View Full Version : Electrical Panel Tags

Chuck Patterson
03-04-2009, 12:10 PM
Hello Everyone,

I need some assistance with quoting a job. Want to get an idea of what others would charge for this job. I just purchased an engraver and things are still pretty new to me as far as pricing things out.

The job is labeling ALL the electrical outlets and breaker boxes in ALL buildings within an entire school district. They have no idea how many there are but they say there will be a ton of them and will be quite a long project. Here is the size they are requesting:

1" x 3" Single Line, 2 holes
3/8" x 1.75" Single line, adhesive back

Will be using engravable plastic Black/White

Any ideas or suggestions on how to charge either by the square inch or by the piece. Does anybody have a standard pricing structure/table for commonly used sizes? (example...$0.70 per sq in)

Any input or suggestions would be appreciated.

Thank you,

AL Ursich
03-04-2009, 12:24 PM

Is this a new law or something I should check out locally?


Gary Hair
03-04-2009, 12:49 PM
Try doing a mockup of the tags, enough to fill an entire sheet, or whatever your engraver can do at one time. Time this run and multiply by your hourly rate then divide by the number of tags. This will be your base cost per tag. Add in the setup, cleanup, packaging time and you will have a pretty good idea of what you need to charge for this to be profitable. You should also give them a minimum order amount, either a $ or quantity amount. Are you installing them too?

To save time, you can put the adhesive tape on the material before you engrave/cut - it's much easier to put on an entire strip than a whole bunch of little pieces.

It sounds like a pretty nice project, good luck!


Chuck Patterson
03-04-2009, 12:50 PM

Not that I am aware of. Many of the buildings in our district are old and have gone through numerous remodels and additions. Newer Maintenance Employees have no idea what plug ins belong to which breakers and spend many wasted minutes/hours searching for the correct panel. Also, many of the ones that were previously marked with a printed labeler have been scratched off or removed by the kids.


Chuck Patterson
03-04-2009, 1:01 PM

Thank you for the input. I will give your equation a try and see what I come up with.

No, I don't have to do a thing. They will gather all the data needed to be engraved and do the install. It is a pretty sweet deal.

Here is an example an order:

Panel: C23
QTY 1: 1" x 3"

Outlets for C23:
C23-1 though C23-30
QTY 30: 3/8" x 1.75"

It will obviously be much larger, but that gives you an idea. They think it will take about a 18 - 24 months to complete the entire project.

Mike Null
03-04-2009, 2:01 PM
You may want to consider buying your material pre-taped. Also consider using 1/32" material if permitted.

Find out how they're going to provide the nomenclature. If they don't give you something like a Word document you could be in for a lot of typing and time.

Find out if there will be many of the same tag--you can organize your job accordingly.

Research done ahead of time will save you when it comes time to engrave.

If you're looking at thousands of labels I'd buy an automatic tape dispenser.

I bought mine from Innotec. It was about $500 and worth every penny.

Dave Lyda
03-04-2009, 5:07 PM
Chuck be sure of the term "ton". A ton to them may be 100 and a ton to me is 1000. I've heard this so many times before where they say this to get a great price quote on large quantities and then only order 50 and want the same price. Ask lots of questions before you give them any pricing. I found this out the hard way.

James Rambo
03-04-2009, 5:50 PM
Are they wanting square edges or beveled edges? I do This type of tags for the hospital I work at I charge $0.45 per square inch without bevel but with double stick tape on reverse side.

Chuck Patterson
03-04-2009, 6:41 PM
Thanks for all the heads up advice. Being fairly new to the trade, I really appreciate all the help.

Yes they will be providing me with all the needed information.

No bevels, square edges with double stick tape.

I asked them how many they thought and I got a really wide range. They said more than 2500 but less than 12,000. (how about that for an answer?) With that sort of answer, it might be best to ask them to submit orders with pre-determined amount. (ex: each order must be a minimum of 300)

Open to more ideas and thoughts if you have any.

Gary Hair
03-04-2009, 7:13 PM
I asked them how many they thought and I got a really wide range. They said more than 2500 but less than 12,000. (how about that for an answer?) With that sort of answer, it might be best to ask them to submit orders with pre-determined amount. (ex: each order must be a minimum of 300)

I would give them a very clear price quote based on the quantity that they are ordering. I would even start at 1-50, 51-500, 501-1000, etc. I have other jobs that have some pretty high quantities ordered and they will also order 1 or 2. I gave them a minimum of 10 pieces so they get charged for 10 no matter what they order. Of course I'll waive that if they just ordered 1,000 and need 5 more, but you have to make sure you cover yourself.


Dave Lyda
03-04-2009, 7:28 PM
We use rowmark textured material on almost 100% of tags. Works indoors and outdoors, is laserable and rotary engraveable. We bevel every tag that we do with the only exception being too small of a tag to bevel and we don't charge extra for it. It just looks more professional. Small tags can be a bigger pain because of their size, so we do have a minimum price on a tag. We've found that a set price per tag works better for pricing. That way you and your customer are always on the same page with no surprises for either of you. Try to see exactly what they want engraved before you give them a price if possible. Also get a typed list from them; not written by hand. Also learned that the hard way.

Mike Null
03-04-2009, 8:56 PM
That they will privide all information is a given. How they provide is important. A typed list means you have to re-type it to set up your engraving. Get an electronic document that you can import and convert to text. Otherwise you will spend all your profit typing.

Joe Pelonio
03-04-2009, 10:36 PM
I did two similar jobs today, one was for 197 and the other for 300. In both cases I had my supplier for the 3M467MP on the backs. For the closest size to yours I got 39 to a 12x24 sheet and I charged $1.75 each (wholesale price) using their emailed artwork set up ready to run.

AL Ursich
03-04-2009, 10:46 PM
I did this job for the West Palm Beach Post last year. A broken water pipe in the street put a bunch of dirt in the water system. The restrooms all have IR flushing and sinks. The dirt in the high tech valves caused days of havoc. I got a job to make labels for all the fixtures so the cleaning staff could be more precise notifying Maintenance.

But most of that all went away when they quit printing the paper and laid off most of the staff and only have Writers and print at a competitor's press.

But is was a fun project. Sublimated it on Aluminum.

And some other stuff I did for them.


Bob Cole
03-04-2009, 11:54 PM

How do you bevel your tags?

The customers I've had so far didn't seem to care whether the tag was beveled or not but I am waiting for that one customer to want 1000 tags beveled. I have a method to give the beveled look with the laser but it takes forever to run the tags. Guess it would work in a pinch.


If you haven't seen the other post about Textures and the pains, you may want to read it. Depending on the laser power you have, you may need to run a few times. I personally like textures better than lasermark or lasermax for the durability.

Scott Challoner
03-05-2009, 9:28 AM
I have a method to give the beveled look with the laser but it takes forever to run the tags.

If you raster to provide the beveled look, it will take a long time. I use the contour tool to add a couple of hairlines inside the cut line. Only takes a second or two and still adds the "frame" that beveling gives. I also like this because you can round the corners for a little nicer look too.

Chuck Patterson
03-05-2009, 9:43 AM

Good question, how do I bevel edges with a laser? You have any quick tips on that you do not mind sharing?

I will go search the other posts for the Textures and their pains. I have lots of reading to do...so much to learn. I am so glad I found this site, you folks are the greatest. You will being hearing lots from me.

Chuck Patterson
03-05-2009, 9:44 AM
Thanks I will try that.

Brian Robison
03-05-2009, 11:43 AM
Someone here suggested adding a 4.0 point line on top of a hair line for beveling. I've been doing that with great results. Scott is right though, It would probably double or even triple your engraving time. It's OK with one or two parts but with a whole sheet I'd have to look at some other way.

AL Ursich
03-05-2009, 2:32 PM
Johnson Plastics sells a Quality One Model 17 Beveler for about $800.00

I would just set up a Router Table with a bit.


Dave Lyda
03-05-2009, 2:36 PM
Bob, we use a beveler that Johnson Plastics sells. Also New Hermes has one. Large volume of tags can be engraved and then cut out with a rotary engraver also. This gives them a beveled edge when cut out.

Mike Null
03-05-2009, 3:31 PM
If you expect to be doing a lot of name tags/control panel labels the beveler is worth it's weight in gold.

Sometimes you can find used ones on ebay.

If I were buying a new one it would be the Quality One from Johnson's.

James Rambo
03-06-2009, 9:47 PM
I lucked into a beveler. When I was hired 9 years ago the hospital I work at, had a old man that worked as a volunteer. He did all the engraving on a rotary engraver. He past away and no one knew how to run the machines. I got my laser a year later and have done all the engraving (I do very little for them) at home though my business. As the machines were not being used they asked if I wanted them or they were going to be trashed. Since I hate to though things away, guess where they are.