I just opened a job shop this summer. Work has been hard to come by. I have an oppurtunity to get in good with an injection molding company remachining molds and making replacement parts, and eventually machining some of their molds. I met with the supervisor there this week and he said he will send me some parts to quote, and that he will try to influence the managements decision in my favor. He also said that his company throws out the highest and lowest quotes and then chooses someone in the middle. I have low overhead and a two week backlog (this month anyway).
My question is, how much should I adjust my rates to be "average"?
Right now I charge 75/hr for programming, 45/setup, 60/hr run time, plus material.
From the few customers that I have had, I get good feedback about my prices. Not cheap but a little less than other people they have worked with. These rates seem to work out good for prototype work, and the little production work that I have done, but mold work around here seems to be a lot more expensive.
I would continue using your current rates....they must be close to the ballpark....because your backlog is only a 2 week....when you find yourself with a much larger backlog...then you should look at increasing your rates.
Your rates seem to be right to me. The hard part is figuring out how much time you will spend on a job. With molds/moldmaking it seems everything takes much longer than it should simply because it has got to look good as well as be to the right dimension. With making replacement parts for a mold (cores, inserts and such) you quote the job just like it were a part for any other job, and then add extra time for polishing. You also have to remember that once a mold it built, most molding companies don't set aside a lot of money for repairs or maintenance on that mold.
Most engineers that I have dealt with believe that if a mold was built right to begin with, that maintenance costs should be minimal. That's why they are willing to spend the big bucks getting a new mold built, but they shop around for repairs / replacement parts.
You can't blame them either, since there is a learning curve with most new molds. Most of the molds I build are unique, and many times I am taking a chance on whether or not the mold will even work. Once the mold is built its just a matter of copying my work to do another one or a replacement part.
Thanks for the feedback everyone. I got to see the worn out parts that I will be replacing. They are 2-d type work but using some small semi deep slots. 6 blocks all together, with fairly long runtimes. The material is "nac 45" or "nac 25". Anyone work with this before? The foreman at the shop said it machines similar to most tool steels, but he said it kind of casually, so I don't know if I can trust that info. With carbide I usually cut tool steels (a-2, s-7. etc) at 200sfm for roughing and 308sfm for finishing with chiploads based on cutter size. Most cutters can last up to a month or two of @8hr shifts. Will these speeds get me in the ballpark with this new material?
I am not sure about the NAK 25 or Nak 45. But I used to do a lot of work on molds inserts built out of NAK 55. I was told to treat it like P-20 steel. I looked it up in a cross reference I have and I only found NAK 55 and NAK 80. They are a Brand name steel made by Daido Steel Co.
I was in the mold business for a number of years and the only catch with them is getting paid. I'm from the Windsor Canada area and around here even office supply stores won't give mold and plastic companies credit since they usually take a while to pay.
I have been in business since 1998 and I have not once not gotten paid for a job. However, I have had to wait a while for my money. There is a gray area when it comes to molds and moldbuilding. Moldbuilders believe they should be paid so many days from the day they deliver a finished mold. Molders have to wait so many days after they ship good parts. There are sometimes problems other than the mold that keeps them from shipping good parts. This is where the delay comes in. That's when you find out who your good customers are and who your bad ones are. The strategy you use for this is not to start a new job until their account is current. Sometimes that works and sometimes you just have to look for new customers. Most of the time if you will work with your customers they will try their best to get you paid. That has been my experience.
Well, I never heard about the mold components. I guess that project keeps getting put on the back burner. I am getting to machine some adapter plates for the same company to fix an engineering snafu. I'll let you know how long they take to pay.
Just be very careful about who you do business with in our state. There are some real losers who think itís just fine to string you out for as long as they see fit. I learned the hard way about doing business with companies south of the ďpoint of the mountainĒ. It took two years and 2K to get 15K from a customer down there, never again. Like Jim said, donít start anything new until all accounts are current even if that means getting multiple customers so that you can alternate jobs. In the mold making business itís standard to get paid 50% up front for new work, donít take anything less. This business about not getting paid until they ship first article is just bull ****. When you first start out you become a target for these sleaze balls. Get real P.O.ís, never take anything verbally, always get it in writing. Never accept a check that says paid in full if itís not. Keep 6 months working capital free and accessible at all times just in case. Good Luck