View Full Version : Money on the table?

Anthony Welch
05-06-2008, 8:43 PM
Right now I'm completing 29 - 4x6 plaques:cool: that our local Elementary School has us do for them. I made the plaques only because I have the equipment to do them. This is also the first time I've had a request to do plaques.

I bought some 1"x6"x6' Red Oak lumber form Lowe's(as we don't have cherry or walnut only southern yellow pine:D), cut those up into 4"x6" plaques, routed, x2 coats sand sealed, and x2 coats polyurethane them. Awaiting some "LaserMax" to arrive then engrave, cut and apply those to the plaques.

We quoted $10.10/ea. We are making some money, but I get the feeling we left some money on the table:confused:. Those of you who do this, do you agree? Material costs are $85.


Nancy Laird
05-06-2008, 9:13 PM

I think your prices are a little low. We make and engrave our own maple plaques in three sizes, 6x8, 7x9, and 8x10, for $26, $29, and $32 each. That works out to .54, .46, and .40 per square inch. There is no attachment--just the wood plaque.

If I understand your post, you are attaching an engraved plate of some sort to your plaque, so you have that cost on top of the cost of the oak. And your charge just for the wood part of the plaque is .42 per square inch. I think you could have quoted these at $13-15.00 each and still been within the ball park.

Just my .02.


Craig Hogarth
05-06-2008, 10:40 PM
You definitely charged less than what I would have, but it was still profitable and you could get some good repeat business.

I've done my fair share of undercharging. I always honor my quote, but I inform the customer of my mistake and make sure they understand what the price will be next time. It hasn't stopped them from returning.

Mike Null
05-06-2008, 11:07 PM
I believe your price is on the on money but I would not have done it that way. (red oak is not one of the better woods for engraving)

I am selling 4.25 x 6 plaques with an engraved plate (all alike) for $7.00 but I'm using simulated walnut at the school's request and they cost me less than a dollar.

Anthony Welch
05-07-2008, 5:17 AM
I'm only engraving the Lazer Max. They didn't want the simulated wood or I would have gone that way. Figured I could have cut Oak up and saved some money, which looks like I did and could have charged a litttle more.

Yes, I do plan on standing by my quote and will explain the oversight and what they will be next time.

They sure were fun to do, this being the first time and all. Hopefully, I'll get bored and they'll get monotonous after a while:D.

Steve McKee
05-07-2008, 9:01 AM
I'm using simulated walnut at the school's request and they cost me less than a dollar.

Mike, where do you get the similated walnut plaques?


Doug Bergstrom
05-07-2008, 9:31 AM
Our 8 x 10 plaques with just lettering, whether on the plaque or on rowmark, metal etc. is $30. Each additional might be discounteddown to around $20.00. Remember to figure in your time on everything, cutting, layout, laser time, finishing and also materials.

Try going to this website and download the profit watch software:
This will help people calculate your overheads and what your hourly charge should be!

Phyllis Meyer
05-07-2008, 9:37 AM
Hi Everyone,

My husband could make me the most beautiful plaques (and he does), and I could never give him the amount of money he should get to cut, plane, glue up and clamp, planer again, router, sanding, sealing, varnish...then laser. If it's a specific request of a customer, we have learned to charge what it's worth (after many times under-quoting).

Schools and non profit organizations need plaques, but because of their budgets, they cannot afford Real Wood. We order our plaques and laserable material and are able to keep the prices low for them. We always give those groups fantastic prices, and in return we not only get repeat business, but...that ultimate opportunity to once again get our name and what we do into the hands of everyone in that office.

These groups can be your most successful markets if you work closely with them! Be aware of what their budgets are!


Mike Null
05-07-2008, 10:37 AM
You can get simulated wood plaques from JDS Industries and Plastics Plus to name a couple.

A case is 72 pieces and they are $.72 each by the case.