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How Do You Figure Price For Selling Home Built

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I'm having a hard time trying to figure out how to price my guitars. All I really have as a measuring tool is what I've sold on ebay. I'm a no-name builder with a no-name logo. So I'm not easily recognizable......for now. I have built about 12 guitars. My guitars are getting increasingly more intricate and time consuming because of my attention to detail. I'm very **** and want everything perfect. After 5 years of building, I'm starting to get attention for my work. I'm currently trying to build up a surplus of guitars to demostrate, display, and try out.

I've sold about 5 guitars under my name, and each have sold around $1400 each. I finish all by hand and by myself in my shop. Some of my work is equivelant to stuff that's selling for over $4000. Two people have offered $10,000 for a few of my guitars. But being a guitar player myself, I think that's insane to pay for a piece of wood with chunks of metal. So I have a problem with high prices only because I think they are ridiculous. But what constitutes a higher price? More hands on detail or a legendary name?

Much of my graphics or designs are all by hand as well as hours of hand sanding, wetsanding, masking, scrapping wiring, drilling, grinding, assembling, etc . I have a company who is cutting my wood for me for now since I don't have any routing tools and this guy does rough cut by CNC, I do the rest as far as shaping contours, rounding edges, stuff like that. I like that because the neck pocket, bridge routes and pickups have to be dead on accurate. I don't have time to make goof up mistakes and have something that looks good but plays like crap. I'm doing all fret work as well.


So now that you know I do a lot of hands on with the exception of necks and bodies, how do I figure a price? So far, I've been making a list of all material costs, figuring my hourly labor rate, and logging how much time involved in the entire project. Some guitars require only about 40 hours while others can take up to 4 months to build.

My biggest costs seems to be tuners, bridges and pickups. If I'm using exotic woods for neck and body, then that can significanly go up to where total parts are at $900, that's no finish, no time involved, and no final assembly. And I still have not ordered cases for them, which I've had some problems with since I don't build enough to order in bulk. G&G have quoted me less than $100 per hardshell case, and that's with only black plush lining, no colors, and only black tolex. Plus I want better than decent cases. My last guitar project sold for over $1200, I should have sold for at least $2000 to cover the Ameritage custom $375 hardshell case and to make a profit. But then again, this is ebay for you.

Flamed Koa with custom green poodle lining Ameritage case

What's a good finacial template to use? Am I off track in my calculation method? Have I left anything out? I'm thinking anywhere between $2000 - $4000.

I'm looking for positive feedback. Not interested in the "you'll never be able to do it" comments. I'm not looking to get rich from this, just trying to get enough profit to finance bigger and better builds, pay for a website, maybe hire on some additional luthiers to increase surplus.

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Personally I wouldn't sell my guitars for under $1400. But prety much it's what you think it's worth, and it's what the customer thinks it's worth. If thers somone out there that thinks your product is worth 10,000 than thats there decision. If thers somone that wouldn't pay more than $1000, than, well there not going to get one of your guitars.

Your stuff seems like it's quality stuff (seeing as I have never got my hands on one) and I would have no peoblem paying between $1500 and $2500 for one. Talking to prople I know that build and sell stuff prety much anything in the indstray gets a 100% mark up plus labor. So lets say you spend $450 on parts for a guitar and you spend 20 hours of work on it. (I know it will probably be mre hours than that...) You have to decide how much your time is worth to you. So it would be $800 plus however much you think your time is worth to you. Do you want to just pay for your hobby? Or do you want to do this for a living?

in conclusion, I think anything betwen $1400 and $3200 is reasonable to pay for a quality instrement that you'll play for a lifetime. (of course if thers some crazy wood or inlay, that would drive up the price considerably...)

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There's a big market for "fancy" guitars these days. 5A maple tops, gold hardware etc. I think you really need to aim for higher up the ladder if you want to make money. How much do you think you could make a standard telecaster for? Maple neck, ash/alder body etc and what do you think you could get for it? Is that worth it? Going higher up and adding fancy inlays etc doesn't make a guitar any better as a guitar (and only really costs time,not money) but really increases prices. Just look at PRS's up charge price list, $250 for gold hardware etc. I can't think of any smaller makers that build simply but good guitars that do well. Unfortunatley low prices equals low quality in many peoples eyes, and that can be difficult to get away from or change people's minds.

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