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How to price your puppets

Discussion in 'Puppet Building and Performing' started by Buck-Beaver, Apr 26, 2006.

  1. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Active Member

    Hi everyone,

    A made this up after the subject of pricing things came up in a thread at Puppets & Stuff...it's an excel spreadsheet that provides a method for pricing your work. Pricing is really tricky - as I'm sure most of the people who sell puppets here know - and a lot of artists don't know how to price properly. There's a number of factors to consider, including:

    • The cost of your product or service
    • Your sales volume
    • Your competitor’s prices
    • Your company’s competitive/creative advantage
    The spreadsheet will work best for someone who's making and selling puppets on a regular basis and either it is their primary source of income or they want it to be, but it can be applied to pricing in almost any type of business. Here's the instructions for using it:


    Step #1 - Calculate Your Fixed Expenses

    Fixed expenses are expenses you pay no matter how much you sell. Examples would be:

    • Telephone/cell phone (if it's for business only)
    • Office supplies
    • Web Hosting fees
    • Insurance
    • Anything else I've missed
    You should also include in your fixed expenses a salary for yourself - what you pay yourself should not come from your profit (more on that below). You should determine a realistic salary that you would like to earn every month.

    Once you add up your fixed expenses next you have to figure out how many products (puppets, workshops, or whatever) you can realistically do in a month. Then divide your total fixed expenses by the number of products you can produce in a month. The result is your fixed expense per puppet sold.


    Step #2 - Determine Your Variable Expenses

    Variable expenses include anything you pay per puppet you sell (foam, eyes, etc.). Don't include shipping costs because they should be added on top of your selling price. Add up your variable expenses for one puppet and add them to the fixed expense per item sold. The sum is your True Cost.

    *Once you calculate your true cost, you can't sell your puppets for any less than this amount...otherwise you loose money every time you sell something!


    Step #3 - Determine Your Selling Price

    Once you know how much each item you sell costs (your True Cost), you can determine your actual selling price. Basically, you have to decide how much of a profit margin you want. For example, in the spreadsheet the true cost of each puppet is about $585. If I wanted a profit margin of 10% then my selling price for each puppet would be about $645 and I'd make about $58.50 in pure profit after every puppet sold. That doesn't sound like a lot, but remember I've already calculated a monthly salary for myself as part of my monthly expenses.

    The puppet price in the spreadsheet varies according to the profit margin you enter.

    Calculating your profit margin is more art than science and it usually takes some time and experimenting to decide what will work for you. The really important thing financially is that your profit either goes in the bank to be saved or gets re-invested in the business, make your salary one of your expenses!

    The spreadsheet is for excel and compressed in a .zip file. Thanks to Shawn over at Puppets and Stuff for hosting it! Please let me know if anyone has any questions.

    http://www.puppetbuilding.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/09/puppetpricingcalculator.zip
  2. wes

    wes Active Member

    Bravo Thank you Buck for The Price Calculator, I think you just helped alot of people out inclueding myself. If they were Giving away award for the Best Puppeteer of the Year I think you would get it!!:)

    thanks again!!
  3. Melonpool

    Melonpool Member

    Yeah -- it's very good info. I'll be sure to use it in the future in both puppet building and art.
  4. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Active Member

    Buck, you're always a genius. Thanks for that info!
  5. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Active Member

    Glad you guys like it.

    Foz, I accidently posted to two threads about this. :o Maybe you can merge this one with the other one if you get a chance?
  6. puppetmancan

    puppetmancan Member

    or you can put it on ebay. very helpful though
  7. gfarkwort

    gfarkwort Member

    There's not enough money in ebay....plus it isn't really a place for an artist to sell several pieces of custom art.......at least I don't think so.....
  8. puppetmancan

    puppetmancan Member

    it gets your face and work out there to be seen. I've made so many contacts that way, works awesome. look hiw many have seen my kermit, over 500. The money does vary, but if your stuff is beyond same old same old, the money does go up. you just have to work for it.
  9. ravagefrackle

    ravagefrackle New Member

    true , people may see your stuff on Ebay , but you cant very well be selling knock off muppets as a pure source of income since the Lawyers for the company that owns them will eventually track you down, and put a stop to it,

    and Ebay is were people go to find things for less.your really only going to get a bidding war on something that is rare and in high demand., building custom stuff for individuals (or selling your own line of originals) is going to be more in line with what Bucks spread sheet is dealing with,
  10. puppetmancan

    puppetmancan Member

    well somebody is as agressive as his puppets pic.
  11. gfarkwort

    gfarkwort Member

    ravage quick put Bear as your icon!;) ......j/k

    Anyway, Thank you Buck for putting this up, I like it, I REALLY like how you broke it down into a true price step thing.....very organized and well thought out.
  12. ravagefrackle

    ravagefrackle New Member

    i hardly think giving my opinion(no matter how frank ly i may say it ) is being aggressive, maybe im a bit blunt , but its better than being dishonest
  13. As a dumb suggestion, it does help to browse a forum for a while and get a feel for the people in the community. That was an expected response from ravagefrackle, which had some truth regarding ebay, and I have no problem with it - from getting to know him through his posts.
    puppetmanca: you have great skills. I love the muppet replicas on ebay, and I wish I could afford everyone. However, a lot of people here don't feel the same way. The constant reminders of your muppet puppets are going to warrant comments from those who don't agree. Just some thoughts . . .
  14. puppetmancan

    puppetmancan Member

    thnak you . And my point with ebay everyone just proved. i would of never got my face, name and puppets out internationally in just a few days if i had put one of my puppets, which is a contriversial ( i think thats how you spell it) replica, on ebay. as far as the money can earned, we'll have to wait and see in a couple days. But like in the master card commercails the muppets did, Muppet puppet on ebay, $100. the attention, and world wide display of my talent and characters priceless.
  15. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Active Member

    Just a note to everyone downloading the spreadsheet, there are a couple of minor errors in two of the cells that I didn't catch before they were uploaded.

    If you've downloaded the spreadsheet, make sure that the formula in cell C14 reads "=SUM(C3:C13)*0.1" and the formula in cell C16 reads "=SUM(C3:C14)" otherwise the math will be slightly off (remove the quotes if you have to correct the forumlas).

    I'll upload a corrected version of the spreadsheet at PuppetsandStuff later today.

    Sorry about that!!

    EDIT: I've updated the excel spreadsheet now, the new URL is http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=846.0;attach=261
  16. Ventrilotwist

    Ventrilotwist New Member

    I'm getting an error saying I don't have access when trying to download this file. I registered with the site and still can't get it.
  17. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Active Member

    How odd...send me an email through the board and I'll send you the latest version of the spreadsheet.
  18. Ventrilotwist

    Ventrilotwist New Member

    I would still like this, I'll try sending you another message.
  19. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Active Member

    Here's another great resource for how to price art like puppet building - How To Charge.
  20. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Active Member



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