Puppet Budgeting 101

Puppet Budgeting


Before opening up the spreadsheet there are a few questions I want you to ask yourself:

1) How much does it cost (in materials) to build one puppet?
2) How long does it take to build a puppet
3) Do you know what your overhead is?

I hope you answered those questions and if you don’t know the answer to at least one of them, then you have some work ahead of you.

I’ve noticed over the last couple of years puppets- beautiful, gorgeous puppets- being sold for pennies online. This makes me believe that a majority of people building and selling their wares are not costing their work appropriately. Now I’m not a numbers guy; in fact I try to stay away from anything numbers/math and quite frankly, any work dealing with budgets. But money it is a part of being in business and it’s important to know how much it costs for you (the puppet builder) to pattern, buy the materials, fabricate and market your work. Every time you sell a puppet for less than it costs to build, you are hurting yourself and (I believe) cheapening the art form as a whole.

In pricing a puppet there needs to be a lot of soul searching and being honest with yourself. Asking how much one of your puppets is worth can essentially be translated to how much am I worth? But lets put all emotions aside and look at just the math- you will find that things like materials and time won’t lie to you. The cost of fabric is the cost of fabric- this spreadsheet doesn’t lie, the numbers are the numbers and the first time I filled it out I had to recheck the math…but again, the numbers don’t lie. It made me actually realise that I needed to re-look at how I charge and what I charge.

This spreadsheet is pretty basic, I try to stay away from profit margins etc.- not only for ease of use, but so that I can quickly fill in the numbers and “spit” out a cost for a client. I believe it is a good starting point. If I am missing anything, or you have any suggestions comment below. Here is also a video on how to use the spreadsheet!

Please Note: Thanks to Shawn Sorrell for providing a .ods version of the form so it works with all formats.


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