Gareth's Tips

Underbidding and Raising Prices on Freelance Jobs

Gar's Tips & Tools - Issue #156

– Send me a tip or tool recommendation.

Tell me a shop tale.

-Buy my books (Tips and Tales from the Workshop Vol. 1Vol. 2).

Advertise your product, service, newsletter, app, book, tool, or anything you’d like to share with GT&T readers

Underbidding and Raising Prices on Freelance Jobs

On this “Ask Adam” episode of TestedAdam Savage answers questions that many makers doing client work ask themselves. It often feels impossible to figure out how much to charge. Like many creative professions, the fees charged are all over the map and there are few (or divergent) industry standards.

In the video, Adam is asked whether it’s OK to undercharge for a first job and he says, yes, as long as you tell the client when you deliver the work that you undercharged on this one and additional, similar work will likely be more. Adam recounts how he was hired to make a space suit replica and barely broke even on the first one, but now he knows the realistic cost for future, similar jobs. As Jimmy DiResta says, “You go to school on the first one.”

Adam also offers some good advice on thinking about setting your own prices (and a big part of that comes down to gut feeling). He also offers a few industry tips, like in the print industry (and similar services, like 3D printing), a rush job is usually 2-times the normal price. Many years ago, I was asked to do a rush job for a big magazine that paid industry top dollar. It was for a 4-page piece on the latest personal tech. They said: “How about $3,000?” I said: “Can we make it $6K — because it’s a rush?” They paused for a second and said “Sure.” I hung up and thought: “I just got 3000 extra bucks simply for asking for them.”

7 Tools to Consider for Your Workshop

In this “Cool Tools” segment of Stumpy NubsJames runs through seven tools he uses in his shop and highly recommends. As always, these are woodworking-focused recommendations, but most of them apply to any type of shop work. Among other items, he covers diamond floor mats (love those!), rulesknee pads on wheels, and a great, affordable EDC folding knife.

Getting Started in Metal Engraving

One of the many impressive skills that Chris of Clickspring possesses is his engraving talents. In this latest of his “Tools, Glorious Tools!” series, he looks at the basic tools and techniques you need to acquire to get decent at engraving in metal. Amazingly, this is a skill that Chris only recently acquired.

Lucia Builds Her Own Skid-Steering Mini Loader

On Lucia’s Workshop, she’s been building a skid-steering mini loader. Now that’s some impressive DIY! She’s 3 videos into the project. Follow her channel if you want to see the rest of the build and how she’s solving the many complex challenges that arise in tackling something this ambitious.

Talking Trash

When we moved into our new California home in 2021, I set about ordering trash and recycling cans for my garage workshop, kitchen and bathrooms, and my home office. I have to admit, I failed miserably. I made poor design choices and got the sizing wrong in nearly every instance. I have slowly been correcting the error by trading up to appropriate cans. Here are some things to consider when ordering trash cans:

  1. Size and Capacity: Determine how much trash you typically generate and choose a trash can with an appropriate capacity. Consider the dimensions as well to ensure it fits in the desired location. This is where I really messed up. I had a hard time imagining what various gallon sizes might translate to in trash can volume. These ten gallon cans are a decent size and you can use them to judge other smaller or larger sizes.
  2. Material and Durability: Trash cans are available in various materials such as plastic, metal, or stainless steel. Consider the durability required for your specific need. In a home workshop, for example, a more rugged and durable trash can is probably a good idea.
  3. Lid Type: Consider swing lids, step-on lids, flip tops. Choose a lid type that suits your preferences and specific environment. I made the mistake of getting swing lid cans for the bathrooms that are too small and they almost immediately fill up and the lids won’t close. Step-ons are the better choice here.
  4. Ease of Cleaning: Look for trash cans that are easy to clean and maintain. Removable liners or trash bags can make the cleaning process more convenient.
  5. Odor Control: If you want to minimize odors, consider trash cans with features like tight-fitting lids, step-on lids, or odor-blocking materials.
  6. Mobility and Portability: If you need to move the cans frequently, consider models with wheels or handles for easy mobility.
  7. Recycling Options: If you separate recyclables, you may want to consider cans with multiple compartments or color-coded bins to facilitate recycling. I bought a blue recycling can for the kitchen with a flip-down lid. It’s great, but it was much bigger than I expected (at 23 gallons). It didn’t fit in the kitchen, so we have it in the downstairs stairwell. At first we thought it was laughably large, but it still fills up quickly.
  8. Aesthetics: While functionality is crucial, you may also want to consider the overall design and appearance of the trash cans, especially if they will be placed in visible areas of your home.
  9. Budget: Set a budget range and look for trash cans that fit within that range while still meeting your requirements. I was shocked to find out how pricey trash cans are, which is why I started out with Dollar Store bins, IKEA cans, and small flip-tops. They’re all trash and now being replaced.
  10. Reviews and Recommendations: Before making a final decision, read reviews from other customers to get an idea of the quality and performance of the trash cans you are considering.

© 2022