Business Pricing Question(s)

How many run a business with their respective CNC?
I have seen several YouTube vids explaining how you should price your product.
How do you price your product?
Material + Labor + Machine Time + Profit % + ?.
What do you charge for machine time?
What else do you charge for?


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I wrote a bit on this at:


What Will wrote, pluss electricity, inflation and earth’s declination in percent :laughing:

Or you could go by the “wow, really” effect, which is if a potential customer says: “wow, really…” and takes a step back.
Then reduce the price by 10% and see if the reaction is more positive.


On cost to make, Jeff and Will have covered that.

On what to charge, the only real connection to cost is that you should charge at least enough to cover all your costs plus whatever margin you need to make. If you don’t, it’s not good business and you probably won’t do it for long.

A produced good is worth what somebody will pay you for it today. For a commodity good, as Jepho says, this will depend mostly upon what other similar goods are selling for, competition will drive a market price. For an unusual, unique, artistic type good then it really is just what the customer is willing to pay. For example, consider the ‘designer label’ clothes that people pay $100s or $1000 for despite them coming from the same factory as the supermarket own brand. The only difference is the marketing and artifical scarcity causing the consumer to be prepared to pay more in order to be seen to have paid more.

For services you have a similar process, if there are others providing a similar service, e.g. ‘CNC my logo into a wood sign’ then you have a market setting the price for you and your job is to produce at lower cost. If you are doing design and creative work which the customer perceives as being unique to you, you’re back in the what they will pay territory. I would not expect to pay an artist the cost of the canvas and paint.

So, are you planning to offer a commodity product or service, or have you found a niche where your skills, location, service etc. allow you to charge what the customer perceives the product to be worth to them?


I was actually looking for ways to tweak my price setting I have currently. I see nothing new here accept for Jeff Cable’s comment regarding a percent to cost of Machine. At least that is the way I read it.
I like it!
I’ll add that.

Thanks to all that contributed to this post!


What are you making?

Wall Art.

These are pics completed on a 3018 Sainsmart Genmitsu CNC.
I am looking to be able to produce these and more at a fraction of the time.


If and until we, as a nation, quit buying everything from somewhere else (China e.g.), then you’ll have to price your product to compete with that labor market. (I once had an eBay merchant fight me for months over an $8 item that I didn’t receive. A Chinese friend explained that the $8 meant a lot to their finances.)

The only (and that’s iffy) market that really makes good money is custom work where you can apply all of the aforementioned formulas to determine a price. Even then there will be some haggling to come to a mutual solution.


You have a valid point.
I however my thoughts are that there is a customer for every price point for any given product, you just need to be creative in where to find them.
Plus, I do not HAGGLE. Not that over time I haven’t adjusted my price. Giving into haggling just gives the customer the perception they can do it the next time as well.
I have also adjusted my formula if it seems to total out to more than I feel the value may be.
I try to be fair, but not under price my product.

Thanks for the reply.


One great way to price something is to figure out your “day rate,” aka how much you’re worth. Divide your day rate by 8 hours (or 10 hours if you work in tv and ad production), and then add up how long it took to create what you’re selling, including design time. Add your cost and 10-25% for expendables, wear and tear, etc.


Additionally, for me, it’s important to charge for design time. As a video producer/ graphic designer/ video editor, I work many hours in meetings conceptualizing and designing, and it’s what I primarily bill for.

YMMV, especially if you’re using a predesigned element, add time for setup as a rule of thumb.


No combativeness perceived, and I get where you’re coming from. I’m only speaking about my thought process in the pricing situation as a designer first, creating something anew, verse cutting a templated design.

From a technician (machinist) standpoint, your argument is 100% valid. For cutting templated designs, I couldn’t see a justification for charging anymore or less for what the market is willing to pay.

@ehendrix said he was making art, thought my calculation gave a little guidance (and empowerment) to an artist.

I think the examples shown are CNC renderings of other people’s designs, if that factors into your narrative.


You basically have two kinds of customers that you have to price for: experienced and not.

You’ll know them before much conversation has passed. The “not” will either just click the BUY button or engage you with “Wow, didn’t think it would be that much.” and end up clicking the BUY button anyway.

The other one will first offer you half of what you specify you need for the product, engage you with much back and forth, make you wait for the “maybe” decision and then its a 90/10 chance that they’ll go buy the cheapest similar item they run across. (And, they’ll promptly inform you that they’ve done the latter.)


I have found that today’s folks simply ghost you when they decide not to buy. Somewhere along the way, it has become acceptable to simply ignore people. I blame electronic communications on that one.


I get 50% up front before starting the project (non refundable). This covers the project generally, or at least it doesn’t hurt as much, and should they want to ghost you, hey still have the cash.


I charge a design fee - creditable to the job - if I’m going to spend more than an hour working on thoughts, concepts, etc. If I’m working up an actual design, then for certain I’m going to take that money up front. Then I take 1/3 of the projected costs to book the job (which might not start for a couple of months), then 1/3 when the project is getting started, and the remaining 1/3 (trued up for actuals, sales tax, and delivery charges) upon acceptance.


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