Tips for Pricing your Handmade Goods

Many artisans are overwhelmed when it comes to pricing their handiwork. How do you put a price on all the time and effort that goes into the creative process?

Here are some of my tips from running my own online business selling handspun yarns and fibers for 8 years. These tips may not work for everyone in every craft, but they have worked well for me and so I am sharing them with you.

Caro Sheridan's WebForm mini quilt

Caro Sheridan's WebForm mini quilt

1. Online market research

What is the price range of what you are selling? Go sites like Etsy and see what similar items are currently selling for. Keep in mind that jst because an item is listed for $100.00 doesn't mean it will sell for that price. Check the sellers "sold" listings to see if similar items have sold recently. Although you cannot see the price that the item sold for, if a seller has a shop full of expensive items and no sales, they have priced their shop too high for that market. Once you know what the price range is for similar items in your craft, you will know the range of where you can price your items and expect to see sales.

Ideally you should be able to price your items right in the middle of this range unless you are using a higher quality material or there is something truly unique about your specific craft. However, if you are brand new to the niche you are working in, with many other shops online, I suggest pricing just below the average price to draw more people in, increase your sales and build your prices with repeat customers.

Berry Birdy's Coin Purse / Wallet PDF Pattern

Berry Birdy's Coin Purse / Wallet PDF Pattern

2. Cost of supplies

This is a cornerstone in being able to set a fair price on your work, and make the highest profit you can. Never pay retail price for your supplies. Do your best to secure all your materials wholesale or on sale. The lower price you pay on your materials, the more profit you have an opportunity to make.

For example:

  • Knitter A buys a skein of yarn for $10, knits a scarf that sells for $20, and profits $10.
  • Knitter B buys the same skein of yarn with a coupon for $6, knits a scarf that sells for $20, and profits $14.

Maize Hutton's Doily Plate Clock

3. Your hourly rate

This is the most challenging factor in pricing your homemade goods -- and the most controversial. I know many artisans who charge $10/hour for their time.  If you are acquiring your supplies for free, charging per hour will help you set a fair price. But if you are charging $10/hour while you're crafting and watching TV, I'm not sure charging $10/hour will help you set a price that is fair in the market. Are you really working most efficiently while multitasking and being entertained? You see, many of us are crafting during what we would otherwise call "free time." Free time is $0.00 per hour. Some of us are crafting while our children run around, between cooking meals and talking the dog for a walk. It's very hard to get an accurate estimate on how much time we spend on a project. Also, some of us create faster than others.

For example:

  • Crafter A: spends 4 hours crocheting $5 yarn into a baby hat.  Cost of project: $45
  • Crafter B: spends 2 hours crocheting $5 yarn into a baby hat.  Cost of project: $25

It's going to be very challenging for Crafter A to sell her hat for $45 if there are other hats for sale for $25. She may look at Crafter B's work and think Crafter B is underselling the market, when in reality she just works slower than Crafter B. This is no one's fault. I happen to be a very fast spinner, so if I literally calculated the cost of my time into my yarns, I would offend a lot of artisans because all my yarn would be under-priced.

I recommend that Crafter A spend some time doing market research to see what baby hats are selling for, and price hers accordingly. Crafter B might also benefit if she does some market research and raises her price by a little bit. After both of them do their market research, they may both do well by pricing their baby hats in the $30-$35 price range.

If you are an artisan that is working uninterrupted in your studio to create an item to sell, then tracking how much time you spend on a project will help you set a fair price. But if you're a crafter who is multitasking while creating, you might end up charging too much for your time and overpricing your product.

In closing, here are some formulas that have worked in the past for finding a fair market price in my craft economy.

  • Cost of Supplies + $10 per Hour Time Spent = Price A.
  • Cost of Supplies x 3 = Price B.
  • Price A + Price B divided by 2 (to get the average between these two prices) = Price C.
  • Compare Price C to your Market Research and adjust accordingly.

For example, it takes me 2 hours to spin $20 worth of fiber into yarn. $20 Fiber + $20 Time = $40 (Price A).  $20 Fiber x 3 = $60 (Price B). $40 + $60 = $100.  Divided by 2 = $50 (Price C)

$50 should be in the range of the fair market price for my item. If $50 is too high, I'm either spending too much on supplies or I may work slower than other crafters. If $50 is too low, I may work faster than other crafters, or I got a great deal on my supplies and should raise my price a bit to have a fair market price and support the other artisans in my field.

How do you determine pricing for your handmade goods?

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38 Comments

Kathleen Tillinghast

I have never sold my crafts. When I knit an Aran sweater it takes approx 40 hours total. There is no way I can charge enough to be worthwhile. When (once) I made a sweater from raw fleece, including all the steps it must have been more like 100 hours.

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Kathleen Tillinghast

I have never sold my crafts. When I knit an Aran sweater it takes approx 40 hours total. There is no way I can charge enough to be worthwhile. When (once) I made a sweater from raw fleece, including all the steps it must have been more like 100 hours.

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Laura Lightner

I have never sold any of my crafts. Thank you so very much for the info. I have thought about selling sometime sown the road and you have been a big help. Once again Thank You

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Tricia

I don’t think this is a realistic way to try to make a living.
This formula does not account for cost of sales or profit. It is a way to come up with a base cost of goods, which then must be calculated into a wholesale and then a retail price. You cannot take this system and expect to be able to cover a booth fee or consignment fees with this formula, much less be able to have your product sold at shops.

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Eru

She just said in the blog she was selling them online so therefore, no cost for a physical store. Plus, she also mentioned this was what worked for her and may not work for everyone. If you know a better way, then start your own blog. Why were you even here in the first place if you already know that much about pricing?

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Virginia

I certainly hope that A does an excellent job on her crafts. That’s a lot of money for a baby hat. I make babies, children’s and adult caps. My top price is $20.00 depending on the type of Yarn (cost) And never charge an hourly rate. I triple the cost of materials. My crafts range. from $5.00 per set, and lap quilts and larger quilts range from $25.00 up to $150.00 depending on size. I don’t make a fortune but makes me feel good as I not only am sharing my talents but helping others who can’t afford more.

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Carolyn O'Neill

Thanks for your comments. It has given me food for thought about how to price my knitwear. Its hard to find a happy medium.

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Jeanne

This article helped immensely! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

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Terry Sheldon

Very helpful. I’m looking to have my first booth at our local Holiday Market this year, so I need all the help I can get!

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karen waters

Thank you so much for helping me to solve my pricing on my handmade items.

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Anke

I run a sewing studio offering flamenco dance costumes in the south of Spain. For years I set my prices low which resulted in working long hours for little money. Until I realized that it requires a mind shift to be able to charge enough to be able to produce my best work. I’m sharing what I’ve learnt at sewingenious.co

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Ismriti

I was wondering how much i should really charge for my products and now i know.I found this article really helpful. Thank you so much.

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Mandy

I’ve never sold my crafts, so I wasnt sure how to price my items. This advice was very helpful! Thank you so much!

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Kathy

On May 15, 2015, Virgina posted: “My top price is $20.00 depending on the type of Yarn (cost) And never charge an hourly rate. I triple the cost of materials. My crafts range. from $5.00 per set, and lap quilts and larger quilts range from $25.00 up to $150.00 depending on size. I don’t make a fortune but makes me feel good as I not only am sharing my talents but helping others who can’t afford more.” I found this to most helpful as I am planning to participate in 2 Fall Craft Festivals and the thought of pricing my crafts has been very burdensome. But thanks to Virginia, I think I can handle it now.

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Beth

Thank you for posting this!! I’ve never sold anything and I am gearing up to sell at a convention in four months.

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Ayeesha

Thank you very much for this post. I do find myself crating while watching TV or while my children are occupied. I think I will subtract 2hrs from now on time…. Thanks again

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Erronious.Lace

FINALLY some clarity. I have struggled with pricing for quite sometime, and now I understand why I am not seeing any real movement of my product on Etsy and why product is selling too fast a craft fairs!

Thank-you, Thank-you, Thank-you!!

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Sandy Lalonde

Need help, I draw my own disney squares, sew them together to make baby blankets (material is usually scrapes or bedsheets) takes about 32 hours to make one. Give me some advise on pricing.
Thanks Sandy

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Cutecee

I sold one of my 5″ amigurumis dolls (turtle) for $20 I took the cost of supplies which was $8 it too me 12 hours to do it I charged a $1 an hour so $8+$12=$20 If I’m multitasking while crocheting something I plan on selling I do not count the time I am not crocheting. I don’t think it’s right to charge someone for your time if your not crocheting.

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Doreen

I am glad your site can up when I was searching for help with how to price my items. Very nice of you to take the time to post this information for all that are struggling with pricing. I have adult scarves and hats, and baby hats and blankets all made but did not know what was a good marketing price. I started keeping a spreadsheet for each project so I could see what I bought, what it cost per item, I log In my time (start and stop) that I am actually working on that project. So I start and stop several times a day so that is why I like to see the project at s glance. Works for me, hope it might help someone else.

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Angel

Great idea in keeping a spreadsheet of costs and time. I am not a crocheter but sewer and this advice works for me. Now all I have to do is remember how much $ I spend on all that fabric stash I have……

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Jacinta

Thanks for this site have been looking for market for crochetted and joined patterns how do i go about it please help.

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Misty

I found this to be very helpful. I know I can’t make a living at crocheting or any of my other crafts, but if I’m going to be doing it anyway I may as well be getting paid SOMETHING for it! Thank you for all the advice.

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Tracy

Thank you for some good information. Sounds like solid guidelines. Thanks again.

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Vicki

Thank you so much for this. I make scarves – both infinity and other – and blankets from infant to double bed size. Thinking of how to price them has been very confusing. You’ve helped me a lot. Thank you!

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Bridget

Super helpful! I used your formula for my first commissioned piece and mentioned this article in my blog post!

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Marnie

Very helpful, very easy to understand. I make preserves and I think your advice applies to that as well.

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Aria Clements of Aria Couture

An irony regarding #3 is that Crafter A who works slower may be newer, and therefore turning out a less fine-tuned item, than Crafter B. This is something we run into in the sewing world. You can take me and a new person, tell us to make the same design, and I may be able to turn it out, complete with drafting my own pattern, in 20% of the time it takes the new person to turn out a product from a close-enough pattern with wavy hems and crooked seams. If we both received the materials needed for free, and only charged time, and I take 6 hours and she takes 30 hours, and we both charged $300, that’d be $10 an hour for her, and $50 an hour for me, yet I’d be accused of charging too much per hour. Basically my years of skill and experience are devalued since more people don’t want to pay more than $15 an hour. Is $90 for the dress from someone with many years of professional really fair when someone would see $300 as far to pay to that new person? It really does reach a point when there’s no incentive to work more efficiently.

For this reason, I don’t charge hourly. I’ll consider the time, but I charge by the project. Sometimes that works our to closer to $10 per hour, and sometimes it’s close to $100 per hour, based on the particular skills involved (just because someone can sew a pillow case doesn’t mean they can do 25,000 beads and 18,000 sewings on a gown–different skill-sets under the sewing umbrella), if one piece or a whole ensemble is ordered, how far out or how soon something is needed, etc.

Something I really wish “how to price” articles would go over, which this one slightly touched on, is how to factor in the experience of a maker, and outside of knitting, which I know requires fewer non-consumable supplies, the cost and maintenance of non-consumables.

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