View Full Version : Prices for CAD, cloth cutting, Cloth Engraving?

Ed Hutton
09-17-2010, 11:38 AM
Dear Forum,

I usually charge by the hour for CAD (I do mechanical & electronic CAD also). I charge $125/hr for CAD work. I have some clients who are fine with this and I have some that think this is pricey. This is all business to business work, Biotech applications primarily.

What is your expectation for pricing CAD work? Some of the files I get need a lot of work, some are just a napkin. Ocassionally, I get something in good shape (some of those I charge nothing for setup).

I'm cutting cloth and engraving text on it for a new biotech application. Final product is a cloth helmet. Several pieces and a lot of cuts, it takes about 9 minutes to cut a panel of cloth and engraving a lot of vector text.

I usually use the laser in conjunction with other equipment, but this job it is all laser. Pieces have to cut to fit the laser vector table, and then each piece (pattern) is cut out to make a set for the end product. The end product when finally assembled prices at a couple of thousand dollars to the end user.

What sounds reasonable for cutting these patterns and engraving the cloth? I'd like to be fair to the client, but I don't want to give it away either. It will be a few dozen pieces at a time, and over all might be a couple of hundred pieces across 18 months.

Ideas on what you would charge, and how you would price it gratefully accepted! Thank you.

Bob Davis
09-17-2010, 1:11 PM
In setting a price there are many factors to take into account - overheads, depreciation, labour, maintenance etc; fortunately most of them are totally irrelevant and should be acknowledged, recognised and then totally ignored.
You should charge what the market will bear, and you'll only find out what that is by losing the occasional job, talking to a lot of people and listening to more. Using hourly rates is a guide, but no more than that. Your customer has no use for your time - he or she is paying for the result.
There can be an almost overwhelming urge to reduce pricing to accommodate your customer, but you have to hang tough until it is clear that you are uncompetitive and that the customers are going elsewhere. If that is not the case try putting on a bit more margin.
I'd also like to point out that I am basing this on my experience only, and that you should feel free to ignore it completely. Tread your own path!

Dan Hintz
09-17-2010, 1:38 PM
If you're talking strict CAD work, $125/hr is pretty darn high... most draftsman (in most industries) are billed out at $50-$75/hr and make maybe half of that themselves. If we're talking actual design work while drafting, $125/hr is probably about average, maybe even a bit low, depending upon what you do.

Wil Lambert
09-18-2010, 5:52 AM
Around me $125 is very high. If you can get that much great, your market will bear it. My pricing varies per industry. It doesn't vary much but some clients are in industries that bear higher prices with out issue. Others get the normal pricing. Depends on where they are located. I have clients in every part of the country and some outside of it. Same thing goes for CNC machining.

Russell Ludwick
09-18-2010, 6:01 PM
Depending on the customer and the work I usually bill out about 35-65 dollars an hour. Industry standard for CAD work is about 60-70 dollars per hour, but if you are extremely specialized you might be able to charge more.

The thing about CAD work is that people really don't know how long it takes to make a CAD model unless they can do it themselves. You could have a simple part and bill them 2 hours, even though it only took 10 minutes to make. The customer can't really tell if they are getting a fair price or not. I personally never do that, but it happens all the time from what I understand.

Mark Ross
09-19-2010, 12:28 PM
$32.50 an hour for CAD work, be it for designing electrical schematics, printed circuit boards, plastic injection molded parts using Solidworks or Inventor, or Corel Draw for artwork for the laser.

Customers complain about that. What they usually fail to realize is the upfront cost for the programs (Corel excluded) and the mandatory "subscription fees" / tech support for the programs.

Now if it is an OH MY GOD I NEED IT NOW, CAN YOU WORK 36 STRAIGHT HOURS? Well...I can, but you might not like my expedite fee...

That all being said it is Sunday and I am at work again so...

Ed Hutton
09-20-2010, 6:36 PM
Well that was eye opening! Expecially $32/hour for solidworks! For designing parts and solids modeling? That is competitive with offshore prices in some of the more developed second world countries!

Thank you everyone! I've never had any complaints about the work quality or designs themselves, just sometimes the prices. I guess it is better to go down than try to go up. And yes, usually the people who complain the least about the prices want it yesterday. I'm fine with that.



Dan Hintz
09-20-2010, 7:48 PM

I'm subbing all of my CAD work out to you from now on... those prices are insanely low. I was making that directly as a draftsman working for a company as their employee (not a contractor) back in the early 90's. The clients themselves were charged 100-150% more.