What Should I Charge?

More and more work I get is on existing jewelry.  I am developing a reputation for being able to upcycle jewelry without it “looking like junk”.

I’ve had a client come to me with 5 pieces from a necklace her Grandmother’s to turn into something fabulous they can wear.  I love adding just the right amount of flair to this set for her.  It was an interesting project to make the piece custom for my client, not just what I’d like to wear.

Madame Saslow's Curio- Repurposing2

Another client just needed her beautiful necklace shortened.  At it’s length of about 25 inches, it just felt too formal for everyday wear.  It’s an easy task for me to take out a few beads and polish up the silver for extra shine.

Madame Saslow's Curio- Altering

Madame Saslow's Curio- Altering2

Madame Saslow's Curio- Altering3

A third client, who does wardrobe consultation, ordered some bracelets to go with some necklaces and they are funky.  Way too thick, weird clasps, and they just don’t sit right.  You can really get more like 3 bracelets out of the beads of one.  I’ll be taking these apart and making a few new bracelets out of them.

Madame Saslow's Curio- Repurposing

With all of this fabulous work comes a question:  What do I charge for this kind of work?  Hourly on some, hours plus materials on others?  Materials for the shortening project is negligible.  On the work with Grandma’s jewelry it’s beads and findings, and I don’t have a break down to that level for pricing.  It’s hard for me to look at the huge seed bead bracelets and put a price on the work, though I know it’s could be a lot if I have to do any restringing.

A similar issue came up with another artist asking me to teach her wire work.  Do I charge an hourly rate for instruction?  If so, is it $20?  $40?  A social media expert I know charges more to teach than to do the work herself.  When you teach, you give away your knowledge and future work.  But in my case, the other artist isn’t going to pay me to do wire wrapping for her in any case.  I’d prefer to teach her.

What do you charge?  What is a service like this worth to you?  Have you had someone charge you for this before?

I’d love your input.


3 thoughts on “What Should I Charge?

  1. Gothmom

    You should charge an hourly rate plus materials. Make it up – but on your side, don’t cheapen the cost of your time to shop for materials. And make sure you aren’t paying yourself minimum wage, seriously you need to add in the extras for things like social security and medicare.

  2. Kathryn Stovall Dennis

    This is the age old question, isn’t it? How much to charge. Someone will pay a plumber $85 and hour, but cringe at charging $20 for all that we know and can do as artists and craftsmen. $30 per hour seems like a fair price plus materials. Let the client know up front what you charge and do it right away before they explain all the details and their desires. And, have a minimum of at least one hour so you don’t get into haggling when they say it should only take you 10 minutes. Let them do it in 10 minutes if that is all it really takes! Most importantly, be sure to include all your time and costs!!!! If you have to drive to the store to get something specific, charge for that time. Set up and clean up time should also be rolled in. Assembling all the materials, setting up a dedicated space to work on the pieces and then putting everything away (unless you have a little studio fairy that magically does all this for you!) takes at least part of an hour! And your other reply correctly implies that you have overhead costs like electricity, your dedicated studio space, taxes, etc. At $30 per hour, you are probably really only making $20. Cheers.


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