View Full Version : Pricing pretty pricey windows

Mike McCain
01-12-2015, 05:18 PM
My new neighbors found out what I do and asked me to do work for them. I've always wondered if this happens to people who don't work in the arts....

The job is to make windows for their Florida room out of rondells that I'll assemble in a stained glass fashion. So it's a lot of glass- three whole walls worth of windows with framework from 6'6' on down to 2'6'. Its one of those no (reasonable) cost is too high situations.

I have to justify what I'll ask for this project. I know what my time is worth on Saturdays when I can make my own work for free. Beyond that I'm working out the cost of materials like lead came, soldering and installation tools. Structural integrity is something I need to work out. Thinking of hunting down anyone whose done church glass. Right now the project calls for clear only.

What I'm having trouble finding is a comparable work with a price tag to point to.
I don't even know what to google. Blown stained glass art? Artisan windows? RonDelicious?

I'm gonna make a 26 sample window just for the squirt and would like to have numbers on paper so Mr and Mrs Baltimore blue blood can respect the value. I'll post some pics in a month or two of the sample.

Pete VanderLaan
01-12-2015, 05:45 PM
I would think about a square foot price Mike. Kathie Bunnell ( one of my total heroines) used to charge about $140 a square thirty years ago and she couldn't make a living. God I loved her work.

Take those numbers and see if they fit in your reality. otherwise multiply but don't divide.

Alexander Adams
01-12-2015, 06:03 PM
Make the rondels. Subcontract the fabrication of the panels to a stained glass place. This works better if you have a plan for the installation engineering.

You might not net the same amount of money from the job but turn around time will be shorter and quality will be up to snuff. Quicker turnaround time = more free Saturdays to make other work. Quality control equals happy client and less headaches. Subcontracting allows one to be more prolific. It allows strengthens the local creative community and may lead to future jobs.

The other bonus is that the stained glass shop can provide some of the numbers for the estimate that you will provide to your client.

I would also build a fancy rondel robot like Ed Skeels.

Pete VanderLaan
01-12-2015, 06:09 PM
Don't build the robot unless this is something you want to do all the time, which could be highly profitable. Then, advertise is architect's digest. If it's going pricey, go pricey. multiply my number by ten.

Alexander Adams
01-12-2015, 07:13 PM
Sort of joking about the robot for the job. But really I just secretly want someone here to build one because I think Ed's Mega Later Day Robo Rondel video needs a sequel. Having been born and raised in New England, I find Miami very boring. Watching a video of a punty rod chucked up to a power tool that whips out rondels would make my day.

.............yup, it's that bad down here. I suppose if no one is up to the task, I could give it a whirl.

Tom Fuhrman
01-12-2015, 07:22 PM
as I recall Paul Marioni did some similar pieces quite a few years ago. you might try to see what range he was in for the ones he did.
I've done quite few church window jobs and they were priced all over the place depending on complexities and installation. Getting someone to deliver them to FL and do installation may be the critical portion of the project.

Sandy Dukeshire
01-12-2015, 08:43 PM
When pricing stained glass windows, start with price per square foot, but more importantly think number of pieces per square foot. If your making the flat glass factor that in as well. what would you charge to custom made a rondell? I've made (very) large windows by welding framework that created smaller individual fields to install the window in sections - this provides support over large spans and makes the glass sections much easier to handle. the design can still flow between fields. wider pieces of supportive steel can be incorporated into the design. of course all this factors into the price as well. for added soldering strength I often twist 50/50 (strength) with 60/40 (flow).
my base price is $150 per square foot. that's 10 pieces or less, basic glass (nothing fancy..) and extra for choice of framing material.

private commissions can get weird. currently i'm replicating a tattoo design for a window.

Mike McCain
01-13-2015, 04:06 AM
Alex you need to go jump in the ocean.

Good call on the subcontracting and ppsqft ideas. Thanks.

Rick Sherbert
01-13-2015, 06:44 AM

Call Tony Glander, 301-460-6404. Tell him I told you to call. He's in Gaithersburg, Md. He's been doing large flat glass commissions for a long time and he can help you with the pricing. He may also be willing to do the assembly.


Allan Gott
01-13-2015, 10:33 AM
I charged out custom, leaded, stained glass windows - design, fabricate, install - at $200 sq/ft 20 years ago, did 8-10 jobs at that price point, realized I was making about $6/hr net, jacked up the price and didn't have to do it any more. And, that was with relatively consistent, "commercial" stained glass, ie. - minimal deviation in thickness.

Definitely use a reference like Rick's if at all possible. This type of architectural work is best left to a professional. Failure of large glass installations is an avoidable circumstance.

Be prepared to make 3 times as many rondels as you think you'll need based on square foot coverage. Your fabricator will be very picky because he can't change the channel width in the lead came. During a visit to Ben Moore's place many, many, many moons ago, he and his team of the day were churning out clear rondels for exactly this purpose. I can't quote a precise figure but he was counting on rejecting most of them for irregular edge thickness. A one heat spinout is critical. They CANNOT go back in the gloryhole for straightening. 1 to 2 mil deviation from a 3-4 mil standard thickness matters a lot.

Sounds like a great project, and absolutely can be, as long as the fabrication, installation and compensation is correct.