Question: what’s it worth to you?

Now that I know I’m capable of creating a diverse range of wearable knitted items, I have considered doing knitted commissions to make some extra pocket money. This is a tricky subject to work with because there are so many varying opinions and things to consider before you know what to charge and how to go about it. So I’m going to ask you, my dearest reader, to give me your input on the matter! If I’m doing commissions it will be after Christmas, as I’m too busy with my current projects to start on this now.

Currently, I condensed my terms draft to the following:

  1. I will charge for materials, shipping and the garment’s work (time) separately.
  2. The buyer will cover the materials first and then make a 50% (less maybe?) deposit on the garment.
  3. The buyer will make the final payment and cover shipping when the garment is completed.
  4. The garment deposit and material costs are non-refundable if the buyer changes their mind once I’ve started the project, and the finished garment may be sold.
    • If I am unable to complete the project for whatever reason, the buyer gets a full refund.
  5. I will be sending progress pictures for the buyer’s evaluation.
  6. The buyer is responsible for providing me with the proper measurements and details on what they want before the agreement is made. I won’t be responsible for creating an item to measurements that aren’t correct.
  7. The buyer will be given an estimate for completion, with the understanding that this estimate is flexible. However, if I’m unable to complete the garment within 6 (or 8?) weeks after the estimated completion date, the buyer is eligible for a refund and I will resell the garment upon its completion.
  8. There will be a contract to sign to cover both parties under these terms.

I think these terms are fair. I’ve seen a lot of knitters who wasted time and money knitting a garment they never saw a penny for, and if I’m not knitting for close friends then I insist on a deposit and payment for the materials before I begin so my time won’t be wasted. I also don’t like drama so I hope to avoid it.

First question: do you think these terms are acceptable? What would you add, remove or change?

Materials and shipping are a fixed price so they’re easy to charge for (and I will let the buyer make their pick from Ice Yarns so they control the cost of the materials). The tricky part is my time. I think it’s unrealistic to charge by the hour when a sweater takes me about 40 hours to knit total. My sweaters are not worth €400 especially when they are plain knits, even if my time is worth €10/h (or more). I’ve come up with a basic list for what I’d expect to charge for non-complicated knits. This means no tedious lace patterns and no intricate cables.

All these prices are excluding materials and shipping.

Adults/teens:

  • Sweaters/vests: €150
  • Ponchos: €75
  • Hats: €30
  • Pair of socks: €35
  • Mittens: €35
  • Scarves: €30

(50% prices for children’s sizes.)

Babies/toddlers:

  • Sweaters/vests/ponchos: €20/€40
  • Hats and booties/socks combo: €10/€20

If the buyer wants a more complex piece, I will negotiate the additional costs for it with them, but these will be the base prices to work from. I realize they are on the low-end but I think this makes them affordable and attractive. (I want to put emphasis on the ‘pocket money’ aspect of doing this, not so much ‘living wage’.)

Second question: do you think these prices are fair and acceptable? Would you charge different amounts? (Google “€1 to $” or “$1 to €” for a conversion rate if necessary.)

I understand the value of my time and skills and I don’t want to grossly undersell them, so I find these prices and terms more than okay. But I also need others to find them okay, because there’s no point in having a commission list if nobody is going to buy what I make! If you have any input, either as a knitter or a non-knitter who wants to buy knitwear, I would very much appreciate it if you could answer those questions. Perhaps pass this post on to others who might have input to give? 🙂

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8 thoughts on “Question: what’s it worth to you?

  1. The sweaters look a little expensive to me, but then, I’m not a knitter so I couldn’t say for certain! I’m sure a great deal of time and material goes into them, but I personally wouldn’t spend €150 on a sweater. On the other hand, the rest including poncho seems plenty fair! I appreciate that the child items are half off.

    • Thanks so much for your input Lacee! ❤

      Whether or not you buy a handknit sweater really depends on how much you personally value it. I can't fault anyone for not wanting to dish out €150 on a sweater, because I wouldn't either (cause I can knit them myself lol). I expect it to be the least commissioned item out of the entire list for that.

      Maybe explaining why I charge so much can help you understand though (without wanting to change your mind!): I knit Mike's sweater over the course of 18 days. I spent a minimum of 2 hours a day working on it, some days even longer (such as about 3 hours at group). It easily tallies up to 40 hours, so a full-time work week. That comes down to not even four dollars an hour at the price I set for a sweater. That doesn't mean it's not a lot of money, but if you take the circumstances into consideration it's not that expensive at all. 🙂

      On the upside, the materials for a sweater can be incredibly cheap; we paid less than $10 for the yarn to make his sweater!

  2. I did not do the conversion at all, so can’t answer too closely about this. Just wanted to chime in and say that lots of crafters struggle with this – how to properly value the time and expertise without pricing yourself out of the market. Go too low and you undermine everyone else who is pricing to earn a living, go to high and you get no commissions. Have you searched out others who do this kind of work and checked their prices? Etsy is a good place to start with. Good luck, and happy knitting!

    • I have checked out a lot of places and it is impossible to use them as a reference. Etsy shows sweaters three times as expensive as mine, and then less than half expensive as mine and everything in between, from premade knits to custom knits upon request, from dresses to crop tops. I seem to be at an okay range with the rest of my stuff (from ponchos to socks) but for sweaters I think I will have to go by what I feel is fair for my effort and disregard what others charge. They’re so hard to price. 😦

      Like I said, this will be for pocket money, I may not be able to knit more than 1-2 items in half a year’s time on commission so I don’t think I’d be taking away a lot of income from others (if I get commissioned at all!). It would just be nice to have a little extra cash as I’ll be living tightly for a few years to come.

      (Also, the price in euros is very close to the price in dollars at this time!)

      • It is hard to judge – and don’t discount your work in your own mind just because it is for pocket money. 🙂 But you are right, you likely won’t be called upon to make a lot of sweaters, bore likely smaller items, baby items, etc. At least, that is my experience. Euros=dollars – who would ever have thought? Very strange times.

  3. Hi Sanne, I have done a few commissions, I however am lucky in the respect that I have mostly knitted Icelandic jumpers to sell and there is a marked price for them here and so I stick to that. I have charged after I have finished the work and have never had any problems but I can see that it can easily be so. I think it is a good idea to charge half before you start the project, you could always send pictures of your progress to the buyer just as proof for the buyer that you are not ripping them of and so establishing a mutual trust. I have actually than that and my buyer was very grateful. But, have fun with it and good luck! 🙂

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