Charging for CAM work
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    Default Charging for CAM work

    I've just had the owner of one of the other engineering shops on our estate come and ask me to do some programming for him, no problem with doing that and i have 2 cam packages at the moment for our own products.

    is there anyone on here that are doing programs for other people? what do you charge?

    I have a basic postprocessor for their machine, and I have written my own so that's not much of an issue.

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    Our shop charges 60$ per hour for programming. However our programmers make between 40 and 60 so that just barely covers there pay.

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    you compete against shops that just charge for part and no charge for programming.
    .
    obviously shop that asks for $500 or more to create a program will not get a lot of jobs

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMF_TomB View Post
    you compete against shops that just charge for part and no charge for programming.
    . obviously shop that asks for $500 or more to create a program will not get a lot of jobs
    There needs be caveats on that. I have worked on jobs that $500 would not cover even a small fraction of the programming time. I personally know of a few people on this forum that routinely have more time than that into regular jobs. For 2.5D bar work? No. But a complex mold or 5ax job...? Easy. There's no easy answer on that one. Depends on the nature of the work and the relationships with the customers. The latter being the focal driving point of most things...

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    Quote Originally Posted by lumley32 View Post
    I've just had the owner of one of the other engineering shops on our estate come and ask me to do some programming for him, no problem with doing that and i have 2 cam packages at the moment for our own products.

    is there anyone on here that are doing programs for other people? what do you charge?

    I have a basic postprocessor for their machine, and I have written my own so that's not much of an issue.
    At minimum I'd charge my regular shop rate, because that's what it's costing you - taking you away from other income producing work.

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    Somewhere between 90 - 500 $.
    Most of my stuff was always towards the upper end of the range.
    Customer satisfaction always very high --
    they dislike paying a lot, but love getting vastly more in profit.

    I sold results not hours.
    YMMV.
    A customer making 20.000$ / day more profit, is usually disposed to pay an extra 3000$, once, for a better result.

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    should have said it sounds like a simple job, but you never know till you've seen the drawing!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mud View Post
    At minimum I'd charge my regular shop rate, because that's what it's costing you - taking you away from other income producing work.
    this is about what i was thinking, but having never paid for a program i had no idea!

    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by lowCountryCamo View Post
    our programmers make between 40 and 60
    Uh.... are you hiring? lol.
    40-60 is damn good money!

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    Hi lumley32:
    You wrote:
    "I've just had the owner of one of the other engineering shops on our estate come and ask me to do some programming for him, no problem with doing that and i have 2 cam packages at the moment for our own products."

    Are you the owner of the software or are you an employee of the owner of the software?
    If the latter, you may be in a world of hurt if the owner finds out you've been moonlighting with his CAM software.
    Just sayin'......

    Cheers

    Marcus
    Implant Mechanix • Design & Innovation > HOME
    www.vancouverwireedm.com



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    Lots of assuming going on here!

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    Are you the owner of the software or are you an employee of the owner of the software?
    If the latter, you may be in a world of hurt if the owner finds out you've been moonlighting with his CAM software.
    Just sayin'......
    Was that necessary? That's akin to asking him if he's using pirated software.

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    Hi Mud:
    No malice was intended by my comment; I simply meant to point out something that has escaped more than one enterprising young guy and led to a major unintended hurt.

    I have no idea whether the OP is a business owner of many years experience seeing a legitimate new business opportunity or a young ambitious kid who sees a chance to make some extra cash from his talents and wants to capitalize on it without really thinking it through.

    I remember a truly awful reality TV show about a custom car builder named Boyd Coddington.
    He had a young designer who moonlighted in a similar way and the resulting shit storm was unpleasant to watch.
    A designer in a place I used to consult for also got caught doing something similar, and we've all heard about employees getting nabbed doing "government work" so it's not totally rare for these things to happen.

    Much of it is thoughtless, not malicious, but it can taint a guy's reputation for a long time afterward so it's not worth it for the few extra bucks he can score and if the guy contemplating it can be made to see that it's wrong and a bad idea, maybe he'll give it some thought and walk away.

    So to the OP...if I've caused offence I apologize; I certainly didn't intend to.

    Cheers

    Marcus
    Implant Mechanix • Design & Innovation > HOME
    www.vancouverwireedm.com

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    I would factor in an extra charge for liability protection, and you must be confident that your setup procedure will be followed precisely by the contracting company. An offset error, or ambiguity in tool setup and callout could lead to an expensive crash or worse. If you think contract programming could become an ongoing thing you should confirm your business insurance will cover you, or find out if you need a rider or separate policy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by implmex View Post


    Are you the owner of the software or are you an employee of the owner of the software?


    [/COLOR]
    I think this is a very legit question.

    I own the software, I own a large amount of the company, I even own the computer to run it on!

    im not really looking for the work, but if it comes along and puts some money in the bank then so be it!

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    To the op. You asked how much should you charge.

    I have done contract programming in the past. In fact that is how I have my current day job. If I had time and it was on ongoing deal, I usually took it easy on the client and charged $50 an hour. Which was pretty much equivalent to my overtime rate at my day job. If it was a quick job and nor nessesarily an ongoing deal, I would just charge what I though it was worth for my time and what the customer was willing to pay. Simple judgement and agreed upon before I started. But I would usually base it around $75-$100 an hour.

    Programs are always delivered as is. No strings attached, no guarantee or warranty against a crash or quality issue. That is all on the customer unless they want me to prove it out (I have carried a liability policy when required to operate their machines). I never accept any liability on the quality end of things. The only thing I will do for the customer on that front is support them in making what they deem to be good quality parts. This support is free for quick edits, but back on the clock (at a reasonable rate) for in depth changes or on site changes.

    So to put a short answer to you question. It depends on the situation, but just use common sense.

    Oh and I have also done programming and engineering services for a percentage of value added sales, similar to commission. I doall the work up front on my own time, then collect a reasonable check for the life of the project. Overall it has worked out, I did three projects that way, only one of them has panned out so far, but it handily made up for the other time lost. 2.7% on a little less than a million a year in revenue isn't a bad return, especially for about a weeks worth of work to get it running and a few days here and there making improvements. Project is pretty much dead at the moment, but it ran for over a year and will come back eventually, and so will the checks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mud View Post
    Was that necessary? That's akin to asking him if he's using pirated software.
    That's a very legitimate question. I'd be concerned if an employee was using my software and machines after hours to make money.

    As to the issue of pirated software, realistically, how many independant programmers do you think actually own the copy of Mcam/Surfcam/NX etc etc that their using?

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    Quote Originally Posted by triumph406 View Post
    As to the issue of pirated software, realistically, how many independant programmers do you think actually own the copy of Mcam/Surfcam/NX etc etc that their using?
    More than you would think. Likely any that openly advertise their services. In the grand scheme of things, it's not that expensive to own if you use it. Business owners that don't fork it out for software and computers to run it, aren't making as much money as they could be if those tools are the right tools for their business. If they aren't the right tools, they aren't and you shouldn't buy them, but if they are and say you make the investment into a software tool like Mastercam, it doesn't take too many hours per year working on the side or in day to day operations to pay for maintenance.. My last computer upgrade, I went from an average toolpath regen time of 45 minutes, to 7 minutes. Sometimes it would take a few days to get a toolpath optimized waiting for it to regen over and over again, and the computer was useless during regen. Now with software maintenance, the same paths regen in about a minute. Both investments, the computer, and maintenance have been well worth it, and I personally wouldn't hesitate.

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    just another $.02, without getting into whether the software is legit, or owned by the op. Those are legit concerns.

    People who program for a living (contract) seem to charge $150 / $250 an hour. Programmers doing side work are usually around $50 / $100 per hour.

    One big ass difference, if you have a post issue, a problem, need doc altered, a surprise rev change, etc, etc. A contract programmer is expected to drop everything and take care of it NOW. With a side work programmer you're faced with, "Well I'm at work now, and after work I need to pick up my kids from day care and get dinner started before my wife gets home, maybe after that I can get a chance to look at it."

    So, I've got nothing against side work guys trying to make an extra buck, but that's a serious consideration you need to look at.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Dickman View Post
    With a side work programmer you're faced with, "Well I'm at work now, and after work I need to pick up my kids from day care and get dinner started before my wife gets home, maybe after that I can get a chance to look at it."

    So, I've got nothing against side work guys trying to make an extra buck, but that's a serious consideration you need to look at.

    Yup, and if you are a side work guy who thinks you can get around these limitations because you don't have a wife, kids, or the such and you day job is relatively flexible... Well, you're wrong, your day job has the ability to take you out the game on a moments notice, you just never know what your day will bring...

    Now in my experience, there is no such thing as a guaranteed drop it and work on my stuff NOW with full time contract guys, unless that is you have them currently working on your stuff, and they don't have any other hungry customers. But if they have any sense of customer service, they will at least give you a reliable answer as to when they will get going on it, and will be willing to negotiate if that isn't soon enough.

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