You're probably curious about how much our services cost. We get that a lot. It's a tough one to answer because we do such a wide range of things and everything we do we start from scratch. But we do believe our pricing is very reasonable.
To quote a project, we look at two main factors: time and materials. We charge $45 an hour for our labor (about two thirds of what a car shop charges for an oil change). We find that $45/hr is the right price to cover wages, taxes, overhead, cost of machinery & tools, and any error we make in underestimating our time.
Let's say a client needs us to build a small acrylic jewelry box. We have to first design the box, which usually means coming up with ten or more designs. Then we have to draw up every piece and make sure everything fits exactly. This is the design phase, and for the jewelry box this could easily take up to 5 or 6 hours if we find a design the client loves in the first round of designs. Already the box is going to cost more than $225.
The materials have to be sourced. Sometimes that's easy because it's a material we use frequently. Sometimes that means finding a nearby supplier that can give us a good price on a low quantity. Sometimes it can take days to find a supplier for a specific material. We have had a few projects already that took two full weeks just to find a supplier. Then we are at the supplier's mercy for material cost and material size. A full sheet may need to be purchased for one small part. In the case of the jewelry box it's easy and cheap. $25.
The last phase would be building the box. Some materials take a long time to assemble. Some displays need to be cut, edge banded, assembled, laminated, and cleaned with chemicals. A small piece could take longer than you think and use lots of expensive machinery that we need to pay for. Clear acrylic uses a chemical bonding process that is slow and very easy to screw up so it's not to be rushed. This box would probably take about 3-4 hours to sand, assemble, and flame polish. That brings the total to $475 for a small acrylic jewelry box. It's a lot, we know. And we know what you're thinking; "I could get one from Wal-Mart for $25". But we're not here to make what you can get at the store. We're here to make what you can't find anywhere else. And we can't possibly compete with factory pricing because they spread their design, engineering, labor, and material costs over millions of products.
I'll leave you with one final thought. How much would a car shop charge to build you a car from scratch if you dropped off a truckload of car parts? Would it be cheaper than just buying a car from a dealer? Not a chance.
More on pricing on our blog post: