Pricing Handmade Products: Formulas for Profitable Etsy Sales
Selling handmade products on Etsy can be an extremely rewarding way to turn your passion into profit. With over 60 million active buyers searching Etsy every month, there is huge potential to reach a massive audience of handmade enthusiasts. However, in order to achieve success on Etsy, you need to price your products properly.
Setting the right prices for your handmade creations is crucial for maintaining profitability and competitiveness on Etsy. Underpricing can diminish the perceived value of your work, while overpricing can turn away potential customers. So how do you strike that sweet spot between affordable and profitable?
This comprehensive guide will walk you through the essential pricing strategies and formulas to help you maximize your earnings on Etsy.
How to Calculate Your Costs
The first step in pricing handmade goods is to understand your costs. You’ll need to account for:
These are the physical components that go into making each product. For example:
- Yarn, fabric, clay, wood, beads, paints, paper, etc.
- Hardware like clasps, string, wire, packaging materials
- Any parts purchased from other makers
To determine direct material costs:
- Document what types and amounts of materials are used for each product variant (size, color, etc).
- Track current market prices for those materials.
- Calculate cost per unit based on quantity used per product.
Consider the hands-on time and effort required to make each product from start to finish. Factor in costs like:
- Design time (if not reused across multiple products)
- Production time including prep work, construction, detailing, finishing, packaging
- Skill level and experience required
To identify labor costs:
- Time yourself as you make each new product from start to finish.
- Estimate labor time for unique product variations.
- Determine your hourly rate. Common formulas:
- Minimum wage + 20-30%
- 2-3x your “day job” hourly pay
- What you would pay someone else for the work
- Multiply labor time by your hourly rate.
These are the fixed business costs required to operate your Etsy shop:
- Workspace rent and utilities
- Shop supplies like tools, equipment, machinery, software, packaging
- Office supplies
- Advertising and marketing fees
- Merchant services for selling online
- Accounting services or software
To determine your overhead rate:
- Add up all fixed monthly shop expenses.
- Divide by total working hours per month.
- This gives you the overhead cost per labor hour.
This is the percentage of the retail price that you get to keep as earnings. Common profit margin goals for Etsy sellers:
- 30-50% for hobby sellers
- 50-70%+ for full time sellers
Factoring this into your pricing formulas allows you to intentionally build in profit from the start.
If required to collect sales tax in your state, this must be included in the retail pricing.
Once you identify all the specific cost components for your product, add them together to determine your total cost. This is the base you’ll use to build your pricing formulas.
Pricing Formulas for Handmade Products
Now let’s explore some common pricing methods and formulas to apply to your handmade items:
Cost Plus Pricing Formula
This is one of the most straightforward pricing models. You simply calculate:
Total Cost Per Unit + Profit Margin = List Price
- Total cost per widget: $10
- 30% profit margin target: x 1.3
- List price per widget: $13
This ensures you’re covering materials, labor, overhead, and earning a profit without overthinking it. Cost plus pricing is best for hobby sellers or complementary products. The downside is it doesn’t factor in market demand.
Discounted Cash Flow Pricing
This method considers the projected lifespan value of a product by calculating:
Materials Cost + Labor Cost + Overhead + Desired Profit = Price
This accounts for the total time investment and earnings potential over the full life cycle of selling that product.
Discounted cash flow pricing helps maximize profits on more time-intensive products. The challenge can be accurately forecasting long term demand.
Competitor Based Pricing
Research what similar items from other sellers are listed for. Consider:
- How your materials, quality, and style compare
- Production time and process
- Shop location, experience, and reviews
- What customers pay for competing items
Price parallel to comparable items:
- Match competitor prices for a highly standardized product
- Price 10-20% above for more unique or premium offerings
- Go 10-20% below to undercut competitor prices if you can afford smaller profit margins
Basing prices on direct competitors helps attract similar buyers. But it reduces your profit if you don’t account for your own costs.
Customer Perceived Value Pricing
Price according to the value customers see in your products based on:
- Materials used
- Uniqueness of design
- Quality of construction and finishing
- Brand reputation and story
- Customer emotions and desire
For example, hand carved wood toys are priced higher than factory produced plastic toys due to higher perceived value.
This allows you to maximize prices for one-of-a-kind creations. But perceived value can be subjective and you may lose buyers not willing to pay that premium.
Combination Pricing Method
Often the most balanced approach is to use a combination of these pricing models:
- Calculate your costs and profit margin goals
- Compare against competitor item prices
- Evaluate perceived value factors
- Price based on a blend of these considerations
For example, you may aim for a 50% profit margin based on costs. But competitor analysis shows most similar items are priced lower. So you decide to reduce your profit margin to 30% to align with market expectations.
Combination pricing allows you to anchor pricing in your business needs while remaining competitive and capturing value. It does require some extra research and analysis to implement effectively.
7 Pricing Strategies for Etsy Shops
Beyond the core pricing formulas, there are some key pricing strategies commonly used by successful Etsy sellers:
1. Bundle Products
Offer sets of complementary products together at a discounted bundle price. This encourages larger order values.
For example, price:
- Single notebook: $20
- Set of 3 notebooks: $50
Bundling increases average order size and perceived value. Just ensure the bundle discount doesn’t cut too far into your profit margins.
2. Offer Volume Discounts
Provide tiered percentage discounts for higher quantity orders of a single product. For example:
- 1-2 items: Original price
- 3-5 items: 10% off
- 6-10 items: 20% off
- 11+ items: 25% off
This incentivizes larger orders from buyers like wedding parties, wholesale retailers, etc. Make volume discounts still profitable for your pricing structure.
3. Charge for Add-Ons
Sell additional product customizations, upgrades, and options as add-ons to increase order size. Common examples include:
- Extra monogramming or embroidery
- Premium fabrics and leathers
- Specialty packaging
- Gift wrapping
- Express or rushed processing
Charging incremental fees for add-ons can significantly boost profitability. Just keep add-on costs reasonable compared to base prices.
4. Offer Early-Bird Discounts
Provide special discounted pricing for customers who order early like pre-orders or limited releases. This both generates early momentum and improves cash flow.
For example, price a new product at:
- Pre-order price: $50
- Regular price after release: $65
Early bird discounts encourage buyers to commit sooner. Limit the discount window so it doesn’t undercut ongoing regular pricing.
5. Run Sales and Promotions
Strategically offer sales, coupons, markdowns, and other promotions to generate bursts of orders and revenue. Time promotions around:
- Holidays like Christmas, Valentine’s Day
- Key gifting occasions like Mother’s Day, graduations
- Major Etsy shopping days like Cyber Week
- Seasonal slow periods to boost cash flow
Promotions can drive more sales volume. But avoid conditioning buyers to only buy at a discount.
6. Increase Prices Over Time
As you build your shop’s brand and following, slowly increase prices in increments of 5-10%. Reasons to raise prices as you scale include:
- Rising material and labor costs
- Developing unique designs and offerings
- Improving skills and product quality
- Establishing expertise and credibility in your niche
- Building an audience of repeat buyers
Increasing prices gradually keeps profitability in step with growth. But go slowly to avoid turning off long time loyal customers.
7. Charge Extra for Rush Orders
If you get special requests for expedited processing or shipping, charge premium rush fees. For example:
- Normal processing: $50
- 3-day rush order: $75
- 24 hour rush order: $100
Rush and expedited services often require extra effort and costs for you. Pass those costs onto the buyer requesting special accommodation. Just communicate policies clearly upfront.
Mistakes to Avoid When Pricing Handmade Items
Many new Etsy sellers make common pricing mistakes that sabotage sales and profitability. Be sure to avoid:
Underpricing Your Work
It’s tempting to keep prices really low, especially when first starting out. But this can devalue your work in buyers’ eyes. They may question the quality and uniqueness of items priced much lower than competitors.
Underpricing also cuts heavily into your profit margins. Find the lowest price you can reasonably charge while still meeting your business needs.
Overpricing Without Justification
On the flip side, pricing well above the market for no clear reason can make it extremely difficult to attract any sales. Customers need to clearly understand and connect with why an item costs what it does.
Make sure unusually high prices are backed up by premium materials, captive audiences, or other factors that support the value.
Using Ending Prices Like $9.99
While tempting, pricing handmade goods at $X.99 or $X.95 looks mass manufactured. Opt for rounder price points like $10, $25, $50 that better match artisanal quality.
If you do use ending prices, go for higher increments like $15, $20, $35. This still indicates deals without the mass produced feel.
Neglecting Shipping Costs
Keep shipping costs like materials, postage, and labor time in mind when costing items. If free shipping isn’t built into pricing, many buyers will be turned off by unexpectedly high shipping fees at checkout.
Absorb shipping into base prices or offer free shipping over order minimums. This prevents cart abandonment from surprise costs.
Forgetting About Processing Time
Consider how pricing factors into processing lead times. For example, more intricate designs may require charging higher prices to earn a reasonable hourly wage considering the slower production speed.
Ensure your production capacity can support your pricing structure. If not, adjust prices or streamline processes to balance profitability with workload.
Tips for Implementing Profitable Pricing
Follow these tips to effectively set and implement profitable pricing for your handmade products:
- Track detailed cost data – Closely monitor every expense that goes into your products to inform pricing.
- Use spreadsheets – Create spreadsheets to calculate and play with pricing scenarios.
- Compare competitor pricing – Check pricing of similar bestselling items in your niche.
- Consider perceived value – Does your branding, story, and uniqueness justify higher prices?
- Run promotions – Try occasional sales and coupons to assess price sensitivity.
- Price anchor with higher tiers – List deluxe options to make lower tiers seem like a better value.
- Monitor profit margins – Review profitability of each product and tweak prices accordingly.
- Recalculate costs annually – Update pricing to reflect changing business expenses and material costs.
- Grandfather existing buyers – When raising prices, maintain original pricing for returning customers.
Balancing Affordability with Profit
Finding the optimal pricing strategy is a balancing act. You want to maximize profit margins without losing shoppers on affordability.
Some final best practices to strike that balance:
- Offer a range of options at different price points – budget-friendly to premium.
- Reinforce value and meanings behind higher pricing.
- Call out product details that required more time, skill, and costs.
- Provide payment plans for pricier custom orders.
- Suggest lower-priced alternate materials if cost is an issue.
With the right formulas and strategies, you can price your handmade goods in the sweet spot that attracts buyers while earning you a healthy profit on Etsy.
- 1 Pricing Handmade Products: Formulas for Profitable Etsy Sales
- 1.1 How to Calculate Your Costs
- 1.2 Pricing Formulas for Handmade Products
- 1.3 7 Pricing Strategies for Etsy Shops
- 1.4 Mistakes to Avoid When Pricing Handmade Items
- 1.5 Tips for Implementing Profitable Pricing
- 1.6 Balancing Affordability with Profit