Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How fast do YOU work?

An addition or perhaps an informal response to Totusmel's blog post for the day, about unsolicited pricing advice. I want to address something that ties with pricing, and that she touched on in that post.

Speed of production.

The speed and deftness with which you complete a task is a real consideration in any 'trade'. But it seems to be one that crafters selling in a small way often forget. Being able to do something that creates a well made finished product doesn't mean you've 'mastered the craft' as it were. While it is true that one of the first questions to ask yourself before selling an item is "is the quality of my work appropriate for sale", but even once you reach a point where you are making something that you are proud of - that is well made and sellable - you may be working long careful hours and generating many cast offs to create that one lovely well crafted item.
Half the battle, of learning any process, is doing the same things faster, improving your work methods and your turn around times.

In my 'real' business I charge more because I work faster, I know that clients are willing to pay a higher hourly rate knowing I won't be taking days to finish the work.
I realize that I have to pay myself a smaller hourly rate for my jewelry, simply because I'm not that fast at it. I tend to to it while multitasking, drift in and out of the project, and in general make a fair number of mistakes. The final product is one I am happy with, but as yet it is not created at a speed which would allow me to consider the above materials price to be a decent hourly wage.

There is something to be said for pricing based on the amount of time put into your work. But you have to look at your own process realistically and understand when you are taking longer then might be expected to finish a piece. Its an important part of learning any trade. And I am, of course, still learning!

4 comments:

Carapace said...

Much agreement with all of this. Being pretty much an amateur myself, I hang out with a lot of other amateurs, and they often charge some...suprising..prices for their work, because it takes so long to make. And it does, but buyers don't see or need to care about that. They know they can get the same thing better and even cheaper from the longtime pro two tables or websites away.
I'm not charging enough for my time on anything but watercolors for quite a while, I know that. I don't want buyers to feel they're paying for my inexperience. It's a halfway solution, but I don't know another one.:/

fetishghost said...

Cha! Yeh!
How long does it take to make something? A lifetime!

. c h o k l i t . said...

Wooh, I struggle with this a lot. My pieces take FOREVER, and I don't have much time in the first place... but I have to price based on time spent at least a bit because otherwise it's not feasible to do it. And I don't think experience level has anything to do with my speed... I'm just doing really painstaking detailed work.

So challenging to decide how to price one's treasures. Sigh.

thepinkhare said...

I love your work and Have tagged you !
http://thepinkhare.typepad.com