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Old 04-26-2020, 08:56 AM
drivejunk drivejunk is offline
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Default Meeting customer requests

Hi. Thanks for your time. Once in awhile, shaping is part of my job as an employee and I may have advanced since I began perusing the site but I have a straightforward example I would like to present because I haven't a clue about pricing. The number I am curious about can be a percentage.

Shaving gas filler neck hole in late 40s-early 50s Ford or Chevy pickup, no rust. Thats the example. Backside access is full. Technique is technician's choice.

I don't think we offer "no bondo" work but do get requests and as I refine my ability the question arises in my own mind as a technician: "How much extra for no bondo?"

So if in one estimate, the work quality is that of an average guaranteed damage repair meaning body filler then primer surfacer are allowable...

What percentage of that dollar amount would an estimate be that allows only use of unsanded primer-sealer?

This is not to stir up any debate or pin down wild variables, the example is pretty clear cut. I have simply never been around no-filler work but do aspire to it and aside from personal satisfaction, I wish to know what value advancing to that level has. I may have the wrong idea entirely, in thinking that work requiring no fill or sanded surfacer is a reality.

If the answer can only be determined after the fact, meaning charging hour by hour without limit... change the question to percentage of difference in the rate paid to the capable technician for each hour on a no filler job, to reflect the advanced skill required.

Hoping this topic is not off-limits or a repeat of a prior post, and that those who have met requests such as this could offer a lighthearted ballpark guideline that you have found practical.

Thanks again,
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Old 04-26-2020, 11:40 AM
Marc Bourget Marc Bourget is offline
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This question is calculated to generate a "it depends" answer.


Watching Gene Winfield and Kent White at the Santa Cruz Metal meet.


(Steel and Aluminum, respectively) They can do in 5 min. what takes me the proverbial hour.


Do a "mock up" and record the time it takes - FOR YOU !


(emphasis not criticism!)
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Old 04-26-2020, 01:25 PM
drivejunk drivejunk is offline
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Thank you Marc. I didn't intend it as a trap question but did struggle with how to phrase it. My question is not so much about time involved, but more about value of a cab corner repaired one way vs another.

Pretend I am a customer not a technician and if you want $200 to patch, fill, and prime it, how much do you want if you don't use fill? Is it $400 or more like $1,200? The result has to look the same either way.

Just looking for a rough scale here. For an idea of what the ability to say yes I can do that without fill is worth. Not so much to the tech but to the shop.

It is quite OK to delete this post if it ruffles anyone's feathers. I see work here that can go without fill so I asked.
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Old 04-26-2020, 03:16 PM
drivejunk drivejunk is offline
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I sometimes wonder if it is worth my while to reach for a level of expertise which would allow me to offer no-fill metal work to my employer and customers. But I have nothing from which to draw a conclusion. Thats it, in a nutshell. Thank you for your patience.
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Old 04-26-2020, 03:35 PM
Marc Bourget Marc Bourget is offline
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I understand the term "Pursuit of Happiness" to mean the joy achieved from success or doing well.


Why not just for self-improvement?
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Old 04-26-2020, 04:43 PM
carl 180 carl 180 is offline
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They are many ways to look at this. i run my shop on hourly rate weather i am filling a dent or painting an everyday car or shaping metal finnished panels for expensive cars. but keep working on your skills for your own satisfaction
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Old 04-26-2020, 04:46 PM
drivejunk drivejunk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc Bourget View Post
I understand the term "Pursuit of Happiness" to mean the joy achieved from success or doing well.


Why not just for self-improvement?


Because my metal finishing is pretty much on bottom of the work improvement priority list. Fabrication and design are where I need to pick up knowledge. As far from the AMS norm that my current state may be, I am already top man by a longshot in my work environment, in that respect.

Going from relying on fill to not is a huge step. It has to be worth it.

As it stands, I can best describe my situation by quoting a hippie on Dragnet:

"Everybody has a bag. Everybody has a gig. If your gig jives with your bag, man thats groovy!"

I enjoy what I do a great deal. Took a long time to say that. Why not just enjoy work getting easier? I see no way to have a metal hobby myself. Unless... it pays really good to be at a higher level. I understand a boss has to make money off me for quite a spell before he can see his way clear to pass some along, and am willing to work through that.
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Old 04-26-2020, 04:53 PM
drivejunk drivejunk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carl 180 View Post
They are many ways to look at this. i run my shop on hourly rate weather i am filling a dent or painting an everyday car or shaping metal finnished panels for expensive cars. but keep working on your skills for your own satisfaction
Many ways indeed. I will continue to naturally evolve no matter what. But I wonder if making a push has any rewards to offer. I did flat rate collision work plenty and in that situation, your skill comes into play on your paycheck. I realize that hourly no matter the task is the easiest thing to bill, but it isn't always just when skill required varies so greatly. Brilliant accomplishments become no more rewarding than sliding paper, y'know?
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Old 04-26-2020, 07:13 PM
cliffrod cliffrod is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drivejunk View Post
Many ways indeed. I will continue to naturally evolve no matter what. But I wonder if making a push has any rewards to offer. I did flat rate collision work plenty and in that situation, your skill comes into play on your paycheck. I realize that hourly no matter the task is the easiest thing to bill, but it isn't always just when skill required varies so greatly. Brilliant accomplishments become no more rewarding than sliding paper, y'know?
My work in stone offers some insight. It may not be a linear percentage beyond what you decide it is. In stone, I quote work in the two most prevalent types of domestic granite. Most other kinds of granite and marble are subject to an 15% surcharge based upon how differently they behave when carved. Certain granites (usually not true granite but called granite) is garbage that I don't want to carve so it's 50% extra. Sometimes 15% isn't enough. Sometimes it's too much because certain stone is a delight to carve. Having a basic factor simplifies my life and helps me communicate with patrons.

This reminds me of being an employee who was looking towards a future that may be different than the current scenario... While I was working much harder than needed to do great work, I did more. Take lots of notes. Took pictures. Start tracking my speed. Write down everything I could about costing work, bidding work, overhead, employee costs, etc, etc. document and understand. It takes years to get enough info to make viable decisions when the time comes.

Then you can do your own thing while you reminisce about the good old days when all you had to do was do your time and get a check every week like clockwork. But you can do whatever you want, good or bad, while you make everything except money...

Being a good & eventually a Master craftsman is just like being honest. If you only do it for external reasons, you're not there yet.
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Old 04-26-2020, 07:54 PM
Chris_Hamilton Chris_Hamilton is offline
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Estimating time is one of the hardest things to get right. When I try I'm usually way off, always erring on the low side. Usually big errors on the low side. Which starts getting painful after awhile. Because every job is different, even the small ones, is one of the reasons many of the guys that I know, and lots of the resto shops only will bill time and materials. If I could accurately estimate stuff I would but you know how it is. Nothing ever works out exactly like you figure at the beginning of a job. This type of work is not like collision repair where you have predetermined times for all operations. Nothing at all like that.

As for metalfinishing, that last 10% of the job increases the time by 50-100% minimum. (at least for me) Lots of times more. Personally I only will work time and materials now. I'd rather clean the shop and work on something of my own than work for pennies on the dollar because of giving someone too low of an estimate. Your Bosses should know that too and not expect you to give accurate estimates of your time because it's darn near impossible to do so. If someone says they can then I say BS, because except for the smallest of jobs it's just not possible.

Many jobs I've taken on over the years have been stuff that had gotten pushed aside in another shop. Owner would come to us all out of sorts, talking about how that shop screwed them. Often times I would talk to guys at the other shop trying to find out what had been done or where a part was...etc. One thing kept coming up over and over. That was they had given the owner a hard estimate, got into the job and realized they were completely underwater on how long it would take versus what they estimated so the job got pushed to the side because they had to take in some work to pay the bills and the rent. Happens all the time because it is so hard to estimate resto and custom work. That's why shops that give estimates are usually the new and inexperienced shops (not trying to offend anyone) because experienced resto shops have learned (usually the hard way) that you don't give estimates.
Just my 2 cents.
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Last edited by Chris_Hamilton; 04-26-2020 at 08:06 PM.
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