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Pricing and making a profit


#1

was: Anyone make their own solder?

Hi should have mentioned my gold ring price was wholesale, that's
how I have to compete where I live, sales outside the poor rural
valley I live in are a different price altogether. Point made was
you can use 18 kt and make a profit. 

Hi Richard,

Just as long as you are covering your costs (at least).

I’m not being greedy when I price a gold ring, I’m covering my costs
and putting a margin on the piece so that I can continue making
jewellery etc.

The problem for me is that I’m new at selling jewellery, and I still
have a lot of self doubt. I know that sounds funny coming from me,
but it’s true none the less.

If it was a knife I know how to price those. If I sell you a hand
forged vegetable knife it will cost you between $30 and $50,
depending on the wood, metals used in the bolsters, the steel used in
the knife is practically zero cost, and that includes my labour. If
it was a pattern welded hand forged vegetable knife, you’d be looking
at about $250, and this is due to the time taken to manufacture the
blade.

I’m getting better at pricing jewellery, but I’m not there yet.

Regards Charles A.


#2
A plumber makes $50-100 per hour. a goldsmith should do at least
the same. my thoughts. we are more valuable then a plumber and most
of us have way more $ 's invested in our tools not to mention the
time to learn our trade. 

Plumbers “are” paid pretty well. My Grandfather was a plumber, and
taught me my way around an S-bend, however I will still pay for a
"good" plumber, because I am not a certified plumber, and there are a
few things I find tricky that a plumber has had more experience
dealing with.

More valuable than a plumber, debatable. How valuable would a
jeweller be when your toilet is blocked, and overflowing :wink: That’s
right plumbers deal with sh*t, and honestly if it were me $50 - $100
wouldn’t be enough.

My view is that all trades are valuable, because a lot of time has
been spent learning them, and gaining practical experience. So I
don’t believe that you can say one trade is more valuable than
another, imo.

Regards Charles A.


#3
will charge you that regardless of the materials. Copper? No
problem, but it will still cost the same in labor. 

I have always felt the same way. If someone wants a ring made out of
silver rather than gold, they still pay the same labor charge as
they would if it were gold. In reality it’s more work to make it out
of silver than gold, so the labor charge should actually be more.
It’s the same principle as applies to setting charges. People have
no problem paying well for setting a large diamond, but balk at
paying the same setting charge for a similar size garnet or peridot.
My reaction is always the same, that the value of the stone is
irrelevant to the setter and the risks are actually higher when
setting the more fragile stone. So in reality you should pay more to
set the less valuable but softer and so higher risk stone. It’s the
same with the metal, the value of the metal is irrelevant to maker
as far as the labor charge is concerned.

As to the question of whether I can do work for people who can’t
afford to pay formy time? The answer is sadly no. The most valuable
thing I have is my time. I only have this one, short little life and
only can spend so much of it earning my living.

I’m with Jo as far as being selective about work. You are much
better off making one thing for $1000 than doing 20 things for $50
each. It’s easier on your body, your mind, your equipment and on
your bank account.

Mark


#4

Jo Haemer said, Leonid makes a good point here. I have folks ask all
the time if it would be cheaper to make a piece out of silver or
lower karat gold. I explain to them that the cost of materials is
minor compared to our labor costs. We charge $75.00 to $100.00 per
hour for our labor. Wholesale. A custom mounting starts at $750.00,
labor only and goes up from there. This is for a plain mounting with
no stone setting costs. I will charge you that regardless of the
materials. Copper? No problem, but it will still cost the same in
labor.

I do agree with this, as I do with Leonid’s idea that you’ve got to
pay for quality. I pretty much have a starting price of $400 for my
pieces starting with a silver piece because my work is pretty
complicated with one-of-a-kind carvings. Then it goes up from there
depending on complexity, metals, stones, etc. I put a lot of time
into my work, and yes, I think I deserve to get paid for it. And I
prefer to use 18K and up when I use gold. Everyone deserves to get
paid for their hard work and talent. And yes, I could take the same
amount of time and dedication to make a quality piece in either 18K
gold or copper, but people don’t want to pay enough for the copper
piece for it to be worth my time. This is a reality. But what I had
trouble with was Richard’s seemingly callous statement that (and I’m
paraphrasing) if you don’t have a lot of money, that 'real’
goldsmiths don’t care about you. I’ve had people buy my pieces who
don’t have a lot of money, but who really wanted one of my designs.
So I give them a payment plan. I’m still going to use quality
materials, spend my time on it, and deserve to be paid for that
time, but I try to consider their financial situation. My day job is
in the horse industry. The sport horse industry, with some really
pricey horses. I’ve had some clients in my barn who I knew had more
money than I could ever imagine. And quite often they were the last
ones to pay their bills or to really care about the welfare of their
horses. The people who have to work for the money to pay their board
always pay on time because they know how hard it would be on me for
them not to pay. So I have a healthy caution when it comes to the
very rich and a soft spot for those who have to work hard for their
money. And that also includes hard-working jewelers; you do deserve
to be paid for your time, but that doesn’t mean we should look down
on the non-rich. That’s all I meant by my comment.


#5

Vernon said, we are more valuable then a plumber

Rethink that when your septic tank backs up!


#6

I agree with Charles here. Far too much disparity, in pay and in
respect, between various occupations and trades - and much of the
disparity for no good reason. We spend lifetimes searching for and
defending those illusory abstractions.

(Pause while indignant roars of indignation and condescending
lectures about mortgages, cost of college, feeding the family etc
subside)

Of course! No argument here.

The plumber’s kids need to go to college, need to eat well. Like the
jeweller’s kids, doctor’s kids, bankers kids, garbage-collector’s
kids. etc. We all benefit therefrom. There really isn’t much reason
why some people should get so much less for their lives than other
people. If their kids don’t get the support and skills to carry the
work forward - whatever the work - then our kids will lose. Damn
right I’d rather spend my life as a creative artist than unclogging
sewer pipes, or tracking investments, or dealing with frightened,
sick people. - but none of us really needs to get paid a whole lot
more or less than anyone else. There are so many other rewards that
come with the work.

Marty


#7

Hi Charles et al

If I sell you a hand

forged vegetable knife it will cost you between $30 and $50,
depending on the wood, metals used in the bolsters, the steel used in
the knife is practically zero cost, and that includes my labour.

now that seems way to cheap. My wife is a retired chef, now madly
into beads for 30 years.

We both worked at Beadco.

The chefs knives we use cost a lot more than $50. Except for my
Chinese chopper

Cost $15 AND SO SHARP MY WIFE WON’T TOUCH IT. GO FIGURE.

Richard


#8

It only takes a shovel and a pump to fix that problem…

Takes a lot more to fix a allergic reaction to nickel:-) still think
you areworth more on the pay scale then your plumber…


#9

Hi Richard,

I could sell for more, but I can produce plain steel knives very
quickly, and in some cases the forging can take less than 5 minutes,
and we are talking about a “small” vegetable knife :wink: I’m
comfortable with the price.

Regards Charles A.


#10

Hi

Richard's seemingly callous statement 

I was being facetious:

“treating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humour.”

Gold jewellery is a luxury item. And while some need to save up to
purchase, that means they can afford it.

And probably would treasure it more than someone who can max the
plastic.

Now in relation to expensive, try fashion jewellery.

The % markups would amaze you and high sales volumes.

When I worked in that section of the trade 1000% markup on materials
and labour was common.

Fashion jewellery/accessories has 2 main parameters

1 must be expensive

2 must be out of date by next season or not last that long

In the early days of that business, I mentioned to my hair
accessories customer that some items could only be worn 10 times
before they wore out. Made stock to his designs. (Cost me 50 cents
labour and materials, wholesale price $5 retail price $25.

That was in the 1980’s. It was hard to keep up the production to
meet demand.)

His reply was “Isn’t fashion wonderful!”

I said I don’t understand. He explained the main parameters of
fashion to me and then added.

“It is cheaper than champagne and lasts longer! If you can’t afford
it don’t play the fashion GAME!”

This was from a gentleman who spent a $1000 a week in advertising
his London salons in 1956.

In the mid 1980’s (he had one salon in Sydney Australia) I delivered
100 units a day to him, six days a week. Do the math. I was only one
of 10 suppliers.

Proud of what I made, no it was fashion aka crap. Enjoy the money,
of course.

Why am I not still making fashion jewellery, it is a very nasty
business the smell of BS is over the top.

Lets not even talk about dealing with the stylists who think they
are God, and real bitches and that was just the ‘BOYS’.

Let alone the precious little girls who were models etc.

My friend who was a photographer’s agent told me a wonderful story
about a shoot on a tropical island when a model

told a photographer from NY how to do his shoot. He said one word,
“NEXT!” For some reason she was surprised the contracts

dried up.

Now when it comes to STYLE, think quality, longevity and names like
Yves, Coco, Cartier etc.

Richard


#11

Martin-

I'd rather spend my life as a creative artist than unclogging sewer
pipes, or tracking investments, or dealing with frightened, sick
people.

I did all of that all that. In just the last week. Really.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer
timothywgreen.com


#12
It only takes a shovel and a pump to fix that problem.. Takes a lot
more to fix a allergic reaction to nickel:-) still think you
areworth more on the pay scale then your plumber... 

As a blocked toilet fix, that wouldn’t work, and would cause a lot
of damage :open_mouth: Get a licensed plumber, not a guy with a shovel and a
pump.

A simple way to fix an allergic reaction to nickel. don’t use nickel
it in the first place :wink: If the ring is made by someone else,
remake the ring in an alloy without nickel in it.

Regards Charles A.


#13

Richard said,

I was being facetious: 'treating serious issues with deliberately
inappropriate humour.'

OK, that makes sense. That’s also why I wrote “seemingly callous
statement,” I wasn’t completely sure if you were being serious. And
I agree with your comparison of fashion vs. style. Fashion is
usually crap (NO ONE looks good in skinny jeans!), but style is
forever.


#14

I’ve noticed that the more enjoyable a job is for the average Joe,
the worse it pays. Crappy jobs (plumbers, waste management etc) have
to pay more to find someone to do them. THAT’s my theory, and I’m
sticking to it. Of course, the question of training and skill has
not been taken into account.

(I generally work the fun jobs that don’t pay well - horseback
guide, firefighter, motorcycle instructor. Life is too short to be
measured by money. Right?)

Blessings,
Sam Kaffine

on a windy clear day in CO Rockies, where I’m wondering if I’ve lived 40
years by the wrong slide rule. OK, Universe, I might be ready to make
some money now.


#15

Lets do a thought experiment;

Tradeocide; get rid of all the plumbers and jewelers.

On one hand we have a necessity and the other we have luxury.

Clearly, having jewelry is a necessity where water and waste
extraction is frivolous luxury.

I gots my gold ring as I sit in S$%t.

And sorry if a plumber is going to dig a septic system up with a
shovel, hisrates just went up to $300 per hour. And those backhoes,
well $80,000 for a small one is far less than the money I spent on
my jewelers tools. He’ll let’s go real small and get a skid steer
with a backhoe attachment. $40k for the steer and another $8k for a
good backhoe attachment.

Full disclosure; my father was a plumber. AND I prefer doing
jewelry. (worked for him during summers as a kid)


#16

Sorry but I have more money in tools then any of your plumbers. and
yes I have worked as a plumber before and a jet mechanic. I love
making jewelry and like making money so I can play at what I love to
do…


#17
Life is too short to be measured by money. 

Life is too short to spend it poor.

Paf Dvorak


#18

Hi Sam

You get paid for firefighting, we do it for free in Australia.

Don’t the Salvation Army do good sandwiches in the middle of nowhere
at 3am!

Richard


#19
Life is too short to spend it poor. 

That’s why you pay off your major bills as soon as you can. Once
that’s done you have a lot more freedom.

This applies to any industry, if you have no major bills it just
becomes wealth building.

Regards Charles A.


#20
Sorry but I have more money in tools then any of your plumbers.
and yes I have worked as a plumber before and a jet mechanic. I
love making jewelry and like making money so I can play at what I
love to do.. 

Depends on the plumber. Depends on the Jeweller.

A plumber that does drainage sometimes uses heavy machinery to dig
trenches.

A Jeweller sometimes has a laser welder.

Meh :wink:
CIA