Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Self Respect: Pricing Your Work

A screen printer friend of mine stopped by yesterday. She maintains a shop capable of all type of shirt jobs, but has only a 1 station press, making multicolor jobs on dark shirts very labor intensive. She would like to farm out such work to a colleague, and asked me if I could come up with a price list for her.
I took my "printing only" list and discounted it 10% as a courtesy to her, giving her my best possible rates. At our meeting, she showed me a job that I would print at 2.35 per piece (I probably should have said 2.55). I was informed that the rate for the job was 1.75. Note that she didn’t say her price was 1.75, she simply stated what the job was worth (her opinion as fact).
Sorry! I do not live in a world where you bid super low in a desperate attempt to attract and keep clients. I don’t create a mindset for myself where market forces dictate to me that I have to work at low wages, suffering an inability to cover my costs.
I mentioned to my colleague that any job on my press has to bring a gross profit of $60.00 an hour through my door to keep the shop rolling. At least! She quipped “We don’t get anywhere near that”. Fine, that’s not my problem. It is her problem, and she was trying to sell it to me. I wasn’t buying. When setting your prices, pay yourself a rate you are comfortable with. Remember, there is always a market for quality. Your power in any deal is to walk away from it.
You certainly want to charge a fair price, and you should know what others in your field charge. But you must consider, you are creating a job for yourself, and you do not want others to dictate the terms of your job for you.

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