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Pricing your work????

PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:21 am
by Lukey
how do you guys go about pricing your work? I'm doing autobody and paint out of my shop as a side hobby for now (hopefully full time after getting some more work done to build a better clientele) I'm not going to be doing insurance work or major collision repair, I do do rust repair and full restorations though. I've lost my butt on the last few with trying to help people out (note to self, it may be a hobby now but treat it as a business!). Also, how many have contracts written/signed? Basically, I need pointers on changing from a basic hobby to a starting business.

Re: Pricing your work????

PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 7:20 am
by BeoBob
Contract, yes.

Pricing, that's tough. Every small business struggles with it.

Taken from my time running a small car audio shop and modified for this industry... Keep a journal for all you projects. Track of what you did, how much time you spent on each task, materials used, how many coats, how many sanding disks, etc... After a few jobs pasterns will emerge which will help you better estimate the next one.

Re: Pricing your work????

PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 10:00 am
by '68 Coronet R/T
I agree with keeping accurate books.
Personally I use Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. For each job I have a separate folder on my computer where I keep sub-folders for Pictures, Invoices, Reference Materials.
Of course under each sub-folder, like Pictures, I have other folders i.e. Before, After, Problem Areas, Interior, Body, Painted, and Assembly.

On the main Spreadsheet I have three pages. Labor, Parts, Payments
Labor - records the Date, Time In, Time Out, Description of the work and a total hours column for the day.

Parts - records the Date, Place of Purchase, Part Description, Quantity, Price Each, Tax & Shipping Charges and a Total Cost column. I also color code whether they have been invoiced yet or paid for by customer.

Payments - records the Invoice amounts for Labor, Parts, Amount Due, Amount Paid (Cash or Check #), Date Paid and running balance.

I have a laptop in the shop with a spreadsheet for recording hours and materials while working on a job. It's easy to get caught up in working on a project and forget how many sanding discs you actually used.

I bill monthly for time and materials. This is in the original contract along with the labor rate and a fairly accurate description of what the customer wants done.

As for estimates I try to avoid giving any detailed amounts due the nature of the restoration business. Most of the time you have no idea whats there until you get the vehicle stripped.

There are a couple of Professional Restoration Shops in the area and they charge $90+ and hour for their work. A paint job with no major body work is $9k so I price my time and estimates at about 30% of that but I work when I want to and how much I want to.

Remember overhead costs, like a nice shop, lift, paint booth, employees, insurances, regulations, etc. drive the Professional Shop prices higher, plus they generally promise the work done by a certain date.

Some months I might only get 10 hours in a car, other months it might be 40 hours so my customers have to put up with a slower pace to get the great pricing. However I guarantee my work for 1 year from completion.

Hope this helps.

Re: Pricing your work????

PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 4:43 am
by Lukey
Both those responses help a lot! As of right now I keep a daily planner with owner name, vehicle and hours started/stopped. I don't keep real records of supplies, but I will start so I can accurately know as each job is completed. I have been charging X amount upfront for beginning supplies and giving a record of what's used, but most of the customers I seem to get are gung-ho at the beginning and run out of money halfway through. I've sent two vehicles back half fininshed in the last year and taken a loss on labor. That's why I now require a contract, protects us both I figure. My full time job keeps me busy working 12 hours a day plus the 2 hour total drive time 6 days a week, so I'm keeping myself with 1 customer at a time and telling them expect a 1 to 1.5 year turn around on a total respray (vintage cars from central il. always have a lot of rust repair). Anyways, thanks again!

Re: Pricing your work????

PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 1:08 pm
by '68 Coronet R/T
Lukey wrote: . . . I've sent two vehicles back half fininshed in the last year and taken a loss on labor. . .

This is why I charge monthly. At the end of any given month, once payment is made, the owner can take his car away and there are no hard feelings on either side.

There is a difference in being a true professional who makes a living at this and someone like myself who does it on the side.

Re: Pricing your work????

PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 4:45 am
by krem
hey champ, chin up mate, it will work out if you want it to work out :goodjob:
(please note, i am not trained in this industry in any way, just self taught) but i do it as a hobby and have done a few paying jobs for customers and done quite well from them, i do however own and operate a plastering (drywall) business,
so my advice to you, DONT work for peanuts, figure out an hrly rate that you MUST get to pay the bills and give you a profit, NOT just a wage, you need to make a wage AND a profit, even if its just a few $$ a hr above your wage,
so work out your shop rent, power, gas, insurance, water (whatever it costs to keep the shop for a week), say in total its $200p/w, divide that by 40hrs (if you work 8hrs a day, 5 days a week), thats $5 a hr it costs to keep the doors open, then if you want to earn a wage of $20 a hr (example), thats $25 a hr to make a wage, but id be charging out minimum of $32 a hr to allow $7 a hr MINIMUM, so if you say to your customer, my hrly rate for the shop if $40hr, it gives you a little room to haggle with your price, but never go lower than your minimum, be totally honest with your hrs, if you spend 4.5hrs on the job, only charge out that amount, take heaps of pics of unexpected things that pop up to show the client why something took a little longer than expected,
take a deposit to cover materials, and then at different stages of the job, so if its a bare metal resto, take enough deposit to get all the materials except the color, then when its stripped back to metal, get the client in to look at the bare shell and discuss the job with them, they can see if the body is in poor cond or in great cond, then get a progress payment after its in epoxy, then get another payment when its in the final primer, and then when the job is completed.
as r/t says, keep detailed records, when quoting take heaps of pics, notes and dont be rushed into giving a price, make sure you work it out and then recheck it, altho it takes alot of experience in knowing how long to allow for the job to be done, you can work it out roughly if you think it thru mentally, each process, work out the materials needed for the job, i keep a sheet and record each time i use a piece of sand paper, mix up any paint and filler for each job i do, so that i can get to know how much jobs in the future will use and how much to charge out to that client
the most important thing to remember, BAD word of mouth spreads 10 x quicker than good word of mouth, so take pride in your work, dont rush or cut any corners, dont get yourself into a position where you need to cut corners, you cant make money by redoing any work or by having an upset client if youve done a **** job.
just off topic for a bit, in my plastering business, we dont leave the the jobsite and send an invoice out until the work is of the quality i would want in my own home, we have been in business for a very short time (18months now), we havent even had any business cards made up, done any advertising at all (not even in the ph book or stickers on our vehicle, not even on our workshirts, heck, we dont even have a logo!!) and we have only had around 10 days without any work in 18 months :happy: , we did inherit a couple of small builders from my old boss who retired, which is worth around 2 months a yr work, the rest that we got is from word of mouth, we take pride in our work, discuss with the builders what the other contractors do that pisses them off and make sure that we keep every1 happy, they are more than willing to pay a little extra $$ for the extra that we do that the others dont, and word spread that we do great work and we have just put another guy on the help us keep up with demand, we are around 2yrs ahead of our business plan and turning over 3x more than i forecast for this financial yr!!
now that dont have anything to do with painting cars, but it goes to show, if you want it bad enough and are willing to do great work and not be pushed into charging **** $$ which will force you to do **** work and get a bad reputation, you will do well if the demand is there!!
all the best mate, hope it work out for you :goodjob:

Re: Pricing your work????

PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 8:23 pm
by Doright
NEVER under price your labor trying to get customers!
Your not helping them and your not helping your self.
There are only two types of customers ones with money and ones without.

Ever shop for anything? ever wonder why you always look at the most expensive items first? Even when an item is the exact same thing for half the price right next to the most expensive item People subconsciously believe the Higher priced item is always the better quality product and purchase that item!

Ever wonder why People **** so much about how much there car repair bill was?
Ever wonder why so many go to the dealer to get there cars fixed and pay the Big money to have it fixed? They complain and cry foul about how much it cost to fix there car But haven't got a clue what the mechanic did or what was done because there not mechanics, Its a right of passage for them to complain to their friends they figure the more it costs the better the repair was they cry and complain for weeks about it and figure they don't have to worry about it breaking down for a while But yet when there Friends car breaks down they all have a great mechanic referral for ya hes a little expensive But he will fix your car right they say.

Have you Ever helped a customer out that you felt sorry for and then after you help them out fixing their car for cheap cutting your own throat on labor only for them to always say the same thing "I will tell all my friends about you and bring you all this extra business" Only to never see any one ever again! Ever wonder why?????

If your good at what you do If you really know what your doing you've invested in your self with training a place to do the work and all the tools and equipment to do the job right Don't be afraid to charge for your services! You will never convince any one that your top shelf charging half to one third what every one else charges for their labor.

Remember most of All your not the one walking or the one with the Broke **** car they are If they really cared about it they would lean how to fix it themselves or take it to a shop regularly but most people don't they run it till it breaks or get rid of it before it breaks and generally don't care how bad it looks as there gonna get rid of it after you fix the dent and paint it or make it run again.
They only shop around when its broke they have no customer loyalty to you your just the dumb **** giving away your labor.
It doesn't matter if your doing mechanical work or Paint and body work its the same thing.

If you want customers here how to get them:
People want to be able to sue you when it goes to **** or at least think they can They want to see a Business name on a sign & get a business lic.
People don't have a lot of cash they want to be able to use there insurance OR there Credit cards Get a credit card machine and Make nice to some insurance adjusters.
People want to call you up and shop around for prices, get a Business phone.
Most of all don't cut your throat or other business owners throats by cutting prices to attract business You wont make any friends in the neighbor hood create your own nitch and stick to it.

Re: Pricing your work????

PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 4:31 am
by krem
oh, 1 other thing.
NEVER bag out your competition, if a client comes to you with a dodged up repair, dont ask who did it, just say what you think has gone wrong and tell them that unless they have exhausted every avenue to give the original business the opportunity to fix their work, you wont touch it, you wont get any business or go broke if you bad mouth your competition!!
Be humble and say that you have heard of them and they can have bad days just the same as every1 else!!

Re: Pricing your work????

PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 4:38 pm
by Lukey
There's definately more good points here than I ever expected! After dealing with some deadbeats locally I'm giving thought to buying 1 vehicle at a time, do some show quality paint and bodywork (not trying to sound arrogant, just determined) and sell. Starting with 80s/90s cars, mustangs, camaros, s10, stuff like that since they are the hot item locally. Not sure how much money is to be made, but it sounds more intriguing than having customers wanting everything right now and not wanting to pay a fair wage. My main thing is I'm in a town of 500 people that is 15 miles from anything. Until I get a name for myself there is no reason for anybody to drive out here when there are some incredibly talanted shops in the cities around me. And since I work 48-60 hours a week, I can work at my own pace until I'm able to start my own shop. Any thoughts or suggestions here? I would keep the same records for my own builds as I would a customer then I will know exactly what type of wage I would be earning after it sells.