Jump to content


Photo

Your Labour Cost?

fees costs labour time

  • Please log in to reply
17 replies to this topic

#1 Mudslinger Ceramics

Mudslinger Ceramics

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 107 posts
  • LocationAustralia

Posted 19 February 2014 - 07:56 AM

Hi all,

 

Thought came up when reading through another thread about REAL work and the percieved value/under value of what we do. 

 

How do you cost your labour/time for what you make?......by the hour?....daily rate?....by the piece?

Mathematical equation?...guess?....don't think of it??

What percentage of your product's price reflect your labour cost?

 

In Australia a solicitor is worth $350/hr, a plumber $150 and my mechanic $120......what is a potter's time worth?

 

 

Irene

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Mudslinger Ceramics :   www.mudslingerceramics.net

 

'Don't worry about your originality. You couldn't get rid of it even if you wanted to.

It will stick with you and show up for better or for worse in spite of all you or anyone else can do.'

                                                                              - Robert Henri


#2 Rebekah Krieger

Rebekah Krieger

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 553 posts
  • LocationWisconsin

Posted 19 February 2014 - 09:27 AM

I suppose experience and skill might play into this more. I imagine my labor costs would be much lower than say.. Mr Baymore. 


Learning On my Kick wheel with my vintage Paragon (from the late 1960's)

#3 Mark C.

Mark C.

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,922 posts
  • LocationNear Arcata Ca-redwood rain forest

Posted 19 February 2014 - 11:08 AM

I can add in 40 years as a production studio potter I have no answer for you.

I could divide my gross or my net by hours worked. But I do not keep track of those hours -never have-and never will.

I only know I make $ and pay taxes when its all said and done.

In the old days If I took on someones project I charged an hourly work fee but that was a long time ago and I was guessing what my time is worth-then it was 30$ hr-now it would be way more as my labor has more value as an experienced clay person but to the customer who mys my mug in a gallery-this is a mute point.

I know when I worked as a Electrical what to charge or a plumber but as a potter its what I sell not how long it takes to make it. That said I,m fast at making things.

There has been some of this covered by Mea in a article in cermaics monthy and she may chine in and add her experience.

If I clocked in every day I answer this but I have no reason to try to write it all down-Thats one of the appealing factors of self employment for me.

I know its working as I just turned over my tax stuff to my account

Mark


Mark Cortright
www.liscomhillpottery.com

#4 Colby Charpentier

Colby Charpentier

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 169 posts
  • LocationProvidence, RI

Posted 19 February 2014 - 02:07 PM

I've come across a couple of different approaches...

 

1) Based off of the Glass program at Alfred, while I was in school, professors were suggesting $15/h for BFA, $50/h for MFA, $100/h for a fine arts professional. Pottery can sometimes fall into these fine arts brackets, and sometimes, not. This labor cost would then be added to a materials and process cost (including firing and so on) and that would be your wholesale price (double it for retail). This would be a piece by piece analysis appropriate for larger or more time intensive work, but can apply to production work also.

 

2) I know some production potters that set a weekly gross wholesale value of work. In this case, $1000 a week. Say they work 3 days a week or 60% of their work time in the studio, to allow for marketing and otherwise in the remaining time. They would have to meet a daily production value of $333. Assuming this potter only made handled mugs with trimmed feet, and the market can handle a modest $18 a piece ($9 wholesale), He's looking at 37 pieces a day to meet the $333 daily production value, round up to 40 to account for error/ defect. He knows he can do these handled mugs with trimmed feet at about 10 minutes a piece, so that 40 mug a day order comes out to just under 7 hours of work. In this case, his mugs are a good investment in terms of the return on his time, however other items will be less efficient, and it'll all balance out. This is an easier way to set production goals and make sure that you're on track with supporting yourself.

 

3) When you access specific markets with your work, your vendors, whether a top gallery or a kitsch gift shop will be able to advise you on what the market can tolerate in terms of price hiking. Make as much as there is demand, and let the work take care of you... This requires making extremely refined objects that fit the market perfectly, and at that, there's not always enough demand to make work "on the fly" like this.

 

Another consideration I have when developing new work is that the prototypes are always worth more than the final production work. They take more time and often require more labor, while I pare down the process to how I produce the final product. Commonly because of this, early work in a production line becomes gifts or part of my private collection, or the studio kitchen's collection.

 

Either way, everybody has their own approach, and are often pairing their income with another source, or whining about how tough the life is. I have the utmost respect for those that make it by on the sales of their work alone, and know plenty of potters that would be able to if my pockets were deep enough, though!



#5 GEP

GEP

    Moderator / full time potter ^6 stoneware

  • Moderators
  • 845 posts
  • LocationSilver Spring, MD

Posted 19 February 2014 - 04:22 PM

This thread is from 2012, it is really similar to the question asked here:

http://community.cer...urly#entry24177
Mea Rhee
Good Elephant Pottery
http://www.goodelephant.com

#6 DirtRoads

DirtRoads

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 114 posts
  • LocationEdinburg, MS

Posted 19 February 2014 - 05:18 PM

Personal clay production $30-$35/hour (4 hours a day/minimum $100/hour production $400/day, work 6 hours day tops on pottery (2 hours loading kilns/ cleaning,etc) 2-4 hours jewelry). production/sales ratio = 50% of selling price

 

Personal jewelry production - $60 plus/hour

 

Glazing Labor $100/day - 6 hours a day = $16.60/hour Production sales ratio 14-16%

 

Weekend college student labor (family) $10/hour plus lunch, gas money, treats, etc -   production/sales ratio ranges 20-30% profit for business

 

Not that great of a potter so I think $30-$35/hour is good.   I don't deserve to make as much as someone like Mark C. or John Baymore.  I clear (after everything) about 25 -35% on pottery business sales, 50 - 60% on jewelry business sales.  Pottery is the cornerstone of the business.  Jewelry is the margin builder.   I am gradually adding a few more products to retail mix for a little extra revenue.   I have started on a 10% price increase, that will increase return and hourly production ratio.   I really think my prices should be 20% higher, which I am trying to factor in new product introductions.



#7 Pres

Pres

    Retired Art Teacher

  • Moderators
  • 2,066 posts
  • LocationCentral, PA

Posted 20 February 2014 - 09:21 AM

I've come across a couple of different approaches...

 

1) Based off of the Glass program at Alfred, while I was in school, professors were suggesting $15/h for BFA, $50/h for MFA, $100/h for a fine arts professional. Pottery can sometimes fall into these fine arts brackets, and sometimes, not. This labor cost would then be added to a materials and process cost (including firing and so on) and that would be your wholesale price (double it for retail). This would be a piece by piece analysis appropriate for larger or more time intensive work, but can apply to production work also.

 

Interesting concept here, that formal education entails higher value. On the end of the spectrum is the lowly potter that learns by doing, and doing, and doing without the formal background. Of course he has not interacted with others, may know nothing of aesthetics, or have a formal training in glaze chemistry, but has access to the internet, books and magazines, and may have taken a class or two here or there. Hmmmm what equals what.  Then take into the account that some people can throw large well beautiful pieces in 30 minutes, where as others cannot even begin to or take 1 hrs to get the same form.  ? ?

 

My point is maybe one should also rate their hourly wage projection on their skill level. Problem here is how they perceive themselves!  :wacko:


Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#8 neilestrick

neilestrick

    Neil Estrick

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,719 posts
  • LocationGrayslake, IL

Posted 20 February 2014 - 09:42 AM

I get $75 per hour for kiln repair labor, and I use that rate for other professional services outside the studio when appropriate. I have no idea what I make per hour from pots. It doesn't really matter to me, it's more of a bottom line thing. Plus i rarely get to sit at the wheel for any extended period of time, and it would depend greatly on what type of pots I'm making. Little cups have a radically different labor cost than big jars.

 

We've had a lot of discussions here on the forum about setting prices for our work, and inevitably someone puts forth a mathematical formula for calculating the retail price of their pots. I don't think that works, because with all other things being equal, someone who makes pots faster shouldn't necessarily charge less for their pots. And will you lower your prices as your speed increases? And all things being equal, what if one person makes great pots and the other person makes crappy pots? Ultimately, prices are set based on what the market will bear, and you have to calculate backwards from there to see if you're able to produce the work at an acceptable cost to be profitable.

 

It's less depressing to not calculate your hourly wage. We do this because we love it, not because of the money.


Neil Estrick
Kiln Repair Tech
L&L Distributor
Owner, Neil Estrick Gallery, LLC
www.neilestrickgallery.com

neil@neilestrickgallery.com

#9 GEP

GEP

    Moderator / full time potter ^6 stoneware

  • Moderators
  • 845 posts
  • LocationSilver Spring, MD

Posted 20 February 2014 - 09:56 AM

Ultimately, prices are set based on what the market will bear, and you have to calculate backwards from there to see if you're able to produce the work at an acceptable cost to be profitable.


Thanks Neil, this was the whole point of my Hourly Earnings Project. Too many people are still trying to assign themselves an hourly rate first, then use that to calculate the prices the pots. There are lots of professions where pricing is based on this, so I guess it's natural to expect the same for a potter. But it doesn't work that way.

To any potter who wants to measure their earnings, I don't think figuring it down to the hour is very useful. It was something I did for myself, and purely for myself. What's really useful is to track how much net profit you can make per month, and then per year.
Mea Rhee
Good Elephant Pottery
http://www.goodelephant.com

#10 Chris Campbell

Chris Campbell

    clay stained since 1988

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,211 posts
  • LocationRaleigh, NC

Posted 20 February 2014 - 10:49 AM

"It's less depressing to not calculate your hourly wage. We do this because we love it, not because of the money."

Sadly, this sentence perfectly illustrates why we are at the bottom of the barrel in the earnings for artists survey ... Not singling you out Neil because I have heard this sentiment expressed time and time again over the years.

Chris Campbell
Contemporary Fine Colored Porcelain
http://www.ccpottery.com/

https://www.facebook...88317932?ref=hl

TRY ...   FAIL ...  LEARN ...  REPEAT


#11 neilestrick

neilestrick

    Neil Estrick

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,719 posts
  • LocationGrayslake, IL

Posted 20 February 2014 - 11:18 AM

"It's less depressing to not calculate your hourly wage. We do this because we love it, not because of the money."

Sadly, this sentence perfectly illustrates why we are at the bottom of the barrel in the earnings for artists survey ... Not singling you out Neil because I have heard this sentiment expressed time and time again over the years.

 

Yep. But that doesn't mean we can't still make a decent living at it. Ceramics is more labor intensive, materials intensive, and equipment intensive than many art and craft forms, and the bulk of us are making functional work, which doesn't bring the prices other art does. I don't think it's fair to compare our income to a painter's income, or someone who does metal sculpture, because we are in very different markets. Functional pots are not wholly luxury items like wall art and sculpture, and therefore don't generally bring high prices.

 

Regardless, if I wasn't making pots but loved my job just as much, I would put in just as many hours as I do now. Which makes another point- we put in a lot of extra hours because we enjoy the work, which skews the numbers.

 

It is what it is, and if it was really a big issue, none of us would do it.


Neil Estrick
Kiln Repair Tech
L&L Distributor
Owner, Neil Estrick Gallery, LLC
www.neilestrickgallery.com

neil@neilestrickgallery.com

#12 JBaymore

JBaymore

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 2,980 posts
  • LocationWilton, NH USA

Posted 20 February 2014 - 11:33 AM

"It's less depressing to not calculate your hourly wage. We do this because we love it, not because of the money."

Sadly, this sentence perfectly illustrates why we are at the bottom of the barrel in the earnings for artists survey ... Not singling you out Neil because I have heard this sentiment expressed time and time again over the years.

 

I'm with Chris here.

 

I understand that most successful actors really love their jobs (know a couple).  But they are also VERY clear that they get paid and paid WELL for their work.  They are in the arts, and they love their jobs.  But they also take a strong stance as professionals in their field.  You want my work.... you PAY for it what it is worth (or in some case MORE than it is worth ;) ). No pay.... no job.  I'll find someone else that will pay me.

 

We likely all need to put a bit more effort in looking out for the good of the FIELD as we approach what we do.  Like in most everything, our actions have impacts that go far beyond only ourselves.

 

best,

 

.............................john


John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

http://www.JohnBaymore.com

#13 Mark C.

Mark C.

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,922 posts
  • LocationNear Arcata Ca-redwood rain forest

Posted 20 February 2014 - 11:33 AM

Back when I was in Collage getting my art degree(ealy 70's) my mentor mentioned the discrepancy betwwwen the disciplines of say Painting and potting or foundry work (next door building).

The perception out there was lowly potter (this was from his time 50-60's) all other arts where viewed in a high light.This view was from the top down in academia to the public. 

I was not concerend with the economics of this at the time but did see the truth in it the statement.

I will add it takes so much longer to master all the skills in ceramics than say painting If you can paint/draw then you only need to learn expand your technique strech canvas and get to work.

Not that way with ceramics unless you are glazing pre bisque bunnies at the low fire shop and letting someone fire them for you.

I have no idea how this part of the ecomomics  of ceramic  history evolved and if its world wide or more a USA thing but its always been around.

Mark


Mark Cortright
www.liscomhillpottery.com

#14 GEP

GEP

    Moderator / full time potter ^6 stoneware

  • Moderators
  • 845 posts
  • LocationSilver Spring, MD

Posted 20 February 2014 - 01:22 PM

We likely all need to put a bit more effort in looking out for the good of the FIELD as we approach what we do.  Like in most everything, our actions have impacts that go far beyond only ourselves.

 

The further I get in my pottery business, the less I am convinced this is true. Pottery customers are not one collective entity, operating under the same influences. And they do not view potters as one collective and comparable entity. Each customer views each potter as an individual, and are perfectly capable of judging us as individuals.

 

These days at most of my shows, my functional pottery is the most expensive. I used to get queasy when I saw beautifully-made mugs being sold for $18, wondering if this would affect the sale of my $35 mugs. Over time, I've realized it does not. Pottery buyers do not want the "cheapest" mug, they want the mug they like the most. Now I do not worry about what others are charging, I worry about making the most appealing mugs I can make.

 

Just like I am not competing with the $18 mug maker, I am also not competing with the $300 yunomi maker. Or vice versa. Now that is a completely different world with a totally different population!

 

What really matters are your own decisions and actions, which only affect yourself.

 

I am ok with anyone disagreeing with this. These are my thoughts based on my experiences and observations.


Mea Rhee
Good Elephant Pottery
http://www.goodelephant.com

#15 Chris Campbell

Chris Campbell

    clay stained since 1988

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,211 posts
  • LocationRaleigh, NC

Posted 20 February 2014 - 03:36 PM

You are right Mea, there is more than one type of customer for clay.

Over time you have zeroed in on your customer and make the wares in the price range they will pay ... and likely nudge the range up from time to time. You cull your selection to get rid of less popular items ... you pay attention to and take care of your business.

You love what you do but treat it as a business ... not impossible to do.


Chris Campbell
Contemporary Fine Colored Porcelain
http://www.ccpottery.com/

https://www.facebook...88317932?ref=hl

TRY ...   FAIL ...  LEARN ...  REPEAT


#16 Mark C.

Mark C.

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,922 posts
  • LocationNear Arcata Ca-redwood rain forest

Posted 20 February 2014 - 05:05 PM

Mea said

( Pottery buyers do not want the "cheapest" mug, they want the mug they like the most. Now I do not worry about what others are charging, I worry about making the most appealing mugs I can make.)

This is my exact take on my business as well-my customers pick what appeals the most to them very,few ever compare or even think what some other potter sells their work for.I never look at others prices anymore I stopped that over 20 years ago.I do not care about what ohers price points are I only care about what I'm doing. It sounds calaus but it rings true to me.

I have raised my most popular items price twice in past two years and have not heard one peep about it.

If I did get blowback I would not care anymore -been at this to long-I only like GOOD business no more time for any other.

I've walked away from great shows  (money wise) because the promoter was an a bad person so economics are only one piece for me.Not the only piece.

Its as Jimmy Buffet said its got to feel goodor why do it.

 

The older I get the more it occurs to me that we only have so much time here so buy it now or wish you had is starting to creep into my being.

As I'm cutting back on shows and production some every year my work has slowly become more expensive as I am not driven by price I can pick and choose what I want to do with it.

The biggest shock to new customers is when I say I've been this 40 years and I only have so many mugs in me left.They get it.

People buy what they like more than the cost compared to others I have found all along-

I have another potter friend whos work is more detailed than mine and his prices are higher-we have found that his customers are (generalization here) about 10 years older on average and tend to be two home types-also he has about 70% visa sales over my 40-50% visa over cash.

Its interesting comparing these trends. I know more than I want to say on this-as I do not want to get into a nit pick thing with folks.

You over time get all this doing shows and selling outright-so much is missed when you let others sell your work.

its one of the things I really like about my mix of sales venues-talking to your final user is such great feedback.

Mark


Mark Cortright
www.liscomhillpottery.com

#17 Wyndham

Wyndham

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 421 posts
  • LocationSeagrove NC

Posted 20 February 2014 - 05:05 PM

I may have mentioned this in another but similar thread but a contract potter, one who works for many different shops per week, charges $1.25 to $1.75/lb.

The difference between potter a & B is the clay and the forms.

One pound balls of clay ready to turn for mugs, $1.25 or about $100 per session. Porcelain vase form $1.75 or more. All the potter is selling is time and ability to make your form.

Back in the 1930's--- 5 cents/lb

Wyndham



#18 Marcia Selsor

Marcia Selsor

    Professor Emerita, Montana State University-Billings

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,978 posts
  • Locationwhere Texas, Matamoros, Rio Grande and Gulf of Mexico come together.

Posted 26 April 2014 - 07:40 AM

It is difficult. I do a lot of experimenting with alternative firings. Many times I retire pieces three or 4 times.
Also been selling pottery for 45+ years. I try to place prices for the market and consider them art pottery. Plus consider the retail price in a gallery and my 50%, shipping, packing. Spent Tuesday packing.All this figures in.

Marcia





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: fees, costs, labour, time

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users