September 20, 2015 @ 7:52 PM

Results of custom design & pricing survey I sent out last month
September 2015
About a month ago I sent out a 10 question survey asking you how you would price this custom made sapphire and diamond ring.
I know it was a lot to ask and only 72 people responded but thank you for those 72 people.
Some of the answers can be shown on a bar graph and many were texts that I'll compile. I already had a good guess as to what I would find and the biggest thing is this. Most all of you reading this email have my repair & design price book and chapter 1000 has a simple pricing method to make a ring.
A good example is this making a matching wedding band, like below. In the book (page 1000-3) to either cad/cam or hand carve a wax for a matching wedding bad to an engagement ring with no stones has one single price, gold is extra.
So if a customer needed this matching wedding band carved to match exactly next to her engagement ring our book has a single price (add gold and that's it!), see below.
$450.00. This is everything but metal. So for you cad/cam people it would be to
Cad on computer/grow or cut the wax, cast or send to a casting house, file up, polish and hand it to the customer. Charging for gold is extra and nothing to do with labor.
For those carving a wax by hand from a block of wax making the same ring includes:
carve the wax, invest and cast (or send to casting house), file up and polish.
Our book is simple to use, look it up and its $450 in labor, add in the gold.
A few people said they used my book but most people had a list of charges like I typed. Instead of a simple single price many are figuring up many costs to come to a price.
  • Design
  • Cad/cam (or carve)
  • Mill
  • print
  • Grow
  • Cast
  • or casting house
  • file up
  • polish

Hey, if you do long division, add subtract, multiply, divide and it makes you money who am I to argue, right?

But our book has one price for the total manufacture, without setting or gold, that's extra.

So I'm going to tell you how much my price book would charge for the blue sapphire and diamond ring that's at the very top of the page without the diamonds, setting ot the sapphire. Then I'll share some of the prices jewelers submitted for the very same ring. Again the question was:
How much to make this ring shown below and please do not include
  • diamonds
  • setting the diamonds
  • or center sapphire
Only wanted to know how much to complete make the ring and charge for the gold. Let's just assume the customer would take it to China and buy the diamonds, sapphire and have them set the stones. Got it?
The survey said also that it would weigh 4 pennyweights and on this day gold was $1137 an ounce and buying gold from Stuller it would cost your store $37 per pennyweight. So gold cost would be $148.00 for the 4 dwts. 
Our price book has a 4 time markup on labor and a
3 time markup on material (gold & stones)

37% of jewelers told me they do a 3 time markup on the gold and 26% use a 2.5 time markup. 
Here's the markup the respondents gave me:
So here's how we'd charge to make the mounting and charge for the gold.
Labor to make the ring, one price 
Price book, page 1000-3; Ring detail 1, sku # 10044
Furnish 4 pennyweights of gold
Price Book, page 1000-7, 4 pennyweights @ $107 per pennyweights, sku $ 100012
(the gold at Stuller cost you $148 x 3 time markup would be $441, so only $13 less)
Total retail price:  $1551.00
Amazing how close this was to what people sent but there was a range.
Here's the price shown in the book for the labor and the gold, per pennyweight
So here are some of the answers I received on what YOU would charge to make the ring. You should know if your costs are higher or lower and you know your costs and apply a markup then your answer is not wrong because it doesn't match mine. The big reason for me asking is to see if many people are getting more than my suggested pricing and maybe I should raise my book prices. It would help other jewelers.
Below are just some answers I pulled randomly. You'll notice that each price is divide by a double dotted line  "====". So if you get tired of looking just go below where I have the words "Continue Here".
====================Price Jewelers Charged For This Ring===============
$200.00 FOR cad 
$401.00 FOR GOLD 

TOTAL $896.00
$1150.00 Canadian 
I charge 150.00 /g for a finished 
14k casting before setting 
and 200.00 for the drawing 
and the wax.
Cam fee $99.00 
Finish labor fee $30.00 
(polishing, casting, rhodium plating)
I would say the price for a 4dwt ring would be 610.00 and the labor for wax and cast and clean-up would be 200. So total for just metal and casting would be 810.00.
Total price includes the design/ gold/labor is $1075+tax 
design and wax $300 
Gold $400 
cast and polish $100 
Rhod $30 
TOTAL $830
$125/gram finished
+ $350 wax/design.
Ok, Stuller charges $99 for the wax. 
Others charge $50. 
The CAD outsourcing is $200.
The casting and finishing work
is generally about $200. 
So my labor cost is $450 outsourcing
and $350 in house (hand-crafted).
I charge TOTAL $500 for the above work.
Total not including tax = $696.00 
Labor = $400.00 
Gold = $296.00
$200 Design fee drawing cad 
$917.00 metal x3.07 
$900.00 labour 
$80.00 Rhodium
TOTAL $2097.00
design (not complicated),
cad, mill and cast is min 450.00 
metal 3 time markup 440.00 
finish approx 200.00 
TOTAL 1090.00
Total $1145 
Labor $660 
Gold $485
This ring would be through counter
sketch about $745 and $650 by hand
wax and cast locally
The gold is $912.00 the 
labor is $415.00
TOTAL $1327
Cost to make this ring would 
be $975. So we would charge
TOTAL to customer $2149
Gold $ 444.00 
Labor (1.5 hrs.@ 60/hr.)=$90.00 
CAD fee $ 250.00
TOTAL $784
$695 - labor 
$500 - gold
TOTAL $1195
gold price include labor

========================Continue Here============================
Our book price was $1551 for manufacture and metal. I don't differentiate between carving a wax from a block or cad/cam. When this book was done it was designed around those using cad/cam.
As you can see the charges vary but my $1551 was about mid point in the range. I also think the way to price it in the Geller book is much simpler and it encompasses all charges you might incur. But I'm biased.
Over 6000 stores across the USA, Canada, Australia, Great Britain and other countries use it. So I asked
Do you use my book to price custom or do you have your own method?
It was surprising:
Use the Geller book pricing  
Have my own pricing system
Get a price from an outside shop and mark it up  15.4%
I asked the question "HOW WOULD YOU MAKE THIS RING?
  • Hand carve from a block of wax 9.7%
  • Use an in store cad/cam computer program  59.7% Big Winner. 
  • Send out to an outside shop who carves by hand 4.1%
  • Send to an outside shop who uses cad/cam  19.4%
Roughly 79% of custom made jewelry is done by cad/cam
Being Computer Cad/Cam is so big I asked "What program do you use?
  • It's not available in graph form but the overwhelming winner was Gemvision, sold by Stuller. 
  • A really close second was Counter Sketch by Stuller
  • Further down the line was Firestorm, Rhinogold, JewelCad
3 last questions to ask:
  • What is your average dollar sale on custom design
  • What is your closing ratio?
  • What percent of your store sales come from custom & repair sales?
What is your average dollar sale on custom design?
Two or 3 big dollar areas:
$1501 to $2500   34.7%
$2501 to $4000   31.9%
$1000 to $1500   15.2%
66.6% of most custom sales fall between $1501 to $4000. Still good 15.2% are between $1000 to $1500.
So think about this. While you buy, pay and store 1/2 million to 1 million dollars in inventory that sits in the case on an average of 2 years and your average product sale is $400 to $500 custom design requires less than $5000 in inventory in the shop, has an awesome turn and average sale is 3 to 10 times higher! Time to get in the game.
What is your closing ratio on custom design?
So 10 people walk into the store and say "Hey, can you make this ring for me?" 
How many people after you give them a price, wine & dine them will say "O.K. please go ahead and hand make this for me."
  • Wow!, 10 people walk in and the majority of jewelers say 9 out of 10 will buy the custom design. A 90% closing ratio. That's 27.7% of those who responded
  • Coming in second was 8 out of 10 at 23.6% said you had an 80% closing ratio.
  • 19.4% said they had a 70% closing rate and 16.6% said they sell 4-6 out of 10. That's a 40-60% closing rate. 
  • 70% of stores told me when they wait on a custom design customer they have between a 70-90% closing rate!
What percent of your stores total sales come from the shop-repairs & custom combined?
I will tell you this is skewed to people who like me are lover's of the shop. Many people didn't care to respond (79 out of almost 4000 emails) and my customer list comprised mostly independent jewelers. I wouldn't call everyone "mom and pop" as I deal with lots of $250,000 to $750,000 stores  as well as stores doing 2-5 million. Most here are single store, maybe a few with 2-3 stores.
  • Looking at the graph below the longest blue line is 21-30% of total sales come fromthe shop. 
  • The next largest category is 51-75% of total sales come from the shop.
So what's the end result of this survey? 
  • If you thought your prices were maybe low and you look at my $1551.00 price and all of the prices there or above you might now consider raising your prices. 
  • Custom design is a high ticket item, 4-10 times higher than showcase items.
  • You have a 2-3 times greater chance of selling a custom design over something from the case.
  • The amount of inventory to carry in the shop is less than 5% of what you need to carry in the showcase up front.
So what's the down side to doing custom for a living? That's not in this survey but I can tell you as a 25 year store owner and a 14th generation jeweler from the age of 10.
  • Takes lots more training for the sales staff/person to sell custom. 
  • Harder to find trained jewelers who can do cad/cam. Some successful stores don't have the jeweler do the computer cad/cam. A non jeweler can do it.
  • Marketing/advertising/web presence is a bit different to bring them in the door.
  • But these are not a barrier at all. Just maybe different from what you're doing now.
Here's a quickie chart showing the difference between sales made with showcase inventory and custom design.
  Showcase Inventory Custom Design
Average Dollar Sale $400 to $500 $1500 to $4000
Closing Ratio 30% (country wide) 70-90%
Inventory required to keep on hand $250,000 to 1 million and over Typically $5000 as most material is ordered next day
If 10 people walk into the store, based upon the average sale and closing ratio this is how much you'll have in total sales in each category after waiting on 10 people $1200 to $1500 $10,500 to $36,000
So my last question for you is in the upcoming price book should I raise custom prices or do you have other comments?
Thank and have a profitable day tomorrow in your shop
David Geller
Director of Shop's Profits
P.S. By the way only one person emailed me and said they couldn't get the repair prices in the book, their town was lower income and folks were price conscious. Yep, not every area is able but over the years most all jewelers tell me when it comes to just repairs they get a 90% closing ratio from our book.
Below is the page in the custom design chapter of custom design prices