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Pricing... Reality

I just finished working 75 days, often 12 hour days, to complete a
collection of 46 pieces for a solo show at a major hospital. My
earnings, assuming everything sold: $78 a day, before the cost of
materials, the cost of materials replacement, tool charges, display

chemicals, etc. Prices range from $50 to $450. The 16 gauge cuff
above is $225. (!)

Suggestions welcome.


If you are running a business, then you must price accordingly, and
plan what you make, and how to make it, accordingly.

From a business perspective you must figure out your operating costs

  • rent, insurance, materials, utilities, taxes, payroll, equipment,
    etc. A portion of those expenses should be allotted to each item

There are a number of different formulas people use, but basically,
your wholesale price is generally half of retail if you do both.
Your wholesale must cover everything above (plus anything I left out

  • but in short ALL of your expenses, which includes your salary!).
    Then wholesale should include a bit of profit for you. Retail
    includes a much higher profit ratio, but then has additional costs,
    as now you are the one doing the selling with all the associated
    costs - which now must also be covered by that retail price.

If I’m understanding your post correctly, your prices are NOT
covering your actual costs including payroll. The "simple"answer is
you need to raise your prices. The more complicated answer might be
that you need to take a hard look at your market, and decide if what
you are making and how you are making it are really the right
choices for that market, and then adjust either what you make and
how to fit your current market, or work to develop a market that
will deliver higher prices.

Good luck! I’m sure there will be lots of helpful suggestions.

Beth Wicker


One of the beautiful things about being self employed is that you
make all the decisions, including pricing. Often people think that
they can’t charge more for their work, they have any number of
reasons. When in reality they can. In the rare case where you can’t,
say you’re hand making zinc plated lag bolts, then you may need to
reconsider your product line or change your production methods…

A simple way to calculate your prices is to decide how much you
reasonably wish to make annually and divide that by 2000 (there’s
2000 working hours in ayear if you work full time).

Then total your overhead. Your shop rent, utilities, tooling,
consumables, travel, marketing, phone. everything. Then pad that a
little to cover unknowns. Then divide that by 2000 as well.

Add those two results together and that’s your hourly rate. Keep
track of the total time each piece takes takes you and multiply to
determine the labor portion of your charge.

Then material costs need to be totaled, marked up and added to the
labor charge. Often people use a variable multiple on materials
depending on cost. More for inexpensive materials and then less as
the cost increases. That’s a personal choice.

It’s nice to use this to determine your wholesale pricing, then
choose another multiple for retail. Often that’s double but it’s
often less (but sometimes more).

If you use your formula every time you will always make enough
money. If not, increase your rate and or mark up. Mark

1 Like

Brilliant article…

Thanks for the Clarity!


Our formula is pretty basic. At the wholesale level we charge $100.00 per hour. We double our cost of materials plus we add 5-10% if it’s an annoying customer or we know the job will be a pain in the ass. That said our overhead costs are very low. We work at home.
We let the retailer decide their markup.
Remember it is all about percieved value. The more you charge the more folks will respect your work.
As Tim and I inch towards retirement we will continue to raise our prices so that our workload will lighten.
Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer

Makes no difference where you work. Your
labour has no reality on where it was made. Keep
your markup as high as you can!
Make no excuses on your difficulty or
time involved. Here is my equation!
"speed, quality, cost… pick two!"
This is for you Jo and everyone.

Gerry! from my Toronto IPhone
(-5 GMT)

@gerrylewy18 in a previous life I engaged with Herman Miller. Throughout their offices and mfg facility signs (lots and big) announced ‘Quality Price Speed’ Pick Any Two

Regards RLW

rwade1, You don’t happen to be in the Holland area of Michigan do you? I’m in Grand Haven just north of Herman Miller.

I’m also going to be teaching in G’Haven,MI
in November! I’ll be at “StudioJSD” maybe
we can all have a ‘cheap’ dinner along the
tourist strip…:wink:
Gerry! from my Toronto IPhone
(-5 GMT)

@gerrylewy18 and @ErichCDesigns1 oh wow. Kind of wish I liked snow a lot. However I really like Rockwall Texas and if y’all would consider a visit to the Dallas area I’ll buy and consider it an honor to pick your brains.

If you want us both to “Traipse a.k.a. Schlepp” down to your ‘neck of the
woods’!!! I for one, could do it after the New Years. My idea is to have a
’mini-convention of the minds"…or what’s left of mine…:>)
Can ‘we’ talk about this idea? I’d be so very interested in working on it.
Imagine I could ‘find’ some more setting essays by that time!

Gerry Lewy (-5GMT)
Toronto, Ontario.

What a great idea. Yes i would like to work on that idea.

Thought comes to mind “Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology” is just 45 min north of me in Paris Texas

Send me your email address. I think
that this could be a great program!
I’m still preparing more (1.6 Gig’s) setting notes
as a follow up. Gotta keep my brain from
sitting idle too long…retirement?..:wink:
Gerry! from my Toronto IPhone
(-5 GMT)

Hi Gerry,

Sounds nice! We might take a short family trip in November, but let me know what your dates are and perhaps I could meet up with you guys for some dinner or general conversation.


Thanks for the offer! :slight_smile:

I just had to ask about Holland though since you mentioned Herman Miller. Funny how small the world can be at times!

1 Like