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Mach Discussion => General Mach Discussion => Topic started by: Overloaded on September 03, 2008, 08:48:32 AM

Title: "Generally" Speaking, Quoting CNC work.
Post by: Overloaded on September 03, 2008, 08:48:32 AM
"Push" has sort of come to "shove" and I am looking for some sort of calculator or basic guidelines for estimating CNC work. I only have 2 employees...Mach and Mach. ;)
For instance, there is one piece I make in a manual BP that takes 3 hours. I ran the file through Mach3 (simulated) and it takes about 20 min.
That's  9:1   Would I typically charge the same $ per part as manual ? Or try to find out what the "Other guys" are charging ?
I guess I could ask the customer but that seems a bit sneaky. :-\
Title: Re: "Generally" Speaking, Quoting CNC work.
Post by: ger21 on September 03, 2008, 08:57:36 AM
imo, it doesn't matter what the "other guys" charge. You need to charge what you need to make. Whatever it takes to pay your overhead, and make the profit you want to make.
Title: Re: "Generally" Speaking, Quoting CNC work.
Post by: bowber on September 03, 2008, 10:40:52 AM
As has been said charge what you need to charge to make a living.
But don't undersell yourself, it's easier to come down slightly in price than having to hike it up.
I presume from what you've said your already established so you'll already have a good idea of what you need to make, I'd be tempted to keep the price similar though as you've invested in the equipment and time learning how to use it.
I'm self employed as well in sign making (CNC is a hobby as I used to be an engineer) and I hate that how much should I charge question, I work it out and then start to convince myself it's too much and before I know it I'm wishing I hadn't got the job because it's not paying enough :)
The only paying job I've done on my CNC was some small parts for a friend and I just said pay me what it's worth to you, for once I was pleasantly surprised.

Title: Re: "Generally" Speaking, Quoting CNC work.
Post by: Overloaded on September 03, 2008, 11:16:00 AM
Thanks for the input Guys.
I've allways undercut myself in the past on the manual work. Made out OK, but should have charged much more. One customer in particular will tell me if I'm WAY off...and I usually am.
If I can make a part manually for $200.....It seems almost sinfull to CNC 9 of the same part in the same time frame for $1800. But then again...the customer doesn't care how they are made. He just wants good parts on time.
At that rate, Mach and Mach can easily carry the overhead.
One small (undercharged) job has already paid for my first Mach conversion.
Thanks again,
Title: Re: "Generally" Speaking, Quoting CNC work.
Post by: edvaness on September 03, 2008, 01:37:09 PM

Sure, you can make the part in 20 min, but, figure your programing time, fixtures, and tooling, and the part quanity.
Usually you need a cad dwg, with all the dim, which you'll probably have to furnish, just to write the program.
One piece can be expensive, but quanity is where the moneys made. If I get a small quanity job, I tell the customer
I have to charge a setup fee. If it's a worthwhile quanity, I'll forget the setup fee. Quanity is the name of the game for profits.
A $10.00 part could cost a $100.00 or more to make 1 part. If your not going to make anything, it don't pay to do it. Remember,
Nice guys finish last.  I hate myself, when I lose money on a job. Some customers will complain no matter how cheap you make it for.
 just my 2 cents.

Title: Re: "Generally" Speaking, Quoting CNC work.
Post by: Chaoticone on September 03, 2008, 02:10:54 PM
If your not going to make anything, it don't pay to do it.

Yup, if your customers want you to loose money so they can make more, tell them you can go fishing for free and that is where you'll be next time they need something if you charge to suit them.

Title: Re: "Generally" Speaking, Quoting CNC work.
Post by: docltf on September 03, 2008, 03:52:57 PM

when running a one man shop you might consider the WIFE FORMULA. say you charge 100 for a finished part. take 50 and give it to the wife.will the 50 that is left protect you and the shop.
keep that thought in the back of you mind when you price a know what you think is a fair price for your services and materials,then add somthing for the wife.

P.S. don't forget the girlfriend.

Title: Re: "Generally" Speaking, Quoting CNC work.
Post by: edvaness on September 03, 2008, 05:02:27 PM
WIFE?   ;D

ONE bunch of bananas is pretty cheap.   :D

Title: Re: "Generally" Speaking, Quoting CNC work.
Post by: Overloaded on September 03, 2008, 05:05:23 PM
WOW....Good points,
I hadn't thought about the preliminaries prior to actual machining....thanks Ed.
Brett...I used to LOVE to fish.....I'll be sure to leave my cell at home.
I like your formula Bill. A couple of jobs that I really didn't want came to me for an estimate. I figured 50%  over what I would normally charge, then doubled it. Had to do them anyway. The Wife made out good on that one.
Just have to see how it goes.
Thanks ALL !
Title: Re: "Generally" Speaking, Quoting CNC work.
Post by: Sam on September 03, 2008, 05:53:21 PM
Ed has allot of good input in my opinion. Sounds like he's "been there, done that". I think everybody sells themselves short at first, because allot of cost are just out of sight, out of mind, until they bite ya. Part of the learning process I guess.
If I can make a part manually for $200.....It seems almost sinfull to CNC 9 of the same part in the same time frame for $1800
Ouch!!! To me, that's the totally wrong mindset to be in. That's the whole purpose of even having a CNC. Make more parts in less time=more money in my pocket=more toys....better living... the list goes on. But hey, if it really does make ya feel that bad, you can always keep doing them manually.  ;D The CNC and your continued dedication to learn how to use it efficiently is for YOUR gain, not the customers. Make all the money you can when you have the opportunity. Sometimes the opportunity wont be there.  I'm not trying to advise that you overcharge by any means. Just keep in mind it took allot to get where you are now, and when the rewards start to come your way, don't pass it on to somebody else. Just my $.02
Title: Re: "Generally" Speaking, Quoting CNC work.
Post by: edvaness on September 03, 2008, 06:32:39 PM
   Another thing, When all your friends find out you have a cnc, you're going to hear this.
  "Hey Buddy, can you make this part for me?"  They seem to think you just show the machine a picture
 and it spits out the part. ( example)  Ed, can you make me a belt buckle with the marine insignia. Answer. Sure, but it'll
cost ya 500 bucks for programming and setup, and another 500 for machining. How many do you want?
Got the picture?
   Yes, I've been there and done that. It's not profitable doing things for friends.
Don't forget fixtures. need a fixture for a special job. Custumer eats the cost. The fixtures worth nothing to you without the job.

Title: Re: "Generally" Speaking, Quoting CNC work.
Post by: RICH on September 03, 2008, 07:45:12 PM
Like others say, if your in buisness, you got to make money. The more the better. Time is money.
Go to the a doctor, he looks in your ear, one charge, touches your tummy, another charge, and then informs you your a new patient and there is another paper charge. Ask the oil repair man to come out, $60 an hour from wherever he is to your house & $120 an hour while he's there. Dentist fills one cavity , charge, looks at your gums, charge, evaluates your smile, charge. Good grief don't ask a professional for an opinion, charge.........Not one them feels guilty! Get the picture. Undertaker once told me that "money has no concience". Went to spelling teacher, charge. Got a haircut, ugly girl and crappy hair cut leaving hair long around ear so i come back in 3 weeks $30 ( 20 minutes worth of work )!

Now as a hobbiest I do stuff for nothing, lets see, I made two custom sets of mirrors for bikers, it took 22 hours for the first set and 12 for the second= 34 hours total time. But I got my whole house carpeted for wholesale price on the carpet and free installation plus two bathroom floors tiled for free. The second guy saved me $2000 on my house air conditioning system which I put in. The custom door knobs done for someone else got got the house air conditioning charged. So barttering can pay off, sometimes. But it doesn't get the kids teeth done or feed the little eye's of the hungry!

If your not CNC'd today I don't think your even on the playing field. The smartest thing you can do is find those that you can trust and talk. More importantly......LISTEN.......when they start talking.

Title: Re: "Generally" Speaking, Quoting CNC work.
Post by: Overloaded on September 03, 2008, 09:05:07 PM
I started with Mach and CNC as a hobby and just to see if I could do a machine and teach myself (with this forum of course) how to run it. Sure was/is an amazing journey. Well, I guess I've come to the conclusion that I just might know enough about it to actually do something useful with it.
Thanks to you all.
All ears,
Title: Re: "Generally" Speaking, Quoting CNC work.
Post by: jimpinder on September 04, 2008, 04:08:26 AM
I'm in the same boat as Overloaded. I had a lathe/milling machine and converted it to CNC  as part of my retirement hobby - making miniature railway equipment. I could do with a lathe that I could program to do the reptetive cutting (leaving me free to do something else) and attend to it only for the final acurate cuts. As it is, with Mach, I got both, any problems are with the lathe, not Mach.

The building and development of the CNC lathe has been a pleasure and quite absorbing, and in the scheme of things, not too expensive. I am prepared to "write off" the cost of it (and the time) as an education to me.

We now come to "making it pay". It depends on what your aspirations are. I would love to buy some of the CAD CAM programs everybody keeps talking about, and electronics being another of my hobbies, I would love a circuit board cutiing program - but - BLESS ME - people want money for them. Some has to pay.

If you are turning to the workshop for someone else, then you must charge by the hour for the time you put in for them and I am comfortable with £20 per hour - this is below the going rate in UK for someones time - but I am happy with it. Providing you are satisfied that you have worked efficiently (although not everybody bothers about that) then this provides a base for charging. Yes - don't forget programing time - my father-in-law could not understand why I had to spend a couple of hours in my office, prior to turning on the lathe, because in his day they reached for the hand saw and got on with it.

On top of that, you must ask for some costs for wear and tear - depreciation in business terms - because your machine will need replacement at some time - and repairing before that (I've already blown one set of drivers). Generally in business this is costed at 20% of the value of assetts (per annum) for tax purposes - so how much do you want to charge your customers for this - it should be something - say a weeks depreciation? because if you're are having to work, it has spolied the week. :D

On top of that there is improvement - there is always someway to improve what you are doing - better program, (not Mach), better anything - a bit difficult to quantify unless you have something in mind ( or a contigency fund).

And last, but by no means least - add 50% for being able to do it. You taught yourself, you built the machine, and the customer would not have come if he could have done it himself. A panel beater who makes my railway bodies (and charges well for them) suddenly said, one day, "Jim, you've got a CNC lathe, haven't you" - Ah, I thought ,pay back time.

At the end of the day - he can only say No - you haven't lost anything, and you can justify what you are asking (to yourself, if nobody else).

Above all - Be Happy With It   ;D ;D :'(

Title: Re: "Generally" Speaking, Quoting CNC work.
Post by: josh on September 12, 2008, 03:04:00 PM
I have to say this has been a good topic
I must say once you have reached a certain level of knowledge how do you know its time to go work for yourself.
and also I say to myself if my boss made it (without the internet and many sites like this when you ask for help people are always helping with thing you dont even know how to do) I would think its alot easier to work for yourself  than it was before.
I have a question how do you guys see the machining and fabrication indrusty going is there still hope for a joung guy like me to go out there and start a shop.
Title: Re: "Generally" Speaking, Quoting CNC work.
Post by: Overloaded on September 12, 2008, 04:03:44 PM
It doesn't necessarily depend on the resources that you have, your competition has the same. That levels the playing field there. It's also highly dependent on what you have inside. Intestinal fortitude. To REALLY compete though is tough, this is one industry that has a high overhead.
I think there's plenty work out there for all. My first mistake was to bite off more than I could chew. If you are fortunate, you won't need to advertise. Your work will speak for itself.
Title: Re: "Generally" Speaking, Quoting CNC work.
Post by: edvaness on September 12, 2008, 04:06:42 PM
   A lot depends on your location, and what do you really know.  do you have a fully equipped machine shop?
Welding equipment for fab work? Mig, Tig, cutting equipment. Only you know, and can make the decision.
Check around your area and see what work is available, and , can you do it. I'M in Wisconsin, when I ran my shop,
 I had customers from New york, Texas, California. I only did custom and one off , and prototype jobs. You have to have the equipment and the tooling,
And just the tooling is a big investment. You also need some form of cad/cam programs. which can be costly.
Are there any bigger shops in your area that farm out some jobs?
Hope this helps in your decision. It's all up to you.

Ed V
Title: Re: "Generally" Speaking, Quoting CNC work.
Post by: josh on September 13, 2008, 08:12:49 PM
hey ED
Is there really any money in the protype work  I would think there would be more in the production.
Title: Re: "Generally" Speaking, Quoting CNC work.
Post by: edvaness on September 13, 2008, 09:25:12 PM
  Yes. there is more money in production. Prototype work I always charged $50.00 an hour. Was all time and material.
But a lot more interesting. Production jobs can be sicking, looking at the same parts every day. But that all depends on the job quanitys.
Some proto job can take a month or more to do , depending on whatever it is.
What ever you decide or do, I wish you lots of luck.

Ed V

Title: Re: "Generally" Speaking, Quoting CNC work.
Post by: KTM on September 14, 2008, 10:50:08 AM
Hi Jim

Your prayers have been answered,  ;D , there is a free PCB program with a mach post processor (limited to 250 points I think) for hobby use.