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Valuation of pieces (Read 1,441 times)
 
Robert Harper
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Valuation of pieces
Dec 24th, 2009 at 10:15am
 
Pardon me(noob). I'm sure this has been covered before but I couldn't find anything on an earlier search.

The question is how you you go about accessing a value or price for a piece. Is there some form a formula or do you just use history of what you've sold before? I've seen some places where people have prices on items anywhere from < 100 to > 300 and I don't see that big of a difference in quality from the pictures.

I'm sure that the type of wood, size, and condition have a large part but sometimes natural defects in the wood add to the character of the piece.

I'd like to be able to sell a few pieces at some time to first pay for new toys and to clear out the growing collection. Not turning is not an option. Too much fun.

Thanks in advance.
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Dale Bonertz
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Re: Valuation of pieces
Reply #1 - Dec 24th, 2009 at 12:15pm
 
Oh Robert,

You have probably opened another pricing debate.  All I can say is try to learn your cost to produce the items in question and then add a labor rate per hour.  I know this sounds difficult but it really isn't.  Most costs are pretty fixed such as sandpaper, wood, finish and ect.  Even your power consumption will be fairly fixed per hour once you have it calculated (running DC, lathe, compressor and etc.). 

Just remember your hourly rate should not be the same as say Ellsworth, Jordon, Mahoney and ect. since they are professional turners.  Here is where the debate starts.  Do you charge say $10, $20, $30 per hour or more depends on your experience and skill level.  Some will say that it is not fair to the professional turner for you to sell your bowl at $60 when they sell theirs at $120.  I will say that if you are a hobbyist then don't worry about that argument.  The professional turners have spent a lot of time finding and securing outlets to sell there products and for most that works plus they have tools and demo's as income.  You are probably going to sell to friends, family, work associates and word of mouth from those three sources.  They probably would not buy a Mahoney bowl or Ellsworth form anyway.  Also, I don't like this $10 per inch general rule that you will hear because you won't be able to sell a 10" bowl for $100.  Many of the craft fair guy's can't sell them for that amount.  Nor does that cover all the different types of turnings you may be producing.

Sorry for the longer post but this debate is always fascinating to me to see how others price their stuff.  Let the debate begin. Smiley Smiley  When the dusts settles I think you will agree that learning your costs like any manufacturing business needs to know is the best route to go.

Dale
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Brad_Mortensen
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Re: Valuation of pieces
Reply #2 - Dec 24th, 2009 at 12:36pm
 
My pricing is fairly simple, I need to know how long it takes to make a piece and the current market for similar items.
Ok, I don't sell in the artsy or bowl markets, I do produce products for a target market.
But, it boils down to on an across the board time and price I need to produce the equivilant of $45 per hour in products. That does not mean I make a flat $45 per hour, some items it will take me an hour plus to make and they may only sell for $15-$25, but I have others that sell for $5 that I can make over a doz of in an hour and I have a few $25-$30 items that I can make 2.5 of an hour. So, I average it out over the course of a day or a week.

Brad
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JimQuarles
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Re: Valuation of pieces
Reply #3 - Dec 24th, 2009 at 12:40pm
 
I can't tell you where to start.  Pricing will also depend on your reputation.  As you sell more pieces and develop your skill the demand for your work will increase.  According to the rules of supply and demand, as the demand goes up so does the price.

One way to get an idea of what your work is worth is to make a contribution to a charity auction.  (for tax purposes, the value of the contribution is just the cost of materials)

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Dale Bonertz
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Re: Valuation of pieces
Reply #4 - Dec 24th, 2009 at 1:26pm
 
Jim,

I donate a lot of bowls to differant charity auctions and I don't use that as a barometer.  Main reason is even though it is a charity people are instinctively cheap and go to those auctions and way under bid what things are worth.  They get a really good deal on something and the charity made free money from a donation.  The closest that I have ever seen anything sold at auction and value was at our last Rocky Mountain Woodturners Symposium.  We hired a professional auctioneer and he was great at getting every dollar he could but still most things sold for anywhere from 75% to 40% of actual value IMHO.

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Robert Harper
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Re: Valuation of pieces
Reply #5 - Dec 24th, 2009 at 3:15pm
 
Thanks.

So far, almost all of my wood has been from free sources so cost of goods will be hard to justify other than a little gas to pick it up.

As for my time, I currently make a little over $30 per hour at my day job. Most of the pieces I've made take around 2 hours to complete. Though my speed is increasing with new knowledge, I'm also venturing much larger, quickly reaching the current limit of the lathe and tools. 12" D X 9" H is rather scary for me just yet but I've managed.

I've figured that reputation would have a lot to do with it but would like a starting point. That would not undercut the pro's too much but not over price the piece either.

In the end, people can argue to the end of days but in reality, each piece is worth what you can sell it for.

The attached photo is a chestnut bowl that is about 7" high by 5 1/2" wide.
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Frank Van Atta
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Re: Valuation of pieces
Reply #6 - Dec 25th, 2009 at 2:56pm
 
Robert Harper wrote on Dec 24th, 2009 at 3:15pm:
In the end, people can argue to the end of days but in reality, each piece is worth what you can sell it for.


Exactly so!  The market you sell in will soon tell you what your pieces are worth.  Work that backwards and you'll find out how much your time is worth in the market place.  Probably no where near as much as you would like, and in most cases far less than a "living" wage - especially just starting out.
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Robert Harper
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Re: Valuation of pieces
Reply #7 - Dec 25th, 2009 at 7:30pm
 
Right now I'm not looking for a living wage from turning. Sometimes when you start to try to make money doing things you love to do, it starts to become work. I'll be happy to augment my current income to pay off some bills and provide some cash to upgrade the lathe and pay for my new habit. If I can do that, I'll figure I've done exceptionally well.

I'd like to get as good as some of you masters here but being able to fund my fun will be quite enough for now.

Thanks for the information. It at least gives me something more to base things on.

I gave away a good portion of my current pieces today. It will be interesting if that starts to drive a little interest from their friends.

May your tools stay sharp and your turnings true.
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Re: Valuation of pieces
Reply #8 - Dec 26th, 2009 at 8:22pm
 
I'll add a couple more points for you to consider as well.
I've sold my pieces at a number of arts/crafts shows, large and small, for several years. I do this as a hobby, and my main goal is to make more $ in a year's sales than I spent out-of-pocket to keep the chips flying. So far I've done that, and managed a few upgrades and additions as well. I'm sure there are more than a few turners here who have higher sales at one show than I do in a year.
I've found that every show is different from the point of what sells and for how much. Even one year to the next, the same show will be different. I've kept detailed records of every sale at every show, and have found I can't predict what will happen at show "A" from one year to the next. I do try to visit a show just to look it over before I apply to set up there, or at least ask other vendors about it first. The best question I've come up with is "Will you come back next year?" A walk through gives me an idea of what's there, how it's set up, and what any similar craft/art work goes for. I don't usually see many other turners at the shows I've gone to, commonly I'm the only one. I try to have a variety of items and prices - from $5 to $90. No one has ever said I'm over priced, but I have dropped prices on some pieces after hauling them around for too long. I generally have better sales from July through December.

Good luck.

Lee
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Robert Harper
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Re: Valuation of pieces
Reply #9 - Dec 28th, 2009 at 10:26am
 
I kicked through a little shop while visiting friends this last week-end. They had very few turned pieces, focusing on very large rustic furniture. The pieces I saw were interesting in how they were priced. One was what I thought was a rather average vase. It had a nice shape but I think finished poorly but fairly prices at under $30 for a vase that was about 4" W X about 12 H. Then a little hollow form from a burl but I felt over priced at $59.

What I took away from it is that I do have some hope as I felt that I could have been able to match each piece. I think it would be great to be able to fund my new habit.
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Re: Valuation of pieces
Reply #10 - Dec 28th, 2009 at 4:03pm
 
Unless the shop owner is the one doing the turning cut the prices in half or close to it for what the turner received.
However, there are a very few shops that still do a 30% mark up most will key stone or double the price they pay. Unless they are in more of a money area at which point the mark up is a true mystery.
BTW: I will not do consignment so have no idea what kind of percentages they are doing.

Brad
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Re: Valuation of pieces
Reply #11 - Dec 29th, 2009 at 3:22pm
 
Only consignments I know about use a 60/40 split toward the artisan.  I still don't like it, but when there are very few if any to choose from that is what you go with.  I'd rather sell the work myself, but really don't have the time to do it.  I don't even have the time to do much in the way of turning even.
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Re: Valuation of pieces
Reply #12 - Dec 29th, 2009 at 4:50pm
 
As far as the individual pieces, I believe the difficulty of the turning and the peculiarity of the wood plays a factor.

I can turn a bowl in far less time than it takes to complete a hollowform. Yet they could have the same amount of wood. Should they be priced the same?

Two different aspects are;
Working with your favorite, buttery smooth, even grained wood.
Compare that to a unique burl with voids and bark that you are trying to keep on.

It could be the same form but with these two examples two totally different prices.

Bottom lines for me are ...( Iknow your only supposed to have one bottom line but I'm special!)... Is it selling? Is it in the right market? Can I keep up with demand? Is there a demand?

Someone once suggested the dreaded word "Formula". The best one I have come accross for general situations is;
Height x Width x Skill level+Difficulty or unusual wood = Price

Since the third element is composed of two factors it can be where it gets tricky.

A 3" x 5" bowl by a novice turner [say a factor of 0], and from plain wood, [factor of 1 or 0], should be around $15.
The same piece with an experienced turner, [say factor of 3], and exotic burl [factor 2] = 3x5x5= $75

Why the two differences? The more experienced turner will usually produce a more pleasing form, usually have a smoother surface of wood and the finish will usually be of a higher quality. The wood may have been bought for a price and it may have been more difficult to turn.

Just some food for thought. Smiley
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Robert Harper
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Re: Valuation of pieces
Reply #13 - Dec 29th, 2009 at 5:09pm
 
Tom, I hear what you're saying and completely agree. The lower priced vase was, I felt rather average and not well finished. I think the vase would have taken longer to turn than the hollow form but the wood looked much better and it was also finished better. I just thought the difference in price was interesting.

I'm not sure how I'll decide to sell my pieces. I have a fried that does craft shows but buys mass produced stuff(expletive omitted). I might ride her coattails at one of her shows just for starters and to get some traffic.

For now, I have to replace all the stuff I gave away for Christmas and I'd like to make some trophies for my sailing buddies.
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