The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The workshop » » What's your time worth? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

MinnesotaChef
View Profile
Regular user
Minneapolis,MN
176 Posts

Profile of MinnesotaChef
I have recently been asked to produce a medium sized quantity (12 sets) of an accessory that until recently I have only made for close friends. The party told me the he would pay me "Whatever I think is fair" for my time. The only problem is I've never done this type of thing before, so I don't know what "fair" is. He intends to sell these in his store and I don't know for how much. This is not a serious issue at this time, but it could get that way if this goes further than these 12 sets. I would just like advice on how others have handled this situation. Thank you in advance.
"Great restaurants are, of course, nothing but brothels.There is no point in going into them if one intends to keep one's belt buckled."- Fredric Raphael
Peder Andersson
View Profile
New user
Sweden
18 Posts

Profile of Peder Andersson
This one is of course very difficult to answer. I think you should make up your mind as to how you should think about making the props. Is it to earn a living or just something you do for fun?

If it is something you do for fun, then maybe $10 per hour is reasonable. If you have to make a living then maybe you have to charge five to fifteen times that amount.

There is also the question of how much you think the accessories are worth to the buyer. Can they be sold at a reasonable price if you charge what you want? If there is a big secret involved, maybe you should charge for that too?

I would start at $10 and then multiply that with some factor that only you can decide after having considered the answers to the questions above.

Good luck!
Peder
http://www.spellonu.com
Dave Dorsett
View Profile
Veteran user
Macomb, Illinois
345 Posts

Profile of Dave Dorsett
There are a number of sources for the information you're looking for on the Web or there may be a Small Business Development Center in your town that would have free information on what factors to consider when making these decisions. Check around and find out what various tradespeople in your area do to find that "magic" number. Many will be happy to share with you once they know you aren't going to be in direct competition with them. It's surprising to find out how many lawn mower mechanics, bicycle repair facilities and service agencies routinely have a shop rate of $35-$45 per hour.
Now is one thing but in the future if you make this a full-time thing you'll neeed to figure in a lot of variables such as rent (or a portion thereof), utilities, insurance and then a margin for error.
Be fair to yourself because once costs are established, people are reluctant to make (ahem) wholesale changes.
Dave Dorsett
Douglas~Wayne Illusioneering
kregg
View Profile
Inner circle
1958 Posts

Profile of kregg
Everyone has a price, never set yours too low.
How complicated are they to build, can anybody build them better? What do similar items cost? Can you sell them without distributing through a dealer? Supply and demand.
POOF!
Reis O'Brien
View Profile
Inner circle
Seattle, WA
2467 Posts

Profile of Reis O'Brien
The key is to stick to your price once it is set. Too many times I have let things go cheaper just to be a nice guy. That will get you walked on.
Homo vult decipi; decipiatur

http://www.myspace.com/liar_4_hire
Cliffg37
View Profile
Inner circle
Long Beach, CA
2485 Posts

Profile of Cliffg37
My suggestion: Go to the horses mouth. If the Item is made of wood, go to a cabinet maker and ask openly what his hoursly rate is. If it is metal, go to a metal shop etc. You will probably want to charge less than they do only because they are professionals and you are a home workshop person.

Something else to take in to account, if he can not get them sold, will you still be paid? If someone returns it as defective, (Even if you both know it worked fine when delivered) does he eat the cost or do you?

These may seem like picky questions,but if they are not ironed out up front, then any trouble could cost you money, a reputation, and maybe even a friendship.

Be careful, but have a great time, and go make some money.
Magic is like Science,
Both are fun if you do it right!
thegospelmagicman
View Profile
New user
73 Posts

Profile of thegospelmagicman
Over the years I have been asked to make copies for people. A good rule of thumb is to take the price of the materials used and triple it. In this case, is the price of materials tripled anywhere near what you feel the item might be worth? Would you pay that much for it? Is it a secret that you think is worth more? A lot to think about here.

John
Jaz
View Profile
Inner circle
NJ, U.S.
6112 Posts

Profile of Jaz
I have to agree with thegospelmagicman.
Charge at least twice the amount you pay for materials.
Consider this insurance if something goes wrong. Tools will slowly wear and materials could get accidently get damaged too.

Is it carpentry work? Metal work? Upholstery work?
Maybe you could call around for estimates from these.

In any case charge at least $25 per hour for your skills and time.
Leland Stone
View Profile
Inner circle
1204 Posts

Profile of Leland Stone
Hiya, MinnesotaChef:

Of all mythological creatures, the legendary "Fair Price" is the most elusive. Everyone speaks of this beast, yet few have ever actually seen it, let alone adequately defined it. Except for one guy, way back in the 18th Century. Fella named Adam Smith.

Smith said that a "fair price" was whatever the buyer and seller agreed upon (in an open market and free of coercion).

You probably have concerns about making a profit from your friendship -- one of the best reasons for not working for friends, IMO. Not to sound overly cynical, but your friend has no apparent corresponding qualms about taking advantage of your talents; curiously, his friendship is at odds with his request (his admonition to you, "charge whatever you think is fair" is actually a code -- deciphered, it means, "hey, pal, give me a great deal on these").

That being said, I'll close by echoing the other advice on this thread: Have your friend shop the project around at other professional shops, and tell him you'll consider knocking X% off the lowest written bid -- isn't that fair?

Leland Edward Stone
George Ledo
View Profile
Magic Café Columnist
SF Bay Area
2878 Posts

Profile of George Ledo
I've looked into making props for magic shops, and found that several dealers in my area expect to pay 50% of the retail price. This may sound low at first glance, but he does have to pay rent and so forth and still make a profit.

So, the first thing I'd do in your case is ask your friend how much he intends to sell them for. If he's a dealer, he must have an idea, and it's a fair question. Then I'd figure out whether I can (or want to) make the thing for about half that. If I do, then I'd negotiate with him; it may not come out to exactly 50%, but it's a place to start.

The comment above on tripling your material cost is good -- however, if your material cost is a buck and it takes half an hour to make the thing, then it's certainly not worth the effort.

Good luck!
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
www.georgefledo.net

Latest column: "Sorry about the photos in my posts here"
MinnesotaChef
View Profile
Regular user
Minneapolis,MN
176 Posts

Profile of MinnesotaChef
Thanks for the input. The final result was actually very surprising, he paid MORE than I expected. I had a set amount in mind that I came to from everyone's advice. His first offer was twice that amount! I was all ready to haggle and was not going to back down for nothing! He was very impressed by the quality and said it was worth every cent. Now, we have 3 similar project in the works. I will let everybody in on it when the time is right. Thanks Again for all the support.
"Great restaurants are, of course, nothing but brothels.There is no point in going into them if one intends to keep one's belt buckled."- Fredric Raphael
thegospelmagicman
View Profile
New user
73 Posts

Profile of thegospelmagicman
Glad it all worked out! So happy you were able to come to a price and found out he offered you more than you expected!

John
Clifford the Red
View Profile
Inner circle
LA, California
1933 Posts

Profile of Clifford the Red
That is great! Yeah a fair price is not what you charge but what people will pay. There are so many factors that go into cost that it is nearly impossible to factor a "fair price", about all you can do is determine, maybe, you may make some money when the smoke clears. So the moral is to maximize the total return. A high price may sell less units, but give you a better return.

Custom props almost falls into the art realm where it is determined by willingness of people to patronize your art.
"The universe is full of magical things, waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Philpotts
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The workshop » » What's your time worth? (0 Likes)
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2020 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.15 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL