I belong to, or participate in, several online forums and discussion venues. In the last week, I have seen this particular issue come up several times in several places, but this is one of the best (or worst) examples of a problem that crafters face.
Unless you have absolutely nothing else to do with your time and don’t mind people taking advantage of you, your time, and your crafting skills, it is important for crafters to value their own time and skill or the non-crafters will never learn to value it.
I don’t know this particular crafter, but during the discussion she mentioned that it was a request from a friend, AND she put a priority on it in order to complete it in a week because she was going out of town and wanted it finished before leaving town.
Every crafter has their own needs, and it is impossible to say an exact amount to charge, but as a starting point, I recommend charging the cost of materials, plus a reasonable hourly rate that you believe is fair. I’d say $15.00 an hour is plenty reasonable for a base rate.
One of my son’s friends wanted a custom made beanie with a Maltese Cross on the top. So I made one:
This is the 2nd model. I had to create one and test out how to make the curves in unbroken lines, rather than plain intarsia with jagged edges. It was for my son’s friend, after all, and I wanted it done right. With the knitting and the math and the testing, and then reknitting it, there was a good 25-30 hours put into the project. And it was made with wool not acrylic. When he came over to pick it up, he slapped a ten dollar bill on the counter. Since it was my son’s friend I didn’t read him the riot act, even though $10 was a huge insult.
The only way crafters will stop being devalued by outsiders is for us to stop devaluing our own work.
When you are making projects for sale (i.e., you just make things and sell them), decide what your time is worth and charge materials + time. Some people charge (materials x 3) plus time.
When you are making projects by request (i.e., when someone comes to you and asks for something), it becomes a commissioned piece — working to someone else’s specifications for size, color, fiber type, etc., all factor in to increase the cost. You have to decide UP FRONT how much you value the friendship/relationship with that person, and how much you are willing to give away your time and energy. it is a tough call, and friendships have been broken because of a lack of communication and a clear understanding of what is being requested.
A request for a baby blanket is just a request for a completed project. That’s what they see, like going to the market and what they want is right there. What they don’t see is the time and work involved. If they balk at $150 for a custom baby blanket, or say “but I can get a blanket at WhateverMart for $25.00,” then fine, let them go get one for that price.
if you agree to make a project for a friend at a discounted rate, make sure they know it is discounted because of your friendship, AND let them know what you’d charge a stranger who asked for it.