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  • TIPS

    Why I Donít (usually) Do Project Plan Cost Estimates

    I have occasionally included cost estimates for my project plans, but itís a practice Iím not fond of unless Iím designing a project for a corporate client.

    There are several reasons why:

    1 Lumber

    A particular board in Alabama might not cost the same in Georgia, Illinois, or North Carolina. I actually know that for a fact, having purchased lumber for projects in each of those states. When building my projects, many folks often choose whichever lumber they prefer, or more often the case, what they have on hand. And Iím also not about to start doing conversions for folks in other countries, much as I love you guys. (I have readers visit my site from more than 140 countries).

    Low lumber cost also is the biggest exaggeration I see on other sites and blogs, and Iíd rather not be accused of lying about how cheap a project can be made. If youíve got a buddy who can get it for you wholesale, great. Or if you can get it free, great. But I canít factor that into a price because not everyone has those perks available to them.

    If you create a fair amount of projects, youíll also wind up with a fair amount of scrap. And the first thing most woodworkers do is look at their scrap pile to figure out how much of it they can use in the next project. Thereís your number one savings tip in the shop.

    2 Supplies

    This is always a tricky one to figure. Do I assume you have a full package/box of the fasteners I recommend? Do you need to buy primer, paint, stain, poly, etc.? What about glue? I could omit all of this, but youíre not getting a true estimate of what itís really going to cost you. In the plans I create for corporate clients, I figure the cost assuming you have to buy everything needed for the project excludingÖ

    3 Tools and Accessories

    You donít have a 1 1/4-inch Forstner bit, but my plan calls for it. You really like the project, so you buy the bit. BANG Ė you just increased the cost of the project. HOWEVER Ė this isnít a bad expense because now you have added to your tool arsenal.

    4 Taxes

    They range all over the place, and arenít they part of the cost as well?

    I know a lot of folks factor in the cost of a project when deciding to do it, but Iíd rather not mislead anyone with unrealistic expectations. Besides, you guys are smart enough to figure it out for yourself.

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