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Renting Kiln Space

By December 16, 2008

Who knew when you got a kiln that people would pop up all over who needed kiln space? At least, that's what has happened for me, and I must say, I am really enjoying the experience.

It came about this way...I told my friend, Leia the art store owner, that my kiln was in and operational. (It sounds dry, just typing it, but the actual conversation was very animated, indeed!) Her own kiln is a tiny little sweet thing...but it has been too small for some of her other customer's and friend's creations. Ergo, she put them and myself into contact with each other.

It has been working out wonderfully. I've been meeting new friends, and my new friends are thrilled to get their pots fired.

If you, too, should consider renting out kiln space, do carefully consider how much you should charge. For myself, it was pretty easy to find out my kiln's energy consumption.

  • I checked the electric meter before and after a typical firing took place. That gave me how many kilowatt hours the firing used.
  • I computed the cost per kilowatt hour, using the data on my latest electric bill.
  • I then added in my other overhead costs such as kiln furniture wear, kiln wash used in the firing, and my time to help stack and monitor the kiln.
In doing it this way, I have ensured that each party is getting a fair deal. I know what I need to charge to cover costs, and they get a rate that they know isn't out of proportion to the value of the service.


December 18, 2008 at 6:35 pm
(1) Sherryl says:

I also have a kiln and live in a very rural area. I’ve wondered what to charge if others need kiln space. Once you figured out your costs, did you then charge by the piece, or by the size, and what about those who need high fire (pottery glaze) or low fire (ceramic glaze)…there’s a difference in the firing time.
One local person told me that she had paid a potter $1 per piece, which I thought was pretty cheap, unless one person had a number of pieces to fire at one time. Sure would appreciate it if you could share a little more on this subject with me. Thanks!

December 19, 2008 at 2:06 pm
(2) pottery says:

Hi Sherryl!

Great questions, Thank you! The folks who have come to me have needed my entire kiln, so I haven’t had to calculate cost per cubic inch or foot, yet. Basically, take your cost for the firing and divide by the interior space of your kiln. For example, mine is easy. My kiln has 10 cubic feet of room, so I simply divide by ten to get cost per foot. Divide that by twelve to get cost per inch.

Yes, different firings do cost differently. My slow bisque firings run 20 hours with the preheat, although the temp is relatively low. A fast glaze firing to ^5 takes about 10 hours. Shorter time, but higher temperature. I’d suggest doing the cost per firing calculations for each type and temperature of firing you’re offering to people.

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