How to price contract finishing

      How to determine a baseline cost for a long-term finishing contract. January 24, 2001

I restore and finish antique furniture and recently got an offer to do finishing work for a company that builds custom cabinets and closets. They want me to give them a set percentage price for all work. Can anyone give me an idea of what to charge?

Forum Responses
Run a few jobs to find out time and materials, then compare your costs to theirs. Figure out your percentage. I would add in a little extra for unexpected cost increases in your finish products.

Is the finish system a 3 step or a 6 step, with several different glazes? These systems will vary greatly in cost. Same goes for closed pore or open pore.

Bob Niemeyer, forum technical advisor

I run a four-person refinishing shop and also do finish work for custom builders.

Donít agree to a flat percentage charge based on what the builder charges! You could have two projects of the same cost, one of which involves handling twice the number of pieces.

What the builder charges for his end is irrelevant to you. The builder I work with shows me the plans and I make a bid. What he tells the customer from there is up to him. You've got to track your time on these jobs or you'll never really know how you did.

There are other issues to watch for in this situation. Who does the prep?. Who is responsible for prep mistakes, oversights? Will you have to make samples? Will you have to do face time working with customers on their color and finish choice?

I finish on a contract basis with four shops. The work has been steady, varied and interesting.

You must get the deal in writing! Also, if you do not know this shop owner personally, it wouldn't hurt to ask around about him. I price my jobs to include the final sanding, after getting too many jobs that arrived rough.

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