Improve the way you collect kiln firing fees with Kiln Fire

Kiln Fire is a new solution that helps improve the way managers and kiln owners collect firing fees (among many other cool features). This clever pottery studio management tool aims to streamline your studio operations and efficiently manage your members so you can boost your productivity and profit.

Created by Jesse Sutherland, the app was launched after talking with a startup pottery studio that was looking to make the firing fee collection process easier. They explained that studio managers often spend too much time managing and collecting payments for their kiln firings. They often manage this with clipboards, little slips of paper, spreadsheets and manual invoices. It sounded like it could be a real pain to manage and keep going so Kiln Fire was born!

What is

Kiln Fire steps in to streamline collecting firing fees. It’s a web app where your customers can log in on their mobile phone to add in each piece that they need fired.

For each piece they fill out a quick form, asking for a short description of the piece, a snapshot with their phone’s camera, and some basic dimensions (or weight). They can add multiple quantities right there if they are making sets of items. And they can choose to write some quick glaze notes in there if that is helpful to them.

This process just takes a few seconds for each piece and saves them from having to enter their payment details every time they need a piece fired.

Kiln Fire also offers studio owners the ability to sell open studio memberships, create customisable member agreements and sell pottery supplies. Get 10% OFF your billing plan when you tell Jesse about this post!

How do I control my firing fees?

As you set up the Kiln Fire app, you set the pricing as a multiplier of the volume or weight of the piece.

You can even have multiple different firing fee’s for bisque firing, glaze firing, or different prices for different groups of people. It has the flexibility to ensure everyone is rounding their measurements the same way and includes minimum settings so no firing can cost less than a certain amount. It gives you a lot of flexibility in how you want to structure your pricing.

While this process can happen from anywhere on a phone, many studios like to set up a firing fee box, as written about in this ceramics monthly article. This box has a grid of measurements on all sides, allowing artists to place their piece in the center, quickly snap a photo and see the measurements visually without having to spend too long with a ruler.

How does billing work?

As a studio manager or kiln owner you can choose whether to run billing manually, weekly, or monthly. This lets pieces build up so that you aren’t making bunches of tiny payment card charges for each and every piece.

This saves you money since payment card fees often include a set fee alongside the standard percentage-based fee. It also saves you from getting rejected payments since credit/debit card companies don’t tend to allow too many small charges in a row, and it also just means fewer receipts and less overall communication to deal with.

Overcome firing issues with ease

The app also deals with firing issues, we all know that sometimes things can get broken or have issues in the kiln for a variety of reasons. The app allows you to mark a piece with a firing issue and optionally add a comment about it.

We know that firing issues often happen because of something about the way the piece was created (such as glaze issues or bubbles in the clay), and many studios don’t offer refunds in those cases. But every once in awhile you may drop a piece or make a mistake that you feel is your fault, and in that case you can choose to not charge for the piece (or give them a credit back on their account if the piece has already been charged). This process sends an email to the owner of the piece, letting them know that something happened.

Get started with Kiln Fire

So, if you’re looking to stop the clipboard and spreadsheet madness and give your kiln firing payment process a makeover that would make even the most organized studio potter envious, you should consider Kiln Fire. It user-friendly, efficient, and lets you keep your mind where it matters most—on your art and on your studio business.

Get 10% OFF your billing plan when you sign up to Kiln Fire. Just make sure you tell Jesse about reading this blog post on Kiln Share!

Written by Jesse Sutherland

I started Kiln Fire after chatting with some pottery studio owners about some of their frustrations of running their businesses. Billing took a lot of time and involved a number of different apps to string it all together.

Creating technology to track and bill firing fees, memberships and more was an intriguing idea for an underserved niche. I am working together with studio owners to create the software that solves their problems!