There is little to add on this subject but, from my experience in
the watch restoration field, I would say that yo u should place the
full true value on your work and not be afraid to charge what, to
you, may seem like too much. When I was doing watch repairs as a
sideline to my regular day job, I often used to only charge friends
and colleagues a nominal amount for repairing their watches even
though I had done a full and comprehensive job on them - I was
getting a reasonable salary so I wasn’t too bothered about the extra
cash. These people would often bring the watches back time and again
complaining of silly ‘problems’ whilst those I had charged the ‘full
price’ would not and would bring me back other business. Its all
about ‘percieved value’ - those who I had undercharged could not
believe that I had actually done a ‘proper’ job. Its a very perverse
idea but people do like to be charged fully for the work you do for
them and this is very noticeable amongst my American customers, for
some reason which escapes me as a Yorkshireman, they in particular,
seem to like to brag to their friends about how much they have paid.
Of course, I’m not saying you should overcharge, just work out your
time and materials costs plus a realistic amount for ‘overheads’ and
then proudly say that that is your price. In the last year I can only
think of one of my customers who has not sent me more than I asked
for in payment and instructed me to ‘keep the change’!
Ian W. Wright
Hi there When I first started selling my jewellery at the local
farmers market, in the arts and crafts section of course, I had many
people complement me on my work. But no body bought. After I got over
my flush of pride for the wonderful compliments and came back to
reality, they still were not buying. Many of these people were
regulars so I started asking them why they were not buying my
"beautiful" jewellery. Everyone told me that it could not be real
’Sterling’ as the prices were to low. So I built some new stuff and
redid all the tags with new, ‘higher’ prices. I think I did this 2-3
Finally a year later the jewellery started to sell. The funny part
is that when I look back on those days I was still selling my pieces
too low. Our biggest problem as budding new artists is in
undervaluing ourselves, especially as women (psychological). We
deserve to make at least as much as our local school caretakers
(Approx. $10-15 per hour) and when we have been in it for a while and
have much more experience, education, better tools, recognition as a
’someone’, etc. we deserve to ask more. That is what any other
professional is able to do.
Confession time: It has taken me over 10 years of making and selling
my own products to finally learn this. Plus I needed the help and
perspective of a wonderful and supportive husband.
As to your present customers, just explain that the costs have to go
up to cover all your expenses. Don’t forget to remember that you are
now more experienced at making your products, have improved your
tools, can supply more product than before and costs of supplies are
continually rising. Do not sell yourself short. Offer to increase
your prices in smaller increments and at regular intervals to help
them adjust to the increases. Explain you are doing this to
accommodate your established customers as it is not proper etiquette
to charge different customers different prices. That is unless they
are going to buy in a larger volume so as to get volume discounts.
If they still do not except then maybe it is time to check out their
competition. Don’t forget if they are selling your product well then
you both benefit. If they decide to discontinue dealing with you then
with a good selling product I am sure other people will be glad that
you can supply them more product.
Karen Bahr “the Rocklady” (@Rocklady) K.I.S. Creations
May your gems always sparkle.
Hi Pricing one’s work may be reflected in or by how a person was
brought up. If a person was brought up in meager surroundings it may
be more difficult to place a higher value on an object. This person
may know that it would be “out of reach” for others like themselves
(as they grew up). Others that may have been brought up with more
may find it easier to put the higher price on things because they
have always been able to buy the “higher priced items” and so are
used to expecting the things they would buy to be priced higher.
There has to be some psychology (SP) in this pricing bit.
I know I didn’t price my flat polishing work high enough before as
my customers would many times say so and say “keep the change” as
they paid the bill.
Larry E. Whittington Where I still do custom flat polishing that
satisfies my customers. Living with Jesus now gives hope for the
Pricing one's work may be reflected in or by how a person was
This sort of describes me, but even though I grew up poor, I didn’t
stay poor. In my current situation, although all my basic needs are
met, I have almost no extra and spend accordingly; that is, not much
at all. I used to work in high tech and make oodles of money, but I
removed myself from that world several years ago and I’ve just about
forgotten what it was like to have disposable income. Luckily, I have
friends who are still living that life and I often refer to them. I
also compare my work to the work of others that use similar materials
and have a similar style, and take note of what they charge. And, I
try to think in terms of a livable wage. That’s all I really want: a
livable wage, work I enjoy, a place to live, food to eat, and health
care when I get sick.
Short embarrassing story, apropos to the subject: about 15 years
ago, when I was changing careers from data communications technician
to technical writer, after having just finished a bachelor’s degree
in English, I was interviewing for a job. I knew a secretary in the
company who was able to ahead of time get me the salary range for
this position, and so I knew the range started at $24,000. STILL,
when it came time to talk money and the head of the department asked
me how much I wanted to start, I couldn’t bring myself to say
"$24,000," or better yet, “$26,000.” I actually said “$20,000.”
(Which was $2,000 more than what I’d been making in my previous job.)
They started me at $28 and gave me a whopping raise and a bonus in
the first year. I think about that a lot!
Christine in Littleton, Massachusetts
Pricing work such as appraising, writing etc is tricky - as Suzanne
Wade points out.
There so no easy answer, but a useful rule of thumb for appraisers
and other ‘consultant-type’ folk is not to charge less per hour than
what you would hope to earn per year in thousands. So if you expect
to earn $40,000 per year, charge a minimum of $40 per hour.
There is a commonly-used business model nowadays where one starts
with under pricing new products (or even FREE products!) and after
the market has liked what they have become accustomed to, to begin to
charge higher prices that more accurately reflect their cost. We all
have experienced this with some initially free MS software. It works
But with a new line of jewellery that you have genuinely made a
pricing mistake, maybe if you can verify that your product has
developed and improved so much to warrant an increase. Reward those
who helped you get through the first year with a price-freeze (at the
old price) for a certain period and charge the newer, more reasonable
prices, to new outlets.
Christine Quiriy- I am a pharmacist who has been making jewelry
(silver and gold fabricating) for about 20 months. I have only done
one show and I don’t sell to friends or family because I am trying
to build an inventory.
I want out of my high-stress, high-pay pharmacy job and into the
jewelry to make a living. I was “poor” too and I have been in the
situation where credit cards were full and the main recreation we
had was buying things.
Now what I really want is enough money for food, clothing, housing,
and health care. I have thought I was going crazy because I have had
an urge for the last year and one-half to sell our house with all
its carpets, vases, bookshelves, etc. to clean and dust and live
with my husband in the back of a low-maintenance shop where we had
less “soft goods” and “pretties” and less for me to do in the upkeep
of a house so that I would have more time to work on my passion and
less time doing “women’s work.” In other words, I guess I have
learned that materialism comes at a cost that is higher than I want
to pay–bondage to a job I hate, full credit cards, and worrying
about how to afford a similar lifestyle after retirement.