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Job Pricing Issues I'M In a depressed slump.

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  • Job Pricing Issues I'M In a depressed slump.

    It seems that I am having a issue with pricing out my welding services, people call all the time inquiring about welding work they need done now I charge by the hour and by the job in some cases; my rates for shop & portable welding are very reasonable I would like to know what you think the issue with picking up work may be.

    Here is an example and (( just an example only )) had 3 different people call me about doing some portable welding in the last two weeks.
    And they mentioned 2 other local welders they were waiting on for estimates, before they decided on whom to go with, now the other two welders and I all know each other.

    I know my rates are either very comparative with one of the other guys and much cheaper than the other guy, now we don’t discuss our jobs with each other nor about each other to any potential customer, but we do barter and swap materials and consumables back and forth with each other when in a pinch just scratching each others back here and there

    Now it seems they pick up most of the jobs and I for the most part just get passed up
    By the customer, could it be the customer thinks that if my bid is lets say 400.00 bucks cheaper than other welders in the same field that I am just to inexperienced or quality would not be as good.

    Even though I have and provide very good creditable references of creditability and quality work it seems to not carry any weight.

    So what is your take on the issue I am having picking up work
    Just curious’

    Thanks in advance for your input.

  • #2
    Marketing your welding skills is no different than marketing any other product. With times being what they are, you need to get out and get to know some of your potential customers. "Press the flesh" as it's called in the business world. Set up some short meetings with potential customers. Take along pictures of your work and a list of references. Target the industries/businesses that you would most like to work for then "work them".

    A great deal of business in this country is done by getting to know someone and being recognized in the business community. Get several business owners to like you and use you and it will grow. It is not unusual to get calls to do work without a bid when you develop some relationships with customers.

    Good luck.


    • #3
      It is not always best to self evaluate your business. If possible find 1 or 2 people whom you trust & ask them if they would take the time to evaluate your business strategy. You do have a business plan don't you? Take them out for a nice lunch or dinner & go over your problems/concerns so they can look at what your doing from the "outside".
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      • #4
        I think sometimes you will find that the customer already knows who he WANTS to use because of that person's reputation and he is simply making sure that person is in the range of cost that his competition is.
        I feel like I get ran thru that same process from time to time.
        I have had other welder tell me similar stories before with pretty much what you said. It makes me feel sorry for them... but glad for me.
        It is off season here and I cannot tell if it is gonna get busy soon or not.
        My phone is pretty much a waste of money at the time.
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        • #5
          Tuff times my friends.

          Have been in business 15yrs and my phone has been dead to say the least.Your not alone in the recession.I have talk to friends/other welding guys and there in the same boat.It,s the sign of thr times/recession.People are not spending unless absolutly neccssary.
          S-32 FEEDER W/1260 IRONMATE FC/GUN
          HT/PWR-MAX1250 PLASMA


          • #6
            Marketing is a science and worth needs to be the focus and effort. Its different than advertising. Its what separates you from your competition. Many in todays world are specialists or have niche markets they work in. If you are competing for the same general work with your buds there likely isn't enough to go around, difficult to market general work. Its almost a recipe for failure. Also the effort is wasted on lots of people that have no interest in the product.
            This is the list of books, Warfare is a good start and simple to read. If you are in biz you are wasting your time without this reading. There are a few people who figured it out or have a particular knack but they are the few.


            • #7
              Trout speaks about consulting in this interview but the same applies to almost any biz.


              • #8
                I'm staying busy enough to keep the bills paid. But all the work is from old clients whom I have a long time relationship with already.

                What you need to do is look at the people in your life that you don't mind giving your money to do work for you. Look at how you look at them. Then stand back and look at yourself as well you can through the eyes of your clients. Compare how you come off as a businessman compared to them.

                One of the things weldors have to face is things aren't fixed like they used to be. So the average person doesn't have a clue about the capabilities or the limitations of weldors. I got a call the other day from a man wanting to know how much I would charge to come to his house and weld up the tub in his washing machine. I told him I don't do that kind of work. The reality is it would cost him more for me to come and weld on his washing machine than it would be to replace it chances are most likely.

                So most of our work is business to business. The good part about that is you've got a more knowledgeable client. The bad thing about that is you have a more knowledgeable client. The client is more likely to keep you as a vendor if you do good work. They are also more likely to be price concious too.

                You take like myself. I charge more than most of my competition. If the work can be done with a competent kid just out of school with a pickup and a Bobcat then it's not good business to pay for my expertise when they can get him for half the price. However, if the work is more demanding or the client needs the benefit of my problem solving experience then I'm a bargain and the kid isn't.

                Point being, if you're competing for the man-with-a-welder work then you need to look at the compensation rates for that kind of work and price yourself there. If you're competing for the work that the average man-with-a-welder can't do then you can price more.

                I don't try to compete with the kids and rookies. I'm sixty one and I don't want to work that hard anymore for it. So I don't work as much as I could and I'm okay with that.

                Another thing you have to keep in mind is the first and last impressions are the ones that stick. If you don't show up looking like a professional then you won't be judged as one. If you leave a mess then that will never be forgotten nor forgiven. It's like with a mechanic. You can get a two hundred thousand mile motor rebuild from one that left grease prints on the steering wheel and hood and that's what you're going to remember for a hundred and fifty thousand miles. A spic and span car with a fifty thousand mile motor rebuild is going to bring in more work for that mechanic from recommendations and repeat customers.

                Times are tough right now. But I can see good things happening all around me. Homes are starting to move, I'm getting more calls. But the biggest surprise of all is the Patent Office has changed big time. I'm talking that puppy has been turned on its ear and is now acting like is should.
                life is good


                • #9
                  Harve, you are a poster child for marketing the thing you do best, its ok to take other work but dont waste the marketing effort on it. McDonald's never did make the money back selling chicken sandwiches that they spent on it, its ok to have one on the menu but isn't worth spending 150 mil on advertising them, especially when they are in the burger biz.


                  • #10
                    I had a bud that was a specialist but wasted his career trying to sell the "has run" parts of his business. He should have focused on his expertise instead of the common labor and got away from the thinking that if he was cheaper they would flock to the door, so sad really.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sberry View Post
                      I had a bud that was a specialist but wasted his career trying to sell the "has run" parts of his business. He should have focused on his expertise instead of the common labor and got away from the thinking that if he was cheaper they would flock to the door, so sad really.
                      One of the biggest mistakes I see new welders, any business for that matter, make is they figure that if they go in cheap then later on they can raise their prices.

                      Biggest problem with that is you're going to get the price shopper. That means the next guy who comes in cheaper is either going to get your work or you're going to have to drop your price to keep the work.

                      The second problem with that is the quality buyer is going to ignore you because you're not priced competively. They're going to figure you're going after the price shopper and your angle is cutting quality.

                      A lot of very smart and very rich businessmen have got there based upon selling it at what you're planning on making from the start.

                      I look at ornamental iron fence right now. Most of it is coming out of China and to be honest, the welder working in a small shop can't compete with it price wise and a lot of the time, quality wise. Companys are buying it by the container and it's the box store principles at work. Limited selection and cookie cutter installation.

                      The stuff comes in eight feet sections. Anyone with a sawsall or portaband can cut it to fit between posts. Anyone with a 110 volt mig can weld it in with flux core wire. The finish is powdercoat and that's five times more durable than paint, ten times more durable it it's done by a welder in a shop in his backyard.

                      A weldor can't pay his living expenses much less keeping equipment and insurance up on what you make at that price doing it that way. If you're making it all yourself you'll find yourself better off just handing the client money and running for your life.

                      If you want to make a living doing that then you either have to do it faster and buy in larger quanities or find a product that they can't do. I got sixty five dollars a foot a couple of years ago for three and a half foot fence in between six foot fences that were installed for less than twenty dollars a foot. Mine was one off and the client jumped on it because they could.

                      But I can't make a living just doing that kind of fence. That's because most clients don't want to pay four times as much for something that's custom made when they can get ornamental iron from a dozen sources a lot cheaper.

                      The welders with a nest on the ground usually have a group of clients that don't want to pay the price of having an in house welding work force. So they hire out the welding to contractors they can depend upon for quality and timely service. A weldor with three or four of these clients can do pretty good most of the time. This isn't a most of the time time but having old clients who need work occasionally comes in handy.
                      life is good


                      • #12
                        Here are a couple things to think about.

                        One is have a friend you trust call these other guys with a job you made up and get a quote from them to see where you are falling in with price. Some might think of this as sneaky but I see it as business. Target, Walmart, Best Buy ect all do this to each other and there is nothing wrong with it. I keep an excel spreadsheet with my competitions rates, so I know what I am playing against. My rates are not the cheapest or the most expensive.

                        Second thing is are these big projects with written quotes? If they are you might be missing the work on professionalism.

                        I recently got a job where I was the highest bidder because the customer felt I was the most professional and most competent.

                        One last thing, I have noticed there are a lot of bottom feeders out there, what I mean are guys (or gals) welding for chump change, recently there was a ad on Craigslist here that was advertising MIG, and ARC welding for $20 an hour and TIG for $25 an hour. You might be loosing some work to these bottom feeders.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by engnerdan View Post
                          One last thing, I have noticed there are a lot of bottom feeders out there, what I mean are guys (or gals) welding for chump change, recently there was a ad on Craigslist here that was advertising MIG, and ARC welding for $20 an hour and TIG for $25 an hour. You might be loosing some work to these bottom feeders.


                          Well I guess every one has their price they will settle for when times are hard!

                          So the prices you mentioned does that make people think the lowball bid that the persons work is just that Cheap or not experienced enough?

                          My bids are usually right with the other guys and I will admit higher at times
                          But at the same time I have had to drop my price in order to have work.

                          I have had to work for chump change also don't like doing it because they always expect it if they call you back but then that is also like working for an employer doing the same thing day In and day out for 12.00 an hour also

                          Hope that don't make me a bottom feeder when I have to work for CC I’m just trying to pay the bills.

                          Ok so with out going through a total break down of cost and hourly rate if any of you want to comment on this I am just trying to get a broad scope of what you would charge
                          For let’s say replacing the ball socket /tongue on a standard 16’ utility trailer?? Just labor only.


                          • #14
                            That ball socket job on a trailer is about a 1hr or 1-1/2hr at most.$80-$140 dollars.Travel time not included in that price.
                            S-32 FEEDER W/1260 IRONMATE FC/GUN
                            HT/PWR-MAX1250 PLASMA


                            • #15
                              Most people would get a 50$ bill if they cart it in. Its something I could do normally in way under an hour. I cut some people some slack for little stuff if its easy. I did a repair the other day and I talk to this guy while I was doing it, was worked on before I got it. When it come time to pay I said, I get 75 per but this is a 100$ job. He had a grasp of the skill factor in this case, didnt piss a second.
                              Last edited by Sberry; 02-15-2010, 03:20 PM.