Can't tell you how long it takes you to do any given thing- that's up
to your own experience. But I charge $12/hr for friends, $15/hr for
useful aquaintances, and $25/hr for strangers. The price goes up for
strangers that look like they are going to give me headaches- I call
that the asshole tax. Family and close friends pay me whatever they
pay me, and I don't worry about it- to a point.
All that being said, it's almost a better idea to just to work for
nothing or refuse the work entirely if you want to make sure that you
remain friends with some folks. It's getting to that point with my
parents- I've remodeled half their house this year for a grand total
of $80 and a pallet of used brick, and I've got to say, parents or no,
I'd be happier getting nothing than $10 for twenty or thirty hours of
work. Even though I know that's all they've got to spare, it's still
a slap in the face to think that they could hand me a few bucks for a
week of work and call it even. Keep that in mind when you set your
prices for your friends- it can get grating after a while, especially
if they need a lot of help, and begin to assume that you'll drop
everything to do it.
Here's a fourth one I learned really early as well-
When you give a friend a discount, make it very clear that your rate
is for them only. My standard line is "If I hear that you told anyone
what you paid me, any further work will be at three times what I'm
charging you now." It might seem like a nasty thing to say to a
friend, but if you don't, you WILL discover that they have friends you
don't know (and probably don't care for) that will be more than happy
to put you to work on the first guy's recommendation, but refuse to
pay one penny more than what they were told was the going rate. This
sort of thing runs out of control very quickly if you're any good and
word-of-mouth gets going. Pretty soon you can't find work that
doesn't have a pre-set ceiling on it, and you have to ditch a whole
circle of customers.
On Sat, 23 Sep 2006 03:41:19 -0500, Prometheus wrote:
I make from a catalog and have a firm price list.
I give friends the next-quantity-up discount and let them know that if
word gets out they go back to marked retail. I explain to them that this
is how I make my living and that I can't afford / am not willing to give
this pricing to strangers.
Yep. My little brother got that treatment- I wanted to give him a
hand repairing some things around his house, some of which were major
problems (ie. leaking toilet, no glass in the front door, electrical
outlets sparking, etc.) I paid for the materials and came over to do
the repairs- and he was at the bar. The second day, I told him he had
to be there, my only payment was that he learn something so that if
these things happened again, he'd have a chance at fixing them
himself. He wasn't there again, so I opened a few holes in the walls
where the new outlets were to be, and his girlfriend came home. She
said he was at the bar again, and then yelled at me for setting a
clean drywall saw on a thrift-store chair that had been mended with
duct tape. I called the little punk (my brother) to see why he wasn't
there to lend a hand, and he said "Why would I want to learn to do
that crap when I can have someone else do it for free?" So, I opened
a few more holes, took the front door off the hinges, removed a couple
of windows, packed up the materials and my tools, and went home.
I guess he found out why it's handy to be able to take care of your
own house after that. They had blankets over the windows and door for
a month until they hired someone who completely butchered the job.
Needless to say, we're not getting along so well any more, but you
know what they say, with friends like that...
Been there, done that. Every time my brother had a problem, arrested on
outstanding warrants for parking tickets needed to be bailed out of jail in
the middle of the night, car towed needed money to get it out of the pound,
etcetera, he called me. The one time I asked him for help, he was too busy
playing hockey. The last we talked was over ten years ago. I feel bad when
family matters come up, but feel a whole lot better not worrying anymore
about what kind of crap he's into. It's done, finished, I just don't need
the aggravation. Family in the right circumstances is great, sometimes it
Buddy your way too friendly and your so called "friends " are taking
advantage of you. Up here in Central Canada there are very few Carpenters
around as most are in Alberta making big bucks . The going rate here is 30$
40$ per hour for Reno's etc. Canada is just screaming for trades people, but
of course you can't come here because we have a lot of Terrorists.
It's not just Canada. The US is that way to. Has a lot to do with the push
in recent years for everyone to get into "information technology". No one
ever explained how a whole country was supposed to survive pushing
electrons for a living.
.> Canada is just screaming for trades people,
Not everywhere in the US, at least. We've got plenty of carpenters in
Wisconsin, but there is a huge shortage of machinists. Some of the
local job shops I've seen have even taken to painting "Machinists
Wanted" on the side wall of their shops in huge letters. You know
there's a problem when they've got to resort to that.
But I certainly agree- it's a rotten scheme that's been pushed on a
lot of people. I've heard "Service sector" more than "information
technology", but it amounts to the same thing. Never could figure out
how anyone could imagine they'd do that well at selling services when
nobody is producing tangible assets to export and make the money in
the first place.
Sounds like our shop. We haven't taken down our sign (about ten by fifteen
feet) in over a year. It's gotten so bad that I have been trying to train
people. Hard to find a good trainee. Nobody wants to get their hands dirty.
The average age of the skilled people is getting up their too. Average in
our shop is 51. (Makes me feel go though, I'm a young guy at 46 :)). We're
not going to be around forever.
Yes, I hear a lot of that service bit too. I guess we're all supposed to buy
cheap Chinese crap and sell it to each other.
Before retiring, I did some software for a rolling mill to control and report
on some automated roll grinders. I asked if the automated equipment was
better than the work the machinists did. The reply was no, the machinists
did better, but they were retiring and replacements could not be found.
Seems a shame. It's not a low pay job by any means. I guess the problem is
just a perception of machining as a low status blue collar job.
It's turtles, all the way down
Seems the majority of the general public don't even know what it is. My own
parents had no idea for many years. As machine shops are generally located
in some industrial park and they have no contact with the general public,
there's no reason anybody would know. People also seem to have little
interest in building anything anymore (present company excepted).
You just hit the nail on the head ... shops are reluctant to train. Where
do you think machinists come from, anyways? Or carpenters or electricians?
Kids coming out of public schools sure aren't (on average) 'much to look at'.
Give 'em some training (sort those screws, take the burr off these parts,
measure these pins) and insist that they also attend whatever classes are
available locally just to keep their jobs. In their 'free-time' at work,
let other employees assign them tasks / teach them how to use tools -
select steel - run the saw - weld saw blades - use the hoist - measure
accurately - and so on. I learned screw profiles from 'the boss', how to
remove burrs and pressurize the Karto sprayer from a 'permanent bench
hand', make CNC edits by watching the boss and then sneaking them in when
he wasn't around. ;-) (makes you a VERY careful operator!)
Chatting with the DeVlieg 43K72 operator alerted me to spindle drop and
rebuilding that stinky-butt machine from a basket of parts woke me up to a
WHOLE LOT of alignment issues -- straighness of ways, adjusting gibs and
so on and on.
Plan to reimburse them somehow ... either in wages (one raise for an "A",
another for a "B" nothing for a "C" and extremely shaky ground for
anything less than a "C".[gpa for the semester]) or similar pro-rated
tuition / books money if you plan on retaining them after training, though.
Best shop I ever worked at for this paid for the tuition upfront (from
a pre-approved list of trade-related classes) ... reimbursed for books on a
sliding scale and pegged wages to the final GPA for the school year.
The reluctance to train is for a reason. It costs well over $100.00 per hour
to train somebody. Finding someone that wants to learn is hard. Many that
claim they want to learn, after finding out it is real work, lose
enthusiasm. Over the past couple of years, I have attempted to train about
ten people. All washed out except one. The plan that you suggest assumes
someone wants to do the work. Very few do.
Sounds a bit like how I learned it- reading the manuals while longer
jobs were running as a lowly operator (load/unload and push the start
button only), looking up general speed and feed information on the
internet at home, and working up from simple offset changes to full
setup and programming over the course of a couple of years. Might
have done it quicker with some mentoring, but since that wasn't
happening it was a matter of just watching others set up the the
machines and (very gingerly) taking that over without permission until
I got it down pat and could prove to the boss that I had earned the
job title. Place I'm at now is better than the others about that,
though- I got hired as a setup guy for the lasers and CNC punches, but
since they run so well between setups, I've got the foreman getting me
up to speed on everything else in the shop while the parts run, and
it's moving things along much more quickly.
I still prefer the work of carpentry and cabinetmaking- but after this
rotten year with layoff after layoff, I've gone back to a machine
shop, and it's amazing how appreciative they are to have someone who
knows what's going on these days. Guess it doesn't matter so much
what you prefer once you look at the difference in overall treatment-
the couple of machine shops I've been at have given me good raises on
a real regular basis and promotions, the construction contractors have
expected me to spend more money on tools than I was making and never
wanted to pay one cent more than they absolutely had to- and the
merest mention of paid vacations or health insurance sent them into
apoplectic fits. Seems "benefits" = "free beer (when the boss feels
like it)" to the local construction industry, and I'm not into it
I guess the cabinetmaking will just have to go back to being a weekend
avocation- I always made more money at it like that anyway. Makes the
home woodworking shop a whole lot more fun again, too.
Actually, I really do- the wife and I have been discussing
relocating, and Seattle and Portland made the top slots on the list.
You like it out there?
Ahh, now you've got that idea rearing it's head again. Tell you what-
if you're still looking in about a year and nine months (when the wife
finishes her degree,) you might just have yourself a new machinist in
the area. Worrying about finding work right away has been the biggest
concern we've had over the idea- I'm far past the stage where starving
and sleeping in a tent seems like an adventure to me!
There is no worry of finding work. If you came here right now, you would
have a job within 2 hours of beginning your search. Walk in to any of the
industrial parks round here and start handing out resumes then pick what you
like. In a couple of years, things will likely cool down a bit. It might
take as long as 2 days by that time. I have lived in seven different states
from my birthplace, Maine, to here in Washington. This is where I am going
to stay. Yes, I like it here. It rains a lot but you get used to that. The
temperature fluctuations are not extreme from season to season. There is
enough terrain variation in this state to accommodate about anything you
want to do. Hiking, biking, boating, skiing, hunting, fishing (fresh or
saltwater), hot air ballooning, paragliding, hangliding. About anything you
could want. I think you'd like it here.
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