Expert tips by Nic Jones
Just because you WORK FROM HOME doesn’t mean you have to charge ridiculously low prices, and it doesn’t mean your quality is any less than a traditional business. Working from home just means you can work smarter because you work to your own hours and circumstances and there are fewer overhead costs but your time is just as valuable as the next person’s.
The price you charge for your item or work needs to be carefully calculated after considering the following factors:
- The cost of your materials: To make a skirt, you need material, lace or ribbon, cotton, button or elastic.
- The cost of your equipment: Sewing machine, scissors, tape measure, marking chalk, etc.
- The cost of production: Electricity to run your sewing machine and the lights.
- Post production costs: Packaging, Labels, Storage, Postal charges.
- The cost of your time: Time spent reading emails/orders and preparation. Time taken to go to the shop and buy the materials, cut out the pattern, sew the skirt to completion, package it and take it to the post office.
- The cost of support services: Accountant, Telephone, Internet, Daycare/Baby sitting.
- Motor vehicle costs: Fuel, Registration, running costs (wear and tear).
- Marketing and promotion costs: Printing business cards, brochures, website creation & maintenance, time spent marketing your product or service.
- Home office expenses: Furniture, computer, printer, ink cartridges, paper, pens.
- Insurances: Loss of personal income, office equipment & contents, stock, professional liability.
So the selling price of a particular item must cover the cost of all of these items plus make a profit. Add to this the fact that you must be competitive with other suppliers in the marketplace and you can see why it is very important to do the research and calculations correctly. Otherwise you are working for nothing or even at a loss. These same factors need to be considered regardless of the product you are making or the service you are offering.
Some items such as fabric, elastic and packaging could be purchased in bulk to reduce overall costs but you will need capital to buy these from wholesalers. If you have an ABN and put in a tax return for your business you can claim all of these expenses against your income.
You will also need to determine whether it is financially viable for you to own and run your own business. When you take into account the value of your time plus the overhead and production costs, it might just be more economical to support someone else’s business. Eg. We have a business in town that sells roast meats, veges and salads along with all the extras. For me to go to the store and buy the ingredients, prepare and cook them, cover the cost of electricity or gas, spend time and detergent washing up afterwards, etc, it is actually cheaper for me to buy two take-away ready cooked roast dinners on my way home from work. So you really need to decide whether your investment of time and money is really going to be worth it. These two websites make very interesting reading and will be helpful in determining what your time is really worth.
Business Know-How is a woman-owned business run by Janet Attard. Although American, her website has an excellent Business Startup Cost Calculator as well as a host of other information including some handy templates. http://www.businessknowhow.com/startup/startup.htm
The ATO has a Home Office Expenses calculator to assist you calculate allowable deductions at tax time. http://calculators.ato.gov.au/scripts/axos/axos.asp?CONTEXT=&KBS=Home_office.XR4&go=ok
Nic Jones is the Director of Market Me, a business which started just over 2 years ago on Facebook and has grown to produce a fulltime income. She is a mum of twin boys (3yrs old), and a 6yr old daughter. She juggles 2 businesses and her family responsibilities and loves being able to set her own schedules and be able to create an income around her family. She loves helping businesses grow ‘the smart way’, and Market Me’s services are based on this concept. To see all Nic’s articles, click here.