Somewhat on the heels of discussing the costly materials that I use in the goal of environmental kindness I thought I'd follow up with a deep dive into what it takes to make one of my Vinyl Record Storage Crates.
Here's what we're building. There's a lot of machine time in cutting all those slots!
To make a crate it takes this amount of time doing the following things:
40 min on the CNC.
10 min cutting tabs
10 min adding inserts
10 min sanding
15 min spray finishing
20 min cleaning and packing
15 min shipping
That's 120 minutes @ 20/hr = $40
Should I value my time at 20? Shouldn't I value it more like 15, the price that I could get a lower skilled laborer to do it? The challenge there is that some of the time isn't just low skilled labor time, it's CNC machinist time. That means that it includes the machine itself, and an operator to run it. It's unlikely that I could get 30 minutes CNC time with a person for $40 since CNC time runs around $100/hr.
Also these are other costs to running a CNC such as electricity, consumables and amortization of equipment. The reality is that my hourly estimate is probably low but for the sake of being simple I'll leave it at 20.
Ok! On to materials! Here are the rough broken down costs of the amount of materials used on a crate.
$15 in plywood
$.80c in inserts
$1.44 in gold screws
$2.00 in eco friendly varnish
$1.50 in packing materials
20.74 in materials
Then to sell, or process payment and then to get the item to you, these are again sort of rough numbers. Some platforms take more than others.
- about $4 in commissions
- about $12 to ship
Also some overhead in infrastructure costs $2? I don't even know if that's close. My website and domain hosting and marketing and everything else costs are fixed which mean that it depends on how many items I can sell for how many I can split the cost in.
40+20.74+18 = 78.74
I'm listing them for 79 now. It's not the price I want. I want somewhere in the 60s. Right now if I list them lower then it will mean I'll take less money for my labor. And maybe that's the way to go to establish myself. I'm OK with that. Doing work for yourself is it's own form of fulfillment. But a better way is to seek ways to make them more efficiently, so I can use less labor. Or find less labor intensive ways to increase their value.
One area I've determined is in the edge treatment of the top of the crate. People see this top edge a lot. I'd like for it to be something other then wood. It could be painted, it could be a metal rim, it should be something more premium.
Another way is to work harder on communicating the environmental care that I take. This is important to me and I hope others will understand the value in supporting it.