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  • #16
    re wages or rates for labour

    It doesnt hurt to be a bit flexible but you cant work for free.My rate is 75/hr plus material and expenses unless its a job ive quoted.I had a customer tell me that they had a ton of work so they expected me to drop my rate by 25$per hour so i did.hen the tons of work failed to manifest,i didnt do a thing.I patiently waited until the day the customer called again and i sharpened my pencil and pinned the previous costs or losses as i looked at it to the last invoice,my customer was pissed but i explained i didnt appreciate someone lying to me to get a cheaper rate.needless to say ,he appreciated my honesty and i still go out on service calls for them when they need work done. go figure?I know what im worth and i expect to earn my living, welders and tools as you all know arent cheap,neither is the schooling i had to pay for and the time it took me to be consistent and proficient.Ask yourself what are you worth,and honestly answerit by writing your own paycheck lol

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    • #17
      I had a very similiar thing happen to me. I think you have some very sound advice there. We aren't just born being welders, it takes time and $$$$ and is very much an investment. Like you said, a guy can't work for free.
      owner of EVOLUTION WELDING

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      • #18
        i think too many people think if the learning process is not an Ivy leag class room it just doesn't count. and when they watch you do it and make it look so easy and like its just feeding in the stick or pulling the trigger, it just gets less respect.
        i don't do welding for a job, only fun. but i ran into the same thing as a carpenter on the job many times. little silly things like cant you just move this window over 2', or you got a great job, you don't have to think about anything just hammer nails. maybe as a helper thats the case. even worse is the guy that thinks he is a carpenter too because he closed in a screen porch (wrong no dought) and doesn't think adding an addition to the house should be so expensive.
        i play with welding in my shop and would love to make some $$ at it, but it in no way makes me think i'm a welder ready to go work at a nuck plant or build a preshor vessel, or any # of other welder jobs. its way different to sit at home in my shop and produce a nice TIG bead, or even learn to stick weld, then it is to go out in the field in any weather conditions and make good solid welds every time. after all in my shop at home i have no time limits and if i don't like it i just start over, no biggy. i think all the trades get a bad wrap and most should get more $$.
        thanks for the help
        ......or..........
        hope i helped
        sigpic
        feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. [email protected]
        summer is here, plant a tree. if you don't have space or time to plant one sponsor some one else to plant one for you. a tree is an investment in our planet, help it out.
        JAMES

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        • #19
          Y'all are all correct, I think. I really started doing "this" about 15 months ago, and even when I started it just sort of progressed from making some small wrought iron stuff for friends for extra money and then progressed into doing some gates (both forged and welded) and then some do-dads like wine racks and coat racks (both out of horse shoes) and then fixing some farm equipment for a neighbor of mine...and that really kicked it off since I live in a small farming community about 10 miles south of town....too far for most of them to drive their equipment to the well-established welding shop in town.

          What I've recently learned that's meant the most to me is that my "Mobile Repair Rates" can't be the same as my "In-Shop Design/Fab" rates. Again, it's been a constant learning-curve that sometimes leaves me feeling like my "curve" is akin to standing at the base of the Washington Monument with my head craned back on my neck looking straight up.

          My rates have evolved a little bit, but I originally set it up so that I was charging $75 for a service call and then $20/hour on top of that, billed in half-hour increments and rounding off to the nearest hour/half-hour. So, for 6.5 hours yesterday, plus the service call, my bill to the customer was $205.00.

          He's one of my best customers and I get a lot of repeat business from him, but I'm not really happy with the breakdown for gas/equipment costs involved in driving 35 minutes to his marina and then laying on my back in the hot, baking sun (105 Heat Index yesterday, with 98F and 94% humidity) UNDER three different aluminum boats with the sun reflecting it all right back into my eyes/skin. Some things are going to have to change....I realize that now, but my hard head has made for a soft butt lately. Also, my fab/shop rates are going to go up dramatically from $20/hour to probably double that (at least).

          I'm also going to go check with the other welder and ask him what his mobile rates are, even though he usually sends me the great majority of his mobile business cause he loses $$$ every time he steps out of his shop (he has several major on-going contracts for sheet-metal fabrication companies).

          So, in general, if y'all have additional advice for me regarding business practices, I'd really like to hear them.
          sigpic
          Clint Baxley
          Baxley Welding Service
          Rembert, SC 29128

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          • #20
            i had a guy want me to drop my rate because his steel cost were over $20,000, as if i was making money from his steel supplier? I never budge on my price, there is very little competition around here though. I think the best way to get more work is by doing a good job, not by being cheap. i also charge a per mile fuel cost for anything over 50 miles away. I charge $55 an hour minimum,more if i think i can get it. i only do moble welding. For some larger jobs i bill for Consumables, when i can.
            Last edited by meancoyote; 08-26-2007, 10:12 AM.
            Trailblazer 302 Diesel
            SuitCase Wire Feed
            Spoolmatic Wire Feed
            Spectrum 2050 Plasma Cutter
            Oxy-Propane Torch
            Arcair Cutting System
            12" Spot Welder

            Comment


            • #21
              for mobile work, i charge 55 to 65 dollars an hour, i pass the buck on consumables and fuel to the customer. in central arkansas, i have found that i am not cheap at that price, but average. maybe i should move to another state...lol. but for aluminum, i charge 95 to 105 bucks an hour. it is specialized welding, and why should i charge the same as welding steel? the equipment is more$$$ the consumables are more$$$ the parent material is more$$$ i am going to charge more$$$ i charge more for stainless as well.
              welder_one

              nothing fancy, just a few hot glue guns for metal
              www.sicfabrications.com

              Comment


              • #22
                When I first started doing stuff other than for friends, I asked the other weldor in town if he charged more for aluminum and responded "not really" (as far as repairs were concerned). He has a MM210 w/3035 that he keeps plugged in (and he LOVES it, I might add) so he feels like it's just a matter of which gun he grabs and pulls the trigger on. He also has a full wire-feed system in his shop with dual-rolls that he can choose from if he needs to go thicker. So I was basing my prices on those two facts. I'm beginning to understand that it takes something different for everyone....for example, Jeff (the other guy in town) almost never TIG's on aluminum, and I tend to do quite a bit of that because people want "those dimes". You bring up a very good point about passing along costs to the consumer; at first I really thought I was doing that with $20/hr but I'm seeing that I'm really not because I'm not getting one customer per hour with projects taking exactly one hour etc etc etc. In other words, when I first figured the $20/hr rate (about 7 months ago or so...February I think) I was researching business models online and trying to follow them to the letter because I wanted a loan from the bank to buy my Champ10k (which I got) and I knew I'd have to show them "something" (which I did, and which they liked). In reality, there aren't any "good" business models for start-up welding businesses out there....certainly not for repair/fabricators so it's really been a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants operation thus far.

                My (so far) 3 core customers will continue to get a rate that's close to $20/hr, but future customers are going to pay a little more from now on.
                sigpic
                Clint Baxley
                Baxley Welding Service
                Rembert, SC 29128

                Comment


                • #23
                  what do you weld on most, boats? i weld mostly for small mines and ranches. i charge less then most of the other welders i know of around here, but i work alone, and most others have to pay a helper.
                  Trailblazer 302 Diesel
                  SuitCase Wire Feed
                  Spoolmatic Wire Feed
                  Spectrum 2050 Plasma Cutter
                  Oxy-Propane Torch
                  Arcair Cutting System
                  12" Spot Welder

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    i have not tried a spool gun for aluminum, so i cannot make a comparison. i use an xr-a push-pull feeder with an xr edge 30 gun for aluminum on an xmt 304 machine. that altogether was alot more than my engine drive, my tig, or my mig machine, again, i pass that cost on to the customer. the less money that i have to "eat" the better i am, without going over board.
                    welder_one

                    nothing fancy, just a few hot glue guns for metal
                    www.sicfabrications.com

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by meancoyote View Post
                      what do you weld on most, boats? i weld mostly for small mines and ranches. i charge less then most of the other welders i know of around here, but i work alone, and most others have to pay a helper.
                      I work alone as well. Boats and Tractors/Logging Equipment are my mainstays. Boats are mostly aluminum work and everything else is steel. Lately I've won a couple of bids to fabricate things out of aluminum for local businesses (like frames with galv mesh that keeps puppies up off the floor at the local animal shelter). I've also done several riser-pipe-extensions on ponds...42" diameter corrugated aluminum pipe. The last one I did was about 3 months ago and I used the customer's pipe and just had to order the aluminum channel. All welding was done using a Lincoln ProMIG 175 (retail version of the 175T) with a standard liner, .035 5356 wire, a .045 contact tip, with settings about C-7, sometimes as fast as C-9 when the pipe heated up. It wasn't pretty but it got the job done. Then my Lincoln crapped out on me (drive motor quit turning) and I got absolutely ZERO assistance from Lincoln's regional service center in Charlotte, NC, other than to say I ought to just go buy a new welder. That wasn't an option at the time so I had to finish up a few things using my Lincoln PrecisionTIG185....it really slowed me down having to TIG everything and I ended up losing a lot of my profit margin. It also choked me on "crow" every time I had to use a Lincoln product---as it continues to do.

                      My current plan is to buy an HTP MIG 200 with their RSG200 spool gun (looks just like a Miller 3035 and will plug right into a MM212/252) and then do about 4 more sections of pipe/extensions. Although, this time I'm the one procuring the pipe for the customer and I've modified my original expense list considerably....he's so happy with the work I've done that he's happy to pay it and then some. So as soon as I order my HTP, get the pipe done, and make a little extra $$$, I'm going to put the Lincoln PrecisionTIG185 on fleaBay and order me an HTP 201 AC/DC.

                      I've also got a customer that wants me to build him 10 all-aluminum deer stands....16' to 18' tower stands, several of which will hold 2 people. I've already started getting the materials list together for that and will use the HTP for that as well.
                      sigpic
                      Clint Baxley
                      Baxley Welding Service
                      Rembert, SC 29128

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Very interesting reading about everyones rates

                        I charge $40.00 and hour + material + shop fee. The shop fee pays for things like grinding wheels, flap discs, gas, electric etc. I usually just guess at about what I've used for the shop fee. I don't do any road work so I can't add anything in that area. It does seem $20.00 an hour is low, but different areas can stand different prices. It seems to get your foot in the door, sometimes you have to be a little cheaper or no one will give you a chance. It doesn't matter if you do super work, if they won't try you, then it doesnt matter how good you are. And some people look at price only, most people look at price only. I don't charge any different for aluminum or steel. I ahve a spool gun and TIG, so it doesnt matter much to me. Maybe I should charge more, not sure. Couple of other things. I try to charge by the job instead of by the hour if I can. For example, A customer brought in a Kohler twin cyl engine that the ring gear on the flywheel knocked off both coil mounts. [2 coils] I welded them back on and charged him $175.00. A new short block is $1100.00. He was very happy. It took me less than an hour. Some jobs you can get more for than by the hour. Depends on what its worth. Also, when I can I mark up the material. It seems people dont mind paying for material, they hate labor.
                        Any way just my 2 cents worth. Like everything, its a game it seems
                        Scott
                        HMW [Heavy Metal welding]

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                        • #27
                          Ummm Im not sure... Wait! No. Yes thats it. Umm Maybe... if...

                          GOOD , FAST , or CHEAP.... PICK ANY TWO

                          If you want a sign, I'll make it for you.
                          Will it weld? I loooove electricity!

                          Miller 251/30A spool
                          Syncro200
                          Spectrum 625
                          O/A
                          Precix 5x10 CNC Router12"Z
                          Standard modern lathe
                          Cheap Chinese mill that does the trick... sort of...
                          horizontal 7x12 bandsaw
                          Roland XC540 PRO III
                          54" laminator
                          hammer and screwdriver (most used)
                          little dog
                          pooper scooper (2nd most used...)

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                          • #28
                            My favorite one was, the bank doesnt do valve jobs and we dont loan money.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by sberry View Post
                              My favorite one was, the bank doesnt do valve jobs and we dont loan money.
                              that is a good one. i think that i will have to build that sign, now.
                              welder_one

                              nothing fancy, just a few hot glue guns for metal
                              www.sicfabrications.com

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                              • #30
                                Jolly Rodger, what does a fajita cooker look like?

                                Just curious what they consist of . . . .


                                Steve

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