Well, assuming you're good enough to command prices high in the spectrum, say $3,000 for a fork/frame, I'd suspect 25 to 30 a year would be a minimum number to generate a decent wage. Gross then is $90,000 max, rent, fixtures, utilities, supplies, advertising and misc overhead probably has to run $40,000 if you're doing things "right", and say you have a shop assistant to answer phones and ship bikes at $17,000 a year (roughly full time, minimum wage in the US and no discretionary benefits, with the employer's total cost around $22,000 counting payroll taxes and mandatory benefits)---.
That's assuming this is the primary employment, no piggybacking overhead on other jobs or working out of the home stuff. Of course if you are working out of the home, a portion of the mortgage/utilities there should count as overhead too.
Obviously the more shoe string the operation and the less employee expenses, then the less gross is needed to make a living. Employment costs being what they are, I doubt any full time frame builder has much of a staff in the workshop. I'd be suprised if any builder says less than 20 frames per annum gets the job done financially. If you can only charge $1,500, then double the number of frames. Not too many small builders making 60 frames a year, I'd bet.
Tom Adams, Shrewsbury NJ
Dennis Young <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
I'm curious to read how many customers annually is required to make an individual high end frame maker happy, wealthy, and wise? Saying that the market is small may be true, say compared to luxury yachts or something, but I think all you need is to have the next customer lined up to consider that you are going in the right direction.
> I.ve read with interest the various comments made by
> more experienced listers than i and the view i hold is
> a very simplistic one, based i suppose on selling big
> ticket german cars, there will always be dreamers and
> OWNERS for any quality machinery.
> When one sees at first hand the craftmanship and
> engineering so evident from the pics which you guys
> who attended put up for all of us to see [thanks] you
> ask yourself who actually buys these machines?
> I've always found that the hardest sale in a big
> ticket car deal is a guy who actually has the cash in
> readies or in his account to spend, the easiest is the
> guy who wants the image and can just about scrape the
> money together. so, in the bike market well everyone
> has a bike do they not? well in Ulster everyone and
> their dog has a bike! so ?
> We list guys then differ, i mean us guys who think
> nothing of going out for a 70miler on a sunday or on
> our day off through the week.. the main and very
> positive difference is we are CYCLISTS the rest have a
> bike, they may have it to nip around the block or to
> kid themselves they are keeping/getting fit. the main
> criteria is that if the bike costs more than a used
> car they REGARD US AS MADMEN.
> Craftsmen like Bayliss etc could Never sell to this
> market and those of us cyclists,not me, who can afford
> his machines are extremely lucky i'll bet 60% of those
> who attended the show were there to see what they
> could not afford and if they could, they would not
> purchase anyway!. so its a very narrow market any way
> you look at it, hand built cycles either as framesets
> or complete machines must be as difficult to place in
> the sales market as exotic vehicles, there are the
> lusters and there are the guys who can afford them,
> but, when they look at their lifestyles outside of the
> glamour and kudos of owing one, the costs of
> maintenance the theft risk, the insurance costs well
> that takes quite a few more out of the net. and can
> they drive them? or use in a world where 60 is the
> normal mph.allowed ..
> Then i ask the question and its the same whether its
> quality custom bicycles , exotic cars ,savile row
> tailored suits or custom made boots or shoes, most of
> these are on millionaires shopping list all except the
> bike because most don't ride and couldn't justify the
> cost in aNy sort of mindset EXCEPT IF THEY ARE LIKE
> US!!! CYCLISTS. we are in the minority we love bikes
> to the rest of the population we are nutters, i mean
> who spends 10000 dollars on a bike . a cyclist , thats
> who..and sharp well heeled farsighted people who see
> the value in OWNING a modern CUSTOM machine which
> will likely appreciate!!
> Willie Carton from Coleraine N.Ireland
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