Pricing Advice
Joel Peck, CPA

No matter what kind of system you use to calculate prices, the goal of pricing boils down to just one thing, setting a marketable price that covers your expenses, including yourself. The method is to create a worksheet listing all expenses so that you can calculate what it costs to make each piece. Here is how it's done. You may find it useful to print this entire file and use it as a work sheet.


Fixed Expenses

This is what it costs you to stay in business, whether or not you make anything or bring in any money. There are two parts:

* Capital Expenditures, what it costs you to set up shop; and * Operating Expenses (or overhead), what it costs you to keep the doors open.

Capital Expenditures

This is the cost of tools and equipment divided by the expected life of the equipment.

For example, if it cost you $5000 to assemble a workshop full of tools that last for 10 years, then $500 is your annual depreciation, more or less.

Your annual depreciation $ ________

Operating Expenses
Enter the annual cost for:

Owner's Salary ____________________
Rent _______________________________
Insurance __________________________
Utilities ____________________________
Studio supplies _____________________
Office supplies ______________________
Advertising __________________________
Legal fees ___________________________
Professional fees _____________________
Stationery ____________________________
Telephone ___________________________
Postage ______________________________
Shows you exhibit in __________________
Business taxes ________________________
Transportation ________________________
Other _________________________________

TOTAL (your annual overhead ) ___________________________

Hourly Overhead

Divide the total annual overhead by the number of hours you work in a year.
For example:

Let's say your annual overhead is $50,000
Let's say you work 40 hours per week for 50 weeks. That totals 2000 hours.

Your hourly overhead is annual overhead divided by hours worked.

That becomes 50,000 divided by 2,000, or $25

Now calculate your hourly overhead and enter it here:________________

Cost of Sales

This is what it costs to make something. Each item takes a different amount of time and materials. Therefore, these calculations must be done for every single item in your collection. Again, there are two parts

Labor, and
* Materials


Number of hours to produce the piece ________________________
How long to design it _________________________________________
Planning ____________________________________________________
Sales _________________________________________________________
Errands _______________________________________________________
Daydreaming _________________________________________________

TOTAL hours __________________________________________________

Hourly cost of labor depends on who is being paid.

If it is an employee, figure their hourly wage plus benefits, taxes, sick pay, bonuses, etc.

If it is a subcontractor, you should be given a per/piece or hourly price.

If it is yourself, you need to come up with a number. Consider such things as how much you would make at another job, how much you would pay someone else to do the work, how much you have invested in gathering your skills, what you need to live on, plus the cost of your own benefits, etc. This is usually the most difficult part for beginners.

Factor in these considerations and come up with a number for hourly labor.


Gems _________________________________
Metals ________________________________
Findings ______________________________
Lost __________________________________

Your materials cost ___________________

Now here is something else to consider: Aren't you entitled to a profit for risking your money and maintaining an inventory on these materials? If so, you might want to tack it on here.

Materials cost adjustment ______________


Your materials cost ___________________ (the number you just came up with, above)


Your Costs _____________________________

Here is where we do some math with the numbers calculated above.

Production cost

Your production cost is the total of two things multiplied together. One is the combined hourly overhead and hourly labor. The other is the total number of hours needed to make the item.

Production cost = (hourly overhead + hourly labor) x number of hours needed to make the piece.

hourly overhead is $25
hourly labor is $30 per hour
it takes 10 hours to make the piece

Add $25 and $30 to get $55

Multiply that by 10 hours to get $550 which is your production cost.

Now calculate your production cost and enter it here ______________

Net cost

Production cost + Materials cost = Net cost

Simple enough.

Your Net Cost ______________

Profit factor

Here is another chance to add something for risking your capital on overhead, materials and labor. If you put the same amount of money into a bank, stocks, horses, craps, what would you expect to earn? By investing in yourself, which is perhaps a greater risk, shouldn't you earn a greater profit? Think about it. And don't bother asking other designers what their profit factor is -- they won't tell you. It's different for every designer and something of a personal question anyway.

When you have finished pondering this one, figure out what your profit factor should be and enter it here. ______________

Final cost

Net cost X Profit factor = Final cost

Your final cost ______________

But wait, we're not done yet!

Take a look at this number. It is your cost for producing the one item in question. It may not include a few things. If you use a commissioned sales rep, that commission is not included. Is this final cost wholesale or retail? Most retail outlets which buy work from manufacturers at least double their costs. To be fair, if you are selling direct to the consumer, so should you.

As you can see, there are a lot of variables, especially from this point on. As you reach a selling price, do some comparison shopping and compare it to prices of similar items in stores. Do you want your price to be higher or lower? There are no absolutely firm rules about how you set your prices, but you should keep all of the variables in mind as you reach the ultimate balance that works best for you.

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