What to charge customers?

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Fully Engaged
Posts: 369
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 8:09 pm
Location: Oak hills, CA.
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 4:14 pm
Hey everyone. Looking to get some info on what are some good prices to charge.

Paint jobs are coming out good.

What would be a good price to charge for the following work.

Single panel blending:

Multi panel blending:

Cutting and polishing car being painted:

Cutting and polishing cars someone else painted:

Re clearing panels:

Painting trims around a car a different color:

Painting door/hood/trunk jambs along with a whole car:

Painting an average sized truck:

Painting a small 4door or 2door car:

How much to add to a paint job for filling small dings:

Removing small scratches and polishing a panel:

I know prices vary by location but just looking for some ball park numbers. Dont want to undersell the work but don't want to charge what a legit body shop would charge.
Here are some pictures of what is turning out.

No cut and buff on this one.

Cut and buff on this one

Single panel blend.

This Toyota should have been blended in the sorrounding panels but the guy just wanted it to look better than it did without paying more so just blended with in the panel as best as possible.
Thank you!
Fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee.

Fully Engaged
Posts: 348
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:44 pm
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 11:07 pm
I dont think there are many people on here who do what you do. Most people on here are hobbiest. Or people who work for a shop. Charge $150 a day labor plus materials and parts. $75 plus parts and materials if it is something that takes 4 hours or less. Once you get real good at it and get a shop etc then adjust your rates accordingly.

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Posts: 369
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 8:09 pm
Location: Oak hills, CA.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 4:28 am
Thanks for the reply mmoeny.

So basically $18.75/hour would be a good rate to charge. Going to apply that formula to the next car that comes in.
Haven't really been jotting down the time. Things come up here and there and get drawn away from the work.
Probably going to get a big stop watch to punch every time work on a car begins and ends.
Thank you.
Fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee.

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Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 1:17 pm
Location: Pahrump NV.
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 2:33 pm
If I had to work for 18.75 hr I would hang up my hat! I don't work on peoples cars or planes because I love to. I do it to make a Living and 18 hr aint living!
Sick of customers & employers that think I should work for free and its even sicker that some one would work for less than me!

House payment $1100 mo.
Car payment 300 mo.
Gas for car 300 mo
Car insurance 70+
Food bill 350 mo
Sat TV 100 mo
Phone 50 mo
Internet 50 mo
Cell phone 50 mo
Elect 300
Gas / Water /trash ?
$2600 mo. Some guys cost of living may be Higher some may be lower BUT STILL I haven't even added in Taking wife or Girl friend out or Kids needs like diapers & formula or HEALTH insurance even with Obama care mine is 600 month or even buying Beer!

Your not doing any one any favors working for cheap! Accept fostering the mentality of another customer that expects Auto Techs/Mechanics are to work for nothing.
Dennis Barnett
A&P Mechanic, FCC General radio Telephone Operator
Line Maintenance A&P Mechanic and MOC Tech specialist.

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Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 4:46 am
Location: Canberra
PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 7:11 am
Doright wrote:Your not doing any one any favors working for cheap! Accept fostering the mentality of another customer that expects Auto Techs/Mechanics are to work for nothing.

Finally someone who tells it like it is. Thank you.

$18.75/hour is a joke. I pay my painter $38/hour (gross, before tax) so he takes home $1000/week. That doesn't include oncosts like superannuation (10%), workers compensation (5%) or any bonuses he might make.

A lot of money, sure, but he makes me 4-5 times that and I supply all the paint and materials, shop, rent, electricity, overheads, shop tools and equipment. Even the coffee and sugar and bog paper that employees seem to use more of than even a woman.

I charge the customers at $94/hour, plus 10% GST, a total of $103.40 and I'm about to put the rates up another 3.5%.

Learn how to do quality work and charge accordingly. Once you have some customers, and you'll probably get plenty at that kind of money, you will really have difficulty breaking out of the reputation as the "cheap bloke", including the dodgy work connotations that come with that.

Fully Engaged
Posts: 348
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:44 pm
PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 10:32 am
I agree 18 and hour is cheap. But this guy doesnt have a shop or tools and is working out of a home garage. 18 an hour is more than he is going to make starting out at body shop. He can charge low rates while learning on here and other sites. Like I said previously once he is real good and has a shop adjust your rates accordingly. I am in Texas and my labor rates are only $40 per hour.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 11:17 am
Here's my two cents.
Working out of your garage as a sideline, where it is not your only source of income, puts you into a different set of parameters. You do not have the overhead a professional shop does (i.e. building rent, utility costs, insurances, licenses, accountants, EPA regulations, etc.) and you do not have employee costs.
These things allow you to charge less for your time however you need to seriously consider things like taxes and upgrading your home owners insurance. What if your garage burns down with a customer's car in it? Do you have the contents insurance rider to cover that?
At tax time some customers may charge off the work you did as maintenance to their vehicle and then the IRS will come knocking when you failed to report the income. Others will send you a 1099 for work performed and if you haven't charged those customers enough to cover your taxes guess who loses?
When working for yourself you have to pay the full 15% of the Social Security tax as well as the income taxes. So if you were charging $20 an hour you will need to set aside $3 an hour just for SSA payments. That leaves you $17 an hour before pulling income taxes and the Feds and many States want a piece of that action. So now you are down around $12 an hour take home. Thus if you really want to make $20 an hour you need to charge $28 an hour minimum.
Of course this assumes you have the will power to set aside $8 an hour into a savings account to pay the tax man. Most do not and end up owing big time at tax season.
You should also consider that your utility bills for the house will go up considerably. The added electricity bill alone could go up $100 a month and if you have to pay for water that will increase as well. And there are tool expenditures, supplies and storage to think about.
I could go on but I think you get my point.

One last thing to remember is that you will be known for the paint jobs you produce. There are many that will want substandard work and for you to cut corners to save them money. However you must remember that when someone asks them, Who did your paint job? it is your name they will spit out.
1968 Coronet R/T

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