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how do you price your pens? (Read 973 times)
 
paul sorenson
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how do you price your pens?
Dec 29th, 2009 at 11:46am
 
this has probably been asked before, if it has, please forgive me.

i am fairly new to the forum and turning.
i have been making some pens and happened to show the pens to a local bank assistant manager.
he is interested in having me make some pens for the bank.
my question is how do  you determine what price you should ask.
the volume could be in the 50 to 75 pens for next Christmas.
all opinions would be appreciated.
thanks
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David Hamann
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Re: how do you price your pens?
Reply #1 - Dec 29th, 2009 at 12:55pm
 
first, i priced the materials, then i added 10 to 20 dollars extra for my time, depending on what i do for decoration.
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JimQuarles
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Re: how do you price your pens?
Reply #2 - Dec 29th, 2009 at 1:15pm
 
Pricing is a variable thing.  I started pricing common wood slimline pens at $25 and other styles each a little more.  I later found that the attitude was that if they were priced so low, they must be cheap pens.  I have since increased the S/L's to $35 so now my base prices range from there to $55.  I charge extra for acrylics, expensive wood and special treatments.  I sold more than $2K this year even with my December show being a complete bust. 

That said, I also have to point out that I am selling to individuals primarily by word of mouth.  I do give discounts for multiple and repeat purchases. 

You are going to have to figure how long it takes you to make each pen and how much you want to earn per hour.  You are going to have to spend $100 - 200 for kits up front.  Plus you need wood, Do they want local wood that can be obtained just for the processing time?  Or do they want exotics that you will need to buy?  Does the bank expect you to deliver them all at once and get paid then?  Or are they going to buy them as you produce them.  Do they expect gift boxes?  Is this going to turn a fun hobby into a four letter word? (WORK)  I wouldn't start without a purchase order (contract) for a specific number of pens.  When figuring time, don't forget to include processing wood, cutting, drilling, turning, finishing, pressing together, and packaging.

I could go on....

JimQuarles
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Rev. Doug Miller
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Re: how do you price your pens?
Reply #3 - Dec 29th, 2009 at 3:34pm
 
Jim has given you some great guidelines.  I have found that in my part of the country that slims can't go for much more than about $15.  I sell comfort pens for $25 and folks don't bat an eye at it.  Cigars go for $35.  Rollerball pens I usually sell for $40+.  Other kits that start at more and exotic woods will of course raise the price, sometimes substantially.  If someone supplies the wood (enough to supply me a pen or two, I usually reduce the price by 25%, but never much more than that.  Last time I ended using up all the wood and an extra kit because of a moments absent mindedness.  You can eat up all your profit very quickly if you're not careful.  If you find out approximately how many he is wanting and what style then you might be better equipped to give a cost per pen.

Let us know what you find out.
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« Last Edit: Dec 29th, 2009 at 3:34pm by Rev. Doug Miller »  

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Brad_Mortensen
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Re: how do you price your pens?
Reply #4 - Dec 29th, 2009 at 4:30pm
 
I don't do pens, so probably have nothing much to add, but if you are talking 50 - 75, I would seriously check out getting a wholesale bulk order of the kits. Usually when your talking 100 or more of anything the supplier will sell to you with a resale number, which you will need anyway. Because when you start talking numbers the tax man notices.
Also, any custom orders I take, they put money up front or no deal... It is way to easy to end up with dozs or hundreds of items and them not following through. But, if they already have money in it less likely to happen and even if they do your up front expenses are covered.

Brad
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paul sorenson
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Re: how do you price your pens?
Reply #5 - Dec 30th, 2009 at 12:41am
 
i really appreciate all of the great advise.
the assist manager said that he would give me upfront money so i could buy the wood and kits.
they wanted the order to be split up during the course of the year leading up to Christmas.
i was going to offer 3 styles, all in gold.
slimeline, european, and executive 2 pin kits.
i was going to buy wood like tulip wood, cheaper olive wood, and another light colored wood. i was going to try and find the wood blanks in bulk where possible.

i found someone that will etch the bank name and logo on the pen blanks for $3.00 per pen. they were asking about pen boxes. i was going to add a dollar or two over the cost of the box to the total package price.l
if this works, i will try some more banks, title companies, maybe other companies that have costumers that invest money.
it is sort of a pipe dream but i thought i would try.
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Chuck Beland
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Re: how do you price your pens?
Reply #6 - Dec 30th, 2009 at 5:01am
 
Paul,
Check these two. The members go in for bulk buys also some of them are e-bay sellers & give discounts to pen makers.

Multimedia File Viewing and Clickable Links are available for Registered Members only!!  You need to Login or Register

Multimedia File Viewing and Clickable Links are available for Registered Members only!!  You need to Login or Register
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Rev. Doug Miller
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Re: how do you price your pens?
Reply #7 - Dec 30th, 2009 at 10:26am
 
It is a bit of a game and takes a little bit of time, but I was buying pen blanks on eBay for $1 delivered for a while.  Unless the dealership is wanting all one wood, you might let them know that the blanks will be assorted woods as supply allows.  Don't over look the pool cue handle blanks.  They can be cut into many blanks and are often at an exceptional price.

The lazer work is a great idea.  If the lazer people are charging $3, I would up that by at least $1.  Same thing with the box.  What ever the box costs you, up it by 1/3 to 1/2. 

One other suggestion, do your deal with the dealership for a bit before you start advertising and seeking other clients.  You may find that the one is more than you want to do and not have time for others.  On the other hand, the pens may be needed at a very convenient pace and you find that the customers start calling you with them.  That is the best situation of all. 

Sounds like you've fallen into a very nice situation.  Enjoy it and have a great time.  Just don't allow it to become WORK.  That is nasty stuff and should be avoided if at all possible.
CoolRev. Doug Miller
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Mentor, Hardinsburg, KY.  Basics, bowls, platters, hollow forms, pens.  Send PM for more information or make reservation

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paul sorenson
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Re: how do you price your pens?
Reply #8 - Dec 30th, 2009 at 11:44am
 
thanks for all the great advise and for the links to other pen turning sites.

wood blanks cut for pool cues?
i haven't seen those. I will look for some. great idea.

a friend of mine that i sold my small lathe to bought a bottle stopper blank and cut it down to make 4 pen blanks.
he paid 2.50 for it and made 4 blanks.
the price for the same piece of wood already cut for a pen blank was also 2.50.
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JimQuarles
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Re: how do you price your pens?
Reply #9 - Dec 30th, 2009 at 12:41pm
 
I have taken to buying 1" boards and cutting my own blanks.  If you buy a 12" length of 6" wide wood you get 12 blanks.  You bought .5 board foot and if the wood sells for $10/BDft, those blanks cost $.42 each.  I can usually find cutoffs for a lot lower price at Woodworkers Source. Multimedia File Viewing and Clickable Links are available for Registered Members only!!  You need to Login or Register  Figure on getting at least 24 blanks out of a BDft, so if you buy Maple at $4/BDft you are paying .17 each.

JimQuarles
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