Labor Rate...

I know there are several people/groups in here that do work for others ‘at a cost’. I’m currently in that market myself (though a step or three beyond a joystick) and have been trying to figure out how to charge for the labor involved. What kind of mark-up do you put on labor? Or hopw do you figure out how much to charge? To put some numbers on it, the raw materials for the current job will cost around $300, and the labor itself will only take a couple days worth of work, but the research and back log of info for it has taken ‘years’ to collect. I’m currently going in somewhere between $400 and $450. The guy was willing to pay when the price was $700, but I’ve been trying to work it down and got it this low and want to pass the savings on to the customer (hey its a friend, I don’t want to rip him off). so does anyone have any advice?

  • :bluu:

Woah, $300 in just materials? What did you use?

Wholy *ucking 700$ stick. Does it give you sexual favor while it’s on your lap. I have never ever heard of a stick over the 400’s. I want to see this beast. That’s the main reason I never took my stick building commercial. I didn’t think people would be willing to pay the type of money I charge for my time. Finishing wood takes a good amount of time & most people aren’t willing to pay say 200$ for just my time.

Read the post, guys, “though a step or three beyond a joystick”

Sounds like a cabinet build to me.

Why don’t you figure out how much an hour your time is by your career history. Then estimate how many hours you’ll work on the project. Multiply and adjust for a friend discount…

Almost, but yeah it is NOT a stick. The $700 version had two sticks with it though, they’ve been taken out of the equation by me to lwoer cost as they were unneccessary to the actual goal of my customer.

I’ve thoguth about doing what I make an hour as its how I justify my entertainment budget, but that would drive the price ‘up’ more than I’m comfortable. I was thinking like 25%-33% of cost for labor - but I’m trying to figure out ‘whats fair’ I guess. The tool use won’t be huge on this part, so the only thing it cost me outside opf material is ‘time’ and ‘effort’.

  • :bluu:

Maybe you could consider the money you would be making working normally during the time you are doing this build, then take of a percentage off due to this being work for a friend. I have absolutely no clue how to judge this really, but I would suggest considering what you would be earning in the time spent on this, then subtract a nice friendly bonus for your mate which still leaves you making a decent but not harsh profit.

Looking back it seems exactly like what you had planned and Im glad im not in that situation. I suppose if you are kind with the price it could get you some more business if he pass’s the good word around.

I’m probably the only one that thinks this way, but I don’t think that the research and the back log of info should factor into the price - unless it was done specifically for this job. The research and learning is for making yourself better or more efficient for future jobs (giving you the ability to charge the same for jobs, but complete them in less time).

That’s just me - like I said. Also, factoring in that this client is your friend does make setting a price difficult. I’d judge it on how close a friend he is - is he a friend that you made over the internet? Is he a close friend?

Personally, if he was a good friend, I’d bring him into the build charge him only for parts and make him/her buy food and drinks. That way you get to hang out with a buddy, get some food and teach someone some tradeskills.

I would just decide on a “fair” % of cost. I would just do a flat 40% of materials cost and adjust the friend discount from there. See what that 40% comes out to & compare it with what you would have made had you been at your regular job. Adjust the cost from there imo.

Edit: and ^hes right, any research you did specifically for this project can be taken in to account if you’d like. Prior googling/practice/etc shouldn’t be, but thats just my opinion.

What kind of build are we even talking about here? A lot of professionals who really enjoy their job will give discounts simply because they enjoy the job/it’s a novel idea they’ve been wanting to try/etc. If this is something you’ve been wanting to do for a while but just didn’t have the time or materials I’d be willing to take the “pay cut” just for the experience.

Companies have R&D (research and development) budgets for a reason, but it becomes a gray area: are you doing time and research to create something ABOVE what the standard competition does?

If not, that’s like you paying to go through medical school-- nobody is footing the bill for that, but when you come out, you charge the standard rate of a physician, typically.

I say if the extra research is needed to do something above the usual, yea, you should charge from that. If you’re doing research just to catch up to speed to do the standard practice of business in that field, then you just gotta suck it up and play catchup.

Some Byrdo sticks have gone over 600$.

I don’t know how some of these custom stick builders make money seriously. I’ve sold off a couple of modded sticks @ cost. If I use my real hourly wage for my labor, no one in there right mind will buy my mods. Labor rate for custom stick building is difficult to gauge due to the niche market nature of it (the closest reference I could think of would be a contract/freelance carpenter).

Right now I am modding (not building) sticks as a hobby because I like to tinker with things.

Me niether.

Any labor costs I charge are outrageous because I HATE working on other people’s projects.

Unreally, you’re trying to juggle a price that makes it worthwhile for you to do the labor and yet still seems arbitrarily ‘fair’. That way leads to madness. The ONLY number you can use is what you would feel happy to get for all of the work. Any less than that and you’re doubly screwed for having to do all of the hard work, and not even getting enough money for the trouble. Trying to base it on an hourly rate goes to hell quick, because there definitely will be more work than you originally thought, and you’ll be using hourly rates equal to a full time job; contracting work is far more expensive exactly because it isn’t a full time year-round job.

And, pro-tip, whatever number you come up with, double it. There WILL be a lot more work than you originally thought there would be.

Essentially its a co-worker who I’m real cool with, dont’ hang out with or anything, but for lack of better terms ‘thats my people’. For my close friends I’ve done all work ‘at cost’ even chipped in money myself just out of the hobby aspect of it, but this project is a bit more in every category to the point where I feel I should reap ‘something’ for the hard work. In terms of the research, there was early database work and research done, then he had some specific request which I’ve quickly turned around to meet (he’s actually getting so excited he’s cherry picking mroe and more options, and THIS adds another issue)…so inj short there is ‘law school’ cost which I have no quarrels absorbing, but then there is the time spent in the library because of this specifc job. I’m still trying to get all teh materials, some are on back order for various reasons including money, but I’m expecting a final material bill around $350 right now. I am looking at a $100 tax for my time, far below the time cost, but enough to keep me motivated to work on his project (I got a backlog, I needed the weather to improve damn winter hehe).

But I need to figure out a price plan for if he keeps adding shit.

  • :bluu:

The hardest thing is to do work for your friends and family that costs a lot of your time and money. Since this person is a ‘co-worker’ I suggest charging a decent price for it. If he is expecting to pay $700 and keeps adding things to the project it seems like he is trying to milk it for all its worth. You need to be honest with the person and let them know the more they add the more its going to cost, because clients/customers will drive you nuts adding to projects with out realizing what they’re doing. The best thing, if you haven’t given him a set price is to figure out what its worth to you to spend all this time on it, make it worth it, charge a good amount of money (assuming you do good work, otherwise if you don’t do great work you should lower your price). Then once you give him the final price, you could be a nice guy and cut a little off of it if you finished in a shorter amount of time or just to help your ‘co-worker’ out with a price cut. Don’t short change yourself because you know the person, treat them like any other person who you don’t know.

These are all good points guys. Its definately hard to make a decision on what to charge friends.

hell… I gave away the first two stick I made to two of my closest friends, didnt charge em a dime.

If you’re looking at $450 for your time and materials and he’s expecting to pay $700 - you could meet him halfway. $575… you theoretically get a little extra without of the guilt of overcharging and he gets a significant discount. Win-win?

That’s just my 2 cents.