pricing handmade goods | in defense of the hourly + materials method | Hooked by Kati

Pricing Crochet Work | Hourly + Materials Method

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Pricing crochet item, or pricing any craft items can be the most frustrating part of running a craft business. The jury is still out on the “perfect” method, but the most popular ways to price work are the 3-times Materials method and the Hourly + Materials method. Here are some pros and cons of each.

3 x Materials

Also along this line, I have had several cases where the pattern I am using calls for 6 balls of yarn, but I end up needing to go buy a seventh to finish it. In this case, it would drastically change the price for the customer (as much as a $15 increase) for that last-minute change in price, and the customer will likely no longer want the product.

There are plusses and minuses to calculating your prices this way. For example, when making a blanket out of chunky yarn, the project may take a relatively short amount of time and require a great deal of yarn. With $60 in materials, a price of $180 may be too high for most customers ,and does not reflect the relative ease of the project.

On the other end of pendulum, an item such as a stuffed animal (amigurumi) may only require a small amount of yarn, often less than a skein, but it may take six hours to complete the project. With only $5 in materials, a price of $15 will be attractive to customers, but it will not properly credit you for the extensive time you put into the item.

Positive:

  1. Easy to calculate.
  2. Uses cost of goods without considering your inventory of yarn.
  3.  Less variation of pricing across the scope of your work.

Negative:

  1. Does not accurately estimate time spent on the project.
  2. If you need another skein to finish, it drastically changes the price for the customer.
  3. Does not accurately price large projects with more materials than work.
  4. Does not accurately price small projects with more work than materials.

                 Materials + Hourly

My choice for pricing is to charge for materials, bought at full price, and then add an hourly rate. I USE THIS METHOD WITH GREAT RESULTS.

I started out charging $8 an hour, plus my materials. As my skills improved and the quality of the work improved, I raised my hourly rates to reflect the quality.

For a large blanket with bulky yarn, the materials will be the majority of the cost to the customer. If the blanket only take 3-4 hours to make, and costs $60 in yarn, the customer is looking at a maximum of $92 for the project – a much more reasonable price than the 3x Materials method.

The amigurumi, which only takes 1 skein of yarn but 6 hours to make, now costs $35, reflecting the hard work you have put into it. This sometimes means the cost is higher than what the customer wishes to pay, but you have to stress that your time and craftsmanship is what they are paying for. A painting is worth far more than just the price of the paint and canvas.

But why should I get paid less as my skills improve? 

You shouldn’t! That is why you use the Hourly + Materials method to establish your price for an item. Then don’t change the price. As your skill improves and you get faster at producing an item, the price stays consistent for your customers and you end up getting a raise for improving your skill.

I’ve been crocheting for years, and I’m really fast. Why should I get paid less than someone who is new to the craft and works slowly?

You shouldn’t! That is why you should reflect your experience in your hourly rate. Don’t use the same hourly rate as you did at the beginning of your business as you create new items to sell.

Positive: 

  1. Pays the artist for time as well as materials
  2. Allows customer to choose more expensive yarn for the same project without superfluously increasing the price.
  3. Customer can choose to make something smaller or larger and have more control over the price of the end product.

Negative:

  1. Artist must estimate hours required to finish a project ahead of time.
  2. Complex or lengthy projects become harder to sell because they are more expensive.
  3. Prices vary with  complexity of the piece, regardless of size. This can confuse customers.

No matter how to you decide to price your crochet work, take into account one major factor:

You are an artist, not a manufacturer. Your goal is to have your work appreciated and to successfully do what you love as a job — Don’t undercut your abilities. Never lower your prices to make a sale. 

Yarn on, people!

Kati

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One Comment

  1. I buy a ball of yarn for an average cost in Canada for 3.97. So ! will say $4. I take one one to make my hat. So, (4*3)+8 =$20. That is what I would charge. On the other hand, it takes my friend, also an experienced crochet 3 hours to make the same hat, so (4*3) + (3*8) =$36. That is a problem with charging an hourly rate. Some of the early blankets I made took weeks and even months. Now it takes 2 days. I do not think the hourly rate is a good way to determine costs.

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