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Thread: Pricing Carvings

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Default Pricing Carvings

    I want to make signs for school fundraising and was wondering how people charge. Is it by the minute plus material and design time? If so, what would be a suitable per minute charge that would cover wear and tear? Thanks,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Sacramento Ca


    Kazuale, I have a sign shop and I charge by square foot, in case you don't know how to figure board feet. It is the thickness X the width X the length divided by 144. I.E. 1" by 8" by 24" = 192 divided by 144 = 1.3 board feet.

    Anyway most sign makers charge by the board foot this price includes your labor, material and tool wear. Now most well established sign makers charge $75.00 to $100.00 a sq. foot. Now I have been making signs for 30 years and charge a min. of $35.00 to $75.00 a square foot. Simple signs that don't require too much in finishing $35.00 the more detailed the higher the price. I hand rout and use my CW, but before the CW I hand routed all my signs.

    If you rather charge by time I would think it would be easier to charge by an hourly rate rather then by minutes. I would set a shop rate of no less of $50.00 an hour to include design and carve time. Then with material I would charge the customer the cost of the board. Also if you plan to do this as a business you should get a resale license to be able to get your material tax free, but will need to charge tax.

    Now the problem with charging by time is the sign will cost more then the customer will pay. Even if you charged $25.00 an hour then even half the cost of the material the time it takes the CW to carve and design some projects the cost would still cost too much. My standard sizes for signs are 4",6",8",10",12" wide by 24" long. To hand rout one of these signs I can carve some in less then 5 minutes depends on the font. So say the sign takes 30 minutes to carve and took you 30 minutes to design so an hour in time at $50.00 and material a 1" by 8" by 8' redwood board, plus finishing another $35.00 then if charge for wear maybe $5.00? So for a sign 1" by 8" by 14" you would need to charge $90.00 now if you can get that much that's great! But realistically most people won't pay that much! So at 1.3 board feet times $50 = $65.00 and that is a good price for a detailed sign. For a simple sign $35-$40 for around $52.00

    Anyway that is how I do it!


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