Making the transition from a DIY ‘er into a full or part-time Furniture Painting Business has it’s challenges. One of the questions I’m frequently asked is How Do I Price My Painted Furniture?
Although I’ve been re-styling furniture on and off for many years, I haven’t been selling my pieces for all that long. This business is relatively new to me and I’m the first to admit I still have a lot to learn. This does not exclude how to price my work. For now, I price my pieces on the conservative side without apology. This is probably because I’m a ‘Bargainista’ at heart and I LOVE passing on affordable deals.
With that said, I know first hand, if you’re painting and selling furniture for profit, pricing your one-of-a-kind pieces can be confusing.
The basic formula: (cost of piece) + (supplies used) + (time/mark-up) = $$PRICE doesn’t always work. And this is especially true if you’re just starting out. There are so many variables and factors to consider… and for all of you who asked, here are my thoughts on just a few of them…
Punching a Time clock. The other week, M-M-M innocently asked me how many hours it took me to complete a piece of furniture. I shrugged my shoulders because I didn’t have an exact answer. Some pieces I finish quickly and other pieces seem to take me forever!
I’m well aware that in any venture, time equals money. The longer it takes me to find, prep and paint a piece of furniture, the less profit I make. However for now, I need to let my business grow organically while enjoying the process and creativity… without punching a time clock to determine my pricing. I know that in time, my furniture painting techniques and skills will become faster and profits will continue to increase.
If punching a time clock is going to discourage you from moving your business forward, consider looking at your pricing strategy differently. Enjoy the process and know the gap between time spent and pricing will soon close organically.
Pricing in Winter Spring Summer Fall … and Other Occasions. The last 2 months my sales have been down due to freezing cold weather. Living in the snow belt of Southern Ontario, we’ve been having -30°C temps with snow storms galore! Who wants to venture out and shop in this?… not me!
Keep in mind the weather, seasons and holidays may increase or decrease sales. Being aware of yearly trends while while being flexible with your pricing is a great strategy to keep your income flowing.
A Dollar Saved is a Dollar Earned. I’m always on the look-out for furniture I can refinish. And I look for the lowest price and best deals possible. I also keep track of the cost of supplies used for each job. This information is then factored into my asking price. The old saying “A Dollar Saved is A Dollar Earned” is very true in a furniture painting business. If I find a great piece for $25 at a garage sale rather than pay $125 for a similar piece online, my dollars saved have turned into income.
If you can minimize your initial expenses without sacrificing quality, you will earn more per sale.
Increased Confidence = Increased Income. As my skills develop and I gain more experience, my confidence level is growing. I’m feeling comfortable asking more for my one-of-a-kind pieces and painting services. Also, I find I’m not as quick to lower the price on items that don’t immediately sell.
As your skills and confidence improve, so will your income! This is a natural progression. If you’re just starting out, be kind and patient with yourself. Everything takes time and that includes growing confidence in any new venture.
Pricing What Sells Fast. I created a chalkboard from a $5 mirror and sold it for $100 + delivery within hours of posting it online. After it sold, I received numerous requests asking if I had any others just like it. The old adage of supply and demand applies in every business. I could have priced it a little more aggressively but more importantly, I wish I had duplicated it!
If you notice an item is selling quickly and in demand, price accordingly. By the way… if you know where I can buy these corner pieces… please let me know!
Compare Yourself to Yourself but Don’t Compare Yourself to Others. I find it extremely beneficial to network with other furniture painters. Networking and developing friendships with other DIY’ers and business owners encourages me to learn, grow, gain inspiration, and gauge asking prices. But I sometimes fall into the trap of comparing myself to all the fabulous talent out there! As my very wise sister likes to remind me; compare myself to myself and not to others. I may or may not be pricing my painted pieces for the same dollar amount as the furniture painter who’s been painting for 20+years… and that’s okay.
Keep yourself focused on developing and improving your skills and business while enjoying your own path and journey.
Location & Market. Know your area and your target audience. If you paint a piece of furniture and placed it in a NYC Boutique, it may quickly sell for $1200. If you shipped that same piece of furniture to a Flea Market in a quiet rural town, it may take 2 months to sell for $200. Take your location, venue and target market into consideration when pricing your furniture.
Passion + Purpose = Profit. I didn’t start this business as a get rich quick venture. I LOVE thrifting for great furniture bargains, salvaging for fabulous furniture finds, painting and re-styling, meeting wonderful clients for custom jobs, staging, photographing, blogging and writing tutorials. This is all FUN for me! I can spend an entire afternoon painting yet it feels like 45 minutes has flown by.
Are you in it for the love or the money? If your in this business for the money and you’re not loving what you do, you will most likely have a difficult time. I’m a believer that Passion + Purpose =Profit… IN ANY BUSINESS!
If you’re just starting out, or if you’ve been in this business for some time, feel free to chime in with your thoughts. I always learn something new from your comments and I would love to hear your thoughts on pricing!
Enjoy your day!