Monday, August 1, 2011

a so-so piece & thoughts on pricing

So, I'll be honest… I wasn't in love with this piece when I bought it.  It was huge (which always seems to help things sell lickety-split) and solid wood (another plus when selling something) so it seemed like a no-brainer to buy it.  But I didn't love it.

The original hardware was fabulous, though (you can see it below, I'd already taken it off in the 'before' picture above).  I painted the whole piece in ASCP Paris Gray & waxed it with clear only.  I did a teensy bit of distressing, brought it into my kitchen, took a couple of mediocre-camera shots and listed it on craigslist on a Saturday morning.  I listed it for $175, thinking surely I'd have to drop the price or do some heavy negotiating.

It was gone - like out the door, paid in full - in less than an hour.

Sometimes things just don't make sense to me.

The doors aren't even level, can you tell??  We were going to work on them that afternoon, but then it was gone.  Crazy.

Here is the price breakdown.  People ask me about this a lot, and there are certainly times when I'm not comfortable sharing prices (ie when something is still for sale) but I'm going to go for it here.

The piece was marked down at my local Goodwill to $24
I used all of the original drawer hardware, but added the cabinet hardware.  2 @ $3 each = $6 (from HL)
ASCP in Paris Gray (about a fifth of a can), we'll call that $8
ASCP wax ~ a little goes a long way, we'll call that $5

Total cost of project:  $43

Of course, I spent some time on it… but since I didn't love it, I never devoted a ton of time to it, instead working on it while I worked on some other things.  I maybe spent 3 hours on it??  It was quick.  I generally charge around $20 per hour for my time.

So that's another $60 or so in time.

But with big pieces, I find that the market here in Atlanta will support a higher price.  So I priced this piece when I listed it at:


And like I said, less than an hour later it had been carried out, paid in full, not even a peep of negotiation.  A good morning :)

Crazy, I tell you.  And it was even still dusty ~ do you see the dust from my garage???

I hope that sharing some pricing information was helpful.  Here are some other things I've shared with people when they ask:

Here goes:

As a general rule, I try to make sure I'll be able to double my investment when I sell something.  So if I see something at Goodwill or a thrift store and it is priced at $60, I won't buy it unless I am certain I can sell it for at least $120.  That is just a benchmark that I've come up with and like I said, it is a 'general' rule for me.

I try to take into account all of my materials next.  Paint is not cheap, nor is stripper, sand paper, brushes or stain.  It all adds up.  In addition, in many cases I change out the hardware on pieces and hardware is expensive.  I have yet to find chunky pulls that I really like for under $5-6 a piece and when you have even 6 drawers, that adds up fast.  So I add the cost of materials onto the 'hopeful selling price'.

As far as my time, I don't really have a good answer for that.  The only time I really truly take that into account is when I am doing a custom refinish for someone and they have brought me the piece.  I usually figure about $20 per hour for my time.

I hope all of that is helpful!!



  1. sometimes the pieces i loe most sit and sit and i don't get it. and the ones i sit back and say, "well, at least it's done, " tend to go so fast. all i can guess is that i have poor taste. ;)
    i think it looks great and i am sure you are glad it is gone since it is so big! :)

  2. I am just as confused by the process as you are! There's no accounting for taste, but isn't it great that we don't all have to love the same things?

  3. Thanks for sharing! Pricing for me was the trickiest part to figure out and I studied and studied as many different etsy stores and web stores others who do this have. A lot could be location, location, location, but I've tried to learn from those of you who go before me! Deb

  4. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on pricing; it's very helpful!

  5. awesome girl! i love it when things fly out the door without negotiations!! you done did yourself a good deal ;)


  6. Kathie- That sounds like the same rule of thumb I have used in the past. But, once in a while, I do feel it is justifiable to charge a bit more. It always amazes me what people will love and something I LOVE will just be an uh-huh to someone else.

    Great job though on that old piece-Not one of my favorites that you have done either...but..perfect in someone's eyes~ xo Diana

  7. Thanks for sharing! What a great piece of furniture and a great piece of advice:) I sold my first piece yesterday my husband didn't think I got enough for the dresser but after reading your post I did just fine. I paid $35 and sold it for $70 :) Love your blog.

  8. I just found your through Decor & Harmony. This great info and very timely for me as I'm just starting to sell pieces. I am a new follower of your blog.

  9. It was a great transformation!Awesome on a quick sale, I love it when things sell quick.You have to think like someone who is not a junker (my term for gals like us) and ask yourself what furniture you could buy for $175 and then you will see why it sold so fast. Sometimes when I sell a few things in row really fast I start to get distressed when a piece sits around for a couple of weeks. Is that crazy or what? You give great advice, thanks for sharing!Sorry so long

  10. Hi Kathy,
    The hutch came out amazingly beautiful. The burlap really enhanced the piece. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Paula, your newest follower