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Thread: Might get to retire early

  1. #1

    Might get to retire early

    I got an email yesterday from a potential customer looking for some work to be done. They wanted to know my rates because they have been using someone else and wanted to see if our prices were in the same range. They told me they were paying .10 cents a minute. I had to do a double take and get the calculator out because my "in my head math" surely couldn't be correct. For sure, my head was right, they want to pay me a whopping $6.00 per hour to do work for them.

    I'm not bothered by the customer part of it, but rather just thinking that somewhere out there, there's someone with a laser that thinks doing things for $6.00 per hour is a good business practice is what bothers me. Well, doesn't really "bother" me because I know the end result will be, or already is, someone not doing any more work for that price.

    Really? .10 cents a minute? I hope it's none of you
    Last edited by Scott Shepherd; 01-08-2014 at 9:25 AM. Reason: spelling error
    Lasers : Trotec Speedy 300 75W, Trotec Speedy 300 80W, Galvo Fiber Laser 20W
    Printers : Mimaki UJF-6042 UV Flatbed Printer , HP Designjet L26500 61" Wide Format Latex Printer, Summa S140-T 48" Vinyl Plotter
    Router : ShopBot 48" x 96" CNC Router Rotary Engravers : (2) Xenetech XOT 16 x 25 Rotary Engravers

    Real name Steve but that name was taken on the forum. Used Middle name. Call me Steve or Scott, doesn't matter.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    And I thought I was charging to little when I bid a job and thought I would make $60.00 an hour and only made $50

  3. #3
    You are taking their information as truth...I'm sure no one need tell you at this point to steer clear. Liars or morons, in either case, I would tell them to hit the road.
    Epilog Legend 36EXT ~35W
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  4. #4
    I would want more info from them before I over-reacted. I don't normally give customers a per-minute rate as there are way too many variables. If you ask them to let you quote on a job or two then you will know if it is really viable or not. They need to compare the prices of the end product, not the shop rate. Perhaps they have been mislead by their current supplier.

  5. #5
    there's someone with a laser that thinks doing things for $6.00 per hour is a good business practice is what bothers me
    Welcome to the world of $300 ebay lasers and people running a non taxed sideline they have fooled themselves into believing is a *business* !

    Had it here a few years back, people expected me to run a $500,000 Machine for the same as it cost to keep it powered up and supplied with gas, needless to say I *declined* the offer and those that did it are no longer in business.

    cheers

    Dave
    You did what !

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Canton, Ohio
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris DeGerolamo View Post
    You are taking their information as truth...I'm sure no one need tell you at this point to steer clear. Liars or morons, in either case, I would tell them to hit the road.
    What Chris said!!
    Life and death don't bother me. It's that little period of time in between that bothers me.

    Epilog Mini-24 40w with Rotary, Flame Polisher, CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X6, EngraveSoft, Windows 10 64-bit.

  7. #7
    Sounds like B.S. to me but they could be making money in other ways such as materials, design, setup, shipping...
    I design, engineer and program all sorts of things.

    Oh, and I use Adobe Illustrator with an Epilog Mini.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    Scott,

    You don't know how good you have it at $6/hour! (pre tax I assume?)
    Here on the West Coast we have folks standing on street corners holding signs that say "will engrave for food."
    You can increase your profit margin with a small generator on your bicycle. Keep that engraver off the grid, improve your health and fitness, and you will be nearby and able to watch it in case of flare ups!!

    <grin>

    Seriously though. I hope that person was simply trying to game you. I do hope someone is not actually charging that, or was doing it for this one person as an extreme favor. If I end up with a laser in hand someday, even though I am a hobbyist I would not want to undercut the engravers in my area. That is not fair to them and not good for the community over the long term. Good luck with this!
    900x600 80watt EFR Tube laser from Liaocheng Ray Fine Tech LTD. Also a 900x600 2.5kw spindle CNC from Ray Fine. And my main tool, a well used and loved Jet 1642 Woodlathe with an outboard toolrest that helps me work from 36 inch diameters down to reallllllly tiny stuff.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Griffith View Post
    Sounds like B.S. to me but they could be making money in other ways such as materials, design, setup, shipping...
    Well, you'd think, but they also quoted $10 each per file for making them ready for the laser. After my reply, I don't expect to hear from them again. I wasn't nasty, I politely explained we don't work for $6.00 per hour, explained our rates and told them we'd be happy to help should they need our services.
    Lasers : Trotec Speedy 300 75W, Trotec Speedy 300 80W, Galvo Fiber Laser 20W
    Printers : Mimaki UJF-6042 UV Flatbed Printer , HP Designjet L26500 61" Wide Format Latex Printer, Summa S140-T 48" Vinyl Plotter
    Router : ShopBot 48" x 96" CNC Router Rotary Engravers : (2) Xenetech XOT 16 x 25 Rotary Engravers

    Real name Steve but that name was taken on the forum. Used Middle name. Call me Steve or Scott, doesn't matter.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Twin Cities, Minnesota
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    I get calls all the time for design work with the same tactic, I think they teach it in BS (business) school. "We are using another guy but we're paying 15$ per hour! Can you believe that!? Anyway, we need to cut some costs and heard you were good..." I've also heard "That's a bit more than we'd like to spend" and "That's a bit outside of our budget". You know what's out of my budget? Working for anyone who doesn't understand the value of the services I provide.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Hayes, Virginia
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    14,007
    Steve,

    You should have told them that their offer was illegal, below the minimum wage. Deducting profit and overhead from their hourly wage offer would put you in a negative income situation. It would be better to ask you to do the engraving for free as you would probably lose less money since the Governor and the President would not get a share

    No doubt they are accustomed to prices from an individual who has no business license, pays no business insurance, has no business phone or office and doesn't pay social security taxes or medical insurance on their employees. They would also have to be getting free electricity for their laser engraver and exhaust system.

    I just sent my check for my annual property taxes for my business equipment and my business license fee for this year. Add to that the fees mentioned above and at 100 bucks per hour it might be April before I get the Government off my back and start making an hourly wage.

  12. #12
    One of the promotional type of items I sell a lot costs me about $6 from a national distributor. It takes about 1-2 minutes to engrave each, and I sell them for about $24 which may seem like a huge markup but that has to cover handling the order, doing the artwork, getting proof approval, receiving/storing/maintaining inventory, pulling/unpacking/post-engraving cleanup/repacking/shipping, and admin, so it isn't at all extravagant, especially with some customers who drag out the order and approval process. But anyway, a would-be customer asked me to price match another vendor recently. I checked that vendor's online ad and found they were indeed offering the product for $20, but they were out of stock until further notice so I reported that back to the inquirer and declined to match it. In reply, I was asked to match yet another online vendor who was asking only $11. When I went to the referenced site, they had an "about" page saying it was a stay-at-home mom who had been making hand stitched napkins and such, and now was also offering laser engraving. (She apparently was buying the same item from the same distributor.) So I again reported back what I had found, and wished them luck with the "hobby" vendor should they choose to purchase from her, but declined to match because there was no mention of providing a proof or after-sale satisfaction guarantee. After all that, they decided to buy from me anyway. Out of curiosity, I'm going to check back on that site now and again to see how long she is willing to work for so little.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Shefford, United Kingdom
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    685
    Do you know how long the job will take YOU? We work our prices out by hourly rate but that's only for internal calculations, we dont tell the customer how long the job takes.
    For example the customer might be have told that a cutting job takes and hour to do, so he gets charged $6. In reality it might only take 1 minute and now you are looking at $360 an hour (happy days)
    Also whats involved in getting the laser files ready, maybe they are ready to go DXFs so its a 2 minute job so again $10 would be ok.

    All speculation on my part as i cant see the info from this thread, if it does work out to $6 an hour then frankly he is 'taking the (insert expletive here!)' Hobby Lasers are kind of ruining it for everyone but i remember paying $.15 for photocopying and paying a small fortune for Polaroid film, when i started a decent YAG laser was $90'000 now a better machine can be had $20'000, the $90'000 machine is now almost worthless second hand, that's progress for you.
    L Squared Lasers UK
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    1 x Shenhui 1512 80 watt
    3 x Electrox D40
    3 x electrox Scriba 2
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    1 x Epilog EXT36 75 watt.

  14. #14
    And this is why I don't do any engraving. Wow... just wow...
    Shenhui G460 80W RECI
    LIAOCHENG RAY FINE RF-6040-90W RECI
    Corel X5 Technical Suite, Windows 7

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by matthew knott View Post
    All speculation on my part as i cant see the info from this thread, if it does work out to $6 an hour then frankly he is 'taking the (insert expletive here!)' Hobby Lasers are kind of ruining it for everyone
    Anyone making $6 an hour with their 'hobby' laser won't be ruining anything for long. I picked up several new customers last year who are [usually] glad to pay what I charge to get decent- and timely- work done vs what they were putting up with... In fact just yesterday a guy called me all frantic about needing 175 5x7 wood plaques engraved by tomorrow. He'd been quoted a price by a laser shop, including material. The shop has been MIA ever since. One of his friends is another customer of mine, who referred him to me. I told him I couldn't supply the wood, but if HE could I'd be sure to get his work done in time. Took him all day to find what he needed, one of his employees dropped off the wood last night about 5pm. I finished them up at 3:30 today, my new Triumph blazed thru them quite quickly, and they look fantastic. I made over $1000 on that job, my cost plus what he paid for wood is only 19 cents per part higher than his first bid, and he'll have an extra 10 hours to do his work on them. He's already talking about titanium and stainless parts next...

    Under-pricers and slackers in this business don't scare me at all. They just make me look all that much better when their customers find me.
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
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