View Full Version : Plaque Pricing Asssistance needed

John Jackson
09-17-2013, 7:14 AM
A nearby school has giving me a plaque and asked me what I would charge to supply them. The plaque is walnut 12" X 18" and I have an email into my supplier for a price on the wood. Depending on what my pricing on this is, I might get all their work.

I have just bought a used Epilog Helix laser, and since they want their new plaques to match old ones more or less, I have not been able to bid until now. I do not know what others in my area would charge for something like this.

Names and logo would be supplied digitally. The plates are backed with gold colored aluminum (not brass).

Beyond the cost of the wood itself, how do you price something like this?


John Jackson

Mike Null
09-17-2013, 7:44 AM

First that plaque has some age as the walnut has faded a bit. You can find a local woodworker to make the plaque or you may be able to find it from one of the Canadian suppliers.

I am surprised that the plaque is assembled with tape rather than screws--that would indicate that all names are available when the plaque was ordered.

I assume you have a metal shear as all the plates and backers have to be hand cut. I think the work on your sample piece is a little sloppy as far as layout is concerned but that's another matter.

Given the number of plates and the number of lines of text (names) and an estimated 1.5 to 2 hours for assembly I would be at $250 to $300 plus double the cost of the plaque.

This is not an easy job so give yourself a bit of a pad.

Ross Moshinsky
09-17-2013, 8:15 AM
That doesn't look 12"x18" to me. It looks much larger. Either way bidding these out is pretty simple once you've done a few.

1. You're going to have to get a price quote for the custom walnut plaque. We mark up 2.5-3x on material. A slip of the screw driver could ruin that board. You don't want to lose money on a job for a fairly insignificant mistake.

2. Figure out how much material you need to do the job. You'll need black brass/steel and gold aluminum. Then mark it up to include the labor and service of cutting the plates. The markup should be at least 3x.

3. Proofs/engraving/setup/customer time. It's got to be around 1-2 hours. Typically you want $120 per hour.

4. Assembly. I'd put the plaque on the laser and mark where the plates should go. I'd mark the holes for the screws (if there are any). Then it's a matter of putting everything down. I'd figure 1-2 hours for that. Some people charge less for assembly type work. That's up to you. We typically figure the same hourly rate but will underbid the time (if we think it will take an hour, charge for .5-.75 hour).

This is what we charge in New Jersey. We're not the cheapest and we're not the most expensive locally. We have to charge more because of where we are. You may be able to charge 20% less than us simply because your cost of living is 20% lower than ours.

John Jackson
09-17-2013, 9:08 AM
Thanks for the feedback.

Mike - I have a Canadian source for this style plaque in walnut - just waiting on price. I work at a woodworking shop by day so I can make these if need be.

This is a three year plaque, and I can tell from the lasering this was not done all at the same time. I believe they just leave an empty spot for next year. This plaque is full so that is why they need more.

Yes, I have shears. I have been doing small trophies for a few years now using my rotary engraver. But now that I have a laser I can take on more kinds of jobs like this one.

" I think the work on your sample piece is a little sloppy as far as layout is concerned but that's another matter." --> This is not a sample. This is what they are getting from their present supplier that I need to match. There are plates on it that are not square, etc. that I would have re-done if it was my work.

Ross - it is a 12 X 18. The names are lasered at about 4 point type.

I will sit down and do some calculations tonight. Thanks for all your comments!


Tony Lenkic
09-17-2013, 9:09 AM

You can buy those plaques ready made from trophy wholesalers. They also have a suggested retail pricing for typical setups as a guide line.
In Toronto area there is few places I could suggest if you don't know about them.

Bill Cunningham
09-17-2013, 9:23 PM
You can get that type of solid walnut plaque at Elite Awards in Orillia.. They have a online catalog