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Building a kit for a profit


moreplovac
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Hello,

hope this is correct forum for this type of question; if not pls direct me and i will repost the question. 

 

Wondering if any of you, experienced or less experienced builders, had opportunity to build or did a kit building for a small profit?

Model building process takes time, resources, investment and would like to hear how did you present the final bill to your customer? What could be an average cost to build, lets say 1:72 scale size wooden ship model?

If for example, kit cost is $700.00, some material (glue, wood, tools) is $300.00, the amount of time to build it is 900 hrs, what would be a decent, cannot say fair price, for final product? If you charge 3 dollars per hr, this gets to $2700.00 to the total of $3700.00.

 

I understand this is a hobby but sometimes it is nice to blend hobby with some extra cash which can be used to buy more kits, tools., etc.

 

Appreciate your comments.

 

 

 

 

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This question has come up many time in the model railroad hobby. The most common answer is to

charge 10 times the cost of the kit plus the cost of the kit it self if not supplied by the customer.

Therefore, a $300 kit (not uncommon in this hobby) would render $3300.  There are many exceptions

to this depending on the complexity of the build. Just my two cents worth.

 

John

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I'm not the person to ask ;). The few "Restorations" or "Completions of models that were started and never finished that I've done for people whose model-building relative passed away" have netted me about 30 cents an hour. Maybe I'm too cheap :D.

 

Apart from a couple I've kept, I've either donated some to Museums or given them away to kids and grand-kids.

 

:cheers:  Danny

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moreplovac

First, When someone asks how much I charge to build a model, I answer, I generally charge $100 per inch plus the cost of the kit. And possibly a little more depending on the complexity of the build and  amount of ornamentation.   ALWAYS establish the finished price before you agree to build. I make a copy of the Deck plan then pencil in details I intend to add on e.g.,barrels, fire buckets, etc. and have the buyer initial. Suggest a probable finish date, and give yourself some extra time just in case "honey-do" projects come up unexpectedly.

Take lots of pictures while you build and send to buyer keeping them up to date on the progress and at the end of the build, on delivery copy of a CD or DVD  for the client to keep.

That is probably the basics.  But certainly not cast in stone.  Different builders do it differently.

Personally I don't like commission work because that is what it becomes when you build for money....WORK.     I wanted this to be a hobby not another job.

Good luck

Tom

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Somebody once said this about making money as a model builder "You can make a small fortune as a model builder.  However, you must first start with a large fortune".

 

Whatever you charge make sure you have a contract and that you get a substantial deposit - a minimum of 1/3 of the final figure - before you start anything.  The deposit has to cover all your expenses and some profit just in case the buyer drops dead or declares bankruptcy.

 

Kurt

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1 hour ago, John Allen said:

My 2 cents having a wholesale and retail shop that also sold consignments in the past. If you want to make money real money for time and effort and materials. Build scratch, buy all your material from wholesalers, if you buy kit and from retailers cost is so high people will shy away (the one caveat is if it is absolutely fantastic build and has the bang WOW factor.)

 

I compare this to buying a vehicle to restore put back into cherry condition rarely do they get their time money and effort back.

 

Scrounge wood from cabinet makers lumberyards etc they will give scrap away, hopefully you can find an exotic wood source in your area and get scrap.

 

If you contract a build have a written contract, date of completion giving yourself plenty of time to finish it will take longer than you think. A price will be non-negotiable if you have a boo boo and underestimated cost and material.

 

That being said if you have never done this before start small pick a very unusual Subject that, can be built quickly with minimum material and labor test the waters on ebay it or etsy or pick a site that is for re sellers of hand built boats, upscale art shows you get more bucks there you will have bitten off a small bite instead of something that could turn into a white elephant.

 

Dan has been around for a while remember his statement of 30cents.

 

Hope I did not insult have no idea of your skill level. Good luck make a million.

 

 

The object is too make the most money with the least cost and effort.

 

Tried to edit lost my like button

 

Edited by John Allen
fix like button it disappeared
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I have mulled this over from time to time and especially of late with the Atlantis I am finishing for a client. If you follow the thread on this model under RC models you will see it isn't a terribly complex model but has required some "yankee ingenuity" and lots of time. I am only doing it because I really like the people I am working for. Its certainly not the money as I think when it is done I will have earned about $3/hr!

 

Now here is the other end of the spectrum. I know of 2 professional modelers and one has told me his commissions for the museum quality models he turns out range in the 10's of thousands. His clients are business owners and private collectors of means. He is well known to many of us and has been doing this since I first met him in the early 80's. I have to assume he has continued to do so because he can support himself. But those pay checks are such a long way in between.

 

Create these models for the love of it, not the money! Just my opinion.

 

 

Joe

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1 hour ago, Thistle17 said:

I have mulled this over from time to time and especially of late with the Atlantis I am finishing for a client. If you follow the thread on this model under RC models you will see it isn't a terribly complex model but has required some "yankee ingenuity" and lots of time. I am only doing it because I really like the people I am working for. Its certainly not the money as I think when it is done I will have earned about $3/hr!

 

Now here is the other end of the spectrum. I know of 2 professional modelers and one has told me his commissions for the museum quality models he turns out range in the 10's of thousands. His clients are business owners and private collectors of means. He is well known to many of us and has been doing this since I first met him in the early 80's. I have to assume he has continued to do so because he can support himself. But those pay checks are such a long way in between.

 

Create these models for the love of it, not the money! Just my opinion.

 

 

Joe

Absolutely right; i do enjoy building models and have a real job so cannot spend full day in shipyard.. The threat i started is what bothered me in the past and just wanted other fellow builders opinion in case something cones along.

Appreciate your response.

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5 hours ago, John Allen said:

The object is too make the most money with the least cost and effort.

 

Tried to edit lost my like button

 

Thanks John Allen,
it appears that like in any other contract job you have to cover your self very good in case something goes southwards. Occasionally i get lucky and pick up some good wood for shipyard but far away from being able to make millions. I think better chances are with Lottery tickets :-)

Thanks again, appreciate your response.

 

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6 hours ago, kurtvd19 said:

Somebody once said this about making money as a model builder "You can make a small fortune as a model builder.  However, you must first start with a large fortune".

 

Whatever you charge make sure you have a contract and that you get a substantial deposit - a minimum of 1/3 of the final figure - before you start anything.  The deposit has to cover all your expenses and some profit just in case the buyer drops dead or declares bankruptcy.

 

Kurt

Thanks Kurt, appreciate your advice.

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, twintrow said:

moreplovac

First, When someone asks how much I charge to build a model, I answer, I generally charge $100 per inch plus the cost of the kit. And possibly a little more depending on the complexity of the build and  amount of ornamentation.   ALWAYS establish the finished price before you agree to build. I make a copy of the Deck plan then pencil in details I intend to add on e.g.,barrels, fire buckets, etc. and have the buyer initial. Suggest a probable finish date, and give yourself some extra time just in case "honey-do" projects come up unexpectedly.

Take lots of pictures while you build and send to buyer keeping them up to date on the progress and at the end of the build, on delivery copy of a CD or DVD  for the client to keep.

That is probably the basics.  But certainly not cast in stone.  Different builders do it differently.

Personally I don't like commission work because that is what it becomes when you build for money....WORK.     I wanted this to be a hobby not another job.

Good luck

Tom

Thanks Tom, all makes perfect sense;

Yeah, once you start charging for a hobby it becomes work, work you like to do but it is still a work..

 

Appreciate prompt response.

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Dan Vadas said:

I'm not the person to ask ;). The few "Restorations" or "Completions of models that were started and never finished that I've done for people whose model-building relative passed away" have netted me about 30 cents an hour. Maybe I'm too cheap :D.

 

Apart from a couple I've kept, I've either donated some to Museums or given them away to kids and grand-kids.

 

:cheers:  Danny

Thanks Dan Vadas, i dont think you are cheap, i think it turns out to be like that when you spent too many hours into something you like to do. Just hard to find correct price..

 

Appreciate your response.

 

 

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7 hours ago, jbelwood said:

This question has come up many time in the model railroad hobby. The most common answer is to

charge 10 times the cost of the kit plus the cost of the kit it self if not supplied by the customer.

Therefore, a $300 kit (not uncommon in this hobby) would render $3300.  There are many exceptions

to this depending on the complexity of the build. Just my two cents worth.

 

John

Hi John

this is very good advice. Thanks, much appreciated..

 

 

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