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  • I need those of you with experience to help me!

    I know this was posted in another thread, but I figured it would get more response in its own thread, here is what I got, its for government contract job.

    Job which is down in orlando florida for homeland security. All I gotta do is weld 80 pieces of flat bar that are 2" by 5" in width and length. Thats it, my job is just welding that flat bar onto the security cages. I have to weld all four sides of the flat bar which is 3/8" thick. The room is 60 square foot with no windows, and the nearest window is 45 feet away, so I know Im gonna have to run some kind of fume exhaust, but I can manage rigging up something for that. He didnt state what kind of welding process, but with the limited space and no windows, I told him I would most likely tig weld the flat bar to cut down on fumes that stick welding gives off, especially for such a small room. Im not ruling out any other welding process, and starting to think Stick welding will go faster. I dont have a mig gun so thats out of the question.

    My questions are,

    1. How do you right up a proposal, is it just a invoice of some time (this question is not as important as the next ones)

    2. Im gonna be pretty straight foward, Im very confident in my welding ability's so thats not an issue, but this is my very first job, and this ones a big one, so what kind of quote would you give for 80 pieces of 2" by 5" flat bar welded on all four sides, using 3/32" inch filler (the cages are mild steel).

    3. What do you charge for mileage going out to a job site. I mean how much do you charge the customer per mile you traveled?


    Please put yourself in my shoes, using your years of experience just guestimate what you would charge for a job like this if you had to propose an estimate to a customer. I really need your guy's help, I literally cant afford to lose this job, the bills are depending on it. I thank you all for any help that can be given.
    If you want peace, be prepared for war!

  • #2
    Are you insured? Bonded? Contractor's license?

    Will you have to bid, or is the job yours?

    If it is a bid, you'll need to know competitive labor rates for your area.

    If it were me, I'd bid it "T&M" (time and material), where you charge for material cost plus a percentage for service, and a labor rate per hour.

    If you have to quote a fixed price, you'll need to know up front how long it will take you to run a bead around one of your flat bars. You'd still bill material at cost plus the service fee. I'd charge 15%. You'd also need to estimate the time it will take to set up, clean up, and drag up when you're done.

    Hank
    ...from the Gadget Garage
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    • #3
      there are a lot of questions left to ask.
      Do you have to supply the bar stock, cut it, clean it up?
      Do you have an hourly rate established?
      How many passes with the 3/32 rod?
      If you just have to fit and weld them, you need to figure out what you are worth and set your hourly rate, then you can kind of figure how long to setup and weld each station and times that by 80 and add about 15% for setup and clean up and then your travel time or mileage and there you have it.
      Otherwise, set your rate and do it by the hour plus your travel and or mileage. Can't go wrong that way.
      Bidding is a make or break proposition. If bid correctly, you can make more than doing it by the hour, but if you miss it then your rate can go out the window. This is something that can usually only come with experience, and even then the best of us will miss one every now and then. Ouch!

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      • #4
        Just call a local welding shop and pretend you need the work done and let them do the leg work
        Ed Conley
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        • #5
          Originally posted by Broccoli1 View Post
          Just call a local welding shop and pretend you need the work done and let them do the leg work
          Uhmmmm, that or........................................you could just go ask on the internet and show what you are really made of.

          Dynasty 350DX
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          • #6
            Don't forget to add in the cost of the fume exhaust. I'm thinking 6" alum flex duct at the beginning and possibly 6" flex ac duct for the long run to a box with a fan at the window.

            I see some issues with Tig that you may want to consider. It sounds like you are adding pieces to an existing cage. How long will it take to clean all the paint off the existing metal so you can get a good weld? Can you get a grinder to fit in the space available to do it?

            Mig would be my preference to do the welds that I think you are planning. Can you rent / borrow a machine? Can you justify the cost of a mig for the job. Instead of 100 hrs Tig @ $50/hr, it might take you say 50 hrs to mig it, instead of charging $100/hr to make the same money charge $110/hr and put the money towards the mig. ( the example sucks but I'm to tired right now to explain my idea better. I hope it makes enough sense.) I frequently have to rent specialized equipment and bill it to the job. Scaffolds, lifts and so on. Can you justify a "rental" in order to limit the fumes? Instead of renting buy it with the "rental money. If you weld with stick for a bit they may be more than happy to spend the extra money. That is if they can see well enough to sign the change order thru the smoke.

            As said T&M is often a good way to cover your butt, if you already have a lock on the job. The rental just becomes part of the M and adjust your hourly rate to mke up the difference in time.

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            • #7
              i,d go 110v mig or passport
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              • #8
                Ok a proposal is like a invoice but it is written like a business letter.

                Example bellow

                Joe blows rod burning
                666 dam-nation alley
                Bakersfield CA

                Dear Overpaid undereducated government employee.
                This is where you thank them for the chance to work for them opening comments on the job whatever.

                Next paragraph explains in detail what you are going to do. Be very detailed. Don't include an estimate of hours just total up the labor and put that number down. because if you finish early and they watch the clock they may try to back charge if you say it will take X amount of hours.
                Describe the job in detail of all aspects, set up, special considerations, special equipment, clean up, disposal, and travel time.
                This is what covers your butt.

                Next paragraph is a comment like "the above described work doesn't include blank" and list everything you can think o,f usually it something like permits inspections and certs.

                Then list the cost of the job in the currency you intend to be paid in like such.

                Materials $XX.XX
                Labor $XX.XX and include a factor of overtime too.
                Travel time $XX.XX
                Extra equipment e.i scissor lifts and such. $XX.XX
                Then include a minor charge for incidentals $XX.XX
                And finish up by saying please sign and fax back to joe blow at 976 AMPS

                Back page include a legal disclaimer

                And that's it That's the way I've done them and seen ones done for me by outside contractors. Granted with all the legal mumbo jumbo it's usually takes three pages to do but that is the norm for industry.

                As for travel time it's portal to portal at your hourly rate no if ands or buts about it in this day and age of $4.00 a gallon gas and $4.60 diesel.


                Now figure out your weld time and tack on about 20% to cover any setup problems include setup of the vent system setup and tear down time.

                I sure wouldn't tig this though I'd mig it. you'll save a bunch of time. and it won't cause anymore fumes then tig welding.
                If you need to rent a machine include that too.
                Kerry
                Last edited by kcstott; 05-14-2008, 07:34 PM.
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                • #9
                  Kerry very good explanation and quite funny also. One thing we add into all our quotes for foundations is what we refer to as a "rock" clause. This basically says that if we find conditions different from those we originally detailed, there will be extra charges based on what we find.

                  An example of something like this was at a job I worked on last year finninshing a new store. We had about 2 days of work left before we were ready to turn the store over to the client. The client decided to start moving in all the store displays and merchandise on the weekend with out letting us know. Guess what, he got billed for the extra 10 days that it took to compleat the job because we had to move and work around all his stuff. We had noted in the contract that we had control of the site prior to the turn over date. The extra costs were incurred due to circumstances beyond our control, and the owner agreed and paid.

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                  • #10
                    Thank you all for the great information. I got smart and called local welding shops here posing like I needed work, and got them to do the leg work. I just took the price work up of 15 shops, and averaged the prices to get a good around estimate. Its dirty to have people think your giving them work, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I actually learned allot about what to charge people for different jobs today. Its funny that when you call local welding shops and tell them your a welder needing help, they could care less, so thats why I resorted to what I did, and got the information I needed. You figure welders would stick together instead of being such cut throats. Im just one man with a welder, how much work could I possibly take from there fully stocked shops!. Maybe thats just the way it is in florida though.

                    Anyways, no painting is required, and yes I gotta figure something for ventilation because the room has no windows, and the nearest window from the door to the room is 40 feet. Im gonna try to convince the contracter to let me weld these racks outside, otherwise I might drop the job due to health issues. 94 feet of beads is allot of beads to run in a room with no ventilation, even with some sort of rigged up ventilation Im not too keen on the idea, no matter how much money is involved.

                    I chose not to go the Tig welding route because one I dont have a water cooler for my torch, and two thats allot of wrist work for a job where aesthetic looks are not something desired. I can still make a stick welded bead look really good.

                    These pieces Im welding will have no weight put on them, and will have to have a shear strength of 700 pounds, which is a joke. Good tack welds would take that kind of weight, but whatever. Overkill to weld all four sides, but thats what the job calls for. Thanks for those of you with your helpful comments, I appreciate it.


                    This above post was posted on the weldingweb forum, and one guy said I had no honor in doing what I did, but noone wanted to help me at the time so I did what I had to do.

                    By the way, the job has been set aside for me, but with all these extra costs, I dont know if I will be able to do the job. I agree Mig would be the best option, but Im small time right now, and on a very tight budget, so I think I might have to let this job go. It bothers me, but If you dont have money, you dont have money. Thank you all once again, you guys are great.
                    If you want peace, be prepared for war!

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                    • #11
                      So you wasted 15 guys time, and received free bidding help, and you're still not gonna do the job??????????

                      Uhhh,,,, the guy on WW was right .... it's actually kinda like stealing .... how do you know any or all of those 15 guys you wasted the time of, weren't in similar desparate financial conditions??? or maybe somebody had to cancel an important appointment to write up a "bid" for you???? and, and, and .......

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by calweld View Post
                        So you wasted 15 guys time, and received free bidding help, and you're still not gonna do the job??????????

                        Uhhh,,,, the guy on WW was right .... it's actually kinda like stealing .... how do you know any or all of those 15 guys you wasted the time of, weren't in similar desparate financial conditions??? or maybe somebody had to cancel an important appointment to write up a "bid" for you???? and, and, and .......

                        First off all the bids given to me were over the phone, nothing was wrote up, and took a whole 2 minutes per call to get. Im guessing they were giving me numbers that were familiar off the top of there heads. They have welding shops and here work is abundant so I doubt they financial conditions were anymore desperate than mine. I dont feel sorry for those gents I got the numbers from because when I called originally and told them I was a welder they wouldnt give me the time of day, so what goes around comes around in my book. Allot of the guys I talked to were pretty nice, and gave me honest quotes, but how come they didnt help me to begin with?, Oh thats right, because all they cared about was there buisness and bottom line, and didnt care to take the time to give a welder starting out the time of day. So you know what, I will play the same game, I did, and I got what I needed. I never said I wasnt taking the job, but it this job goes over my small budget, I will let it go.
                        If you want peace, be prepared for war!

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                        • #13
                          Id bid the job, if you get it, i would get a mm212 to run off of your 302 (can you do that?) work the 212 into the price, get a respirator and rent a couple of floor dryer type blowers.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by usmcruz View Post
                            First off all the bids given to me were over the phone, nothing was wrote up, and took a whole 2 minutes per call to get. Im guessing they were giving me numbers that were familiar off the top of there heads. They have welding shops and here work is abundant so I doubt they financial conditions were anymore desperate than mine. I dont feel sorry for those gents I got the numbers from because when I called originally and told them I was a welder they wouldnt give me the time of day, so what goes around comes around in my book. Allot of the guys I talked to were pretty nice, and gave me honest quotes, but how come they didnt help me to begin with?, Oh thats right, because all they cared about was there buisness and bottom line, and didnt care to take the time to give a welder starting out the time of day. So you know what, I will play the same game, I did, and I got what I needed. I never said I wasnt taking the job, but it this job goes over my small budget, I will let it go.
                            USMCRUZ

                            I would have done the same thing in your situation. And I have in the past on other things. If they won't help you... screw 'em do what you have to do to put food on the table that's what matters at the end of the day.
                            My dad always said take care of #1 and don't worry about everyone else.

                            I've been a machinist and tool maker for going on twenty years and got lot of help from other people some I worked with some I didn't but most would help you out. The few that wouldn't also had business problems so i guess it all works out in the end anyway
                            Miller Syncrowave 200 W/Radiator 1A & water cooled torch
                            Millermatic 252 on the wish list
                            Bridgeport Mill W/ 2 axis CNC control
                            South bend lathe 10LX40
                            K.O. Lee surface grinder 6X18
                            Over 20 years as a Machinist Toolmaker
                            A TWO CAR garage full of tools and a fridge full of beer
                            Auto shades are for rookies
                            www.KLStottlemyer.com

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                            • #15
                              Thanks Laiky, Ive been meaning to get a mig setup anyway, I will see how I can work it in. I believe the MM212 will run off the TB 302, Im almost positive. Even though the MM212 has a 60% duty cycle, I think it will do just fine, and would work for almost every job I needed to do.



                              Im a nice guy, and I get along with people, but why wouldnt they help me. If I had a shop, I would more than welcome those starting out in the same buisness some help. Even if I had a good sized welding buisness going, I wouldnt forget and throw aside the little guy that was once me. People suck!
                              If you want peace, be prepared for war!

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