This thick, glass heart must have weighed ten pounds. It was designed to hang on a large metal hook attached to a 20" rod on a base so it could hang in the air, with the base on a table. It was one of two hearts the customer brought to me for personalization; this as a wedding gift and the other shown below was for the parents of a new baby.
I don't know the purchase price of either heart. I usually ask in a casual sort of way, but didn't on these. It's good to have that frame of reference before quoting a price. The retail price influences my fee just in case I need to replace the item I'm about to engrave.
Often, items may be irreplaceable. In that case, I think seriously if I should tackle the job. If I blow it, I'm in deep stuff. I've had the guts to take some risks, and focused so hard to not screw up, my head hurt.
So far, in 27 years, I haven't ruined anything I couldn't replace. My, my! You should see my wine collection, though. With mixed feelings, at least I get to drink my mistakes!
The glass in the heart was not of great quality. It had a zillion tiny bubbles inside the glass, though smooth on the surface. Before I engraved the front, I signed my name on the back to get the feel of the glass's hardness....softness! These were quite soft.
On the big red heart I used a new #4 round carbide for the name and a #3 for the date. I didn't have/take the time to do a perfect centering layout. Shot from the hip and missed it a mite. Filled it with gold. Total elapsed time was 12 minutes.
This one took about 14 minutes since I did spend the time for a quick draft to make sure the three names would fit the space with the same #4 bur.
Estimated where I would begin the date and it worked out right on for centering with the #3. This one also had the loop at the top for hanging. The customer was delighted with the work and the price.
I quoted one hundred dollars total for both pieces that took 26 minutes to complete. That's a tad better than two hundred bucks an hour and was super easy. Often, my effective rate for projects less than an hour to do is closer to three hundred dollars per hour. Customer was thrilled and had no idea the time it took.
When unfamiliar material hits your table, find an inconspicuous place where you can engrave the year with the bur you intend to use on the message. That'll give you a good idea of what to expect. If you like the feel, go for it! If not, decide what to do from there. If you decline the job, the date on the other side will never tell what you did!
If you're doing this kind of work and you know you're the only game in town, don't be bashful about your fee. If the person wants it, they'll leave the piece. If not, one of two things will happen. You'll be asked to reduce your price or the customer will leave with it.
If asked to reduce your fee, you then have the opportunity to do that which can set a bad precedent. If you don't change your fee, and they leave with it, that'll give you some feel for the next job.
I learned a good lesson about pricing 3 weeks ago....this far into my experience, I'm still learning! I'll share with you next time.
If you have an interest in learning this skill where it's quite easy to earn at this kind of hourly rate, call me. We still have openings in the March 13-16 session. Call me at 214.250.6958. Ask your questions. I'll help you get here....that's a promise!
It'll CHANGE YOUR LIFE!