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Modded or custom knife or tool- what's it worth? 1013

Head Turd Polisher Administrator He Who Has The Most Nuts, Wins! Posts: 59,087 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Modded or custom knife or tool- what's it worth?
« on: February 16, 2016, 09:01:17 PM »
This is a question that comes up an awful lot, and I can't say what other people use for an answer, but I thought I would share the formula I use to determine what cost is fair.  Of course there are a lot of other outside circumstances that can affect this, but in a nutshell this is how I look at it.

Materials (=all materials - recoverable materials) + labor + Profit (%)= Value

To put it in perspective, imagine that you want to buy a mod from someone- let's keep it simple, say adding a pair of scissors to a Spartan.  Yes, I know you could just buy a Climber but I'm trying to keep it simple, so bear with me.  :P

Also, the numbers listed below are just for this exercise and really have no actual bearing in reality!  Work your own numbers people, I am just providing my formula as an example!

So, materials cost would be as seen below:

1x Spartan      $20
1x Compact     $15
1x Scales        $7
Brass rod etc   $3

Subtotal on Materials= $45

Subtract the recoverable materials- the cap lifter, corkscrew, liners and scissors from the Compact can be used on future mods, so say there's an after value of $25.

The first part of the equation then becomes:

($45- $25) + labor + Profit (%)= Value

or

$20 + labor + Profit (%)= Value

Moving beyond materials, we now see Labor, which is going to vary significantly.  I am not much of a modder, and so I don't see anyone paying for more than approximately $6/hour for my mad skillz (:P) but a skilled modder could be a lot higher.  I generally price average mod skills at around $10-20/hour depending on who it is.  I have paid upwards of $50/hour, but let's say $20 in this case, and that the process takes roughly 1.5 hours.  The formula now looks like this:

($45- $25) +  ($20 * 1.5) + Profit (%)= Value

or

$20 +  $30 + Profit (%)= Value

Profit is the next value, and is also well open to interpretation based on the circumstances.  I generally like to stick to a general rule of around 20% profit- let's face it, the modder deserves to make a little bit of money over the top, or else what it the motivation?  While Labor was paying for the skill, profit pays for the expertise.  I have the skill to peen brass rod, but getting the tension absolutely right is an art form.  Again, there are always going to be additional circumstances that make this part negotiable- maybe the modder has a bunch made up and wants to clear them out and is willing to accept a lower profit to clear stuff off his/her bench, maybe the modder is extremely busy and your order needs to be rushed and the price goes up or you will miss your nephew's birthday.  For me, 20% is the baseline as it gives the modder some extra capital to use on their next project over and above the costs associated with this one.  Now the formula looks like this:

($45- $25) +  ($20 * 1.5) + (20% of $50) = Value

or

$20 +  $30 + $10 = Value


For a grand total of

$20 +  $30 + $10 = $60


Value is then calculated at $60 for this particular item, and so now I have a figure in mind that I am willing to pay.  Maybe I'll pay a little more or a little less, but that is roughly the price I  would have in mind for such a mod from the average modder.  If Scibeer Bill got back into modding or if one of his old mods resurfaced (I have a few!) then yes, that price would go up- WAY up!  If one of my old mod attempts was for sale (or if I decided to try again) that price would be WAY down.

So that's how I look at it- feel free to use the formula however you choose, or not.  Feel free to modify it however you want.  It's not any serious guide or anything, just a starting place for a number when I consider buying something, although the reality is that something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for something!

Def



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No Life Club Posts: 2,510
Re: Modded or custom knife or tool- what's it worth?
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2016, 09:57:32 PM »
If you own something you can do whatever you want with it.  I'm not one of those purists who calls modders "Bubba," and thinks that "Bubba ruins everything."  However, in my opinion, mods are something that we should do strictly for the utility value of the modification.  We mod something to make the item more capable or convenient to use for some specific purpose, and not to increase any intrinsic or collector value of the item, and I would never modify something that was already a collector's item or had the potential to become a collector's item.

Basically, I feel that any alteration, adulteration, or modification from the factory original configuration, other than wear from normal use, devalues an item considerably so the modification better be for a good reason and serve a purpose.

If I do modify something I'll keep the original parts together so that if I ever want to sell it the next owner or I can convert it back to its original configuration.

This is strictly my personal opinion, and others' mileage may vary.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2016, 09:59:32 PM by Alan K. »
Head Turd Polisher Administrator He Who Has The Most Nuts, Wins! Posts: 59,087 Optimum instrumentum est inter aures
Re: Modded or custom knife or tool- what's it worth?
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2016, 10:11:43 PM »
Modding is what you make of it.  Literally.

Some folks like modded things to have something special, some folks like to increase the functionality and some just like to change the looks.

Years ago a big name in collectible SAKs once told me off for "allowing" members to modify their knives.  I thought it was amusing that he thought I had that level of control over members..... :P

Def

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No Life Club Posts: 3,726
Re: Modded or custom knife or tool- what's it worth?
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2016, 10:44:30 PM »
Quote
Years ago a big name in collectible SAKs once told me off for "allowing" members to modify their knives.  I thought it was amusing that he thought I had that level of control over members

This is way off the subject, but I was pondering collectibility the other night.

Imagine what someone would pay for, let's say Steve McQueens Water bottle from his service in the Marines,

now imagine what someone would pay for Valentino Rossi's Camelbak bladder...

Maybe I just like Steve McQueen, but it seems to me that things are just less collectible now.

I'm not saying throw out ol Rossi's camelbak if you have one, maybe there is a collector for that sort of thing out there, especially after he dies.

As for modding SAKs - Sure, if I find President Lincolns personal one, I'll probably avoid hacking it for parts, but your average SAK, delightful as they are, is mass produced and available by the crate in any store, it has minimal if any at all artistic or historical value.

Sr. Member Posts: 313
Re: Modded or custom knife or tool- what's it worth?
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2016, 11:32:39 PM »
I think your last line says it for me, some people will quite happily spend what they think something is realistically worth, then others will pay more because it's a 'must' have item.
Global Moderator Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 9,460 SAK Surgeon
Re: Modded or custom knife or tool- what's it worth?
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2016, 11:43:21 PM »
I'll tell you where the value is based on what Ive learned over the years. 

I started off thinking it was in having x materials with y tools etc...  figure out what is popular and make those, have some ready to go... NOPE

Every time I built in advance I never moved them along.

What Ive come to understand about the customs I provide, is the value is all in the customer getting to choose exactly what they want and to get that, by talking to someone about it.  They want to talk about what they'd like to have, what can work, what materials they can pick and why.  They want to be heard and see the results in a tools built for them exactly as they asked. 

So while I work out the cost based on parts/labor the value in a custom SAK is getting exactly what you want.


PM me or email sakmodder [at] gmail . com if you are looking for custom SAK work.

Modding thread : Here
Website : WWW.SAKModder.com 
Facebook : SAKModder
Instagram : robertjlessard
Youtube : www.youtube.com/robertjlessard
Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 22,842 Wooooo!
Re: Modded or custom knife or tool- what's it worth?
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2016, 12:18:29 AM »
Ha, I'm not sure really, but I know I've paid quite a bit at this point for my modded SAKs  (TiRogueneer and MechaRogue).  However, they've been modded multiple times to get to their current (and hopefully final) forms.  I have recently modded a couple multies myself thanks to Loki-mobile's wrenches, but only for my own personal curiosity and enjoyment.  I wouldn't consider them worth a lot, other than for my own labor.  I wouldn't know what actual monetary value I'd place on that though :think:

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K-Tibbs
Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 22,842 Wooooo!
Re: Modded or custom knife or tool- what's it worth?
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2016, 12:20:49 AM »
Oh yes, Syph has likely learned a fair amount about me....and my craziness ;)

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K-Tibbs
No Life Club Posts: 3,726
Re: Modded or custom knife or tool- what's it worth?
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2016, 01:11:39 AM »
Quote
They want to talk about what they'd like to have, what can work, what materials they can pick and why.  They want to be heard and see the results in a tools built for them exactly as they asked.


I can never tell if I'm paying $4 for a coffee, or so a young lady smiles at me and asks me about my day...

but yes, a large portion of what you pay for with "custom" work, aside from the skills of the maker, is
A. It's what you want (hopefully, a lot of customers think they know what they want, but then are upset when they get it for some reason)

B. The service/personal attention/belief that you're important or interesting as a customer.

Hero Member Posts: 817
Re: Modded or custom knife or tool- what's it worth?
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2016, 01:31:57 AM »
I've quite a few modded SAK's, and am considering another. To create a couple of them, I perhaps gave up a couple "collector" models I suppose. And most my modded models are all pretty much in the same vein but with only slight differences. But they're different to me, and I enjoy them. Being pretty much a 93mm alox fan also tends to limit a person somewhat.

I figure my addiction is for my enjoyment while I'm here. If it were an extremely rare piece, or had sentimental value, I'd leave it packed away. But as it's pretty doubtful the knives I've packed away will be sold off in my lifetime, I'm better off using them now rather than saving them for my estate sale.

Unless Syph figures out how to make an alox urn for my ashes. :)

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No Life Club Posts: 3,249 It is what it isn't.
Re: Modded or custom knife or tool- what's it worth?
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2016, 02:12:54 AM »
I can see having a sak that has ONLY the tools you want or think you want or need and I wish I had one. 

I do think there is a value to that but also have to consider cost vs rewards and would not do any modding to any collectible either.  That said, I do wish I had one with the tool I want but also one that I could change the tools as my needs change.  So one that doesn't have pins but screws to take it a part and add/remove tools as my needs/wants change!
 
No Life Club Posts: 2,658
Re: Modded or custom knife or tool- what's it worth?
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2016, 08:53:55 AM »
I'll tell you where the value is based on what Ive learned over the years. 

I started off thinking it was in having x materials with y tools etc...  figure out what is popular and make those, have some ready to go... NOPE

Every time I built in advance I never moved them along.

What Ive come to understand about the customs I provide, is the value is all in the customer getting to choose exactly what they want and to get that, by talking to someone about it.  They want to talk about what they'd like to have, what can work, what materials they can pick and why.  They want to be heard and see the results in a tools built for them exactly as they asked. 

So while I work out the cost based on parts/labor the value in a custom SAK is getting exactly what you want.

Thank you for that  :salute: (we need not get into the reasons why  :D )
No Life Club Posts: 2,658
Re: Modded or custom knife or tool- what's it worth?
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2016, 08:59:01 AM »
I can think of at least 2 levels of modification, first being what is generally done to MT's here, and then what you could call pimping......at various levels.

JMO, the first kind adds value for the user/owner but detracts from resale value.  I for one would rather do my own mod if I like it rather than buying someone else's.

As far as customization/pimping is concerned I think it will always be difficult to get back in money all the time and effort you have to put in, so part of the payback is the satisfaction of making something beautiful....or just better than original.
Global Moderator Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 5,918 Ditchfinder General
Re: Modded or custom knife or tool- what's it worth?
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2016, 10:17:53 AM »
I've sold/traded half a dozen or so modded SAKs and so far I've priced them pretty much at cost.  I might make a few quid or gain a few parts here and there but I'm doing it for fun, not running a business.  I also don't feel that I could charge the same as ALM or Syph for my work as I'm not sure it's up to the same standard and I can't offer the level of customisation that they do (milled Ti scales, custom springs, engraving, etc.).

As to why I mod - mostly because I like making stuff.  Not interested in 'pimping' knives with fancy materials or filework, but I do like being able to create exactly what I want which is generally very functional.  Other than the cost of the parts, I don't think that any of the mods I carry and use have any added monetary value, but the increased function is worth it.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2016, 10:26:33 AM by hiraethus »
Thread Killer 2015 No Life Club Posts: 2,453 Ser Tool the Slinger, The Tool That Rides
Re: Modded or custom knife or tool- what's it worth?
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2016, 01:51:22 AM »
As to why I mod - mostly because I like making stuff.  Not interested in 'pimping' knives with fancy materials or filework, but I do like being able to create exactly what I want which is generally very functional.  Other than the cost of the parts, I don't think that any of the mods I carry and use have any added monetary value, but the increased function is worth it.

^This.

Couldn't think of how to say it, but you did it for me. :tu:

 

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