Contract Jeweler Price List

Has anyone out there working as a contract jeweler for one of the
chains run into a situation where they develop their own price list
and tell you that this is what they will pay you now for the work you
do? Most of these prices are 10-20% below what I have been charging
for the last several years. They are also dictating what they will
pay for parts and findings that I supply! I am aware of David
Gellar’s price list, but he supplies parts and equipment and his
jewelers are employees with benefits - not independent contractors.
Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions? Thanks.

    Has anyone out there working as a contract jeweler for one of
the chains run into a situation where they develop their own price
list and tell you that this is what they will pay you now for the
work you do 

You are not describing a price list. You are describing a wish list.
If you do business with their wish list as a guide, you are likely to
find yourself rushing to make up for lost dollars. I can’t afford to
rush. That’s when I start breaking stuff. Maybe you can do better?
The last time that someone came to me with a wish list, I told 'em
“No, thanks. I’ll let you put my competiion out of business first.
Then if you are still interested, we can talk about doing business on
my terms”.

J B, When I had a wholesale business, we did work for all the
stores, and departments, in our local mall. We used a fair wholesale
price, and they supplied no parts (you will run into the problem of
the sales people misjudjing and missizing stones, etc.). We picked up
and delivered, unless they had a rush (extra charge). If I were in
your situation, and it sounds like you are already doing work for them
and they want to change the rules of the game, I would tell them to
find someone else to do the work (unless you are starving!). It
sounds like maybe they have a new manager and he/she wants to do
things differently. Since the majors usually pay from their regional
office, you should have a contact with them. You might try to contact
their district manager, who can overide the store managers decisions.


Geez- - - I thought it was tough enough to make ends meet, already.
A retail chain, I won’t mention any names (Zales), offered me a job
as a contract jeweler. Everything looked good until they pulled out
their “standard wholesale price list .” I would have made more
working hourly for someone with less headaches. It is amazing to me
how little retailers (or manufacturers) expect to pay qualified
jewelers. Anyway, my price list was already 8 years old, and the
prices they were willing to pay were still way below mine. I, now,
neither work for another jeweler or contract in work any more. I make
my pieces and put them in a few select galleries. And no, it does not
pay the bills all the time, but I have my sanity and a few yachts to
detail on a regular basis (which pays 40% more than a highly skilled
jeweler gets here in SW Florida. Good Luck, Marty

JB I work in that situation and Iam still able to quote my own
prices.The jeweler across the hall at Zales has a price list like that
and the prices are ok for something’s but not others.Keepsake jewelers
farther down the hall just started making their jewelers turn in their
scrap.He quit.I will too.They also lowered his pricing.My feeling is
if they start messing with my pricing because they don’t know how to
run their company I will become their competition and open my own shop
in the mall Iam in.If they are going to start cutting corners it
should not be at the expense of the jewelers.Try cutting the upper
crusts pay and they will jump like rats on a sinking ship.With the
economy sinking the first thing to slow down is luxury items like
jewelry and cars.We will all be experiencing this type of thing so
hold on to your bench and enjoy the ride for as long as you can.By the
way if they try to dictate too much such as your hours are no
longer a contractor but are considered an employee and they have to
pay for workman’s comp,s.s. and all the other stuff.Best J Morley Coyote
Ridge Studio

I worked as a lease jeweler for almost 10 years for several of the
large chains. It is not unusual for them to dictate what they will pay
for the work that you do. You must be fast and work very efficiently
to make money. The volume of work they provide can make up for the
lower prices. In the eighty’s I was grossing over 100,000 USD a year
with a two man shop. I made a bunch of money. You can also talk to the
store manager about doing custom work which can really help the
bottom line. Buy your findings in volume to get price discounts. Check
with the local pawn shops for new findings that have been scrapped and
you can buy cheap. There is usually a precious metals liquidator
around that will do the same thing. I always made the most money per
piece on replacement stones. It can also be a situation where the
corporation will squeeze you every way they can you just have to
learn to squeeze back. I made a lot of money and bought a lot of
equipment during the period I did repair work. It almost drove me
crazy as well… It was a good learning experience
but not something I would do for a lifetime. Frank Goss