My jewelry business is at the point of needing to hire contract labor. What is the going rate, and how is it usually paid (by the piece or per hour)?
Hiring Jewelry Employees
by Rena Klingenberg.
For example, basic beading would obviously be less expensive to hire than if you’re seeking someone who has more advanced skills such as silversmithing or torch work.
I would prefer to hire people on a per-project basis or per-piece-of-jewelry basis, instead of on an hourly basis. That way, you can be sure of your labor cost per piece.
Particularly if you’re planning to wholesale your jewelry lines, it’s absolutely vital to be able to know and control your costs, which is much harder to do if employees have the flexibility to take as long as they want, and therefore run the cost up or down when creating a piece of jewelry for you.
When setting your rate, it might be best to work backwards – figure how much you can actually afford to pay per piece of jewelry and still turn an adequate profit.
If you don’t need highly skilled employees to help with your jewelry making, one good option is to use a sheltered workshop, or some similar place in your area where disabled people can be hired to work in a controlled environment on repetitive products.
If you’re interested in this option, try Googling “sheltered workshop” + your town name, or “disabled” or “disability” + your town name, to find places like these in your area. Or call your local Social Services Dept. (in the government pages of your phone book) and ask for assistance with finding such places.
Other good hired-help options can be hiring high school or college students to come in and work in the afternoon or evening, or moms who can come and work while their children are in school.
One final consideration when working with contract labor, unfortunately, is the possibility of theft of your jewelry making components.
You may want to have your contract labor come over and work in your studio or home where you can keep an eye on what’s going on, as opposed to taking supplies and tools to them and waiting to get finished jewelry in return.
See more tips about having your jewelry made by others in my post, Custom Jewelry Manufacturing.
Be Careful of Hiring Friends
by: Sandra Johnson
Be very cautious about hiring friends to work in your jewelry business. They may have good intentions, but there are so many ways this can go wrong – which not only means the end of your friendship but also trouble for your jewelry business.
No matter how close your friend is to you, if you hire her or him, I would have a contract. If they won’t sign a contract, don’t hire them!