What is the proper way to determine the selling price in lieu of
the current rise in the market?
Back in the days of rapidly fluctuating metals markets, many
manufacturers resorted to a factor system. They assigned each item
of inventory with a number, which reflected in some arbitrary way the
cost of metal in proportion to the total cost of the item. Then they
provided a chart with several columns laid out with the market cost
of gold. So, in a simplified example, if your item cost $50 at at
base gold cost of $400, and the item carried a factor of 1.0, you
would look at the gold market for that day, (say $500), check the
column for $500 gold, see that at $500 gold, you needed to multiply
the item’s factor number by.25 (the difference between $400 gold, and
$500 gold). So you multiplied the item factor number (1.0) by the
gold factor (.25), and added the difference to your item cost. (1.0
x.25 =…25) Therefore, your item cost would be $50.25 at $500 gold.
This system was very unwieldy, and as the markets stabilized, the
manufacturers and retailers were very happy to drop it. Because each
item required a factor number, it took a long time to set up, and
was confusing to use, but it was a way of dealing with the rapid
changes the market was making daily. It was next to impossible to
give accurate price quotes on even simple basics like wedding bands
because the customer may come in on a day when gold was $550, and the
order processed several days later when gold was $650. The system set
up a way of making more accurate assessments of costs.
You might try a similar method in re-pricing your items. If you have
cast the items, your gold costs should be relatively simple to
calculate. Compare your cost per dwt. at the time of casting with
the current cost per dwt., and increase accordingly. If the item was
fabricated, or used purchased components, try to recalculate the
cost of metal accordingly. While the item cost you less to make it
originally than it will cost you to replace it, it is the
replacement costs that should determine your retail price.
Melissa Veres, Engraver