How Much to Pay Yourself in Your Craft Business

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I’ve talked pricing on the blog before. First, I outlined how to price your craft items for sale. Then, I talked about pricing products when your supplies were on sale. There’s no right or wrong way to determine how much to pay yourself – it’s completely subjective. Today, let’s look at how much to pay yourself.

Two Ways to Guide Yourself

  1. If you recently worked outside of your home, you should pay yourself at least the equivalent to what you previously paid. There are some limitations to using this method. For example, if you previously made $120,000 working in a high demand job you likely won’t be able to set your prices competitively enough in the craft market.
  2. You should pay yourself at least minimum wage for your state. Here in Florida, that means at least $8.05. In contrast, minimum wage in California is $10.00 an hour; while minimum wage in New York is $9.00. As your skills increase and your products get more technically difficult – you’ll raise your hourly wage.

It’s just that simple! Remember, your business won’t get far if you don’t pay yourself enough. Underpaid working from home crafters are likely to get burned out faster, too.

How much do you pay yourself per hour? Share in the comments.

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42 thoughts on “How Much to Pay Yourself in Your Craft Business”

  1. This is a question that has plagued me as well. It’s good to get a baseline of how much to pay myself or my assistant. Thanks for the information.

  2. Thanks, that’s very helpful. I was thinking at least minimum wage to my current salary. I’m glad to know that I am on the right track.

  3. Great reminder, Christine! Women are notorious for not valuing themselves properly, and this is especially true in the crafting area. You must calculate all your costs in determining pricing, which includes payroll – even if you’re the sole employee. Always pay yourself first!

    1. There’s apps that can track project times. Personally, I like to use a stopwatch and a piece of paper. When I switch to a different order, I just write down how long I worked on the project. When the project is over, I add the times together. Hope that helps!

    2. Divide! Or do a test run on each different product and use that as a guide. Also check yourself, since you may become more proficient and can either adjust our realize a better return!

      1. My problem is I don’t want to charge more than the next person or online, so I don’t make a lot between designing, making and supplies…how do you work around that?

  4. I usually charge my self $10 an hour plus the material it takes to make an item. But when i quote the person the price, for example, i make wreaths and i charge $40 to $85 , and have been told that was high. Ive looked on etsy and all those sites and im under price on some of my wreaths. I cant go lower cause i will not break the bank if i do.

      1. I’m new here and trying to figure out how to sell my crafts. Helen, I also make wreaths but I only make them to put at the place where our son had his car accident and to put at the cemetery. I’ve bought a few and I’ve paid quite a bit of money for them. I think your prices are very reasonable. Like Christine said, ignore those that are saying your prices are high because they are not.

  5. Hi I am hand making some items for a friend’s shower, many of them are more labor intensive than I thought they would be. Since this is my first time working on projects to be sold and for such a large event (70-80 people projected to be in attendance) i just kind of went with the flow and did not note the time I was working on projects daily. I would randomly work on a few at a time. That being said I have no idea what to charge, I’m going to discount her because she’s a very close friend but I’m looking for a starting point.

    1. Hi Michelle! Oh no! My best advice would be to figure out the average time it took to make one and multiply it by the number of you made for your best guess. In the future, be sure to track your time.

  6. I was thinking on making crafts on my cricut explore 2 and selling them at a craft fair. However I am not sure how to figure out the pricing and or what to charge for my time. when are you suppose to earn any income for tax purposes and how do you go about doing that. do I also have to apply for a business if I am selling at a craft fair as this is a hobby. when do you separate from a hobby to an actual business?

  7. Don’t sell yourself short. I used to charge $20 an hour. I just went up to $30. The time you spend, the equipment you buy, the research, time on the phone….everything counts. If you don’t think you matter, no one else will. I have been in business for 25 years. Started with a small embroidery machine, and have worked up to a professional. Have 2 professional cutters, and just purchased the Cameo for smaller items. I still charge less than the other businesses in town, and am busier than ever. My accountant says I don’t charge enough. This is a hobby/retirement job for me. But remember, f you are doing this as a business and have to pay taxes, you are losing even more. I live in a small community in Northern Minnesota….so wages aren’t the best in this area. Remember the time you are taking away from your family. Is it worth the little bit that you make? You have a skill that others don’t have, and that’s worth a lot. Increase your prices a bit at a time, and people won’t hesitate if you have quality products. I know you enjoy it, but don’t kill yourself to do this. People want something for nothing, and your sanity isn’t worth it! Keep enjoying what you are doing. One important thing I read in an industry journal….fire 10% of your customers—-they cause 90% of your problems. I have done this and still love what I do!

    1. Awesome Advice 🙂 Thank you. I just gave a shirt to a friend’s daughter for helping me out an hour or so at an event. It was a demo shirt and when she tried it on it looked a little big to me. I told the mom I would exchange the shirt for her daughter in a smaller size that fit better. The Mom then asked me to customize a totally different shirt!!! Um no. sigh… some people. 🙁 I totally agree with getting rid of those 10%!!

  8. I am transitioning from my previous at-home career (freelance writer) to a crafts business (greeting cards and paper gifts). To determine my crafting hourly rate, I set up a spreadsheet of my freelance invoices over the past five years by client. I tossed the outliers — the really big projects, the one-off small jobs — and averaged the results. Then I subtracted that figure from what I need to earn to keep our budget intact.

    I divided that figure by 1000: 20 hours per week for 50 weeks per year. That gave me an hourly rate that is above my state’s minimum wage but well below my freelance rate (where I have 30+ years of experience!). If — no, AS — my crafts business takes off, I can cut back on editorial work and devote more time to crafting. As I gain experience in my craft business, I’ll work more efficiently and so my hourly rate will gain in value.

  9. I am making crochet Christmas tree skirts. It takes 15 hours to make one. If I pay myself even minimum wage, I’d have to sell one for $150 to cover materials, shipping, Etsy costs ect. Similar ones sell on Etsy for $50 average price. This is where I’m struggling. At that rate I’m paying myself $3.3 an hour. Should my pricing be different t for items that take such a long time to make?

    1. I know you are discussing primarily making money as a cutter, but I have the same issue as another commenter when it comes to selling knit dishcloths. It takes me 4 hours to knit one (yes, I’m slow) and I can make 9 dishcloths with a large ball of Bernat cotton costing me $9. There is no way people will pay more than $4-7 dollars for a handmade dishcloth. Even if I was able to knit one in 1 hour, not sure I could sell it for $12.50 (minimum wage where I live).

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