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Is there an easy way to bid a job?

I have a customer that I have now given 5 different bids to (I know I
know) for variations in a ring. She keeps changing what part will be
gold, which will be silver, in hopes of getting the price down. Now
after a year, she wants me to bid again (which I am willing to do 1
more time) her latest variations.

Is there any way to do this easily? What I am hung on is that I know
how much gold, what karat, I need. But to refigure it time and time
again as the market fluctuates and she fluctuates is becoming time
consuming. Any magic formulas I can apply to this without bugging
Hoover and Strong for the info?


Any magic formulas I can apply to this without bugging Hoover and
Strong for the info? 

Sorry to be blunt, Carla but yes there is. Tell her to quit
pretending she’s a jewelry designer, to quit wasting your time, and
come back when she can afford to pay for what she wants. Do it very
nicely and then go do some real work.

She sound like a real problem. Quote high based on 22K and walk away.
Life is too short. (I know that I’m not too nice and have a very low
tolerance level)

Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing

Carla- Here’s my magic formula for customers who want 5 bids and
then another a year later…

Ruuuuuuun!!! Run away as fast as you can. This person is just
wasting your precious time. Customers like this who shop in price and
price only will never be a repeat customer. They will always go to
the next cheapest person. When Tim and I do a bid on a job we just do
one drawing, maybe two at the most.

Now read my lips and repeat after me…“Here. let us make
something really nice for you.” “How would you like to pay for that?
Cash or check?”

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer

Sounds like she has no money and is bored, and entertaining herself.

Eventually one has to send such “customers” to Kmart.

It sounds like you are trying to be to exact in metal calculations,
over estimate the weight and charge a fair amount, add another
$100.00 for the time she has already taken. My first question to her
would be, how much do you want to spend? She might not want it at
any price because she is just playing with you. Or, you could ask
her, would you order it today if I can do it for $1000.00 (what ever
amount fits), put the burden on her to make a decision. We make
money with our time not just metal, and she is taking your time.

Bill Wismar

Any magic formulas I can apply to this without bugging Hoover and
Strong for the info? 

Quote about 1 1/2 to 2 times what you think you should for what you
might go through along the way or when you are done based on her
seemingly consistent behavior. Sounds like Trouble.

Have you done work for her before, and how did that go?

We all need the work, the grief that comes with some customers brings

Charge what you think you are worth, not based just on materials. We
all need to charge more for labor based on the current price of
gold. When the price of materials goes up, the skill to transform the
materials should be valued more.

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.

Hi Carla, you must have a formula you use to calculate the retail or
wholesale prices of your typical work? So this may be no help to
you, but if it’s wholesale I use a simple formula. I total my
material cost but estimating the weight of the finished piece and
multiplying that weight by the metal cost (padded by about 20%) and
adding any stone cost (also padded by at least 20%). Then I estimate
the time it will take me to make it and multiply that by my hourly
rate. Add those figures together and that’s the wholesale price, I
can usually figure it out without a calculator so re-figuring is not
a problem. Really I am just getting paid for my time, the materials
are usually a little better than break even, even with the extra 20%
because of the extra material involved in making any project. If
you’re charging retail, then you mark-up you wholesale as you see
fit…often doubled.


Carla, I can’t believe you spent this much time with her. She has you
in a no win situation. Your work is excellent, and you don’t need her
to tell you how to design it. Just tell her that you are too busy to
take on the project, and close the door to any more requests from


I know that I'm not too nice and have a very low tolerance level 

Perfectly understandable JeffD, you’re in business, you can’t be
nice all the time, and you have to make money.

I’m learning to not be as nice :slight_smile:
Regards Charles A.

I suggest the Excel spreadsheet in Microsoft Office, or the Spreadsheet which is the free equivalent.

Every cell in a spreadsheet is an amazing calculator. A tricky
learning learning curve, but not too hard to master, and your
spreadsheet will instantly re-calculate hundreds of variables by
changing one of them.

You can make it calculate the volume of each component, then make it
calculate the value of each component according to the material and
it’s current price.

For example, click a cell, type… =123.5…hit enter, and the
cell will display the answer of 1x2x3.5

Or type… = and then click another cell that has an answer in it,
hit enter, and your new cell will equal what the other cell has. In
this manner you can make the new cell calculate the answer in one
cell x the answer in another cell, and add sales tax too.

Google, ‘spreadsheet formula’. Really good to know.

You’ll have an easier time bidding if you break your bid down into
two columns and two parts


Total Total
Labor materials


So If you put the 2 columns with data, add them up and at the bottom
add the total columns together then you can manipulate the material
to suit her, the labor mostly stays unchanged and she can see the
value and she can see what will be saved by moving from gold to
silver and visa versa.

On my website is an excel sheet you can use as your own:

David Geller

One thing that struck me is that you have bid this out over a year
with a couple of different versions…and now she is asking for
another bid and is probably trying to get it down to a price she
"likes". Please make sure you are keeping current with the price of
metals for all the different versions. Most likely when you bid last
year the price of gold was lower than it is now. So she needs to know
the CURRENT price for all options…and if she keeps waiting the
price is most likely only going to go higher if she uses any gold in
the piece. And as we all know, even silver is up…

Mrs. Terry Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts, LLC

Add 10% to the highest calculation–and another 10% every time she
asks. Maybe she’ll get the hint! :slight_smile:



“10% increase” is still not enough, bid up another 20%+, and
increase your labour charges to approximately $250.00+ per hour or
more! Watch her leave your store quicker that the speed of light.

One jeweller I knew had the same problem, she asked him why so much
money for labour? “If you can do it cheaper, you buy your tools. You
buy the gold, sit at my bench and pay for the office space and you do
it yourself!” The client took the hint!

I once had a private client who wanted so much and this was just a
phone estimate. I got the idea he wanted everything under the sun. I
told him “Sorry, I don’t want to entertain making that ring for you,
you won’t like my patterns” and I hung up!

“When the aggravation factor far exceeds the economic benefits, it’s
time to move on!”… Gerry!

Add 10% to the highest calculation--and another 10% every time she
asks. Maybe she'll get the hint! :) 

Oh - I LIKE this response lol! Will have to remember if ever needed!

Beth Wicker

The little shop I work in this issue falls under the PIA tax i.e.
Pain in the ass. We do not apply percentage in the shop i work
in…We apply a number designed to scare or drive the customer off.
This is a poor plan in my opinion. The problem is sometimes my people
add PIA and still the customer says OK. My personal advice is…Get
To Know… Get out and check with your salesperson…The book is
not always right know what you are looking at…Know what you are
worth, apply what your time and your sales floor time is at cost and
multiply by 4… If all else fails bid bid high and if a customer
walks make sure you hand them a written quote, a date, and a
signature on your card…When the come back the price may vary.
Especially it is written…George Salesman PIA AJP, 1000.00

The good old 80/20 rule… reversed

Jane Walker