Scroll Saw for Profit: Pricing Your Scroll Saw Projects

Scroll Saw for Profit: Pricing Your Scroll Saw Projects

When it comes to pricing your scroll saw projects it can take some thought into how you are going to go about doing so.  I have come up with 4 things to consider when it comes to pricing your scroll saw projects.

There are 4 things that can be considered when you have to go about pricing your scroll saw projects.  Those include determining your up front cost in materials, what you want to charge for your time, checking in on your competition, and is your project something people will want to buy.  Let me go into more detail with these topics. 

Determine Your Cost

When it comes to cost, the monetary amount of materials used to create your project, there are plenty of things to consider.  Some items are part of the project itself and other items are used to create the project and are not necessarily part of the project you intend to sell.

Items that are part of the project are things like the wood that you use to scroll out the project.  Some other things might be hinges if you did some sort of box, or nails, and screws.  You may even consider things like the glue that you used, which can be difficult to price the several blobs you put on your project.  These items are going to go to your customer as a completed project.

Lets go into an example here of pricing the cost for things that will go with a particular project when sold.

  • I bought a 3/4″ x 6″ x 12′ pine board for $24.00.  I plan on only using 1 foot of this 12 foot board.  So I will divide 12 into $24 and get $2.00 a foot for this stuff.
  • I bough a box of 2″ screws at $4.00.  There are 100 in the box.  I plan on giving two screws to my customer so they can mount the scroll saw work I sold them to their wall.  I will divide 100 into $4.00.  That gives me 4 cents per screw.  .08 cents would be my cost there.
  • I have a bottle of my favorite wood glue that I purchased for $6.80 on Amazon.  There are 16 ounces in the bottle.  I put about 10 to 14 little blobs on my project to attach some extras to the scroll saw project to give it some depth…  I think at this point you might have some trouble.  I know I cannot be very accurate here, and I am guessing others may have some difficulty here as well.  One thing I can do is determine the shelf life of this bottle of glue.  Lets say this glue will break down, or dry up, and not be useful in 3 years.  I use the bottle maybe 12 times a year.  I will use the bottle of glue 36 times before it goes bad and I will need to get a new bottle.  36 divided into 6.80 is around .19 cents.

The total cost for materials that will go with the project are $2.27.woodglue

Items that are not part of the project are materials that you use such as sandpaper, scroll saw blades, scroll saw tape, and paper that you printed your pattern out on.  Maybe you even bought the pattern.  These particular items can be very difficult at times to factor into your cost.  Kind of like the wood glue mentioned above.

  • I bought some popular sand paper at $8.00.  It is a 36 pack with various assorted grits.  Each sand paper is .22 cents when I divide 36 into $8.00.
  • I bought some of my favorite spiral scroll saw blades for $23.00.  There are 5 dozen blades in the package.  I will divide 60 into $23.00 and get .38 cents per blade.  I will gauge that I will break, or make dull, at least one blade per project, though that may not always be the case.
  • I have bought a roll of 20′ long scroll saw tape, of which I absolutely have to have.  This tape cost me $24.00.  I used a foot of this stuff on my project so I need to divide 20 into $24.00.  That is $1.20 per foot.  A bit expensive, but I really do love this paper.
  • Lastly, lets say I printed out the pattern on a piece of paper.  For a simpler sake here, lets say the pattern was free.  I will just say the cost of the paper and ink was .10 as trying to calculate ink will be fairly difficult.

The total cost for materials that will not go with the project are $1.90.

So in this little example here we have established that roughly the cost for this project for us to create, will be $4.17.  Figuring out the cost it will take for us to create this project is important.  I would even venture to say it is a very key item in any sort of business.  I do know some people who tend to gloss over this detail and only focus on how much they would like to get paid for the work they have done.  Some will roughly factor in a materials cost into their price by doing an average materials cost per project, and add that to the sticker price of any project they do.

 

What is Your Time Worth

What do you consider your time to to be worth?  We know that some people may think less, while others may think more.  People may determine this by many factors such as; I feel I am highly skilled, I have a higher education, I’m older and wiser, or I am poor and I really need more money…  These seem like they could be reasonable thoughts, however from what I have witnessed and experienced, your time is what someone is willing to pay for it.Time_Money

Awhile ago made these two matching, nicely crafted, mini shelves and sold them for $20.  My cost was around $3.50 and the time I put into it was about 2 hours including sanding, staining, and putting a gloss on them.  Unfortunately, this meant I only made about $8.25 an hour.  That is the sad truth though, only this one customer wanted to pay that, I had other people interested in another set of these shelves I tried to sell and they were trying to talk me down to $15 or $10.

You can go the route of not caring what you are selling them for and just enjoy your hobby.  But lets face it, we likely would not be trying to sell our projects unless we wanted to make some money.  Likely to try and fuel our hobbies.

With the restriction of what people are willing to pay for your scroll saw projects, the way to make more money for you time, is simply to try and do things faster, more efficiently, or even to do those projects in bulk.  When you do a project several times, you can get quicker at it and you get more efficient with your materials and process.

If after having built one pair of shelves in my earlier example, I later decided to design some templates for the shelves, had all my materials in one accessible spot, and did each piece of the shelf 20 times.  I could build 10 sets of the project in likely much less time.  It might even take me roughly 6 hours to complete by my thoughts.  The math on that would be $35 for the material.  I could then sell them cheap for $12 a set, which could amount to $120 if I sold them all.  $120 minus the cost of $35 equals $85 profit.  Divide 6 hours into $85 equals $14.17 an hour.  Still not a ton of money but the numbers look a lot better.

It has been a tough thing for me swallow but I found that people will only pay me for my projects what they are willing to pay.  Competition, which is the next topic, can play a big role in what your time is worth.  So lets continue…

 

Check Your Competition Price

That scroll saw project you created that is just so cool, so beautiful.  You can’t imagine anyone not liking it, that would be impossible.  You may find that you want to sell that project or even make a copy of that project and make a few bucks.  You find a way to post your sale out there, on eBay, Amazon, or some other site, and find out you cannot sell it.  What went wrong, this scroll saw project is awesome, why is it not selling?

We all can create some pretty nice scroll saw projects, but that does not mean someone else has not thought of the same thing.  When I sell something to the public I like to look and see if others are selling the same thing.  How good does theirs look compared to mine?  How much are they selling it for?  And lastly, how popular is this scroll saw project(I’ll get into this one later)?  Is it selling?

  • Is my Price too high -We simply may not be selling our scroll saw project due to our price is too high.  If people see your project and then see another similar or exact project for a bit cheaper, they are more likely to buy the cheaper one.  I know I think along those lines for anything I am shopping for.
  • Is the quality of the competition better than my scroll saw project – This can be an obvious one when comparing.  If I find that my work is not up to par, I will attempt to make it look better and maybe even steal a few ideas from what I see of my competition.
  • Will my scroll saw project sell – This can be a tough one and I will go into more detail in my last thing to consider.  Looking to see if a particular scroll saw project is selling is important.  You will need to know if there is an audience for it or not.  If the scroll saw project is hot and people are selling it quite frequently, then you can look into trying to compete.  This will take research, data collecting, and analyzing your capabilities to compete.

Remember, the topics of your cost, and what you like to get paid for your scroll saw projects, go hand in hand with what your competition is looking like out there.  In my previous project example of my cost at $4.17, and lets say I want to get paid $20 an hour for my 2 hours of hard work.  My total I need to charge for my project is $44.17.  If my competition is selling the same thing for $34.99, I might want to reconsider selling this particular project unless I can get my time and cost down.  Which in turn will mean I can bring my price down.

 

What is the Popularity of the Project

I have an idea for a project that I may someday sell.  I went out to the internet some time ago and did a search for it and seemed to come up without much of my idea already being sold out there.  As time has gone on, I have searched again and found that my idea is now being implemented and sold in a slightly different way, not exactly like I have in my head and in my design notes, but close.

It is tempting to hurry and jump in on this idea before it is too late.  But that brings up the question.  My project is not popular, how do I know that it will sell at all?  We all want some assurance that our project has some desire and will generate some money.

Your best bet here is to find similar projects.  Projects that are more expensive than what you want to sell, and some that are less expensive then what you want to sell.  This can help you price your project from there as you also consider your cost and time spent on creation of the project.Carpentry

There is also asking around.  Doing a little bit of marketing if you will.  This may seem a little scary because if word gets out of your project, people might steal your idea!  Family and friends might be an option for testing out the desires of your scroll saw projects.  You can simply ask them about the project (they will likely be kind and not give you any negative feedback though.).  Or you can give out gifts of your project and see if they use the project or display it.  I have done this with my family, and currently, my project prototype is used quite often.  As it should be because it is not a new invention, but is the uniqueness of it going to sell better than its competition.

If you find that your scroll saw project is popular out there and people are selling a lot of them.  Or maybe you are just looking for popular scroll saw projects to replicate and sell.  Popularity of the projects is nothing to be scared of.  It is simply a matter of pricing your work in regards to your cost, your time spent creating the project, and seeing if you can compete and even undercut your competition in price.  Then… All you have to do is worry about getting people to see your project on the internet and buy it instead of your competition.  That is another ball of wax there!