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How much you charge per hour?



I would like to ask an interesting question(to me). When you are
calculating the price of the item, and you roughly figured out how
many hours it took to make it, how much you charge per hour? Today I
was looking for a cleaning woman, to clean the house because I do not
have the time, and I found out that the going rate is $ 25-35. For
unskilled labour, me providing everything, with central vac to
cleaning products, no investment on the woman’s part whatsoever.


Most professionals have a flat rate for labour with perhaps
different rates for repair work, stone matching, pearl restringing
and other specialised tasks that garner a flat rate per job. Most of
the jewelers I know charge $35-65.00 US an hour for bench labour- but
keep in mind these are professionals .rer


I believe the average calculation for fine jewelry is 5 times the
cost of the materials to cover everything. (learned that here, thank
you) Keep it simple. Although I have also read from you fine folks
that if it’s gold, you can actually charge a higher percentage for
labor/costs… which brings us to why having a maid come to your
house is expensive…

Being able to buy gold jewelry or a maid is luxury. So you can
charge higher prices outside the realm of actual costs. The lady is
driving her car, paying insurance and gas, and cleaning a strangers
dirt on her hands and knees. If we are looking for logical pricing
of services to your house, then we must include 100 dollar an hour
plumbing rate, (in Florida at least), and things as well.

Having someone you can trust over to your house is normally very

My grandmother was a professional house manager on Jungle Road, Palm
Beach for decades for only 3 families for her whole career. She
cleaned, cooked, and managed their packing and unpacking between
their trips between Harbor Springs, Hamptons, and back to Palm
Beach. She also managed the other “help” as they call it… now
mind you… these people refused to hold their own grandchildren.
But others were very nice people and took good care of us like
Wrigley Harrison, heir to Minwax. He was a very kind gentleman.
Douglas Fairbanks Jr was also very kind. When I was very young he
gave me his National Geographic collection which is what started my
whole word of being curious about many different things. But back to
my grandmother who with a 9th grade education at best was paid
better than anyone in my entire father’s side of the family for two

So she was basically a glorified maid. But she made more money
cooking and cleaning than anyone in my entire fathers side of the
family including her own sons who became general managers for
Greyhound and even her nephew Allen Covert who became an actor or my
own father who just retired from United Space Alliance where he
worked on the Shuttle program. You may know Allen Covert as the limo
driver in “The Wedding Singer”, and many other Adam Sandler movies.

The point is, having someone over to cook for us or clean our dirt
and deal with our issues is a very serious task that is more taxing
that you realize. When you are someones maid, you never know what
dirt or crisis you will encounter, and this is what they are really
paid for. I wish my grandmother would right a book about her
experiences, and then you would know what I mean.

Perhaps the 35 an hour is to cover liability insurance that the maid
must pay in case of accusations of theft? If I was a maid these
days, that’s the first thing you would purchase before starting out.

Forgive the typos of words being pulled together, this is not how I
type, it’s a glitch from writing in gmail app on Ipad, and then
Ganoksin creates the error when they repost. Rick Powell


Hi Monica,

Ooh, pricing is really difficult. A cleaning person is in
competition with others and can keep the prices below market.
Jewelry on the other hand is a luxury and and not a necessity. The
only price in making jewelry you control is the price of your labor.
There is no control over materials, rent, tools, show fees, etc.
There is also the factor of what the market will bear. Two years
ago, I could not sell higher than $40 for a pair of earrings.

The maker movement has eased that a bit. Younger buyers are spending
more for a pair of earrings, easily into the $85-125. They seem to
understand what it is to actually spend the labor and time to make
something and appreciate it more. This is the 35, maybe. The >45
bracket, no way. Their age directly reflects their wallet. It is one
reason why I teach. Doing so gives buyers a better understanding of
how difficult fabrication can be.

I’m sure you will get many folks who will help you on pricing.
Listen to them. Many are skilled and have been doing this for a long



I charge a base labor rate of $60 (usd). If I am not charging that
then I am not covering my overhead, taxes, and my own paycheck (I
would make more per hour working at a fast food restaurant).

Materials are charged separately.

I cant remember his name right now because it is so late but there
is a gentleman on this list that produces a great book and pricing
system for figuring out what to charge for your work. I am sure
someone will point you to his book.

Gerald Livings


Our pricing book is for retail jewelers who do repair & design. Its
figured on $100 to $125 per hour retail.

if that helps

Trade shops charge jewelers $65 to $85 an hour so if you keystone

David S. Geller


I think that book is from David Geller? It’s an all around general
charge that some aspire too.


His name is “David Geller!”

In my last teaching class, I asked my students how much they charge
for labour? All hands went up & said proudly that they charge

I replied if you charge this amount you’d better start looking for a
bankruptcy lawyer! Only 1-2 went to $75.00.

It’s amazing how ‘out of touch’ many of them can be in the business
world these days…design rich, but poor in basic day-to day

-I find many schools do not teach or give academic training in the
business world-



I could clean my own house. But it makes no economic sense to me. I
am more than happy to pay my house keeper $20.00 an hour because
while she is cleaning I am making $75.00- $100.00 an hour at the

I have two ladies. Each comes every other week. They work in both my
yard and inside the house. I am old now and have issues with my neck,
hands, back and knees. If I do heavy work it’s several days before I
can work a bench again.

They are struggling artists. I like supporting arts and music.

When I was a young, strong and a starving art student I used to take
in sewing and doing heavy chores for older folks who liked to support
the arts. I like to pay if forward.

Have fun, make lots of jewelry, and spread the wealth.

Jo Haemer


I don’t charge by the hour.

I’m very good at what I do and so work faster than younger, less
experienced jewelers.

My labor translates to approx. $75.00 or more per hour.

Paf Dvorak

Most of the jewelers I know charge $35-65.00 US an hour for bench

The answer to this question is that it’s not how much youmake an
hour, it’s how much you make a year. I make a wax in an hour ortwo,
you make the same wax in two days. I charge a hundred bucks, you try
to get $500 because that’s your hourly rate but nobody wants to pay
thatmuch for a wax so your waxwork career is over. I refuse all
silver workexcept for some exceptions because the pay scale is just
different. Silver people have a different budget in mind that gold
people do. FIFTY DOLLARS?!?!?! While I charge that to do just about
anything. A friend of ours charges $200/hour and he watches the
clock, too. He’s the guy who does local service for Cartier and
Boucheron. So, yes you can ask for that but if you’re not in that
league nobody is going to pay you and, well, your jewelry career is
over, again. Most hobbyists are worth $10/hr - the time they take
and the quality they end up with have a market value of something
like that, if they are any good. Most college graduates are worth
something like $20-$25/hour at best, depending on their ability.
Most of them have never retipped a diamond, either. Narrow skill and
design sets there. When you actually have a few years of making real
jewelry and you can set a diamond center in about 10 minutes and do
it properly, then you are into $50+/hr because you are worth it.

There is just no way in the world anybody can truthfully say that “a
jeweler should charge $XX/hr” You can also add in that he can do the
same job as I can but his is ugly and mine is beautiful in the same
time. Talent, skill, style, efficiency, quality. All of those are
factors… John D.


Hi John and others

I make a wax in an hour or two, you make the same wax in two days.
I charge a hundred bucks, you try to get $500 because that's your
hourly rate but nobody wants to pay that much for a wax so your
waxwork career is over. 

How true I made 500 solitaire rings before I was up to speed. I make
one in less than 2 hours charge $100 for labour plus costs.

I am in a poor rural environment.

Some else takes 5 hours does a lesser quality job, but wants $250
and wonders why they have no customers. Seen it happen too often.

The reality of this business is hard work and quality work.

all the best


Regarding: "His name is “David Geller!”

In my last teaching class, I asked my students how much they charge
for labour? All hands went up & said proudly that they charge
$25-$50.00/hour. I replied if you charge this amount you’d better
start looking for a bankruptcy lawyer! Only 1-2 went to $75.00.

It’s amazing how ‘out of touch’ many of them can be in the business
world these days…design rich, but poor in basic day-to day

-I find many schools do not teach or give academic training in the
business world-"

So that number is quite close to gerry’s number. he quoted. So why
$75 an hour?

Let’s take Gerry as an example. he doesn’t buy gold, he’s a diamond
setter. lets assume you want to pay YOURSELF $40,000 a year. On an 8
hour day ifyou worked for another jeweler you’d be paid $19.25 an
hour. because you are self employed you have to pay the employers
social security. your boss matches the social security 7 Fica that
comes out of your pay check. thats 7.15%. So to make $40,000 ($19.25
an hour) you have to pay yourself $20.60 an hour.

So $20.60 an hour over an 8 hour day, 52 weeks a year pays
YOU $40,000 a year

but if you ever did a time study on yourself you’d see that the
amount of time you actually do stuff in the shop where you can
charge is about 5.5 hours a day. The other 2.5 hours is doing paper
work, talking, cleaning the polishing machine.

you must add the hours you don’t work to the hours you do work.
being the 2.5 hours you don’t work iswasted time you must now charge
about $30 each of the 5.5 hours you did work. 5.5 hours x $30 an
hour = $165 a day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year will bring you in
$42,900 a year.

by the way, remember this number. 5.5 hours a day of working for a
profit x 5 days a week x 52 weeks a year means you are only
working/charging 1430 hours a year. (If you worked in a store being
paid 8 hours a day you’d work 2080 hours) So remember 1430 hours

So if you’re going to make money from your SHOP you must charge the
customer for the light bill, phone, rent, etc. you CANNOT PAY FORIT
OUT OF YOUR $40,000 a year. that is your take home pay (before

So lets look at some examples:

EXPENSE YEARLY COST Rent $12,000 Advertising $4800 Utilities $4000
Alarm $1200 Office Supplies $2500 Insurance $4500 Shop tools | &
supplies $10,000

TOTAL 39,000

Customers have to pay this. Divide $39,000 by 1430 hours and these
expenses cost you $227.00 each hour you work.

Add the $27.00 an hour for expenses to the $30.00 an hour you must
pay yourself and you charge $57.00 an hour to charge is you were
just doing diamond setting and didn’t have to buy gold

Thats a ways from $75an hour but higher than $25-$30 gerry mentioned,
also i just threw the expenses out of my head. if you have one sales
person helping you with taking in work, ordering on the phone and
doing the books and that person is paid by you $25,000 a year (which
is $12 an hour, going back to your magic number of only charging for
1430 hours, then divide her $25,000 a year by 1430 hours and she cost
you $17.50 an hour. You must charge customers for her as well as you.

Add $17.50 an hour for the assistant to the $57.00 an hour you’re
now charging, now you must charge $75 an hour to be able to: Pay
yourself $40,000 a year Pay your assistant 25,000 a year Pay all
overhead at $39,000 a year Only work productively 5.5 hours a day

If a customer says “they guy down the street only charges $60 an
hour”, what would you do?

remember you still have an obligation to BRING IN $75 an hour to pay

if you discount you’ll have to work after the store is clsoed
because you’ll now have to produce in one day MORE than 5.5hours

or Take home less money

or reduce your assistants pay or hours

Or pay vendors NOT ON TIME and delay payment.

or you could just buckle down and sell the quality of your work,
stand your ground and get the 475 an hour.

David Geller


Hi friends

every client concern with work. they need work so i never go for
hourly rates.

i like labour charge according to work who will calculate my time if
i work slow or may be fast.

Kapil Jain


The maker movement has eased that a bit. Younger buyers are spending
more for a pair of earrings, easily into the $85-125.

I am closing a store I have had for 24 years.

The last few years have been rough.
The majority of my customers
have been 30-70 years olds.
I virtually no young people. I
have a consultant who mentioned
that he has seen few young people
over the last few weeks.
I said they are spending their money on tattoos.

People in the 50+ years are scared and not spending on jewelry.


Many thanks to David Geller for his rather complete accounting of the
details of what you need to charge. It’s all crystal clear. I don’t
want to be too much of a contrarian, but I have to point out that the
retail jewelry store model is not the only one out there at present.
There is competition from overseas (China, India, other countries)
and also from part timers and individual craftspeople working alone
out of their homes, tents, carts or whatever. Those from other
countries besides the US deserve representation here, as do the
individual craftspeople in various countries. The retail jeweler in
the US, Britain or Europe (for starters) who doesn’t realize he/she
is competing with these other producers is behind the times.

What does this mean? It means that the competition, be it from other
countries, where wages are not $40K annually, not even close, or
from hobbiests who don’t even figure in a wage or from individuals
working at home who don’t require $40K/yr, can possibly have a leg up
at the starting blocks. It means that craftspersons who have figured
out how to operate without a store or factory and without a sales
force, may have an edge in not having to pay those people. Will they
work more than 40 hours for less than $40K/yr. Possibly. Or perhaps
they’ll figure a way to operate more efficiently.

Let’s just consider the individual craftsperson in the US. If he can
work from home in a couple of hundred square feet, he might have
minimal business costs. No rent. In my case, instead of insurance I
have a $28/yr safe deposit box at the local bank where excess silver,
stones and gold are kept. I have dogs, watchful neighbors and a few
guns and a wasp spray that goes 30 feet on my bedside table. You can
call it foolhardy, but it is cheap. There is only one road in and out
of my neighborhood and there hasn’t been a theft here in about ten
years except for one traced to the guy who delivered the morning
paper and was easily caught. I can market locally and network and the
price point is low. I sell to friends, neighbors and friends from
church, and then friends of friends, etc. Hopefully my work is well
crafted and in traditional designs many middle class people enjoy.

While $40K/yr is nice, some consider that they are saving money by
working at home. No driving, lunches in the kitchen rather than at
restaurants, no dressing up to go to work, no set hours. Watch the
children out of one eye while making a ring, so no child care. Etc.
In my case the alternative to work at home would possibly be a $10/hr
job, so making $15/hr seems do-able.

I have no problem with widely varying competition. The local jeweler
is next to my wine store and I love to look in his window when I go
by to pick up a bottle. In addition to the typical diamonds and
colored stones in his cases that are put away at night, he has some
very well done silver cabochon jewelry and other things that stay in
the front window all weekend. Price point here is maybe $50 to $350.
Nice multiple cabs imitating leaves and stems, CZ jewelry in
Edwardian style with millgrained edges (from China?), a CZ studded
basketball in the local college colors.

It is not MFA project material, but it sells in our semi-rural
Tennessee market and, if it is not cutting edge, at least it is not
ugly. This same jeweler told me he designs with clients in front of
the computer and sends the completed designs out for casting. He has
a bench and doubtless does sizing and various other things there, but
outsources casting now.

Perhaps I’m not telling most of you anything you don’t know. I’m
just saying that there are various ways to skin the cat. Price is not
the only variable, but it is probably the most important one in many
markets, and there are now lots of situations where jewelry is made
and sold besides the traditional jewelry store. I would guess that
anyone who does not know this is already out of business or headed
that way. there is only so much scrap gold out there and many people
have already sold off theirs…


Hi all

just did some sums, ouch big time. Can make good money making silver
rings. But gem set rings were just too low a price to be viable. I am
older and work slower these days.

or you could just buckle down and sell the quality of your work,
stand your ground 

So today I increased my gem set ring price 50% got 2 orders not a
problem for the customers. Still cheaper than the chain stores.

Why? The rings will be made in Argentium extra cost of ring $ 2.50
price increase $25 increase in quality 100%. Still too cheap.

When I master Argentium I will double my sale price. Then I will
make $85 profit a ring.

It will be a case of customer take it or leave it for a gem set ring
or they can buy a silver ring or earrings for $25 my profit $20 time
to make 15 mins. Or they can go to a chain store and pay 50% more for
a mass produced ring with a lesser quality stone.

Ring orders were for tourists, locals want every thing for nothing.
Because I am at a market. Tourists respect hand making stall holders.
Locals think you are sh*t because you are at a market. Except for the
few who have more than 3 brain cells, they appreciate what I make and
come back again and again.

Did get another order from my best customer gave her an excellent
price. She pays up front and waits 2 weeks for her order.

Picked up one order today and immediately ordered another ring. Why
give her a special price? Because I tell her what the full price
would be and that is what she tells her friends. She is a great
advertisement, and brings me lots of business.

Also delivered another order today, told him his price was a special
price because he is from a medieval society. Tell your friends in the
society cost is 50% more. Big smile on his face loved the ring and
felt really special.

Seed your best customers with personal attention and great prices,
because their word of mouth will make you serious money.

As for the others get every cent you can. “Non illegitmus
carborundum” Never let the bastards grind you down.

Have faith in your work, hand made is the way to go. That said I
have a CAD eternity ring to go to the casters and if this works it
will be great. Not designed by me but a gift from an Orchid poster.
This cyber space is so cool.

And what about those great posts from Gerry, the cyber setter. We
should give thanx to these masters and to Hanuman for doing this for
the trade.

So now I need to brew some coffee and add LOS to have even more fun.

all the best


Geller is the man. 10 years ago, I figured my labor at $100/hour


Just to re affirm what John Donivan said last week that if you are
fast and efficient, you can charge $50-75 per hour.

And as he correctly said, this comes with practice and a broader
skill set.

Last week I had to make this ring.
Explore cunt face

A lady had 50 second hand diamonds ranging from 1mm to 1.3 mm in
size and I used her gold from an old ring.

I melted the gold at noon and at 6:30 pm I was finished setting and

To me it was just a standard job that I have done hundreds of times
and because I can do it that quickly, it is relatively profitable.

If I took 13 hours to finish that job, there is no way I could
charge $75/ hour.

Comes down to experience equals speed equals price per hour.

And even so, it’s no great shakes, because I still have to pay
income tax on that amount.

But in these times, you take what you can get and damn the


Kevin Hilderbrand, et al!

Ten years ago your labour was $100.00/hre?

We aren’t charging enough? Darn right, the plumber who just knocks
on the door charges $140.00 just to say ‘hullo’. My mom-in-law needed
to have some home repairs done @ $140.00/hr, plus overly inflated
prices for parts. A gardener now charges $100.00 just to cut the darn
grass, 15 minutes of work @ 2 times/mth.

We are highly skilled craftspeople that has taken us umpteen decades
to learn our great profession. What happened to our study of
economics, via our very own David Geller? ‘Get out & reach for the
sky’, if you’re not charging enough, you’re the loser! One customer
saw the price of a ring & asked for a better price, the jeweller said
"Oh excuse me, my price is now 30% more". Enough said!!

Gerry Lewy