Whether it is a quick item, a big project, a repair, or completing an unfinished item for someone who has asked for your help …
Generally, you want to be paid what you believe you are worth and you charge ‘whatever the market will bear’; that is, whatever the person asking for your services is willing to pay based on what you think your time is worth …
Make this decision: do you just want to do it because you want to do it … do you want to do it because you only want to help the person who is asking for your help … or do you ‘need’ the money?
If you do not need the money and just wish to help and not charge a fee, sometimes you may have to face the fact that either you bit off more than you could chew, or you did not estimate how much time it would take you for this ‘volunteer’ work for which you have committed yourself and it may go downhill from there if you find for one reason or the other than you do not have the time to devote to the project. So, be careful in making the decision to volunteer from the goodness of your heart.
If you are interested in payment for your work, consider: Only YOU can decide just how valuable your time is. Will it be taking you away from something else you are working on or other project scheduling priorities?
It would not be good to charge less than you ‘really’ wanted, strike the deal, and then feel ‘used/abused’ for doing it so “cheap”, then resent that you ever obligated yourself to it. It would not be good to end up being resentful. Research other needle workers who do this kind of work and find out what and how they charge and you may decide to follow suit.
It often helps to explain to the person some aspects of the work and time involved to complete the project.
Importantly, be sure to make a fair estimate to yourself in determining how long it will take you to do the project (be sure not to underestimate and then, to repeat – have regrets).
Sometimes people are not willing to pay a fair price to the needle worker and want ‘something for nothing’ (I have seen this a lot).
Then on the other hand there are those who “don’t care what it costs” because it is so important to them (e.g. an heirloom unfinished by a loved one who has passed on …)
You must say and do what makes you comfortable. There really is no ‘right’ answer. You must do what you feel is right and fair.