How much should I charge for a 3D carving?

Hello guys, I was wondering, how much do you guys charge for a 3D carving?.. For example I just completed this one:

Imgur

Imgur

Imgur

Imgur

It’s 21.4" x 14.7" x 1.34" - 54.3cm x 37.3cm x 3.4cm using Teak wood.

It took me 4 days, 25 hours of machining and probably 7 extra hours of cleaning, setting up things, sanding and applying two oil coats.

3 Likes

The short answer is: vastly depends on your market and target demographic.

The long answer is much more involved. You can price based on time/material cost, assigning some value to your hourly labor, hourly machine time(taking into account tool and machine wear), and some upcharge on your material cost.
This method of pricing is somewhat common and ensures you get an amount you are comfortable accepting.

However that pricing does not ensure you get the highest value. As is often the case with artistic pieces, the real value is actually just “whatever someone is willing to pay”
You may find you’re vastly underselling your pieces if you simply price on time/materials.

It’s rather difficult to say which method is better in any given case so I can’t give any real advice. (And i don’t really sell anything so take it with a grain of salt :man_shrugging:) just wanted to lay out some common thoughts on the matter.

Beautiful piece by the way, good luck with your sales.

3 Likes

Your carving is great. However the selection of your wood detracts from your carving. When you are deciding on your wood selection an important thing to consider is what focal point of the object. So if you were making a simple vcarve with someone’s name you could get away with a wilder grain but since the focal point is the name using a plain grain would be best. The same for your intricate carving, which is the focal point the wood or the carving. Another thing to consider is the color of the wood. Warm colors like cherry and beech are pleasing to the eye. You can always stain any shade you want but certain woods attract the eye. Wood like Oak are stringy and do not always make good carving material because of their open grain and string structure. Maple carves pretty well but is very bland but can be stained but maple tends to blotch unless pre treated with products that help eliminate blotch of the stain.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The pictures have a wave of color that repeats and is distracting to me from the great carving you performed.

2 Likes

You may want to do some comparative pricing to get a feel for the range where other similar items are priced. Etsy and eBay are good starting points, but by no means an authority for where you can set your pricing. You can easily see where similar items are priced, but you may not be able to see for what they sold. Often a big difference, but still a good starting point is to see where they are priced so you can consider commonalities and differences and begin to ballpark your item(s).

Excellent points were made earlier in knowing your market - Who is going to appreciate it the most - They will likely pay a higher price for something they like that’s done well. There are likely other and possibly better, more specialized sites to review for comparison to your works, but again, they are good places to start.

Good luck, looks great!

1 Like

Oh yes, I would prefer a plain looking wood, but this is the best wood that I can get locally so there is nothing else to do in that regard. I guess this is a buyer preference thing, I personally like the look :wink:

I’m with Don on that point. The vertical stripes of sap wood (lighter in color) really distract from the rest of the wood’s character as well as the detail of the carving. If you’re gluing these up yourself, I would trim the sapwood off. The heartwood has some really nice grain and color variation, I would hardly call it ‘plain’.

As for price/value. I come up with a rough estimate based on time & materials, then look to see what else comparable is out there in the market. I see a bunch of similar sized carvings with much less detail selling for $35 - $50. And a few in the $300+ range. I would think somewhere around $100 wouldn’t be unreasonable.

2 Likes

If I spent 7 hours actively working on something, I better be getting at least a day’s worth of wages out of the finished product. If you factor in the time spent carving it on the CNC, then that makes the price go up even more considering you can’t produce anything else on that machine while it is carving that piece.
How much should YOU charge is a different question from “how much do we charge” for something like this.
Again, the short answer is it depends on your market. If I was going to make this and sell it in my area (lower income Southeast USA), I would price it no less than $250 and probably closer to $300. However, I doubt I would get that locally and would have to sell it online. And there’s no guarantee that it would sell (at any price). Not knocking on your quality or subject, I’m just referencing the inherent risk of producing and selling art in general.
Disclaimer, I don’t do 3D carvings specifically because of everything I just said. It isn’t worth my time for what people around me are willing to pay for it, and I don’t want the risk of producing it and selling it online at a loss (or not at all).

3 Likes

Pricing is one of the hardest things for makers. Never discount on what you set for a price. When you buy a luxury car they dont make as many as the econo box cars. So the luxury car gets a premium price. So do not underestimate your value and if the product does not sell then you can discount the price. In things like craft shows there is an amount that people will impulse buy an item. That item is usually around $75.00. When you go over that $75.00 mark people will look and consider for later but seldom come back. There is the old sales technique of volume over price. So if you sell enough volume you make up your profit by selling a lot of products. When you have a limited amount of product the price can go up and most people will walk by and admire your work but do not buy. However you always have the few that buy your work because they like it. So if you are not volume selling then you need to set the price high enough to make a profit and that proportionally excluded the casual buyer but if someone really likes what you have you make less sales but more profit per item.

So set a price to make a profit and see if it sells. If you do not sell then consider making a lower cost item to sell more volume. That is what makes business work. If this is a hobby then selling is not as important as if you are trying to make a living making and selling items.

2 Likes

Its all about Chinese and South American imports for USA vendors.

People will buy the cheapest crap they can find to decorate their abode. Some of it is purty well made, but sold really cheap in bulk stores.

I only do one-off custom products because of that.

2 Likes