How much to charge to sharpen knives?

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cudgee
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Re: How much to charge to sharpen knives?

Post by cudgee » Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:29 pm

Many eons ago i had a small boutique sharpening business. Looking at your figures, they do not work for me, but You may be comfortable with them. The first thing you have to do when starting any business is look at your market e.g. - where is your customer base. Then you can start to work out costings. Most people fail because they do not understand cash flow. You MUST have a consistent cash flow, firstly to stay afloat, secondly to be able to cover any unexpected draw downs on your cash bank e.g.- your car blows up, or your rent goes up, and thirdly to allow you to be able to expand your business. Another big failing is when people work out their costings, rent, electricity and other outgoings they forget to work out WHAT is MY TIME and EXPERTISE worth. This is one of the major flaws in their business model, they sell themselves short. If you can work out Costs versus your income with a decent margin for your self, that is the start, if the numbers don't add up, you will go broke. Sorry if i have depressed you, but i don't want to see you go through the grief of a failed business.

Rotten
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Re: How much to charge to sharpen knives?

Post by Rotten » Sat Sep 07, 2019 9:43 pm

I had cards made up and my fiance even put a nice website and FB page together for me a few years ago. Fast forward to today and the website is gone and I have gotten a grand total of 1 customer from the hundreds of business cards I've handed out. Most guys will pull out their knife and show me and I'll hand them whatever I'm carrying that day so they can see my work. Every one of them has been impressed but they all balk at a $20 per blade fee. Amazes me that they will pay $100 and up for a nice knife and then balk at a professional sharpening. At one point I was even offering to teach them how to maintain the edge after my work which would significantly reduce how often they would have to come to me. Except for very rare referrals from fellow knife guys my sharpening "business" is dead.

One untapped market for sharpening that I found was hairdressers. But that dried up when they found that they could replace their scissors for less than the cost of sharpening.
Trace

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cudgee
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Re: How much to charge to sharpen knives?

Post by cudgee » Sat Sep 07, 2019 11:22 pm

Rotten wrote:I had cards made up and my fiance even put a nice website and FB page together for me a few years ago. Fast forward to today and the website is gone and I have gotten a grand total of 1 customer from the hundreds of business cards I've handed out. Most guys will pull out their knife and show me and I'll hand them whatever I'm carrying that day so they can see my work. Every one of them has been impressed but they all balk at a $20 per blade fee. Amazes me that they will pay $100 and up for a nice knife and then balk at a professional sharpening. At one point I was even offering to teach them how to maintain the edge after my work which would significantly reduce how often they would have to come to me. Except for very rare referrals from fellow knife guys my sharpening "business" is dead.

One untapped market for sharpening that I found was hairdressers. But that dried up when they found that they could replace their scissors for less than the cost of sharpening.
My friend that is what you were up against, the mindset of the human. It also amazes me that someone will pay good money for anything, does not necessarily have to be a knife, but then does not want to pay to keep it in pristine condition, or even bother to look after it themselves. I heard something the other day that absolutely staggered me and would make a very interesting thread. A professional chef has a weekly spot on radio over here, sounds smart, articulate and has a very successful business. He was talking about knives, what sort to buy for the home cook and how to keep them in top working order, he said for the average home cook they are better off buying a cheap mass produced knife from say Walmart, and when it goes blunt, throw it in the bin and buy a new one. This same person goes on and on about food production and wastage destroying the atmosphere and the planet with landfill. Where the hell does he think throw away knives go??? It should not surprise me because, human stupidity knows no bounds. Sorry to hear about your business, but do not over think it, people now are a throw away society. :) ::tu::

StrawHat
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Re: How much to charge to sharpen knives?

Post by StrawHat » Thu Oct 17, 2019 11:24 am

I make a living sharpening things, knives, scissors, axes, mower blades, nearly anything with a dull edge.

It can be done BUT you have to be mindful of the customer’s mindset. You also need to rethink what is sharp. If you are going to spend 30 or more minutes to sharpen one blade you will not make out in this business.

I sharpen using slow rpm wheels for knives and scissors, a slow belt sander for some scissors and garden tools and various hand tools for other things. I do not have a brick and mortar storefront but was fortunate enough to be invited into a local grocery chain after the owner saw me in a farmers’ market. I still do fm’s and other events. I also sharpen salon tools on a different machine specific to salon shears. My schedule in 2019 included about 480 events. Next year there are a few more.

To be successful in this business you need the right mindset and a steady flow of customers. I am constantly on the lookout for new venues.

It may be a labor of love but it is still a labor. We will celebrate 10 full time years on 31 October.

Kevin
Knowledge I take to the grave is wasted.

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