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.

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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::

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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
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Re: How much to charge to sharpen knives?

Post by Case XX 6383 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:44 pm

StrawHat wrote:
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

would you tell what you charge for Reference?

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Re: How much to charge to sharpen knives?

Post by StrawHat » Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:59 am

Case XX 6383 wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:44 pm
...would you tell what you charge for Reference?...
Sorry for the slow response. For kitchen knives, I charge $1.00 per inch for straight edges, $1.50 per inch for serrated edges. Each blade is tested before returning it to the customer, for sharpness, I use cash register tape. Flimsy and tough to get a cut started, it shows if the edge is sharp and if there are nicks present. There is also a visual inspection of the edge. Sharp is great, BUT customers expect pretty also. No wavy lines, no wheel excursions into the flat of the blade, you get the idea.

It rarely takes longer than 2 minutes to complete an edge.

Kevin
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Re: How much to charge to sharpen knives?

Post by Colonel26 » Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:32 pm

StrawHat wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:59 am
Case XX 6383 wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:44 pm
...would you tell what you charge for Reference?...
Sorry for the slow response. For kitchen knives, I charge $1.00 per inch for straight edges, $1.50 per inch for serrated edges. Each blade is tested before returning it to the customer, for sharpness, I use cash register tape. Flimsy and tough to get a cut started, it shows if the edge is sharp and if there are nicks present. There is also a visual inspection of the edge. Sharp is great, BUT customers expect pretty also. No wavy lines, no wheel excursions into the flat of the blade, you get the idea.

It rarely takes longer than 2 minutes to complete an edge.

Kevin
Thank you for that information Kevin. I’ve often thought of setting up a sharpening booth myself. You mentioned the slow wheel set up, is that a Tormek or similar set up?

As to the serrated blades I’ve done my own by hand, but are you using the wheels for that too?

Thanks again for the info!
“There are things in the old Book which I may not be able to explain, but I fully accept it as the infallible word of God, and receive its teachings as inspired by the Holy Spirit.”
Robert E. Lee

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Re: How much to charge to sharpen knives?

Post by StrawHat » Thu Sep 17, 2020 1:01 am

[quote=Colonel26 post_id=849169 time=1600266739 user_id=14441 in
Thank you for that information Kevin. I’ve often thought of setting up a sharpening booth myself. You mentioned the slow wheel set up, is that a Tormek or similar set up?

As to the serrated blades I’ve done my own by hand, but are you using the wheels for that too?

Thanks again for the info!
[/quote]

Well, let say it is an Amish Tormek. I took an old (1913) Singer sewing machine base and adapted an old belt driven pedestal to it. My wheels turn about 85-90 rpm.

Kevin
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Re: How much to charge to sharpen knives?

Post by edge213 » Fri Sep 18, 2020 3:50 am

StrawHat wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 1:01 am
[quote=Colonel26 post_id=849169 time=1600266739 user_id=14441 in
Thank you for that information Kevin. I’ve often thought of setting up a sharpening booth myself. You mentioned the slow wheel set up, is that a Tormek or similar set up?

As to the serrated blades I’ve done my own by hand, but are you using the wheels for that too?

Thanks again for the info!
Well, let say it is an Amish Tormek. I took an old (1913) Singer sewing machine base and adapted an old belt driven pedestal to it. My wheels turn about 85-90 rpm.

Kevin
[/quote]


Pictures??
David
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Re: How much to charge to sharpen knives?

Post by StrawHat » Fri Sep 18, 2020 10:52 am

edge213 wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 3:50 am
Well, let say it is an Amish Tormek. I took an old (1913) Singer sewing machine base and adapted an old belt driven pedestal to it. My wheels turn about 85-90 rpm.

Kevin

Pictures??
[/quote]

Here is an old one but it will give you an idea of what I devised and use.
8FC454F3-D643-493D-A9FC-D9594E16548C.jpeg
Kevin
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Re: How much to charge to sharpen knives?

Post by cudgee » Fri Sep 18, 2020 11:03 am

That is ingenious and fantastic. That is something that previous generations would have come up with, they would have thought what do i need, what have i got that i don't need or use anymore, and came up with that. Well thought out and done mate, i love it. 8) 8) 8) ::tu:: ::tu:: ::tu::

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Re: How much to charge to sharpen knives?

Post by edge213 » Fri Sep 18, 2020 2:20 pm

StrawHat wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 10:52 am
edge213 wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 3:50 am
Well, let say it is an Amish Tormek. I took an old (1913) Singer sewing machine base and adapted an old belt driven pedestal to it. My wheels turn about 85-90 rpm.

Kevin

Pictures??
Here is an old one but it will give you an idea of what I devised and use.

8FC454F3-D643-493D-A9FC-D9594E16548C.jpeg

Kevin
[/quote]

Quite interesting.
Thanks for the picture.
David
"Glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife" Meat Loaf

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Re: How much to charge to sharpen knives?

Post by StrawHat » Fri Sep 18, 2020 8:41 pm

cudgee wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 11:03 am
That is ingenious and fantastic. That is something that previous generations would have come up with, they would have thought what do i need, what have i got that i don't need or use anymore, and came up with that. Well thought out and done mate, i love it. 8) 8) 8) ::tu:: ::tu:: ::tu::
What can I say, it was my wife’s idea. So was sharpening as a career. I was laid off from construction and in my fifties. Long story short, sharpening is my sixth career. And the one I learned from my Father nearly six decades ago.

The machine came about out of necessity. Our first year full time involved me going to Farmers’ Markets. I worked with bench stones as I had been taught. They are very capable of producing a fine edge but they take time and time is one thing not available at a FM. Herself asked why I did not use wheels like the other sharpeners we saw used. I explained the lack of adequate electric power at a FM (one long cord to feed everyone). She came up with this idea. It took me a couple of minutes to wrap my head around it and maybe 30 to come up with a working prototype. We are now on the 4th or 5th iteration and perhaps the final one.

It certainly is a show stopper and stays in the memory of the customers.

Kevin
Knowledge I take to the grave is wasted.

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Re: How much to charge to sharpen knives?

Post by cudgee » Fri Sep 18, 2020 8:46 pm

StrawHat wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 8:41 pm
cudgee wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 11:03 am
That is ingenious and fantastic. That is something that previous generations would have come up with, they would have thought what do i need, what have i got that i don't need or use anymore, and came up with that. Well thought out and done mate, i love it. 8) 8) 8) ::tu:: ::tu:: ::tu::
What can I say, it was my wife’s idea. So was sharpening as a career. I was laid off from construction and in my fifties. Long story short, sharpening is my sixth career. And the one I learned from my Father nearly six decades ago.

The machine came about out of necessity. Our first year full time involved me going to Farmers’ Markets. I worked with bench stones as I had been taught. They are very capable of producing a fine edge but they take time and time is one thing not available at a FM. Herself asked why I did not use wheels like the other sharpeners we saw used. I explained the lack of adequate electric power at a FM (one long cord to feed everyone). She came up with this idea. It took me a couple of minutes to wrap my head around it and maybe 30 to come up with a working prototype. We are now on the 4th or 5th iteration and perhaps the final one.

It certainly is a show stopper and stays in the memory of the customers.

Kevin
You have a good one there, and i meant wife. :roll: ::tu:: ::handshake::

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Re: How much to charge to sharpen knives?

Post by doglegg » Fri Sep 18, 2020 10:34 pm

I agree on both. ::nod::

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