View Full Version : Fiber Marking Tools - How Much?

Darren Wilson
12-16-2016, 6:29 PM
Hello All,

Here's another how much to charge question....

I've be asked to quote on supplying 200+ Pelican Cases w/custom cut foam inserts, and laser marking of contents. The contents are all hand tools and are to be marked with the tool kit number and a individual tool number, something like this - KIT-XXX TOOL-XX. There are 3 different kits, with various numbers of tools in each. All up there will be 12,410 individual marks.

I currently do not have a fiber laser in my inventory, so I have no idea how to charge. I do have a 20W smart fiber laser from Maxphotonics due next week, which I plan to use for the marking. This unit is potable, and I was planning on doing the marking on-site at the customer facility, to stay away from the logistics and risk of taking inventory of so many tools.

I'll be quite honest, I have never had to quote anything anywhere near this so all the numbers I'm crunching look alien. Most of my jobs are for individual tool case or roll cabs and range from $300-$1500, without marking. The customer is specifying an annealed mark on chrome tools, and did not specify for others. I was thinking of charging a straight $3.50 a mark, seems fair, but doing the math, I'm not used to seeing these kind of figures.

There are some major players in the tool industry also quoting this job, not sure if that matters but I'm sure they are not giving products and services away either. From what I understand they all outsource their laser marking and are not shy about making a margin on the service.

Would love to hear how you experienced folks would price this, thanks in advance.

Rodne Gold
12-17-2016, 1:31 AM
A 20w fibre should cost you $5000 door to door

You have 12000 items to mark , even if you charge 50c an item , your first job pays for the laser and more....

If you can get $3.50 a mark..you will be doing real good

I estimate you can possibly do 50 items an hour , so 12 000 marks could take 240 hours , or based on a 6 hr day , 40 days to do this job (lets say 6 weeks)
I would NOT do this on site .. on site marking will be a pain...and slower

Darren Wilson
12-17-2016, 2:56 AM
Hi Rodne,

12k marks, nearly 500 foam trays, it is a daunting task to tackle. Landing this would surly take my business to the next level, or break me. I just want to get the numbers right and put forward a competitive quote. I don't want to gouge the customer, but I don't want to sell myself short either.

You are spot on $5k USD, I spent a bit more w/rotary and extra lens. I had this coming before, I was asked to bit this job, so having it paid for on potentially the first go would be great, but do you reckon $.50 is all I can get for the marking?
What I was basing the $3.50/mark on was that I bought a tool kit including foam, case and marking from one of the companies I'm bidding against 5 years ago. They charged me $5.50+gst to mark each tool! There was only 200 or so pieces, but it was just over $1300 to mark my initials and 4 numbers.

Sounds like I'm way off

Thanks for your reply

John Lifer
12-17-2016, 8:05 AM
Well, you may be off, but no one big would do the job for $.50 a mark if they are wanting to make money. At an employee base cost of $15 an hour, for 40 days would cost you $4800. ( 6 hours marking, and 2 hours downtime, lunch breaks etc.) It is an employee, not you! So margin of 50% is $9600. And then the cost of moving around the items. Big company won't do for free, they will add some costs for that. Or the company buying service will pick up and deliver. But I don't think most companies will do for $30 an hour. I'd say $1.99 each that's $60 an hour based on 66 days at 6 actual cutting hours. Oh, no don't do on site! You don't want anyone seeing what you are doing.......

Bill George
12-17-2016, 8:20 AM
Ditto not on site and the fiber is not as portable as you might think. The parts on mine are still connected with a fiber optic cable and two others in a bundle I would not want to disconnect. Plus there is a learning curve.

My wife said I charge to much, but if I am working I want to make money, as this is not is non profit. If you work cheap your cheating yourself.

Darren Wilson
12-17-2016, 5:16 PM
Hi John,
You are correct, they are not giving anything away. I actually contacted the rep I made my last purchase from who is no longer working for them and he confirmed that. He told me straight up that yes they gave us corporate pricing on the tools, which is approximately the price dealers get and still profitable, but they more than made up for that smaller margin on tools with the foam cutouts and marking. Even expanded on how they plant seed of doubt, by telling customer if they use a marking process that breeches the chrome plate the lifetime warranty is void, hence why the requirement for anneal mark on this bid. $60 and hours sound a bit better, I generally charge out my Epilog more that that but have not had this type of volume before. I'll take the no on-site marking on board, the biggest issue is I'm home based and am tight for room as it is. I might have to stipulate a schedule or shipments in batches. Will cross that bridge when I get there.
Thanks for your reply

Darren Wilson
12-17-2016, 5:32 PM
Hi Bill,
I think my unit is a bit different that the Ray Fine you got. It only weighs 20kg and source and motion control are in case about the size of small form Dell desktop. I plan to custom cut it into a larger Pelican case about 1560 or so, and have the galvo tower and head mount to the lid of the box. Nothing moves to quickly with the company asking for the quote, so hopefully by the time they come to a decision, I will be at the upper end of the learning curve, fingers crossed.
I agree, I'm not a charity or not-for-profit, I want to make money and have ambitions to make this my main source of income, and possibly work part time at what I do now. That said, there is potential to get more business from this customer if I provide them with a quality product and a fair price. This is only one their many facilities that will require this type of work, and I'm hoping I can get in on that work as well.
Thanks for your reply

Darren Wilson
12-17-2016, 5:46 PM
This is the unit I have coming. Very compact, but will still have cables attached.