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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Avondale, AZ
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    104

    Default Labor Pricing HELP

    OK fellas I need some input from you guys. From time to time I do fabrication work for my company, usually consisting of steel counter supports, legs, and sub frames for granite, with the occasional architectural piece here and there. So up until now I have been doin the hit or miss style of estimation for pricing material + mark-up + what ever seems right.

    Is there a going rate for labor, I'm sure it varies depending on the application but I have a good size project that I need to bid and am not sure where I need to be. The project is some free standing architectural canopies for a penthouse. They will be holding shades and they will be powder coated by others so everything needs to be finished quality.

    Thanks for the input ahead of time guys
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Anchorage AK
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    344

    Default

    Are you licensed bonded and insured?

    Are you paying all the fees that your competitor is required to pay?

    Until I know this, I can't help, and I think all the other small business owners should answer the same. Sure as poo he lives near one of us and will be undercutting you by not playing on the same field but reaping the benefits + not paying the associated costs of business ownership.

    TJ

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Saskatoon, Sask, Canada
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    94

    Default

    SinGear I don't care if your have your own big business and are licensed bonded and insured or if you are some guy who does the odd side job once in a while for some spare cash. Its none of my business.

    I've been working hard at starting my own business and have had the same question. This is what I do and in no way am I saying that this is the right way but I have had to figure it out on my own so I am open to better ways if someones got some

    I look at the whole job and break t down bit by bit.Ffigure out how much steel is needed for the job. then figure out how much steel you actualy have to buy i.e. if you need a total of 28' of square tubing but it comes in 20' lengths then you may have to buy 40'.

    Then I look at how much prep work there is like cutting and drilling and try to figure out how long a cut will take me to set up and cut then multiply that by how many cuts I need to do or holes or whatever. you get the idea.

    Then the same for fitting and then the same for welding and so on until every little detail is acounted for then add it all together for a total multiply buy your hourly rate add in a percentage for supplies (gass, rods, etc) and there you go.

    That works for me and if anyone knows a better way then let me know like I said I am new at the hole price quote thing.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    889

    Default

    If you were hoping I'd say "charge X dollars for this or that,"
    you're in for a disappointment.

    Preparing a good bid is a science and an art. And it will make or break you.

    The simple part is knowing that you should tally all costs associated with doing the job including the value of your time. Then include a healthy profit and an allowance for the unforseen.

    Major pitfalls:

    Not planning enough-The more time you spend thinking about how you are going to execute a job and planning every detail, the less unforseen things there could possibly be. But you can never eliminate the unforseen. Murphy is out there.

    Failing to include all costs associated with the job-Do you own a garage? How long will it be until the next job comes? 2 weeks? Are you including 2 weeks of your property taxes in the cost of the job? How many miles will you put on the truck going back and for to the job and to the supply store? If you get 100 jobs out of your welder, are you including 1% of the replacement cost of the welder?

    Failing get accurate costs for things you know you are going to need-Did you know there was a 10% surcharge added at the steel dealer last week? Did you know that it really costs around $1 per mile to operate a pickup truck?

    Failing to realize the time value of money-BIGGIE-Especially now in this time of high inflation and sliding value of the dollar, if you have to tie up a large amount of money in materials for say, 2 months, are you including interest on the money you will have tied up?

    Failing to plan for the expected-Expect to eat a job here or there for whatever reason... customer went bankrupt, you got shut down and couldn't finish, owner tries to redesign your job in progress, you got sick. Whatever the reason, we all know these things happen. If you are out there working, you may eat one job in 20 just 'cause you have to. Add 5% to total job to cover these situations. You can make a profit on 19 jobs and the one that went to heck can erase that right away.

    Lowballing-Don't try to compete with jacklegs by cutting your price. What are you going to cut out of your price? You costs should include everything that costs or is likely to cost you, and nothing else. If you lower it, you'll have to gamble that bad things never happen to you. Besides, they'll call you back to fix the jackleg's work when it becomes clear that he was using the customer as a welding school.

    Failing to figure the price of NOT getting the job!-Don't be cocky and highball just because you think you can milk it. You won't get it and you'll have to pay your bills without work.

    That said, only you can figure your price. Someone else's price is exactly that... someone elses price. Oh, and if you run around without being legit, it will catch up with you. Nothing in business is quite as embarassing as getting shut down by the building inspector because you thought you'd save a few bucks on this short job by not getting the permit. How do I know?

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    2,875

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FATFAB View Post
    Are you licensed bonded and insured?

    Are you paying all the fees that your competitor is required to pay?

    Until I know this, I can't help, and I think all the other small business owners should answer the same. Sure as poo he lives near one of us and will be undercutting you by not playing on the same field but reaping the benefits + not paying the associated costs of business ownership.

    TJ
    Do you need to be bonded and insured by law?
    Last edited by Broccoli1; 09-21-2008 at 02:40 PM.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Eugene, Oregon
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    Default

    I thought we had already come to the conclusion that the best way to go about this was to have other shops bid it and then just use their numbers.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Avondale, AZ
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Broccoli1 View Post
    Do you need to be bonded and insured by law?
    Nope, not here anyway can't really speak for other parts of the country though
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Omaha, NE
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    Default

    New guy here but i thought i would jump in on this since it was something i had trouble with as well. I basically took a guess on my pricing and it ended up meeting right with some thing i got right from a book (after converting inches to hours) with some slight changes. The book is "The welders Handbook" By Richard Finch. He recomaneds a dollar an inch + 1 dollar a tack weld and say that it still seems to low.


    After doing some SS 6'' pipe and some large commercial handrails i found his numbers to be right within what i charge, so i have adopted it to give 2 pricing modes to people depending on if i'm doing all the fab & welding or if i'm just welding

    I run a "mobile welding" truck around as well and my pricing is as follows.

    MInimum of 25 dollars wether it's just something small you briong to me or for me to drive to your location and just look at the job. Then if time goes into an hour the first 25 applies to the hourly rate of 40 dollars per hour. On a strictly welding job where all parts are trimmed and fitted i do the 1 dollar a tack and 1 dollar an inch of weld. Then if it's SS or AL i go 1.25 per inch, and then add another .25 cents if the SS requires back gassing.

    I know this thread is rather old, and i didn't read all replies, but just thought i would put this out there for the OP and for anyone searching just to see what things are going at in my area. MOst other shops charge between 40 and 60 an hour respectively, but since i have no shop overhead because i'm based from a place that i already work and have a decent metal shop at home i try and stay on the lower end of the scale to hopefully gain customers and revenue. I've owned a painting business for over 5 years and just this past year took welding to the "retail/commercial" level and so far things are good, business is picking up fast and i haven't been dissapointed with the money i've made on any project so far. Save for one recent job where i wasn't told of a 4 day deadline on 115ft of mild steel handrail set in concrete. When i wrote the bid they acted like i had all the time in the world, so i gave them a good price to get my foot in the door. But, i still came out at 30 bucks an hour afer all was said and done.

    Sberry has a good point, I specialize in automotive/motorcycle fab & repair work and keep my rigs out at the track every weekend, I probably don't make as much as some one welding pipe for a living or just having "the weld shop" on the corner that does "whatever" and that's made the jobs that i do get very pleasing to work on and keeps the pay scale good. There's a lot of mobile welding shops in town (3 others) but by going to the track and talking with the other racers and showing them my work i broke into orking on a ton of drag bikes locally, everything from starter carts to wheely bars and Frames. I also specialize in CRMO4130 and ALuminum work because i like them so much more than all other metals and I practice every joint & weld position and burn through every bit of filler rod i can on these metals when i'm not working on a customer project so that i will have experience in every situation posible when it comes to these metals and so far it's all paying off very well.
    Last edited by turboglenn; 09-24-2008 at 09:36 AM.
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Avondale, AZ
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by turboglenn View Post
    New guy here but i thought i would jump in on this since it was something i had trouble with as well. I basically took a guess on my pricing and it ended up meeting right with some thing i got right from a book (after converting inches to hours) with some slight changes. The book is "The welders Handbook" By Richard Finch. He recomaneds a dollar an inch + 1 dollar a tack weld and say that it still seems to low.
    Hmm very interesting, and deffinately worth a look I'll compare it up to the last couple jobs I've done and see how it works out for me. Regardless thank you for the input I appreciate it.
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    Makita Angle Grinders
    Arsenal of handtools
    Evolution Raptor dry saw
    Single Stage 60 Gallon Compressor
    Delta Drill Press

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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Florence,MT
    Posts
    7

    Default bid

    price materials, estimate time then multiply by 2. never fails.

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