1. What kind of/color/brand of paint is that?
I make it a point to share the information when I have it, if it's an exact color from a brand that you can go and purchase yourself. A lot of times though, it's a dollop of this, a dollop of that, until I come up with the color in my mind. So when the info isn't there, it's usually because I can't give it. :)
The other question I am asked most often is:
2. How do you determine the price for your items?
Might I add:
* Where you're at in the country plays a factor.
* The ol' supply and demand thing counts. If your market is saturated with painted furniture, you'll have to be more competitively priced. If you're the only painter in town and your custom order list is a mile and a half long, you can probably get away with charging more.
* I'm not really an expert, I just play one on this blog.
I've heard lots and lots of methods from all the painters I've met in blog-land.
*Charge five times the purchase price of your piece.
*Count your hours and multiply them by the hourly rate you want to make.
*Look at what others charge and just stick a tag on it with a similar price.
*Figure out all your costs and then triple them.
Time to break it down....
Charge five times the purchase price:
Sometimes, I get an absolutely gorgeous dining room table out of the garbage. If I pay zero, I obviously can not charge x5 the purchase price. These items have an inherent value, even if someone has discarded them. That being said; this method doesn't typically work for me. Plus, if I find an end table at a yard sale for $5, I surely am not going to pop open a $35 quart of chalk paint, repaint this table and then resell it for $25. No ma'am.
Count your hours and multiply them by the hourly rate you want to make:
I don't use this method because my work hours are simply too erratic to keep track of. One here, six there - and I've always got at least three pots on the stove since I have total ADD. Plus, if I deliver four pieces to Adjectives Market in one trip, do I divide the delivery time by four pieces? Charge the delivery time for each one? Who really knows how to make all that work.
I've also come across projects where THEY. JUST. TAKE. FOREVER. Maybe you make a mistake. Maybe you're trying a new technique...whatever the reason, it takes forever. You can't always pass on that cost. On the flip side, what if you are amazingly efficient? Do you then deserve to earn less?
Therein lies the conundrum!
Look at what others charge and just stick a tag on it with a similar price:
If you find a crappy dresser with janky drawers and a pressboard back and you quickly slap a coat of paint on it and never bother to even wipe out the drawer interiors, you can not charge the same thing as someone who buys a solid wood dresser with working drawers and dovetail joints, who cleans the whole thing and refinishes with quality materials. I would think this is obvious...but as I walk around events like the Fancy Flea, I can see it is NOT obvious.
There IS something to be said for this method - but you need to compare apples to apples. If you are repainting garbage that even when you have repaired it to the best of your ability, it is STILL slightly junky? Improved greatly, but still funky? Hey; I've done it. I've fallen in love with the idea of a piece and wanted to save it so badly that I looked past flaws like sticky drawers. Even when I did every trick in the book to fix them, they still stuck. So guess what? I had to sell that piece for a LOT less than if I woulda just bought a $30 dresser with smoothly working drawers. And that just stinks.
Figure out your costs and triple them:
This is probably the closest thing I have to a "method." Keeping track of EVERY.SINGLE.COST is the only way to determine if you are making a profit. Those two pieces of sandpaper you used (if 20 sheets are $15 then that's $2.66 to sand that project!) then that half that container of Patch & Paint ($3) the 1/4 quart of chalk paint ($8.75) the wax, the mineral spirits, the gas you used finding the item or picking it up? Then for me, delivering that item to the store, the commission I pay the store, the 3% credit card fee that the store charges when someone uses their credit or debit card - I guesstimate all those charges and then triple them to come up with the price I need to charge to actually be able to afford to keep doing this. (I gave a breakdown of one project in particular in this post.)
Sometimes I keep track of all that crap and then decide it's just too expensive and I have to lower it a little bit to ensure it sells. Then other times, my costs were surprisingly low (like a freebie piece) and I'm able to earn a little more. I think when all is said and done, it evens out.
My best tips:
You make your money when you buy it. I see some of the prices on Craig's List and I wonder how anyone can make any money revamping those pieces (a $400 dresser? Eeesh.Not for me.) I generally try not to spend over $50 on a piece UNLESS
1. It's a custom order that I already have sold.
2. It's a total steal and worth more than $50. (ie; Duncan Phyfe Dining Room Table at $60? Sold.)
3. I'm in love with it and would keep it for myself. (bad business practice, but whatever.)
Freebies come at a cost. I'm all for a freebie, but, if you've got to put SOOOOOOOOOO much time into it to bring it up to the condition that a $20-$30 Craig's List piece is in, only to sell it for less because it's ultimately a crappy piece? Check yourself before you wreck yourself. Try raising the bar on yourself a little. It's a lesson I'm still learning, but the better I get at it, the easier life becomes.
Did this help or am I preaching to the choir with these points?
Can anybody add anything that has helped them?
I love to hear from you!