Author Topic: Cost of Demonstrations/Revolutions  (Read 20590 times)

Offline Mark Sanger

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Cost of Demonstrations/Revolutions
« on: June 12, 2015, 11:52:16 AM »
Hi all

I know I will probably being lighting the touch paper here  :) but I have very much enjoyed reading Revolutions lately and in particular the subject/article in relation to the cost of demonstrations. Often it is heard and discussed about the travelling fee of 45p/mile and the resulting cost some demonstrators are charging.

Just wondering what your thoughts are, do you think people should be charging 45p/mile as a travelling fee to pay for running costs, depreciation of works vehicles etc that a demonstrator uses ?

Or do you think this should be paid by the demonstrator ? my plumber who lives less than a mile away from me has an automatic £50 call out fee. Now don't get me wrong, we generally don't need woodturners, certainly they are not the first people I think of when I have a water leak or I can't flush the loo, ummm well, on occasions may be not  ;D

Do you think a demonstrator if they are turning for a living to charge you for the half day it takes to get ready for the demo and the half day it takes to get the workshop back square again and the loss of production time for this, or do you think this should be also free.

Great to have your thoughts, no you won't hurt my feelings as you may be surprised at my thoughts on demo's and the profit margin involved, and some of you may know the reason I have cut back hugely on demo's and all but stopping evening demo's except for a few clubs within 30 minutes of me.



 

Ryan Davenport AWGB

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Re: Cost of Demonstrations/Revolutions
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2015, 12:24:39 PM »
I suppose it depends on which side of the fence you're sat on (I'm in the middle lol), but I do know that my car costs over 14p per mile for sure. I think this is a debate that will have endless points of view. I suppose it's up to the turner if he/she's willing to travel at a reduced rate, I completely understand where you're coming from with regards to "lost production time" thought, I suppose it's down to the individual and what type of vehicle they use, and how there currently work load is.

Offline fuzzyturns

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Re: Cost of Demonstrations/Revolutions
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2015, 12:42:55 PM »
I was in fact tempted to reply by letter to the editor of revolutions, but since he presumably reads this anyway, it will save me the postage.

The writer of this article argues that he had a job where many of these expenses (in time or money) had to be borne by himself, and this was simply the way it was expected in his job, and therefore (self employed) wood turners shouldn't charge for this time etc., lest otherwise we end up with clubs not being able to afford demonstrations.
I would hold against this. Firstly, a business is an undertaking where the customers and the business both benefit from the work undertaken. If the turner can only charge for part of his time/expenses, then ultimately he will go out of business. In fact, if he can only charge for expenses, but not make a profit, the same happens.
Secondly, I am not aware of many modern businesses who get away with not reimbursing their employees for expenses in full (mind you, justified expenses!).
Thirdly, the author argues that if clubs had to pay for all of this, then the membership fees would go up, and he even gives an example of, I believe, 32.50 for a given club size and number of demonstrations. Now I do realize that many club members are retired and therefore have reduced income. However, if you compare this number to what golf clubs or other clubs charge for membership, then I'd think that wood turning is a very affordable hobby.
Plus: at least one of the clubs I am a member of charges separate fees for demonstrations, on the day. If you don't want to pay, or you cannot afford it, then reduce the number of days you're going.
Yes, we all have to live within our means, but that should not mean that we should deprive the few of us who make a living out of wood turning from their income. In fact, I believe this would be very detrimental to wood turning in the long run.
Plus: there is competition here. If one turner charges 200 for a full day, and another charges 250 or 300, then the one with the higher price will have to show something extra, something special, so that clubs will want to pay that premium to get him on their premises. It's like tickets for concerts. If you want to see the Rolling Stones, you have to fork out £100 or more. If all you can afford is £10, then all you're going to get is the local cover band. They're probably good, but they're not the Rolling Stones. And they also want to make a living.

Offline bodrighywood

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Re: Cost of Demonstrations/Revolutions
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2015, 12:56:15 PM »
The 45p per mile is to cover costs of fuel, wear and tear on the car etc and is the guideline laid down by the government. It was 40p until 2011 then went up.Those like Mark, myself and others who are doing woodturning as their sole means of earning a living have a right, I believe, to try and run their business as efficiently as possible.  If you are a well known turner with a good reputation then it is because you have earned it and should expect to be paid more perhaps but those of us at the bottom of the ladder should still be able to expect at least a basic fee including mileage allowance as stipulated by the tax people. If my mileage per year increases to beyond 10,000 miles a year then I should drop it to 25p but I don't see that happening any time soon.

In contrast I did a demo at a club earlier this year and got told off for charging too little and was given twice the actual demo fee I had asked for. Only happened once LOL.

Pete
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Offline The Bowler Hatted Turner

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Re: Cost of Demonstrations/Revolutions
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2015, 01:44:05 PM »
I feel that whoever is demonstrating is supplying a service to the members of the club that employed them. They are given a quote of what the costs will be at the time of making the booking, if these costs are to expensive then do what you do when the garage gives you a quote for repairs, suck it up or go somewhere else!!
       There are many woodturners out there who are very good but the ones that earn a living at it are good too, why should their skills be undervalued? If I drive to a venue for 3 1/2 hours each way who pays for the time it takes? It is my opinion that you are getting a good service on the cheap already.
     Think what the costs would be if self employed woodturners worked for a company. A few years ago I had time off from turning and worked for another firm, they charged me out at £250 per hour and that role included demonstrating a process so yes you get off lightly IMHO.

Offline John D Smith

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Re: Cost of Demonstrations/Revolutions
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2015, 03:29:08 PM »
Hi Mark,
           I have no intention of hurting anyone's feelings here are a few of the things from the side of a Club Secretary for Demonstrators to consider.

  1.The costs per mile seemed to increase when the price of fuel increased and rightly so (Fuel is now cheaper) ???

  2. Taking your analogy of the plumber I bet he arrives with all the tools for the job quite a lot of the demonstrators need the Club to supply the lathe for the Demo in most cases this is fine we had one Demonstrator who wanted a VB36 another wanted an extra £50 to bring his own lathe we meet at a Village Hall and cannot leave any equipment the so we have an Axminster M330 lathe which is portable.

  3.Some Demonstrators bring equipment for sale that's fine it often benefits the members one even set up a shop once with someone to run it.

  4. I have had Demonstrators say to me part of the demo is the passing of knowledge and the involvement of the audience.

  5. We have had Demonstrators cancel at very short notice even after we have sold a number of advance tickets.

                                               Regards John

     
John Smith

Offline David Buskell

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Re: Cost of Demonstrations/Revolutions
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2015, 05:28:19 PM »
Interesting topic!

Fees charged by golf and other clubs as against woodturning club fees - I think most people would understand the higher costs as they can see tangible assets that they use in return for their fees. Not quite so with woodturning - they see a small venue, light refreshments and sometimes a demonstrator. I guess this in comparison with golf and others, does make woodturning seem affordable.

Mileage costs are always a consideration when booking demos and does restrict who we will ask to appear at the club. This means we can sometimes get the same names coming along because they are within a reasonable distance.

John Smith makes the point that fuel charges are now cheaper but the 45p per mile rate has not been reviewed to take account of this.
I like the cheek of the demonstrator who wanted the club to supply a VB36 and the one who charged to bring his own lathe!! I guess neither of these is doing much demonstration work. We usually supply a lathe and if the demonstrator wants to bring their own, that;'s fine with us. We have had only one request for a specific piece of kit which we supplied as the turner was well enough know to warrant the trouble of sourcing the item.

We too have had last minute cancellations but the turner concerned supplied a good alternative so the club was not let down (too much).

Most clubs have a restricted budget for demonstrations which has to be added to standing costs (venue hire, insurance etc) to arrive at the total outgoings. Working out a break-even membership sub is mathematically straight forward but you have to balance it against the disposable income of your members. Pitch too high and you lose membership.  and members are difficult enough to retain at the best of times.

BHT's comment that we are getting a good service on the cheap already will not please most events secretaries!!

It would be interesting to see how other crafts fare with demonstrator costs - we can't be alone in the craft world with this problem.

David
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Offline Les Symonds

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Re: Cost of Demonstrations/Revolutions
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2015, 05:35:01 PM »
What a bag-full of contentious issues this is! I have been attending my wood-turning club for a couple of years, becoming its treasurer early this year, so I have a little experience from both the point of view of an audience member and as a procurer of demonstrators. It has to be said that in my estimation of value-for-money, there is an extensive range from best to least good. Some demonstrators cram a massive amount into their time, whilst others fit in far fewer pieces of work. Some have inherent skills of managing their audience, whilst others struggle. Some have a natural, friendly delivery which keep the audience interested, others not so. Thus, Mark, to enter into any debate about value for money from the demonstrator, one would have to name names and get rather personal, but this is not the place for such a strategy.
Then, of course, there's the debate about travel expenses. As Pete MJ mentioned earlier in the thread, there is a fixed figure proposed and recommended by HMG, in which case I really don't think that any club member could justifiably complain when a professional claims that amount.
I can understand how the average person, who uses their car to get to work each day, might feel hard-done-by when a woodturner does just that, and gets paid extra for doing it. Let's just be honest about this....who amongst us would not charge the going rate if we were put into the demonstrator's shoes?

Les
Education is important, but wood turning is importanter.

Offline Paul Hannaby

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Re: Cost of Demonstrations/Revolutions
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2015, 06:41:09 PM »
There is a difference between "travelling to work each day" and travelling to do a demo. I think the tax rules prevent claiming for mileage to travel to your usual place of work but doing a demo or travelling to a location much further away is definitely not the same thing and incurs extra cost to the business, hence the tax allowance.

Offline steve w

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Re: Cost of Demonstrations/Revolutions
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2015, 07:01:36 PM »
i think the demonstrator should give a price for each demonstration based on its own circumstances, a break down of costs shouldnt be needed, i have driven 1500 mile this week for 3 jobs each job quoted, i never break down costs.
why do i feel the need to turn a block of wood into shavings?

Offline John D Smith

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Re: Cost of Demonstrations/Revolutions
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2015, 07:20:02 PM »
 
  Please don't get me wrong we do have certain Demonstrators who do us a great and entertaining Demonstrations and value for money after all we know what the costs will be and I consider when we accept that is making a contract with them but there are others you don't always know what you are getting in the way of value. this year one of the Demonstrators gave us an assessment form to complete and return to the Register of Professional Turners this was a First for me in 10 years how many do this?

                                                                        Regards John
                                                 
John Smith

Offline Mark Sanger

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Re: Cost of Demonstrations/Revolutions
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2015, 07:56:39 PM »
 
  Please don't get me wrong we do have certain Demonstrators who do us a great and entertaining Demonstrations and value for money after all we know what the costs will be and I consider when we accept that is making a contract with them but there are others you don't always know what you are getting in the way of value. this year one of the Demonstrators gave us an assessment form to complete and return to the Register of Professional Turners this was a First for me in 10 years how many do this?

                                                                        Regards John
                                                 

I hear what you are saying John and agree, not being a member of the RPT I am not bound by their terms, you certainly raise a valid point, I think you can download the forms from the website to fill in but not sure how it goes now as I have not been part of it from some years.

Offline Mark Sanger

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Re: Cost of Demonstrations/Revolutions
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2015, 07:58:59 PM »
Hi all

Thank you for you comments, it is interesting to get both sides, secretaries, professionals and club members opinions.

For me from my perspective there is only one answer to this issue and that is I make good profit on my time. It may be the case that it is perceived that demonstrators make good money for an evening or day demo, when people see a cheque written out for  £250 for an evening demo or £400 for a day add to this sales of tools etc as John highlighted and you can perhaps walk away with £600-£800 gross takings and of course immediately the demonstrator is rolling in money.  :) :) or are they ? This I will hopefully get onto later.

Of course, or at least I believe it to be that no one earns a great deal of money from woodturning, ok you can earn good money for your time and rightly so much and I am not complaining at all as the fullness of life is not felt from earning loads of money, enjoying the process is far more important at least for me it is, but the bills still have to be paid.

Driving if it is part and parcel of any business will be included into the fee as not only running cost but depreciation of the vehicle should also be included, bit daft if after five years of using a works vehicle you suddenly have to purchase a new one at £5000-£8000 and you have not included this in the business overheads. There is also depreciation on every tool and supplementary tool used, computer, printer, toner, paper etc, etc etc etc anti virus software if you run a computer for work and have to reply to emails for work such as demo's, teaching and selling, this is all included by my accountant in my costings, right down to the glue stick, stamps and pencils.

Certainly I am not disagreeing with anyone's thoughts here but I wonder for the secretaries, club organizers or any one else for that matter;

as a professional person doing a full day demo what do you feel is a 'reasonably' price including everything for a days demo including preparation and post work, £240- £300 -£400 ? what do you believe is value for money ?


 
« Last Edit: June 12, 2015, 08:13:24 PM by Mark Sanger »

Offline Mark Sanger

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Re: Cost of Demonstrations/Revolutions
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2015, 08:03:25 PM »
i think the demonstrator should give a price for each demonstration based on its own circumstances, a break down of costs shouldnt be needed, i have driven 1500 mile this week for 3 jobs each job quoted, i never break down costs.

I agree Steve, I am sure you have included this time and cost to get the work in your fee, I am sure you have not given this for free.  One consideration with demo's if that if I am asked to demonstrate for a club a long way away then I can not give a blanket fee for the ones only 10 miles away as they will not supplement the long distance demo's and nor should they.

On occasions customers do ask for a break down of costs especially if they are getting quotes from elsewhere, this from my good lady who works in the interior business happens on a regular basis, people even want to know how much the glue costs, but then they are paying a lot more than a woodturning demo fee  :)
« Last Edit: June 12, 2015, 08:09:10 PM by Mark Sanger »

Offline Mark Sanger

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Re: Cost of Demonstrations/Revolutions
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2015, 08:08:27 PM »
There is a difference between "travelling to work each day" and travelling to do a demo. I think the tax rules prevent claiming for mileage to travel to your usual place of work but doing a demo or travelling to a location much further away is definitely not the same thing and incurs extra cost to the business, hence the tax allowance.

Yep  :) and as you are aware Paul we also include the cost of going to collect the wood that is used in a demo, or at least I do as it doesn't arrive by itself of process itself on the band saw. Regularly on a day demo I would make 5 projects from boxes, bowls, hollow forms  so you are looking at £40 upwards from the start especially if seasoned prepared blanks re being used.