Labor Rates: What to Charge in Your Clubmaking Shop

In celebration for this past Labor Day weekend, I decided to address a sticky question for many clubmakers – what to charge for your services.  Here are some tips that will help you establish your pricing strategy.

Establish your own clubmaking pricing and stick to it

When you own a clubmaking shop, it seems like that everybody is your friend. For professional clubmakers, they need to be professional by posting your pricing up front either on a wall chart or in some type of price list that is available to your customers.  You don’t want to be in a position where you are constantly haggling over pricing with a potential customer.  Remember many of your customers will be professionals as well such as physicians, attorneys, electricians and plumbers.  When was the last time you haggled pricing with these professionals?  That’s what I thought.  So be fair, tough and consistent on your pricing policies.

Determine if your pricing should be flat rate or hourly

For routine repairs, like re-gripping or re-shafting, consider charging a flat fee over the cost of the components. For instance, for re-gripping on a retail level charge $3.50 over the retail cost of the grip or for re-shafting $20.00 over the retail cost of the shaft might be a reasonable fee.  Retail cost is what the average person can find in component catalogs or on their websites. This method is more efficient than figuring a certain percentage or margin you need to make.

Plus don’t forget in certain cases like Callaway clubs, you may need specific replacement ferrules that are more costly than a run of the mill ferrule.  A specialty ferrule is a component as well. This will need to be factored into the price otherwise it will start to eat into your profits.

For basic services like lie / loft alteration on irons and wedges, you can also use flat rate like $4.50 per club. However, for miscellaneous repairs such as removing a broken shaft from the hosel, using a flat hourly rate may be a good way to charge for your services.  You might run into situations where you might not know how long or how complicated a task make be.  For instance, you make task on the task of removing the ball bearing from a certain Ping putter or hosel pin on an older Hogan iron you haven’t experienced before.  By charging an hourly rate you protect yourself from unforeseen problems.

Price your services fairly for yourself and your market

Lastly, remember to price your services fairly based on your competition in your immediate area as well as your skill level and reputation. On one hand you don’t want to under-value your services where you feel like you are working like a dog for nothing.  On the other you don’t want to over-price your services either that you wonder why the phone is not ringing or traffic is slow in your shop.

Making the customer aware of what club repair will cost upfront can only serve to make it a more pleasurable experience that should produce return business as well as word-of-mouth advertising for your shop.

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  1. Stanley Kushida says:

    This is a good article for those trying their hand at turning their hobby into a business. it took me almost 3 yrs to nail down a rate until I became a “class A” Professional golf club maker.
    The one problem I had was to figure out a pay schedule for my skills in restoring antique and classic wooden clubs. It’s a stop-and-go process because of all the waiting for epoxies and stains, etc to dry/cure. How does one know how much to charge for such a risky involvement? What do I tell customers if I can’t find the decals? I’m no longer in business due to health, but once in a while, someone does ask me if i can do that anymore. I want to, but I’m actually afraid to tell them it’ll cost nearly $100! Should I price it out per detail? Toe repair, insert reset, sole plate, reset shaft, etc? there’s not many of us around, so it’s hard to determine.

  2. Roy Davis says:

    I closed my business in Dec 2008. I still have a pretty complete collection of decals. Write me if you are interested in getting them.

  3. Roy Davis says:

    New subject. When I was doing lots of wooden club work I established a flat rate for refinishing/repair work. One price covered all incidental work plus the refinishing. I made sure that I would not be hurt if I found (as I often did) that there was more work needed than was apparent when I got the club. $100.00 may sound like a lot but remind them gently that some are charging more and besides you give them a guarantee for (you pick the time period).

  4. Wade Cross says:

    I am new to the club making business. Just graduated from The Golf Academy of America so I was wondering what would be a good starting price for labor on, for instance, a driver.

  5. Jeff Summitt says:


    There is no definitive answer because it is what your market can bear. For instance, if you are in a affluent urban area, you can demand more than you can from blue collar rural area. The actual time to build a driver may be 15 minutes. If you charge by the hour, you will find that you won’t be adding much money at all, that is why on something like that I might have a base price. For instance retail cost of components (including shipping) plus a flat rate fee (like $30 minimum). Then regardless of how expensive the shaft and grip is, you don’t have to worry about mark ups or margins.

    I might suggest working out on paper different scenarios and seeing how much is your net is when you factor in the component costs, an hourly rate for yourself, wear and tear on equipment, rent, utilities, insurance, etc. That may sound intimidating, but think of how much your rent is for a month or monthly average utility bill and divide by 40 hours to give you at least a average hourly rate to which you can factor into your price. You might work 60 hours or more during different times of the year, but I would be conservative on associated costs.

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