I met an artist in wood a few years back with an interesting story to tell. He had labored nearly a month making an intricate, true-to-life sculpture of an owl. It was the height of his skill and art. He put a price tag of $500 on it. Hardly a month’s pay for highly skilled work, but then, who would pay $500 for an owl?
No one! The owl did not sell.
Then someone gave him an interesting piece of advice. “You are charging way too little for your artwork. Price it at what it’s worth.”
He had nothing to lose, so he put a price tag of $5,000 on it and offered it for sale. The owl was snapped up within a week! And a lady went home with what was to her a valuable piece of artwork.
And the owl was worth the money. So long as the quality of work is flawless, $5,000 paid for a month’s worth of skilled labor with shop equipment is minimal.
I know the full opposing end of the price spectrum. You offer what you know is a low price for a cabinet job, and they look at you like you’re out of your mind. You drop the price because you think you need the work. Then you end up working for $3 an hour. You can’t stop because you signed a contract. But all your hours of work are not bringing home enough for the family.
It’s not impossible to make a living in the wood shop at the low end of the price spectrum, but it’s not a direction I would follow. When you create value, price it as valuable, and those who appreciate value will believe they took home something worth having.
Of course, even in a wood shop, business is all about selling. There are a lot of people in today’s world who have a lot of money, even in a downturn in the economy. These people want value. They want furniture and cabinetry that is both beautiful and reflects a high level of workmanship.
And if it is priced high enough to reflect the value that it is, some will be more ready to buy.