How to price out jobs?

Hey all, i’m starting to pick more and more clients. Mostly simple stuff like signs and what not, but I recently got a client that needs a video game cabinet made, which will require a few sheets of plywood.

Normally from what i’ve learned is you take your cost of materials x 3, which is the obvious part, but what do you charge for machine run time if any at all? I’ve learned from my entrepreneur sister that you cant include your time of labor into the cost, that all will be accounted for in your materials x3.

I’ve been charging for cursive name cut outs $1 per inch roughly, which people seem to be super happy with and keep ordering. Just need to know what i should account for in the video game cabinet build other than material cost multiplied.

My frickin bad Robert. Nothing came up as “related” when i was typing my subject in. Dunno why. If i could delete i would, but dont let it ruin your day.

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$1 per inch usually comes close to my cost of materials x 3 btw, so… thats why i just started doing $1 per inch.

I do some friend projects and I do 25 bucks per hour of machine time and price of wood. I toss in painting for free unless it’s very intricate

If I was shipping I’d make them pay for shipping

I personally think this is a poor way to price your work, you need to better account for your time. Just because your material cost could be low, in no way should devalue your time as a craftsman. I have made a ton of stuff with mdf for example. The material cost is sometimes $5 but I would charge $60.

Have a look at this


I just sold a sign today for $65 (45 min machining time):

1"x8"x24" cedar = $4.64
Shipping = approx. $3-4
Amazon Fee = $9.75

Profit = $46.61

Translates to about $62/hr in machining time. I aim to price my jobs to be about $40-60/hr machine time for general public. I’ll do cheaper for friends and family.

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one question for you Justin. How can you ship a sign in that size for $3-4 ? I sell a lot of cedar signs and can not send a 3.5" by 12" to the town next to me for that.

13 oz Commercial First Class Package shipping is $3.88.

If it weighs under 13 oz and fits in a bubble mailer, that’s the way I’m gonna ship.

My example sign weighs 12.7 oz. A few tweaks to the toolpath to add in some margin and I need a tad bigger mailer but otherwise, it’ll ship First Class Package.

I will need to investigate this. I shipped over 65 signs for christmas and even the smallest one was over 8.00. But most were wrapped with 3/4" foam and packaged in cardboard. I did send a few in mailers but they were small and still more then that. I have a couple i am working on now so i will do some checking before i send them out. thanks Justin.

First Class Package is the cheapest option for tracking that Amazon offers. 80% of what I sell ships in 4" x 8" bubble mailers. Those are only $2.61 to mail (3 oz.).

The only limitation is the weight and size.

The biggest share of mine are like your 8" by 20". Maybe i should run them thru the planer a couple of times and lighten them up. lol

Sounds like whatever it takes to lighten the load Angus.

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Cool, thanks guys! Good to know the $ amount ya’ll charge for machine run time.

And as a shipping manager for my sisters small company, i’ll have you guys know anything under a pound is indeed the cheapest to ship, but out of the 100+ packages i’ve shipped i’ve never had one under a pound lol. Maybe i should look into making smaller products lol.

And dont forget usps offers flat rate boxes. I think their large box is a 12x12x6. As long as your products is in a special usps flat rate box, you wont pay for the weight. Although they are like $10+ to ship.

Great video Tim! Thanks!