Pricing for Furniture Refinishing

A discussion of how to set prices for furniture refinishing. April 18, 2010

I received a call today from a furniture dealer that wants me to refinish about 10-15 pieces per month (dining room set, etc.). What would you charge at this quantity? The going price for a refinished dining room in my area is about $1600. This would be a six foot long table and six chairs. I just want to make sure of pricing before I get in over my head.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor R:
This sort of question comes up now and then and itís a tough one to answer. I would charge as much as I could possibly charge and keep in mind that the person feeding you the work is going to have his/her hand in the cookie jar. For what itís worth, $1600 is not nearly enough for the work involved in re-finishing six chairs and a six foot long table.

If you have to contend with taxes, workmanís compensation, payroll, materials, rent, heating and electric bills, vehicle maintenance, gas, tolls, office supplies, bathroom supplies, insurance, accounting, phone bills, advertising costs, equipment maintenance, and etc then $600 will not go far. You didn't mention anything about types or styles or finishes that are already on the pieces you plan on re-finishing.

Paint is time consuming to strip and a Duncan Phyfe arm chair is more difficult to strip than an oak side chair. You didnít mention what types of finishes you plan to apply. Oil based varnishes take longer to dry than a Lacquer and neither is as time consuming as a French polish finish is. Why not share with us some of the parameters you have in your cost of doing business you might get a better handle on the answer.

I can understand you wanting to get some prices before youíre in over your head but what it costs in one part of the country has no bearing on what someone in another part of the country charges. Look back at your time cards to get an idea on what it cost you to do the last dining room set you did. Check out the materials invoice to get an idea on what the materials cost was for the dining room set. Look at the bottom line to see how much money you made or how much money you didnít make and take it from there.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for the answer. Typically all the furniture is square with no turnings. I use WB Target coatings as a finish. It usually takes me 2-3 days to refinish a dining room set (table, six chairs) with one employee and I leave it cure for about 3-5 days. My expenses are not very high as it costs me about $3,000 per month to run my shop with one employee. Any other info you want to know please ask. I know prices vary from place to place. I service a fairly large city with a population of about four million people. I will be getting the pieces in batches therefore the colors and sheen will remain the same per batch.

From contributor B:
Is it actual strip and refinish work? Furniture companies usually mean touch up repair type work. Just curious if you two are on the same page for the type of work needed. Refinishing costs could add quite a bit on retail price and the customer may want a real cheap price so he could sell at price below factory finish.

From the original questioner:
It costs me 3k for one employee and my rent, heating, etc. I got a good deal on the place and my worker does mostly stripping and sanding at $10 per hour. The furniture required will need to be stripped, stained and finished. We use a standard method of stripper, scraping, and lacquer thinner wash down for the tables. The chairs get stripper applied and the rinsing is done with lacquer thinner in an overflow tub. This is how I get it done so quickly.