That's too expensive!

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Mortalis

Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2013
Messages
393
Location
Rochester, Mass
This came up on my Facebook feed and I immediately thought of how much it costs to turn a pen and so many potential customers turn away because the price is too high in their mind.

A customer asked me how much it cost to do this job....
I answered him: $ 1500
He said: So expensive for this job?
I asked: How much do you think it would cost you?
He answers me: $ 800 maximum... That's a pretty simple job right? !"
- For $ 800 I invite you to do it yourself.
- But.... I don't know how to.
- For $800 I'll teach you how to. So besides saving you $700, you'll get the knowledge for the next time you want
- It seemed right to him and he agreed.
- But to get started: you need tools: A welder, grinder, chop saw, drill press, welding hood, gloves etc...
- But I don't have all these equipment and I can't buy all of these for one job.
- Well then for another $300 more I'll rent my stuff to you so you can do it.
- Okay, he says.
- Okay! Tuesday I'm waiting for you to start doing this work
- But I can't on Tuesday I only have time today.
- I'm sorry, but I'm only available Tuesday to teach you and lend you my stuff. Other days are busy with other customers.
- Okay! That means I'm going to have to sacrifice my Tuesday, give up my tasks.
- I forgot. To do your job yourself, you also have to pay for the nonproductive factors.
- That is? What is this?"
- Bureaucratic, tax, vat, security, insurance, fuel etc.
- Oh no!... But to accomplish these tasks, I'm going to spend more money and waste a lot of time!
- Do you have them? You can do it to me before?"
- Okay!
- I'll make you all the material you need. Truck loading is done Monday evening or Tuesday morning you'll have to come by 6 loading the truck. Don't forget to be on time to avoid traffic jams and be on time
- At 6??? Nope! Too early for me! I used to getting up later.
...
- You know, I've been thinking. Y ' all better get the job done. I'd rather pay you the $1500. If I had to, it wouldn't be perfect and it would cost me a lot more.
When you pay for a job, especially handcrafted, you pay not only for the material used, but also:
- Knowledge
- Experience
- Study
- Tools
- Services
- Time to go
- punctuality
- Accountability
- Professionalism
- Accuracy
- Guaranteed
- Patents
- Sacrifices
- Safety and security
- Payment of tax obligations
No one can denigrate other people's work by judging prices.
Only by knowing all the elements necessary for the production of a certain work can you estimate the actual cost.
I did not write this dialogue, but am sharing it to support craftsmen and entrepreneurs.
 
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jttheclockman

Member
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Feb 22, 2005
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14,495
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NJ, USA.
I know you said you did not write and just sharing. Now I would be speaking to whomever wrote it. This is all well and good and you are correct in what you are saying but let me say this remember your own words when you want to buy something you do not make. The shoe is on the other foot now. I am saying this because I hear this alot with my scrollsawing items and if you want to buy my clocks and you said those words too expensive I could repeat your words back to you. I hear the too expensive line many times and have become immune to it. I carry over into other hobbies as well.
 

MRDucks2

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Joined
Jul 17, 2017
Messages
2,192
Location
Washington, IN
Good comments from both. Don’t forget the weight of supply and demand, either. When I lived in the Houston area, there were a lot of people, a lot of needs and a lot of suppliers. Huge economy on its own but fairly balanced for demand and supply in many areas. Contracting work for the home wasn’t bad. Reasonable to good prices and good or better quality of work.

I move to the Indianapolis area. Quite a few people, a lot of needs and enough suppliers but not and abundance. Contracting work fir the home was a little more expensive and had to be planned out a little longer. Quality of work better to very good.

Now I live in a historic home in a small (compared to Houston or Indy) rural town that is larger than many in a strong farming community. The contractors have enough work that you are looking 6-8 weeks. Many do not return calls and prices seem about double what I would pay in Indy. New guys are starting up and trying to get going. Recently had two estimates on the same job. First was about $2500 and he could start in 6 weeks. Second would send in multiple crews and get the work knocked out for $16,500. Estimate today was for about $6000. Guess who I am going with?
 

Mortalis

Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2013
Messages
393
Location
Rochester, Mass
I know you said you did not write and just sharing. Now I would be speaking to whomever wrote it. This is all well and good and you are correct in what you are saying but let me say this remember your own words when you want to buy something you do not make. The shoe is on the other foot now. I am saying this because I hear this alot with my scrollsawing items and if you want to buy my clocks and you said those words too expensive I could repeat your words back to you. I hear the too expensive line many times and have become immune to it. I carry over into other hobbies as well.
John,
I know the value of craftsmanship. I posted this because it hit home with the typical reaction the public have when they have no idea what something should cost if they are hiring a professional to do something they either cannot do or dont have the time or experience to do.
If i were looking for a nice, rather fancy scrolled clock for a mantle I would pay the price. Obviously I would look over the quality of the work and determine if the clock was made by a craftsman or someone just putting a kit together and pay appropriately.
I always support local businesses when I can and am proud to do so.
Kevin F
 
Joined
Dec 22, 2017
Messages
2,126
Location
Wolf Creek Montana
And your post is exactly why I know longer do custom work except for some family members who appreciate true custom work. Lots of issues with custom work but the one that got me was when a lady, actually a former friend, complained about a jewelry box I made for her based on the specs her husband gave me. This was a $800-1,000.00 box that I charged $350.00 for and I have to admit it was beautiful. All hand picked lumber, no veneers on this box, velvet fabric lined and an etched mirror in the lid with gold gilded inset hinges, not a nail or screw in it, all glued joints. Nothing cheap about any of it. When she said "I could have gotten the exact same thing at Costco for half the price", which was a totally big lie, I stopped making custom things for people. I have a very good friend that wanted me to make him a custom table. I told him I'd give him access to my shop, explain all the tools and help him with all the cuts, but I wouldn't make it. I told him he couldn't afford my price, so he asked what my price would be. I told him $10,500.00 and he decided to buy it from somewhere else but with no hard feelings. I'll pay the price for a custom piece without haggling over the price, it's custom one of a kind, but I won't make another piece of "custom" furniture or anything else for anyone who thinks it doesn't have a better value than some piece of garbage they can get from china.
 

mark james

IAP Collection, Curator
Joined
Sep 6, 2012
Messages
10,147
Location
Medina, Ohio
Good comments from both. Don’t forget the weight of supply and demand, either. When I lived in the Houston area, there were a lot of people, a lot of needs and a lot of suppliers. Huge economy on its own but fairly balanced for demand and supply in many areas. Contracting work for the home wasn’t bad. Reasonable to good prices and good or better quality of work.

I move to the Indianapolis area. Quite a few people, a lot of needs and enough suppliers but not and abundance. Contracting work fir the home was a little more expensive and had to be planned out a little longer. Quality of work better to very good.

Now I live in a historic home in a small (compared to Houston or Indy) rural town that is larger than many in a strong farming community. The contractors have enough work that you are looking 6-8 weeks. Many do not return calls and prices seem about double what I would pay in Indy. New guys are starting up and trying to get going. Recently had two estimates on the same job. First was about $2500 and he could start in 6 weeks. Second would send in multiple crews and get the work knocked out for $16,500. Estimate today was for about $6000. Guess who I am going with?
The same in Medina, Ohio. Contractors have enough work to be jacking up their prices. I'm waiting for 6 trees to be cut down. After 4 estimates, only one will even predict it 'might' get done before the end of the year (estimate in early October - 10 weeks lag). And they were recommended from the utility company. Plumbers, electricians, ... few skilled tradesman left for hire at any price. Last plumber came with 3 guys, 1 'kind-of knew' what he was doing... training the other two. I was billed for 3 technicians - no, that was not acceptable! And my wife and I fixed their errors... 🤔
 

jttheclockman

Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2005
Messages
14,495
Location
NJ, USA.
John,
I know the value of craftsmanship. I posted this because it hit home with the typical reaction the public have when they have no idea what something should cost if they are hiring a professional to do something they either cannot do or dont have the time or experience to do.
If i were looking for a nice, rather fancy scrolled clock for a mantle I would pay the price. Obviously I would look over the quality of the work and determine if the clock was made by a craftsman or someone just putting a kit together and pay appropriately.
I always support local businesses when I can and am proud to do so.
Kevin F
Kevin you may know the value of craftsmanship but say you need a lawyer will you know if he is charging too much. That lawyer may only know what he does and does not know construction or even hobby work but feels the price is too much. We can not judge people like that. To me this statement (OP) is making a judgement with no background.


I am just finishing up with having the outside of my house redone. New roof, siding, stone front veneer, new front porch and new front doors. Last year I windows installed all by the same company. They are not the cheapest but they use quality materials and the craftsmanship is very good. This is the reason I went with them with the fact it is lifetime warrenty on all products used along with workmanship and they are not going anywhere. But being in the construction business I have an idea around all aspects of construction so I know going in if someone is trying to pull the wool over my eyes. I stated this ahead to this company and they were straight from get go.

My point is here not everyone doing what I do knows what I know so they are left blind but have no idea what fair is and it is a line that I have heard before and just do not let it bother me. I worry about ME. If it is too much in your eyes move on and buyer beware as they say.
 

leehljp

Member Liaison
Joined
Feb 6, 2005
Messages
7,610
Location
Tunica, MS,
. . . I told him he couldn't afford my price, so he asked what my price would be. I told him $10,500.00 and he decided to buy it from somewhere else but with no hard feelings. I'll pay the price for a custom piece without haggling over the price, it's custom one of a kind, but I won't make another piece of "custom" furniture or anything else for anyone who thinks it doesn't have a better value than some piece of garbage they can get from china.
Agreed! Well said.

I do spend my time helping elderly with quick repairs that they can't afford or get soon. I enjoy doing that, but I gave up making things for people who want dollar store prices for precision work and then grip about it.
 
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