View Full Version : Is this worth it considering wear and tear?

Harper Abbot
04-27-2010, 12:55 PM
In your opinion, is a full table raster job with about 20-30 minutes of machine time worth ~$33 net profit? The idea would be to run this job all day, but I can see buying new x motors, bearings, etc. more often. My Epilog Legend 32 is older, but brand new to me, so I don't know how big an impact wear and tear makes upon the bottom line. How do you guys generally go about accounting for machine time costs?

Thanks a lot,


John Noell
04-27-2010, 2:32 PM
I hope it is worth it because I am doing sme jobs like that! Slim margins sometimes -- but I am hoping that it helps get the word out and bring customers back.

Lee DeRaud
04-27-2010, 3:09 PM
If that "$33 net profit" number doesn't include all your expenses (including machine wear-and-tear), then it isn't "net profit" by any definition I'd care to use.

As far as long-term motion-system maintenance costs for your machine are concerned, I have no idea what kind of number to put on it.
But I suspect it's very small compared to tube recharge/replacement costs.

Dee Gallo
04-27-2010, 3:27 PM
I would consider the type of work before counting up wear and tear costs. Anodized aluminum for instance is a lot cleaner to run than wood.

Also, maintenance is easy but if not done regularly will allow for more wear and tear, so you must factor in that time for the machine to be down.

You didn't mention if this is a one day-all day job or a continuous-all day job. This would impact your ability to do anything else if it comes along and tie you to your machine for about $400 a day.

There are loads of people who would love to make $400 a day with their laser, but others who would not think it's worth it. Personally, I prefer making $400 a day to zero with the laser sitting and the tube losing power without doing anything.

just my 2 cents, dee

Rodne Gold
04-27-2010, 3:31 PM
You need to amortize the whole machine over 3 years .. $15k laser at 5k per yr or $400 a month or $20 a day...
I also recon any profitable job is beter than none

Martin Boekers
04-27-2010, 3:48 PM
One thing to think about is what Epilog charges for a year extension on the service contract.

You can use that as an idea for what they expect the maintenance to cost.

Use that as a guide line when you figure your costs over a year.

If this is an ongoing job 3 days profit for a new motor, 5 days profit for a mother board, 7 days for a tube etc.

I too would rather run it than sit.

Maybe full sheets might be less where and tear than doing small plates where you continiously speed up and slow down:confused:

Gary Hair
04-27-2010, 4:31 PM
I calculate that to be $528 per day based on an 8 hour day. ($33/30 minutes = $1.10 per minute * 480 minutes in a day = $528) If I could count on $528 gross profit every day I would be fairly happy. The number you mention MUST be gross profit because you haven't figured in all of your expenses, as others have mentioned. At $528 per day, you could replace parts fairly frequently and still be money ahead.

I guarantee you that 99% of the people here don't run their laser 8 hours a day and they don't make anywhere near $528 per day in REVENUE, let alone gross profit. There was a poll recently and the majority of respondents were making less than $10,000 per YEAR - your figures would have you making more than that per month.

I say run the heck out of it, maintain it at the highest level you can and replace parts when necessary. If you truly can make that much per day, you could replace the machine every few months and still be money ahead.


The other option would be to turn down the job and only take enough work to keep the laser running 30 minutes per day - it will last much longer that way...

Now... you can pm me with the product/service you are providing and I'll be eternally grateful :D


Ross Moshinsky
04-27-2010, 5:05 PM
$500/day = $120k a year. Lets say that $500 is inflated by 30%, it's still $84,000 a year. I don't know why you wouldn't want to run the job all day long. You're talking about making $60/hr. That's nothing to sneeze at.

Joe Pelonio
04-27-2010, 5:05 PM
There were times that I ran my laser more than 10 hours a day, and made a profit of close to $1,000 a day on that, but unfortunately, with that kind of cost to the customer, plus shipping in this case,they eventually decided that it was cost effective for them to buy their own. What you really need is a lot of decent customers rather than a few great ones.If you are not on warranty it's a good idea to not only charge for the "wear and tear" but also put it aside so you have it when you need it. The only thing worse than being down in the middle of a good job is not having the $ to get it going again.

When calculating profit I consider all labor including cleaning mirrors and lenses as profit since I do it myself now. When I had employees the profit margin was a lot less.

Mike Null
04-27-2010, 5:32 PM
I think Rodney's 3 year amortization should work for you. Take the job.

Scott Shepherd
04-27-2010, 5:47 PM
I'd take the job as well.

Harper Abbot
04-28-2010, 12:50 PM
Thanks for your input. I like the 3 year amoritization suggestion. At least it's a way to calculate the cost. My "net" profit was previously calculated with all costs except wear and tear.

I guess I was really just concerned that running full table rasters all day long would seriously tear up the machine, like new parts every couple of weeks or something.


Mike Null
04-28-2010, 3:00 PM

These machines are a lot more durable than you think. Besides, the parts most likely to wear on that job would be the bearings and they're usually less than $200 to replace.

My latest machine is nearly 4 years old and most jobs are raster then vector. Everything's still in good order and no service calls to date.

Just keep it clean.