pricing work -

pricing work

The forum for discussion on business aspects of working with glass.

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pricing work

Postby BobbieMatus » Tue Jul 08, 2003 7:57 pm

Would like to know how you price your work. Any formulas out there? My regular stained glass work I price by the square foot plus how many pieces I cut. Was wondering what to do with the fusing work. :roll:


Postby gone » Tue Jul 08, 2003 8:12 pm

Here's a site with some info to get you started. Good luck, it's a tough one!


Paul Tarlow
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Postby Paul Tarlow » Tue Jul 08, 2003 8:20 pm

Els VandenEnde wrote:Here's a site with some info to get you started. Good luck, it's a tough one!


I believe cost-based pricing helps you to understand what you need to realize to be profitable -- effectively the low water mark.

Here's just one example why I don't believe cost-based pricing makes sense: As an artist becomes better known it is reasonable to expect price to go up (fame factor). I also expect that while the artist is becoming better known they are becoming more efficient in creating their art. That's a clear case of cost going down while price goes up.

The price the market will bear may have nothing to do with the cost to produce the piece.

- Paul
Last edited by Paul Tarlow on Tue Jul 08, 2003 8:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Lisa Allen
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Postby Lisa Allen » Tue Jul 08, 2003 8:44 pm

Els VandenEnde wrote:Here's a site with some info to get you started. Good luck, it's a tough one!


Els, what a great site.....tons of good information on pricing, contracts, etc. Thanks for sharing that.

Lisa Allen
Today's mighty oak is just yesterday's nut that held its ground.

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Postby GlassOrchid » Tue Jul 08, 2003 11:40 pm

There have been some great threads on this complex subject on the site; also a great magazine if you don't read it already.

It's a lot more complex than this but.....

You have to know your true cost before selling your work or you will probably give your stuff away and go out of business. The basics are: Cost of materials+labor/salary cost+%'age of company overhead(insurance, elec, sundries, phone etc...)+%profit (however much you want to make.)

That gives you your wholesale cost. In general, 2x the wholesale price is the retail price; some galleries more than double it but that really isn't our concern. If your calculated price is too low.... based on similar work/market research/your fame/artsyfartsyfactor/etc.... then raise it... if you can't sell your work for that high a price then stop making that product or never wholesale it. If you have too much business then raise your prices... you'll make the same $$$ but work less.

I've seen a lot of folks calculate wholesale price but make it their retail price. At first that may seem good but if you then grow your business and want to sell wholesale you'll either have to raise your prices.... on which all your current business is based (dangerous) or cut it in half and then you'll probably be losing money since your price was cost based.



Bert Weiss
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Postby Bert Weiss » Wed Jul 09, 2003 10:25 am

Nancy (Glass Orchid) gives good advice.

like Paul said, the value of an object is strictly tied to what the consumer will pay for it.

Part of design, is the practice of devising a technique and look that is profitable to produce. Just because it took you 7 firings to get your look doesn't mean that the consumer will happily pay you for that effort. Just because a piece took you 2 hours of prep and an overnight firing doesn't rule out that it could fetch $1000 or more. The big rub is that in order to find the thousand dollar client, it could cost you $2000. Life's little challenges.

Bert Weiss Art Glass*
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Postby Dani » Wed Jul 09, 2003 11:18 am

Having spent way too many years in the complicated world of public accounting, I like the KISS approach to life. My simple formula for pricing fused glass is $12 pound plus $25 hour to arrive at a wholesale price. With small production items, I figure the total weight and the total hours over several days, then divide by the number of pieces to arrive at a per pin/magnet cost. This seems to cover me more than adequately. The only changes I may make is if the price seems too low in comparison to the rest of the market. Then I may raise the price a bit to align my work more closely with what others are charging. That's the part of pricing that's most curious and complicated. If you sell too low (whether you make a profit or not), your work might be perceived as inferior. But, the rest of the market might be inflated, and that's apparent if nobody is selling well. So you also have to follow the market pulse in your areas.

ellen abbott
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Postby ellen abbott » Wed Jul 09, 2003 12:44 pm

When I started doing pate de verre I had no idea how to price it. Still don't really. My big joke is that I make my money on etched glass and throw it away on the pate de verre. It really doesn't matter if you go through fancy formulas, figure out overhead, etc. if the work won't sell at the price you set. Unless of course you are happy with letting the stuff accumulate for your kids to get rid of when you cross over. Personally, I'd rather sell it. It inspires me to make more.

When I decided that the work was good enough to try to sell (being fortunate to know a fine craft gallery owner who wanted to show it) I asked him what he though it would sell for and we started there. I have steadily raised my prices by increments of $25-50. The pieces have not sold as quickly this year but I think that has more to do with the economy that the price point. Also, I'm doing more one of a kind pieces as opposed to the limited edition runs of 10-25. These are considerably more expensive (about twice) and they take much longer to sell.


Geri Comstock
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Postby Geri Comstock » Wed Jul 09, 2003 6:24 pm

This is an interesting question. The answer is that there's probably as many methods of pricing as there are artists.

So much of what you can actually charge for something has to do with what the market will bear. That means that what you're selling, where you're selling it, and to whom you are selling are all factors in this equation.

As Bert said, you may fire something 7 times, but someone has to appreciate what that means and want to pay for it. As someone else said, can't remember who, you don't want to amass a collection of overpriced work to leave to your heirs. LOL. They won't be able to sell it either.

If you're planning on selling in galleries, take a look at the pricing there and see if you're competitive for items that are similar in complexity, craftsmanship, etc. If you want to sell on ebay, realize that you're not going to command gallery prices. Check out the competition and see what they can actually sell their work for, not what they're hoping to get for it. If you're selling at street shows, check out the competition who works at the same level that you do and see what they sell their work for.

Another factor is your "famousosity" factor. The better known your name is among collectors, the easier it is to command high prices.

There are formulas in Wendy Rosen's "Crafting as a Business" book that may help you get a handle on your real costs. When people first start out, they often forget to add in all sorts of costs beyond materials and labor that can substantially add to the cost of producing your work.

Best of luck with this -


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