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I Forge Iron

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Here are some of my latest projects, i have been around on the forum for a couple of years now and i am slowly making my way into the world of making money off of my work.
Both of these were done for a customer and she was happy so i am happy. i would have liked to do collars on the screen but they wanted it welded so it got welded.

So i am looking for some feed back.
The wife/ accountant say’s I am way underpricing.
So a independent evaluation would be nice.
I am able to figure the materials and man-hours; it’s the skill/art factor that is not being included.

Also I got the Idea for the trivet off of the forum; don’t remember where but thanks for the design.

Thanks in advance.



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I like scroll work so these are very appealing to me. They are honest forged pieces and great examples of traditionally styled work - don't stress about having to weld the screen.

With regard to pricing, that is purely dependent on what you want to make per hour and what the customer will pay. Once you get a portfolio of work, it's easier to charge a bit more but if the market won't support a price increase then you'll just have to get faster.

You didn't list size or what you charged so it's hard to offer advice on that question - but over the years, I came up with a "square foot" price that applies to about 95% of what I do (which is primarily fireplace screens and gates) and it's easy for me to quote a project with extra costs tossed in for odd variables. Perhaps a little over 30% of my contacts develop into a legitimate client and subsequent job, the rest fall by the wayside. I rarely "lose" money but I work by myself and basically look to cover my materials at cost and make money on my labor so it's a personal decision for each craftsman.

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Sorry duh, it is a ten inch trivet at $15.00 each (she ordered 3) so i gave her a volume discount.
The screen is 32 by 24 at it came in at $50.00.
It is 1/4 (at 32 cents a foot) stock so materials was low, most of the money covered man-hours at about $10 per hour.
Many have told me that the screen could have easily gone for $150
I am still in the development stages of my work so i price accordingly.
I think in a year or two i would feel comfortable pricing in that range.
also they have allready asked for more work and recomend me to others who want more work, so i think the lower price will pay
off in the long run.

thanks for the feed back please keep it comeing.

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Yeah, that's way too cheap. I would have quoted the screen at $450 to $500 and the trivets at $50 each (but that's just me). You basically covered the material costs and not much else.

I agree there are costs associated with learning but at some point, you are just working to get tired. That's fine if it's a hobby or part-time but needs to be part of the overall decision. You can make stuff for your wife and come out ahead in the long run if practice is the goal.

The problem with low prices is that all of her friends will want it for the same cost.

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My wife/accountant always says the same thing ;)

And yes, somebody got a great deal on some nice iron work.

However, don't stress too much about it. I have found that you can't charge a customer for your learning curve, so as you get faster / more productive, you profit margin will also increase.

Also, when you are building a base and you are aquainted with the folks you are doing business with, it don't think it hurts to cut them a break to get your name out there... as long as you are comfortable with the price. Think of it as part of your advertisement budget.

When you get the time & material estimation thing down and folks start coming to you... then you can start moving up toward "going rate".

Good work,


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  • 2 months later...

Some excellent work!


On your cost of production, it looks like you just charged cost of actual materials and labor.  What you might want to consider is the other associated costs that went along with the project.  Things like fuel for the forge, the cost of using your tools (depreciation), the cost of the place where you did the work.  While it may be your garage or backyard, There is still value in using that place which could be added to the legitimate cost of the product.  There are probably other costs as well that you may not have thought about as well.


These other costs may be hard to pin down per project, so you may want to include them in your labor rate.  You may want $10 per hour for your actual labor and another $5 per hour to cover your "shop" costs bringing your labor rate to $15 per hour.  You probably want to come up with your own number for your shop costs, but you get the idea.


Just my thoughts 

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