General fabrication pricing?

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Scratch
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General fabrication pricing?

Post by Scratch »

I don't know about all of you, but I use my shop for more than just flat plasma cut jobs, and I'd like to know what you guys charge for general welding and fabrication work.
Let's say someone has a big slab of thick old wood and wants to make a table from it. He needs just some basic table legs. I googled an image of what I was thinking.
t1.jpg


Obviously the pic above is adjustable and is made from different steel but this is the basic shape of the table in my example.
Let's say you use 2" square, 14 ga. HR steel tube. Let's say the table top is a little over 3x5 feet and there is a few inches of overhang all around making the table frame 3'x5' and 3' tall. The customer wants all the welds ground flat, but is looking for a somewhat industrial look and likes the look of the dark mill scale on the legs, with the silvery smoothly grounded welds showing. Then just a matte clearcoat on top.

By my quick calculation, there is around 34 feet of tubing there, I just recently bought some of this (which is why I chose 2x2 tubing for my example) so I know my cost on 34 feet of it is about 135.00 with tax and delivery.

If my math is right... I think there are 12 joints that need to be MIG welded, each joint is about 8" of welding so a total of 96" of welding the frame, and let's cap the bottom of the four legs which should be about another 32" of welding making a grand total of 128" of welding, and the same amount of grinding. A little cleanup and clearcoat and you're done.

What would you charge?

One problem I see is that if I were to make a matching table, but "end table" size and height of about 18" square, now the steel cost is only 59.00, but it has the exact about of welding and grinding.

A difference of 76.00... but should it then just be 76.00 less for the customer than the larger, more cumbersome table to build?
Do you guys figure out a price per inch for welding, and also for grinding?

Maybe a price per joint?
Maybe you figure a minute per joint, or minute per inch, then do the math.

Thoughts...?

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Re: General fabrication pricing?

Post by ROKCRLER »

Thanks for bringing this up Scratch..
Pricing is one thing that i struggle with myself.
Sometimes I feel I'm overcharging but other times I feel I'm losing money.
For fab, i generally charge by the hour with 3 different breakdowns, 1 general fab at $50/hr, 1 for bending/cutting/welding at $75/hr, and heavy welding/fab at $100/hr. I find it hard to calculate inches of weld, keep up with number of cutoff wheels, flap disks etc.. I had some customers bitch about being charged for each consumable so i added it in to the hourly rate.

I did see this video where Justin explains his process, but i find it taxing on my feeble brain so I've been sticking to the per hour rate so far.


Looking forward to others inputs as I love making money :HaHa
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Re: General fabrication pricing?

Post by adbuch »

Rokcrler wrote: Thu Feb 10, 2022 4:12 pm Thanks for bringing this up Scratch..
Pricing is one thing that i struggle with myself.
Sometimes I feel I'm overcharging but other times I feel I'm losing money.
For fab, i generally charge by the hour with 3 different breakdowns, 1 general fab at $50/hr, 1 for bending/cutting/welding at $75/hr, and heavy welding/fab at $100/hr. I find it hard to calculate inches of weld, keep up with number of cutoff wheels, flap disks etc.. I had some customers bitch about being charged for each consumable so i added it in to the hourly rate.
I did see this video where Justin explains his process, but i find it taxing on my feeble brain so I've been sticking to the per hour rate so far.
Looking forward to others inputs as I love making money :HaHa
That's a very nice looking part in the video clip! I will take a look at the video later just to see if he shows more on his process for making this.
David

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Re: General fabrication pricing?

Post by SegoMan DeSigns »

Good video on cost break down.

The video also shows how not having a press brake is costing you money. Two hits would drastically reduce cutting, clean up, alignment and welding time.

When I finish some of the electronics on my press brake build I will post up some pics in the thread we started on it.
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Re: General fabrication pricing?

Post by ROKCRLER »

How about some shop pricing help??
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Re: General fabrication pricing?

Post by adbuch »

Rokcrler wrote: Fri Feb 11, 2022 7:50 pm How about some shop pricing help??
Please elaborate. What specifically are you looking for or would you like to know?
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Re: General fabrication pricing?

Post by Scratch »

I'd love to know what you all would charge for the table frame I mentioned above?
I think I'm the oldest 10 year old boy on the forum...
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Re: General fabrication pricing?

Post by DadaShark11 »

I charge my material cost plus 45% and $85 an hour on the fab/welding here in Southside VA. Up from 40%/$75 2 years ago BTW.
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Re: General fabrication pricing?

Post by adbuch »

DadaShark11 wrote: Wed Mar 23, 2022 8:36 pm I charge my material cost plus 45% and $85 an hour on the fab/welding here in Southside VA. Up from 40%/$75 2 years ago BTW.
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Re: General fabrication pricing?

Post by Joe Jones »

The things about shop pricing is that you never know when work will come your way.

Think of yourself as a fireman, standing in a glass case mounted to the wall. One day there is a fire. They break the glass and you step out of the box to put out the fire. It took you six minutes to extinguish the flames.

You hung on that wall for OVER TWO WEEKS since the last fire. You are only paid WHEN you are extinguishing fires. You don't know how long it will be, before you are called upon to extinguish another fire. You have daily, weekly, monthly, bi-annual and annual expenses just like everyone else WHETHER OR NOT you are extinguishing fires.

So what do you charge to put out THAT FIRE?

My point is, you create a shop labor rate. Be it $100/hour, or $200/hour. You charge in time increments, such as 15 minute segments, or 30 minute segments, etc. regardless of the exact amount of time you spend on the job.

When a job comes to you, and you see that you need to make one small piece, bend it at 45 degrees and weld it to the end of a tube, you do not trouble yourself with per-inch charges and all of that. You tell the customer, "I will bill you for 1/2 hour shop time plus the shop overhead fee which all customers pay, to keep this shop equipped and open. That will be $150.00." If the customer does not want to pay your price, he can go find another fabricator.

When someone comes to YOU to do a job, it is because they either;

A - cannot do it themselves
B - DO NOT WANT to do it themselves
C - Don't know HOW to do it themselves.


Whether it took you 12 minutes to do the job, or 45 minutes to do the job, the FACT is that you are not holding down a 9-5 job that pays your bills. There is a VALUE in making yourself available at your customer's convenience. So you must not only charge for the job you DID, but for at least SOME of the time you stood around doing NOTHING, making yourself AVAILABLE for the guy to walk in and get this job done. You stood there in your glass case, making yourself available to put out the fire.

A short story:

A man has a refrigerator. It is making a terrible noise. He spends a couple of days trying to stop the noise, but only makes it worse.

He finally calls you to his home. You are a refrigerator repair man! You look over the fridge carefully, then give it a kick. The noise stops!

"There you go sir. The noise is fixed and will not return. That will be $100.00."

The customer is OUTRAGED!

"One Hundred Dollars?!? I spent DAYS trying to fix this thing! ALL YOU DID was KICK the refrigerator! i won't pay the bill! I want an ITEMIZED BILL!"

You calmly pull out your receipt book and write out an itemized bill:

"Kicking the refrigerator to permanently end the noise : $5.00

Knowing WHERE to kick the refrigerator, and HOW HARD to kick the refrigerator, and exactly WHEN to kick the refrigerator to permanently end the noise: $95.00"


Knowledge is valuable. Do not charge too little for a seemingly simple job. It may be simple to YOU, but then, the customer brought the job to YOU because he could not or would not do it himself.

You set up your shop. you have a building ... and rent? You keep the lights on. You bought the welders and the grinders and the consumables. You stocked your shop with sheet metal, and extrusion, and tubing, and nuts and bolts, and ... and ... and...You carry insurance.

Why did the customer bring the job to YOU instead of a baker, or a dog groomer, or a house painter? It is because YOU invested the time, the money and the energy into setting up your welding and fabrication shop, and you denied yourself a steady income by NOT working a 9 to 5 job, and YOU possess the knowledge and experience he lacks. You set up all of this, so that the customer can walk through the door at his convenience to get the broken thing fixed.

Determine what THAT is worth, and charge that amount. Then fix his doodad when he walks through the door.

Joe


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Re: General fabrication pricing?

Post by Jason@bc »

All good points there Joe, that's one of the hardest things for me to do,( knowing what to charge a customer for something that only took 5 - 15 minutes to fix and/or fabricate,) but like you said there is a reason he came to your shop!
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Re: General fabrication pricing?

Post by cstroke »

How much to charge???
What are you paying for?
We had a local "fabricator" in the area, old school welder. He had a 35 ton iron worker and an old portable set up. Not sure he even had a tig to do aluminum..
Minimal tools IMO.. anyhow he charged $35./ hr. and had more BS work than he could handle.
I saw some of the jobs he'd do and knew how long it must have taken him to do them because of his tooling..
I figured I could charge close to double his rate and still do it cheaper than him because of my tooling..
Tough to explain that to the old farmers in the area, so I didn't.. I would end up just quoting the price for the jobs.
On your part you have showing I just break it down for myself.
Material cost x 1.35
Cutting material 1 hr
Assembly .75 hr
Welding .75 hr
Clean up .15 hr.
at $70./ hr thats $192.5 + material..
More than likely I'd pad that a bit to $225. labor..
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Re: General fabrication pricing?

Post by Joe Jones »

Jason@bc wrote: Thu Mar 24, 2022 10:58 am All good points there Joe, that's one of the hardest things for me to do,( knowing what to charge a customer for something that only took 5 - 15 minutes to fix and/or fabricate,) but like you said there is a reason he came to your shop!

If you need a transmission rebuild, you don't take your broken transmission to a BICYCLE SHOP!

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Re: General fabrication pricing?

Post by adbuch »

cstroke wrote: Thu Mar 24, 2022 4:21 pm How much to charge???
What are you paying for?
We had a local "fabricator" in the area, old school welder. He had a 35 ton iron worker and an old portable set up. Not sure he even had a tig to do aluminum..
Minimal tools IMO.. anyhow he charged $35./ hr. and had more BS work than he could handle.
I saw some of the jobs he'd do and knew how long it must have taken him to do them because of his tooling..
I figured I could charge close to double his rate and still do it cheaper than him because of my tooling..
Tough to explain that to the old farmers in the area, so I didn't.. I would end up just quoting the price for the jobs.
On your part you have showing I just break it down for myself.
Material cost x 1.35
Cutting material 1 hr
Assembly .75 hr
Welding .75 hr
Clean up .15 hr.
at $70./ hr thats $192.5 + material..
More than likely I'd pad that a bit to $225. labor..
That sounds about right! It would be nice to be one of those guys who has a nice big trust fund so the work could all be just for the fun of it, but much like yourself I still need to earn a living. But I do agree that it is better to have too much work than not enough.
David
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Re: General fabrication pricing?

Post by Joe Jones »

adbuch wrote: Fri Mar 25, 2022 1:34 am It would be nice to be one of those guys who has a nice big trust fund so the work could all be just for the fun of it, but much like yourself I still need to earn a living.
David
Smarmy, passive-aggressive display of jealousy and envy duly noted.

If only you knew the TRUTH.

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Re: General fabrication pricing?

Post by beefy »

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Re: General fabrication pricing?

Post by adbuch »

Keith - I very much agree! Most folks (including myself) what to know the what the price will be "out the door". Including parts, labor, taxes, etc. One exception that comes to mind is "custom work" such as auto restoration where the amount of time, materials, parts, etc. my really not be known until the tradesman really gets into the job.
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Re: General fabrication pricing?

Post by Joe Jones »

beefy wrote: Fri Mar 25, 2022 4:48 pm If I was $70/hr and another was $65/hr, that one would get the work, even though I could get the job done quicker and the customer would end up paying less. I just could not get that through to most potential customers.
Quote $70.00 per hour with a CEILING of $350.00 if you KNOW the job will take five hours or less. The other guy won't do that, because he can milk the job for 10 hours at $50.00 per hour and charge $500, telling the customer how much money he "saved."

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Re: General fabrication pricing?

Post by cstroke »

I find this especially common in the industry that has more employees.
A company I used to work for I would see the times they put on the jobs.
Knowing a job should take 15 minutes laser, 15 minutes forming, 30 minutes welding and cleaning and come back with 3-4 hours on the time sheets.
Infuriating when you see this, everyone hiding time.
Also my hourly rate varies.
If I'm working for other contractors I can normally up my rate, I might give a budget number etc...
It's a balancing act if you want to make a living and do the right thing.
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