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Thread: Am I an idiot and lose a job for “greed”?

  1. #1
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    Am I an idiot and lose a job for “greed”?

    I recently got an email through a craigslist ad I posted last week about a bike rack for security/storage. One that you put the tire in a stall and chain the tire to it.

    This guy wanted 2. One that fits 6 bikes for one house, and one that fits 4 for another. I got on the phone and got a quote for 1x1 tubing, and figured with the rough measurements that totaled about 130+ feet of steel, I gave the guy an estimate of about $3,800-$4,200. He kind of gasped at first and I know it’s a big figure, but it’ll be time consuming and so on.

    Am I an ***? I see posts all the time about “how do I charge this and that” but I generally found that people go as high as $100 a foot for some material. I figured my price was much lower than that, like $30 a foot for material.

    Should I not feel bad? Or is this a mistake learned and if so, how can I learn from it? Thanks.

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    Re: Am I an idiot and lose a job for “greed”?

    well what does yours look like? he could buy several different kinds on amazon for under $100 to $500..heres one https://www.amazon.com/Hollywood-Rac...-goods&sr=1-16 now I know yours will be built better and stronger, but its not fort knox grade needed...to keep some one from stealing a bicycle when in reality it will take a minute with a 20volt dewalt angle grinder with a cutting blade in it to cut any lock or chain they use..

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    Re: Am I an idiot and lose a job for “greed”?

    Seems like a lot to me. I markup my material 150% and then charge a price per hour usually around 75$
    So, Do you think the two bike racks would take more than a full 40 hour week to complete?
    Where I am there is no way I could charge even $1000 for a bike rack.
    Lincolin Power Wave 450, Lincoln Powermig 255, Lincoln Pro Mig 140, Lincoln Squarewave Tig 275, Miller Big 40 G(with Hobart Hefty suitcase), Thermal Arc 95S and Esab PCM875 in an already full machine shop.

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    Re: Am I an idiot and lose a job for “greed”?

    That’s basically what I did. I’ve set my hourly rate to about $75, I figure maybe a solid week, a few hours after work each day, would’ve brought me to about what I said. I feel it was a bit much to charge but when marking up and hourly rate it’s what seemed to be okay. I told him on the phone it would be about $3k. Then he texted me other options like anchor plates, and square plates to put number placards on.

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    Re: Am I an idiot and lose a job for “greed”?

    Quote Originally Posted by J93Welder View Post
    That’s basically what I did. I’ve set my hourly rate to about $75, I figure maybe a solid week, a few hours after work each day, would’ve brought me to about what I said. I feel it was a bit much to charge but when marking up and hourly rate it’s what seemed to be okay. I told him on the phone it would be about $3k. Then he texted me other options like anchor plates, and square plates to put number placards on.
    are you in business? do you have insurance? or your working out of your garage to make a few extra bucks?

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    Re: Am I an idiot and lose a job for “greed”?

    Seems high. Will he want more? Is there bending / forming involved? Do you have the tools? Does your price include cleaning finishing/paint? Much of the time the first one is the most expensive.
    Good luck

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    Re: Am I an idiot and lose a job for “greed”?

    Yes all of that, minus bending but I’ve got all the tools and all that included. He wanted each bike stall to have 1/4 welder plate so he could put numbers on them, and mounting plates to anchor to concrete. Plus, one house is well far away from me, so this also includes my travel and gas and so on. It’s just when you break it down it doesn’t seem too crazy. But I offered ways to maximize space and minimalizing material and if we did it a certain way it could easily be below $3,000 for both.

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    Re: Am I an idiot and lose a job for “greed”?

    Quote Originally Posted by J93Welder View Post
    I recently got an email through a craigslist ad I posted last week about a bike rack for security/storage. One that you put the tire in a stall and chain the tire to it.

    This guy wanted 2. One that fits 6 bikes for one house, and one that fits 4 for another. I got on the phone and got a quote for 1x1 tubing, and figured with the rough measurements that totaled about 130+ feet of steel, I gave the guy an estimate of about $3,800-$4,200. He kind of gasped at first and I know it’s a big figure, but it’ll be time consuming and so on.
    Personally, I think you're high enough on price to be high on something.

    I did this job at $3,500...I mean seriously man.
    https://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthrea...unt&highlight=

    This I drew 3 plans, got 1 approved, built/delivered/installed for even less...
    https://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthrea...ics&highlight=
    Last edited by MinnesotaDave; 04-09-2020 at 09:18 PM.
    Dave J.

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    Re: Am I an idiot and lose a job for “greed”?

    Quote Originally Posted by MinnesotaDave View Post
    Personally, I think you're high enough on price to be high on something.

    I did this job at $3,500...I mean seriously man.
    https://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthrea...unt&highlight=

    This I drew 3 plans, got 1 approved, built/delivered/installed for even less...
    https://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthrea...ics&highlight=
    I love that turret!!!! It's on my todo list one of these days!!!

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    Re: Am I an idiot and lose a job for “greed”?

    Quote Originally Posted by ronsii View Post
    I love that turret!!!! It's on my todo list one of these days!!!
    Ha! On my list too...for me
    I later made him another mount for a different gun too.
    Dave J.

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  13. #11
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    Re: Am I an idiot and lose a job for “greed”?

    That’s awesome! I’m new and I went off the info I saw. I figured 140 ft of stock, plus all the cutting and welding and grinding and painting, it didn’t seem too far off for an incredibly upscale town it’ll be in.

    Is there a way to fix it? I don’t want to be annoying to him, but would it be worth calling tomorrow and say I modified things slightly and I got some price savings down, and maybe do both for about $1200-$1500 a piece?

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    Re: Am I an idiot and lose a job for “greed”?

    I would not lower the price. Perhaps offer to build another one. He has internet, perhaps he doesn't care about price and he also may know it takes money to run a business. You cannot go by the price at 500 bucks, you cannot compete. 12 to 1500 for both seems like a swing in the negative direction, especially if you have not built one yet.

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    Re: Am I an idiot and lose a job for “greed”?

    Since the number is out there, I would try to justify it. offer install, delivery, additional items... He may value time much more than money and be busy, the more you do the less he will have to think about it.


    will it be powder coated or galvanized? both require prep on your end.

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    Re: Am I an idiot and lose a job for “greed”?

    Quote Originally Posted by tapwelder View Post
    Since the number is out there, I would try to justify it. offer install, delivery, additional items... He may value time much more than money and be busy, the more you do the less he will have to think about it.


    will it be powder coated or galvanized? both require prep on your end.
    I agree with you - if the number is valid, then an itemized breakdown will be easy to put together.

    But I can't imagine the number being valid...
    Dave J.

    Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance. ~George Bernard Shaw~

    Airco 300 - Syncro 350
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    Re: Am I an idiot and lose a job for “greed”?

    Quote Originally Posted by tapwelder View Post
    Since the number is out there, I would try to justify it. offer install, delivery, additional items... He may value time much more than money and be busy, the more you do the less he will have to think about it.


    will it be powder coated or galvanized? both require prep on your end.
    I’ll let it simmer for a few days. He said I’m the first he called too. I did mention all that, extra things welded on it and anchor it to cement. I get it but at first he said the figure was what he was expecting

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    Re: Am I an idiot and lose a job for “greed”?

    Quote Originally Posted by MinnesotaDave View Post
    I agree with you - if the number is valid, then an itemized breakdown will be easy to put together.

    But I can't imagine the number being valid...
    How come it says you have a Dialarc in your list of machines but have an Idealarc in your shop?

    For the OP show some pics. of your design so we have a better understanding of what you're offering. You can't really go by what you see other things sell for. For 1" tubing with no bending and forming it seems quite high. My guess is you may have scared a potential customer away. Unless they are really high end bikes that would never be left outside, he could probably replace them a couple times for the cost of your bike racks. Did you ask if he had a budget in mind? It can also be very hard to compete with shops that are fully set up with jigs and tables and production saws etc. Have you done any custom work in the past? Chopping the price in half I think would make him feel like you were trying to take advantage of him but giving a price over the phone, unless it's under $100, without any drawings or plans of what you're proposing is a bad idea. You could have the Ft. Knox of bike racks in your head and the customer just wants the 7-11 version. That's why it's always best to meet in person or at least e-mail info back and forth so you're on the same page.
    Last edited by Welder Dave; 04-10-2020 at 02:32 AM.

  19. #17
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    Re: Am I an idiot and lose a job for “greed”?

    Make sure you stress that it is a custom build.
    Idealarc 250
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    And a crap ton of other stuff.

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    Re: Am I an idiot and lose a job for “greed”?

    Years ago when I had to do like 10 quotes a day, my mind would wander horrible. So I devised a method of building the job in my head and recording the cost of each operation as the build went along in my mind. When done I would just add up the total and fire off the quote. I charted each cost of setup and gave an element charge to each operation. It got precise enough I taught it to my wife who now does the quoting while I slave away in the shop. Months later when the job finally is approved and a deposit made, we can review the job and produce the shop travelers for production. Also everyone gets charged the same without prejudice.
    Weld like a "WELDOR", not a wel-"DERR"
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    Re: Am I an idiot and lose a job for “greed”?

    Quote Originally Posted by Welder Dave View Post
    How come it says you have a Dialarc in your list of machines but have an Idealarc in your shop?
    Ha! That's an easy question - I have too many welders and the Idealarc is one of the extras
    Dave J.

    Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance. ~George Bernard Shaw~

    Airco 300 - Syncro 350
    Invertec v250-s
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    Tried being normal once, didn't take....I think it was a Tuesday.

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    Re: Am I an idiot and lose a job for “greed”?

    The Idealarc is the better machine but both are good. The Airco is priceless! Knew a shop that did specialty welding with a similar Airco but it was yellow. Was used pretty much full time for few decades before it finally gave up the ghost. The owner of the shop used to sell Airco and had a couple Airco (Miller) machines. Had a similar size AC/DC single phase stick welder that was red. Used an engine drive Airco CV welder (probably one of the 1st CV engine drives) with an Airco Mobilmatic wire feeder to weld stainless steel test cylinders for well testing. He converted a hyd. hose crimper to make the heads for the cylinders and then turned them in a lathe for welding. He used the motor and speed control off an Airco wire feeder (same as control for 10B radiograph) to turn the lathe at a slow precise speed. Cylinders were hydrotested and started to bulge at 16,000psi. He made thousand of these test cylinders. Orders would come in for 2-300 at a time. Sad to see Airco, original Hobart, Purox/Linde and some other brands go. Back in the day they were right up there with Lincoln and Miller. Lincoln was very late getting into Mig.
    Last edited by Welder Dave; 04-15-2020 at 03:06 PM.

  23. #21
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    Re: Am I an idiot and lose a job for “greed”?

    I think you need to do more research on material costs but you are selling your expertise and labour. Wait and see if he comes back. Part of your expertise is estimating...
    Do not believe everything that you think.

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    Re: Am I an idiot and lose a job for “greed”?

    How much did your material cost, I can't see the 1x1 tubing costing more than $20 ea

    If you charge 30/ft thats like 3000% markup, usually 20%-50% markup is appropriate

    You said 140 ft, that's 6 0r 7 lengths of tubing, which would be roughly $140,

    How about making a sketch of what you were thinking about building?

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  26. #23
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    Re: Am I an idiot and lose a job for “greed”?

    I'm thinking the OP has gone off to re-evaluate his estimating model while slugging back a 26'r.

  27. #24
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    Re: Am I an idiot and lose a job for “greed”?

    I recall a member Wroughnharv suggest for pipe rail, price by the joint. That@a is where the work is done.

    This might a be an bid option in this case..

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    Re: Am I an idiot and lose a job for “greed”?

    Quote Originally Posted by MetalMan23 View Post
    How much did your material cost, I can't see the 1x1 tubing costing more than $20 ea

    If you charge 30/ft thats like 3000% markup, usually 20%-50% markup is appropriate

    You said 140 ft, that's 6 0r 7 lengths of tubing, which would be roughly $140,

    How about making a sketch of what you were thinking about building?
    Materials in my area are more than that unfortunately. It was gonna come in around 500, but he wanted more finer details to it, travel and painting, etc. it didn’t seem too far off for what I was doing in my head at the time. I live in an expensive area.

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