Tying for pay, not just for speed...
The threads on this have been interesting lately.
I was intrigued by the concentration on 'tying speed' or the combination of 'prep time' and tying speed.
One thing missed, and I think it's important, in the question of how long one can, or will, tie, regardless of how fast.
It's not just about speed. Almost all who begin tying flies they intend to sell will become relatively fast per fly through practice. This is given that they keep at it a while and are consistent in their habits.
But what really matters is output. It's not flies per hour, that's way too tight a time window to base any practical decisions on. To run a business like this, you have so many other things to do that all play a part. Dealing with customers, either by phone, mail, or internet. Dealing with suppliers the same way. Packaging and shipping/delivering what you've sold. The odious but required government forms and such to be dealt with. Organizining and operating yopur 'shop' requires time. New inventory of materials must be sorted and put away, tools cared for, occasionally replaced or repaired, fixtures maintained. simple things like making sure you have spare light bulbs to fixing a broken wheel on a chair all take time.
Flies per week, or better still, flies per month, is a more accurate measure. And it's hard to just say 'flies per whatever time period' as well. Since you're contemplating doing this for pay, perhaps dollars worth of flies per hour/week/month is a better measure. You can't tie just one fly all the time. Some take longer than others. An Adams or soft hackle is pretty quick. Spun deer hair bass bugs take longer, but are worth more...
The real key to any successful small business is how much you can put in your pocket. If two tyers each make $1,000.00 per week, and are happy with that, then how long they spend 'at the vise' really doesn't matter. When you run a small business, you don't get paid by the hour. One guy may enjoy a slower tying speed, but will happily spend ten or twelve hours in his shop each day to get to his weekly output goal. Another may be faster, but have other things he'd rather do after he's tied for eight hours or so. We are all different. A really fast tyer who otherwise is pretty unorganized will have a lower production rate overall than a slower guy who is very organized and/or likes to work longer.
AND, all this assumes that each tyer has enough business to keep them busy for the time period involved. If you can tie twenty flies an hour, but have no orders for them, it doesn't matter how fast you are. This brings into play marketing, advertising, and customer relations.
And we can't forget a lot of important things like profit margins, sourcing, and pricing structures. If Tyer one gets his materials for less than Tyer two, or charges more per fly, or both, Tyer one can make more money from less flies. If Tyer one has lower facilities overhead (rent/utilities/etc.) he can show a greater amount of profit over time than Tyer two. ALL of this is important.
I know there's lots of stuff I've left out or forgotten, but there is still loads to think about before venturing into the world of commercial tying.
It Just Doesn't Matter....