only one person to blame… you.  The biggest mistake a craftsman can make is pricing his/her work based on the amount of money the customer can pay.  This isn’t a good model.  If you believe in your ability and talent then price it accordingly to what makes you smile when you walk into the shop.  There are customers who will gladly pay for the work of a confident craftsman with your particular skill set.  Remember, we are custom makers not manufactures… which gives us the control of what we make and what we charge.

David’s view on pricing in this video simplifies the pricing monster.  He comes at this with a “Day Rate” approach which I find extremely liberating.  We can over analyze material costs, quarter hour labor costs, overhead, insurance, etc.  Or we can simply figure out what it cost us daily for all these things in running our business and figure what amount we need to make daily to absorb these costs while leaving us with the desired profit.  Once we have that number, then pricing jobs is simply based on how many days or half days it will take to complete.

If you are like most of our fellow craftsman in this industry, our days are easier to schedule and deal with than our hours.  Give this video a view and see what David Picciuto has to say about setting a “Day Rate” to price your work.