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Nick Syrax
08-01-2011, 4:47 PM
I do a good bit of work for a company that does work with fabric. They have me cut out pieces from fabric that they supply me with and the complexity ranges from a simple circle to fairly complex. The items also range in how many pieces are part of a finished piece, from 1-70. They supply both the art and the fabric and usually all I have to do is arrange the art to get the most pieces out of the supplied fabric. I am having a hard time pricing things for them since the work always ranges in size and scope. Should I be charging hourly? Per piece? Per finished sample? Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!

Craig Matheny
08-01-2011, 6:13 PM
We have a set hourly rate for piece work on the laser so when we do get jobs like yours we can just give an hourly quote

Nick Syrax
08-01-2011, 7:23 PM
We have a set hourly rate for piece work on the laser so when we do get jobs like yours we can just give an hourly quote

Do you do a minimum? Would you also charge a setup fee, basically for setting up the art to be cut as well as prepping the machine? Thanks so much! Pricing is NOT mo forté! :0)

Dan Hintz
08-01-2011, 7:33 PM
Since the pieces change in size/shape, I would consider something closer to a per hour charge. The issue with per hour is one side or the other may feel they're being taken advantage of (they may see you as going slow to build up the cost, for example). If you have the process down and the work is steady, per hour may work reasonably well. If the speed of work varies from project to project, another possibility is a rate based upon square footage of the pattern (assuming you can calculate it).

Michael Hunter
08-01-2011, 7:42 PM
Any sort of design work is skilled - even just optimising placement of other peoples shapes.
Machine minding is unskilled, BUT the machine has it's own rate on top of that of the operator.
So using one rate for the whole job seems reasonable to me for this sort of work. The whole job from unpacking and setting up, to packing up at the end.

A setup fee can lead to arguments and therefore lost customers. I find it better to "hide" the setup costs within the overall job and only charge a fee if a special jig or a great deal of tweaking is needed.
When I do charge a fee, I make it very clear that the fee has not bought anything from me - I still entirely own any jigs, artwork or know-how, even if the customer has paid for it.

Having a minimum rate is vital. Below that, let the competition pick up the job and wear out their machine for peanuts, while you do something more useful (preferably selling, but maintenance is OK).

Joe Pelonio
08-01-2011, 9:31 PM
I have a regular customer that wanted a rate per piece for something they use in manufacturing, so I simply ran a sample, timing it, and did the math. So far we've both been happy over several years now with $0.80 each, and they normally get 500-1,500 per order. I charged setup the first time, that was 1/2 hour at $75/hour to take their CAD file and arrange the parts for maximum cutting yield.

Bill Cunningham
08-04-2011, 10:10 PM
For varying sizes/shapes, like Joe, I run a sample and use the the actual time displayed on the laser panel added to the time it takes me to load/unload the machine. Initial artwork prep is a onetime charge. All time is charged at my shop rate of $80.00 per hour. ($1.33 a minute)

Robert Walters
08-04-2011, 10:31 PM
If you're having to manually arrange parts to fit how many will fit on the material.
I'd look at buying an application that does nesting for you.

They are not cheap, but save a whole lot of manual work and are usually better at it than by hand.

Break the cost of the software into what you'll charge them over (lets say) 12-24 months,
so you can purchase the next upgrade when it comes out. It'll save them "per hour" rates
as well as material costs (higher yields), and you some headaches.

Do realize that it'll give a higher density of parts per pieces, so laser run time will be longer.