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What is Your Time Worth


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I just got my new/used kiln hooked up. The guys who sold me the kiln said;"Just hard wire it to the box." I went to Home Depot to look for a 50 amp plug. No dice. They were all plastic and did not look right. I looked at the box, looked at my kiln,looked at the box, and called an electrician. He didn't return my call until the second day. Finally came over, detached the plug that comes standard with the kiln, took the plate off the box and twisted three wires with marretts.[plastic wire connectors] Looked easy, but I was still glad he did it and not me.

I said; "How much do I owe you?" He looked at his watch and said "$80.00 please."

I was glad to pay the man because now I have a working kiln to bisque my work.

I looked over at my table of freshly trimmed leather hard bowls. I asked myself; Am I worth $80.00 an hour?

Of course I don't charge by the hour, I charge by the piece. I value my time out in the studio more than a lot of things. More than vacuuming for sure.

So I throw this out there for you guys. What is your time worth?


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I always use a clamp(bronze) type connector for #6 wire connections then wrap with friction tape then good quality electrical tape (scotch 33 or better) as those plastic ones can melt over time.

Just a heads up ( I used to work as an electrician)


Now my time is the most valuable thing I own. And you thought it was my boat?

My wife asked me 20 years ago how much I made per hour and I still cannot put up an answer to that. I am not the type whop spends time figuring out all my hours into a given thing.

I have worked dive jobs for 300$ an hour-My boat and me skippering for NOAA was also 350$ an hour but clay no - ceramics is not going to get that.

You can sell 800$ per hour if that gets you any closer


A better way I have come to think about this is when I was in my 20s time was worth very little now that I'm almost 60 time is worth a lot more. Ceramics time is the same deal.

I do like the Hamada quote on how long it takes-60 years and 15 seconds

I'm almost there.



PS after reading Mea's post below I will add that as a rule I try to produce about 400$-600$ a day if the sun is shinning-If I have gas dry it its a bit less.

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I know this has been brought up in previous threads, but I think it is worth mentioning again. I calculated my hourly earnings for a whole year of my pottery work ...




In a nutshell, my hourly worth in 2010 was about $24/hour when doing wholesale work, about $32/hour when making pots and selling them at art festivals, and $46/hour when making pots to sell at my once-a-year open house.


I'm hoping that I have improved on this since 2010. My production capabilities in the studio have definitely grown, and I have cut back on my wholesale work and added more art festivals to my schedule.


These days, I am not tracking the hours I spend on sales/marketing/administration, but I do have a benchmark for my studio time. For every two day cycle of throwing and trimming, I try to produce $1000 worth of inventory. I usually work about 5 hours per day, so that works out to $100/hour. I don't meet that $100/hour goal all the time, it's just my ideal pace. This number is significant to me personally, because this is how much I used to charge for my graphic design work. One of the deals I made with myself when I became a full-time potter was to work up to the same hourly value of my time.


I think this is a meaningful comparison to the electrician, because he does not get paid for his sales/marketing/administrative tasks either. Just for the time he spends providing his expertise.



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What is my time worth? Priceless......What is my pottery worth including time spent through the entire process, not really sure, I struggle with putting a price tag on my work. Partly because I see improvement and know I can do better and my better pieces leave home as gifts. I am fairly new at selling my work. I want to thank everyone who contributes to these forums, I appreciate reading the threads from you all, informative and helpful…..It is snowing again today the temps are in the twenty’s warming to forty by Saturday….giving myself a long weekend and spending it with clay, in between life.





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A point....If I price my pottery according to the amount of time it takes me to complete it, my prices would be going down. As I start making a new form, it is quite time consuming. As I begin to perfect the form, I am also able to produce it more quickly and the quality improves. The end result would logically be better pottery for less money.

I have made pieces which I dislike, and yet someone wants to buy them. Some pieces I love draw less interest.

Consequently, I feel your pain when you say that you struggle with pricing.

I have some close relatives who help me with pricing. It's still hard for me to assign a monetary value to something that feels so personal.

I suppose that reality may eventually intercede, and I will need to do the hours:price math....

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Pricing is a stumbling block for most potters ... experienced or newbies. We have fabulous potters just about giving their work away because they are afraid to raise their prices or they don't recognize the worth of it or they want to make pots everyone can afford ... etc ... and newbies charging way too much or too little.

You can't charge by time ... heck if that worked, people who did cross stitching or tatted lace would be millionaires ... and the reverse ... if you can throw a bowl or create a sketch in five minutes should it only cost a dollar?

Raw materials doesn't work either ... our raw materials are too inexpensive.

The best course for most potters is to take a "WAKE UP" tour of your local mall shops and department stores and check out what they are getting for machine made stuff. Yikes! They ask that price even though they make ten thousand of them. Crate and Barrell and Williams Sonoma don't even blush when they ask that price for imported production wares.

And notice something else ... more and more of them are trying to look hand made ... little flaws, glazing unevenness, childlike art. They know people want hand made.

So notice this work and ask how yours measures up. Maybe drop into a pottery shop and check out the level of skill there and decide if you are at that level. Ask yourself what you think of the prices and if it would be worth it for you to make similar items at that price. How much product could you make in a month and would you be able to pay your bills if you charged that much or only got 50% of that price due to wholesale or consignment fees.

Many potters I speak to are scared of wholesale even though it is a very convenient way to earn your living. It is a viable option and should not be trashed without consideration. You just sit home and make wares ... ship them out ... someone else sells them 24 hours a day and deals with the customers. The reluctance to give up half their money stops the thought from proceeding to the math of finding out you can still make money at the price you decide is wholesale. Believe me, it is a lot more pleasant than sitting in a booth fielding customer comments.B)

Whatever choice you make approach pricing as a project ... something to research, think about and learn. Then re-think and re-learn if your work sells or doesn't.

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