I had a fellow who saw a notebook page sized vintage brass plaque on Ebay that had sold for about $400 and contacted me about it, at first it wasn't clear if he thought i had one or was making casts from it or what, after several exchanges I finally figure out he was asking about having one like it custom modeled.
So I told him what was involved, and that models usually take 20-30 hours to complete, and that I would probably want to make about twice that size. I told him I would make the model based on the photos, and provide two casts in interior cast-stone for $850 which is about half what I normally charge for this type of work.
He wrote back:
Quite honestly, that is a little too steep for me. I did not expect for it to be this high. With all do respect, for that price I can purchase a giant original deco sculpture, or even do a custom job for a giant bronze.
Oh boy! as soon as he used the words "giant" I knew he had been looking at that "bigbronze" site that imports cheap Chinese made monumental sized "bronzes" such as lifesized rearing equestrian pieces for prices like $1500 and the like.
So I wrote back describing all the processes and materials/time 20-30 hours involved to make a custom clay model from photos, the mold and time - a full day, and cost, and the casting and cost. I also said that a $1500 "bronze" lifesized rearing horse costs more than that for the metal alone, that it's actually scrap brass and old plumbing probably and certainly not true bronze.
Also, being made in China and the like, I told him that maybe the workers there don't mind working for $1.36 an hour, but I don't work that cheap.
I don't know what kind of "giant, original" art Deco sculpture he can get for $850, or what kind of "custom bronze" he can get for $850 either, but if he can get either one that cheap then have at it with my blessings!
I had another guy ask about 3 panels, they weigh about 45# each and ship in wood crates for a total of $49, asking if I can "combine" shipping on them LOL
tell me how one "combines" something like that!