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Pricing for commissions help

(30 Posts)
Moanna Sun 18-Sep-11 21:17:51

If I put up a picture on my profile of DD wearing a scarf and hat I made her could someone tell me what I should charge for similar?

I have been asked to make three girls hat/scarf sets and an adult scarf. I am fine pricing to cover the materials but have no idea what to charge for labour. Would you just do a per set cost or charge per hour and if so what?


Moanna Mon 19-Sep-11 08:33:58


RantyMcRantpants Mon 19-Sep-11 08:57:50

Wow! Sorry can't help as I am not a knitter but just wanted to say that is just lovely. Aren't you clever. How long did that take you to make?

PopcornMouse Mon 19-Sep-11 09:20:12

It depends! Is it a one-off or are you looking to go commercial? If commercial, I'd add maybe the minimum wage on top of the materials cost?

Moanna Mon 19-Sep-11 14:30:27

Thank you! blush

I would be interested in doing commissions for people and maybe some craft fair kind of things in the future, if I charged minimum wage the set would be about €46.... I'm not sure if someone would pay that?

Moanna Mon 19-Sep-11 14:31:18

Oh, it probably took about 7 hours all in.....

nickelbabe Mon 19-Sep-11 17:00:28

I'm afraid most people wouldn't pay that much - most people look at something and think "ooh, I'd love one of those" but they wouldn't think about how long it took to make.
that's the problem.

I would say £25-£30 for the set, with the scarf being £18-£20 and the hat £12-15 if sold separately.
This is based on my perception pf people's willingness to pay for items, not on the actualy value of it.
the theory is that if you do more, it should take less time to do each one.

I'm sorry that's not much help, but people are so used to clothing being so cheap these days sad

plipplops Mon 19-Sep-11 17:01:33

You need to charge AT LEAST minimum wage, unless you're doing it purely for the love of it. And if you start off too cheap you'll find it really hard to put prices up later. You need to value your time, otherwise you're making things for basically nothing and surely your time is worth something? (and otherwise, unless you're rolling in it you could be using that time more wisely if you just got a job?) You've taken the time out of your life to learn how to knit, think of the colours and best way to make the piece, and then sat there and actually made it. If someone doesn't want to pay £46 for the set then they're not valuing the effort that's gone into it, and they might as well pay £5 for a set from Primark made in Chine. They're paying for something locally handcrafted with love and care, and they need to pay accordingly (it's important you sell this side of it too though, they need to buy into the fact that it's a one-off piece etc. Maybe do a handwritten label or something that makes that clear?)

Sorry, went on a minor rant there. It's just that I think it's so important to value what you do, then other people will too. (I make jewellery and charge significantly more that min. wage for my time, and add a decent margin on top too. If people don't want to pay it then of course that's totally fine, but lots of people do and I'd feel like a mug if I was putting all this time and effort and not really making anything for it. It's a business after all, and if you make lovely things people will pay for them).

nickelbabe Mon 19-Sep-11 17:10:46

i totally agree with you plipplops

one way of making sure that your more difficult pieces are recognised for how long they take, is to make loads of things that don't take long - you know, a hat that's a simple design that you can reel off in less than an hour, and basic scarves.
then charge the correct price for them, and maybe supply information that explains why the more complicated ones are more expensive.
You could also have items that take a little longer, but aren't too complicated (like the same style scarf but without hte fancy pattern) - then you've got a range of items at different prices, that reflect how much things cost to make.

so, a simple hat could be £8-10, one simple scarf £12-14, more complicated hat £15, moer complicated scarf £18, then you put out your "premium" items at £45-£50 (for the set)

Moanna Mon 19-Sep-11 17:36:19

Thanks so much.

I do agree with you nickel, I was shocked when I actually sat down and worked it out. As plipplops says I won't be doing it for the fun of it though whereas with DD's I did. I think I would rather not make things to sell if it wasn't going to be worthwhile. Brilliant tips with regards to stressing the fact that they are handmade and then clearly explaining why the more detailed ones cost more. It's very hard isn't it?

The lady wants a scarf set the same as DD's so I have sent her an email detailing how long it took to make, materials cost and have quoted an hourly rate of €7 - totalling €52 for the set. Does this sound fair enough?

I can make up easier scarves/hats for the others if she wanted and also for fairs etc I would do the same.

nickelbabe Mon 19-Sep-11 17:45:03

yes, that sounds like a good plan - then she knows why you are charging as much as you are, or rather, why it is worth so much.

nickelbabe Mon 19-Sep-11 17:45:43

maybe if she wanted a cheaper one, you could offer to do one that might only take 4-5 hours, say with the ice cream motif on every other square, or only at hte neds?

plipplops Mon 19-Sep-11 17:57:02

It's really hard I totally agree, but so worth getting it right at the beginning. I found it really difficult to begin with, but once people start actually buying things it does get much easier. Also, remember you have a skill that not many people have and that's what they're paying for. I think £52 for a beautiful set is fine if that's what it costs. It's great as well that it's commission stuff, so you can get a gauge of what people want to pay for things before you spend the time and money making them. Just don't sell yourself short. Really good luck with everything.

Moanna Mon 19-Sep-11 23:14:57

The lady replied that she wasn't shocked at the price and she'll get back to me ( after kindly correcting my maths to €59) blush I will be really pleased if something comes of it.

So we'll see what happens but at least I have an idea of what to do for the future!

Thanks again for your help (and good wishes), no doubt I'll be back for more at some stage....

nickelbabe Tue 20-Sep-11 15:23:17

lovely, I'm glad she recognises the effort that goes into it.

good luck smile

HippyHippopotamus Sat 24-Sep-11 12:55:28

i'm hopeless at pricing my commissions too so wanted to thank the various people for their replies too!

has she replied yet moanna?

Moanna Sat 24-Sep-11 22:36:30

No reply Hippy sad She did say she'd let me know either way and she hasn't yet.

Not to worry, I'm busy doing Christmas gifts at the moment! What do you make Hippy?

tyler80 Sun 25-Sep-11 19:36:23

I've made a few bits for people and I too find pricing difficult. Especially when a lot of the craft things I do I can do sat in front of the tv or a film. So yes, it may have taken, say three hours of my time but it's not three hours where I could have been doing something else so it's hard to value that time.

Moanna Sun 25-Sep-11 20:28:02

I'm not good enough to multi task yet! Knitting used to be able to do in conjunction with other things, but not crocheting... obviously that should be taken into consideration if pricing.

coldcomfortHeart Mon 26-Sep-11 13:44:03

Pricing is so hard and as someone else mentioned, the fact that Primark etc can sell something for so little has skewed everyone's perceptions of how much things are worth.

I have given quotes for hand sewn quilts and never heard back (either way) and I know people are taken aback by the cost. But if something is heirloom, bespoke quality, then it's going to take time. People who don't sew/knit/craft sometimes don't appreciate this, and I often find the people who buy my stuff are crafters themselves.

HippyHippopotamus Tue 27-Sep-11 08:20:56

coldcomfort sorry for asking, feel free to tell me to bog off but have you sold any quilts? if so, how much for? (and what size were they?) I love doing them but have given them all away so far. I just can't imagine a price that i'd be happy selling them at would be anywhere near a price that someone would pay for one!

moanna come and join us on the homemade christmas thread We're all sharing ideas and encouraging each other to get cracking!

nickelbabe Tue 27-Sep-11 10:55:05

I jsut have to think of the blankets I do - they're only a growing granny square, but they take forever to make!
I can make one of about 4ft by 4ft in 4 or 5 days, if I do nothing else in that time (apart from eat and sleep!)
So if we worked out that was full-time days of 8 hours, 4 days would be 32 hours work. If that was minimum wage, it would be £190!!! shock

I'd better not try to sell my blankets then....
maybe blankets for dolls....

lydiathetattooedlady Tue 27-Sep-11 11:11:20

Hi! the scarf is lovely!
I own a knitting shop, where we offer a knitting service. Its a bit long winded the way we've worked it out but we basically charge £3 per 175m which is about 50g of DK. We came to this figure because we mostly knit in snuggly dk which is 175m for 50g. Unfortunately non-knitters don't seem to realise the time that goes in to a hand knitted item sad

nickelbabe Tue 27-Sep-11 13:33:08

Our local knitting shop does commissions too, lydia - I don't know how they work it out, but they did me a top, they charged for the wool and the pattern (which you got to keep afterwards), then they charged a making fee on top.
I suppose that's a good plan, because then you know exactly what you're paying for.
The making fee for the top they did me was £20. (and the wool and pattern came to about the same, iirc)

coldcomfortHeart Wed 28-Sep-11 20:29:28

Hi Hippy, I don't mind you asking!

I only started this whole crafty malarky a year ago, and did a craft fair selling fabric advent calendars and christmas decorations. Before that I'd done two baby quilts as gifts which I displayed at the fair. I got two commissions (elephant quilt here and farm one here) which I sold for £75 each, they measured 80x100cm.

I've not had a very productive year though- I did 5 more advent calendars but then I had a baby in June which put paid to craft fairs and I'm working on another gift quilt...

Never going to make millions from the quilts, but I enjoy it, I aim to cover my costs, make a bit extra and expand my skills... the little xmas decorations and advent calendars are a lot more worthwhile money-wise!

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