Billing is tough. I have spent as much time trying to figure out what to charge as I have figuring out how to do the job. I have decided to stick to a set of guidelines and I don't deviate. I charge $75 an hour for my time spent actually welding, grinding installing, etc,,. If I have to make a run for materials I charge $40 flat. If I bid a job I put enough cushion in it to take care of the unknowns. My invoices have sections for materials, labor with a rate, an area that list other expenses such as picking up materials, and it all gets totaled up. I look at it this way, How many people on here have paid $300 to have their septic tank pumped out and it take 40 minutes. What about the A/C repair guy that charged you $350 to replace a $20 part on a Saturday? It's no different. If people could do it themselves they would. Maybe one day UNICEF will get into the welding business but for now we're the guys to see. Adam
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Thread: Lotta time, little $$
02-22-2008, 09:54 PM #11Senior Member
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02-22-2008, 10:47 PM #12
I had all the material except for the 4' of rectangle tube which he brought over
thats a statement that gets a lot of people in the red wondering how they got there. you had it on hand , but it didn't grow in the back yard. at some point you shelled out $100 or maybe more depending on what all you used.before you know it you start adding up your steel bills wondering why you spend $20,000 last year on steel and only billed out $10,000.
thats the first thing we think when its a friend, oh i got the steel,i got the wire, no biggie i broke a lath chuck or cutter. you still payed for the steel, payed to go get it (at $3+ a gal ) and bought the bit for the lath, still have to buy wire, still have to pay the electric bill. it all adds up and ya have to bill for it. if ya keep over looking the little stuff it will grow up and bi-ch slap ya. just ask your accountant.
back when i was making covers and selling them on e-bay i hated to pass on the extra expense as the fee's went up and mailing went up. but by the time i payed for the fabric, then the extra $ for getting it shipped to me, then the higher fee's then higher mailing out $ i could give mine and the wife's time away for free or charge more. like it or not ya have to pay for stuff to do the job, even if its already on the shelf.
if he is a real friend he will help you get the word out and get business regardless. if he is not, he doesn't deserve the discount.but don't pay him to do the job.thanks for the help
hope i helped
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02-22-2008, 11:29 PM #13Senior Member
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Some folks don't understand the time involved in one off work. A trailer was made on an assembly line the work you did required fit up and thinking. The time spent welding was likely a small %.
Nothing gets work in the door like good work going out.
Last edited by Vicegrip; 02-22-2008 at 11:38 PM.Weekend wannab racer with some welders.
02-23-2008, 12:08 AM #14Dynasty 200DX, first generationMakita 5" grinder
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02-23-2008, 04:41 AM #15
02-23-2008, 06:21 AM #16Member
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You guys are right, I had about 2 hours plasma work, 2 hours on lathe/mill, 3hours on the drill (because I miss calculated and had a clearance problem) 3 hours on a screw up trying to use in-stock pipe for main support but it had a welded seam on the inside but put it on bottom thinking it would still work alright....not. Went and bought the right stuff and walah!!! Before the customer left for Florida we went over many different ways of doing the ramp supports that would work the best and as much as I tried to stick to that plan, it seemed to me that I would not support well enough while going down the road. It consisted of the rectangular tube going vertical about 2' in front of the ramp sticking up 2' and then another horizontal connecting the 2. I felt this set up would not support the ramps very well, they would be to wobbly. It was a good design in that the vert tube would drop down to support the trailer as an out rigger while loading. I finally came up with the simpler design and my supprt tube also pins in the front location and the leg will hang vertical for support on the trailer while loading. I just had a lot of time "thinking" this up. Probably had 4 hours welding after the earlier screw ups. That gets me to 14 hours which before starting the project I estimated 10 hours (not to the cutomer) so I was off a bit cause of the problems. Lots of time thinking (although not all in one sitting) I'm sure some of you guys know what I mean!Modern Metalworking L.L.C
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02-23-2008, 08:52 AM #17Senior Member
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time and money
Around here TEXAS
I do this and it usually comes out right 2 times material price + 30% plus= time spent + material
I ve been doing this for about 25 yrs and when I charge just by looking at the job it comes out about the same I have under bid once but it was a Get In the Door step .It should of taken you about 10 12 hours to do that u may need more practice on prototypes .
02-23-2008, 09:40 AM #18Senior Member
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- Mar 2007
I love threads like this. Very useful to know what everyone thinks about pricing.
I guess in this situation I would charge full price for materials, and full price for time, minus my own mistakes and 'trial and error' time. Sometimes you have to charge for the latter, but we have to be realistic: It's a set of ramps, they've been successfully made for a long time now. Can't really charge for product development/engineering in this case, IMO.
A guy might have $1000 in materials, time and effort in a set of ramps legitimately, but you can't charge that to someone if you expect to stay in business.
I like the comment about how much the second set would cost...I would charge a price that was fair to me and the customer for what I'd make another set for.
02-23-2008, 11:57 AM #19Senior Member
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- National City CA
The only time you don't charge full price for engineering something is when you know for a fact you will have more identical work in the near future.
Machine shops charge rates as follows:
Man & Machine hour:
So you could line item everything.
That's what I would do.
Oh and BTW shop rate out here are $65 on the very low end to $100 per hour regardless of the type of labor involved
Unless he's a very good friend that will repay you some how, Charge him
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02-23-2008, 07:08 PM #20
Lots of good answers here. All valid. I like Fat Fabs but as was pointed out you did spend way to much time on this. The second time rule would be your saving grace. He's in florida and doesn't know how you spent time reworking and thinking.
I get in these deals from time to time because I PUSH myself into them. I want to find new horizons frequently. That is what I love about my job. I've been a factory worker more than once and even went back to two different ones in the last 2 years just to revisit slave labor!
Even if you only charged $500 could you have made that this week at your old job?
I have a friend I just did a bunch of weekend work for on his GTO and I still charged him enuff that he will only use me when he's serious if you know what I mean.
As far as it being "worth it" goes...Those mods on a $5000 trailer is worth it.
If it was a $1400 trailer then you might have a valid point. I see a bunch of people get in business and have too much feelings of guilt for charging enuff. I WAS that way too. My Dad and I had HUGE fights about how I thought he was just plain greedy. Sheesh was I ever an IDIOT!!! You cannot afford to be cheaper than your competition if your work is comparable man!!! I have learned that men love to brag about how much money they spent on something if it is the best...otherwise Cadillac and Lincoln would have gone out of business. I am known as the highest guy in my area and I get my brain picked a bunch but I have outlasted all the old fly-by-nights and a bunch of the good ones But when the work is done they brag that I did it.
So my advise would be charge him what it's really worth...he'll never know what you went thru ( and don't tell him) and you are now smarter...they don't teach that crap in any school.
If you do those things and learn from it you will become a fine business man as well as a skilled craftsman. Good luck friend.
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