Right now there’ s another whip maker that’s selling a 5 foot 8 plait bullwhip for $139 with free shipping…So after he ships the whip the whip maker is pocketing about $119 – $125. Honestly I don’t know how he’s making any real profit on it. However out of curiosity I’m going to make a 5 foot 8 plait bullwhip and I’ll break out the stop watch to see how long it takes me start to finish.
Here’s what I know right now as far as costs go.
Handle: 55 cents if using a spike or $2.75 if I go with a spring steel rod
Kip: I paid $5.50 a foot shipped for this, and I’m guessing I’ll use about 2 feet.
Kangaroo: This was $1.30 per dm shipped and will be the largest chunk of the cost.
I actually have a couple great kangaroos skin for they both are 47 dm, which are too short for 6 foot whips, and I really don’t want to make a 10 foot whip from both of them, so this is the perfect size.
One difference is that I’m going to make this an Indy Style whip, so it will have the correct knots and wrist loop. I haven’t decided if it’s going to be a straight eight plait or an eight plait dropping to six plait at the point. A six plait point would be a more accurate Indiana Jones style bullwhip…but a straight eight plait would be faster and easier.
So right now before I’ve cut any leather if I make this whip with a spike my out of pocket cost is: $72.65
That cost doesn’t include things that would be hard to calculate the per piece cost like a fall, string, plaiting soap, shellac, etc…oh and you can’t forget the fees that I’ll have to pay to process payment through either paypal or though my credit card processor. While individually they don’t cost much, their cost do add up, between all of that it’ll probably be about $5, so the out of pocket expense is $77.65
If I were to meet the other whip makers price my profit would only be $41.35. That means I need to be able to make it start to finish in under two hours. If I can do that my hourly wage would be $20.68 per hour…which is low for a skilled labor. To put that in perspective my local auto shop charges $40-60 an hour labor depending on the skill of the mechanic.
If it takes me 3 hours my hourly wage drops to $13.78…now that’s still not a bad wage considering the unemployment numbers in the USA. However I’ll put that in perspective, in my area the hourly wage for a checker at my local grocery store is $15.50 plus benefits.
Also as far as time goes I plait and cut at a respectable speed…I’m not the fastest in the world, but I do both of those at a good pace.
I’m guessing at the end of the day for something like this to be worth my time I’ll need to charge at least $200 plus shipping.
I’m very curious to see how long it takes me. I’ll be running the timer while I’m actually working on it, I plan on taking a lot of pictures and doing updates, but I’ll stop the clock for those.