I think the most commonly asked question on many furniture painting groups is, “How should I price this piece?”
I know many of my fellow furniture painters have very precise formulas for each piece they paint and sell. They track and figure all of their expenses including the purchase price, supples used, and hours to complete and finish the piece. I think this system is great if you are very organized and love record keeping.
Maybe it’s because I’m getting a little short on my days left on this earth… but I just don’t have time or the desire to be that meticulous in this area of my business!
I like simple!
So, my pricing guide/formula is very simple.
It consists of knowing three things:
1. I know how much we will pay for a good quality piece. You honestly make your profit when you buy a piece, not when you sell it. The least amount you pay for it, the higher the profit you will make.
2. I know how long it will take us to completely finish a piece and have it ready for resale.
3. I know the price I can ask when it’s ready to sell. This comes from selling in my market area for a few years. You can get a good idea of finished prices by jumping online and looking at Facebook marketplace sites, Craigslist, Etsy, and other buy, sell, and trade sites in your area. Drop by a few local shops and check out the prices they have on their pieces. Start your own list of what you realistically can price a finished piece. With a little research you will quickly find out what is selling and at what price in your locality.
I will use a dresser for an example of my pricing guide:
We typically pay $100 for a good quality triple dresser in good condition. I know we can sell it for $400. Supplies, fuel, and other expenses will be about $25. That leaves a profit of $275. My husband and I work well together and can turn over a triple dresser in about 4 - 5 hours of actual work time. So, that’s about $60 per hour. Not a bad wage for a couple of older people!
I also use this same formula when quoting a customer on a custom piece. I use the highest price I would pay for the piece and subtract that from what I would charge for it on resale (with the finish the customer wants). Again, if it’s a dresser I would purchase for $100 and flip for $400, I would charge the customer $300 to custom paint it. I personally don’t get bogged down with charging for every little thing we might have to do to the piece. Usually, the only extras I add-on are new hardware, stained tops, pick-up and delivery.
The key is knowing your local market and that takes a little experience, time and research. But, you can easily do it.