Billing a part milled manually that was supposed to go on the CNC
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  1. #1
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    Default Billing a part milled manually that was supposed to go on the CNC

    Hi All:
    I've got an ethics question for you all about pricing:

    I got a little job a couple of days ago.
    It would take maybe 3 hours to do on the CNC mill.
    It's cost plus...no quote.
    They are in a screaming rush for it.

    Yesterday, at the most inconvenient time possible, the motor for the compressor shit the bed.
    No compressed air for me, so no CNC mill for me.
    Customer is crying for the job.

    So I do it on the Bridgeport...now it takes a day.

    Do I bill them for a day?
    The compressor wasn't THEIR fault, so should they have to pay the extra to have the job run on the manual?
    I think not!
    They are a pretty good but not spectacular customer that have been with me for a decade.

    On the other hand, if they had been willing to wait for another day I could have run it on the CNC, but they weren't.
    So fuckem...pay up because I had to stand there turning the handles all frickin' day.

    What say ye all??

    Cheers

    Marcus
    Implant Mechanix • Design & Innovation > HOME
    Vancouver Wire EDM -- Wire EDM Machining

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    Would you like that pulled on you?
    Don


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

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    Good point D Nelson:
    Normally I wouldn't even consider billing it that way, but I did tell them about the compressor as soon as it happened and they still begged me to run the job on the manual.

    I could justify either decision...that's why I'm asking.

    Cheers

    Marcus
    Implant Mechanix • Design & Innovation > HOME
    Vancouver Wire EDM -- Wire EDM Machining

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    Find the happy medium, then add a nice dinner to the tab.

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    Maybe split the difference?

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    Bill it as time to do the job, the way you had to do it to meet there dead line 8 hrs...Phil

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    Charge what you would charge normally, that being for the CNC. Charging for all the labor would look to them like your prices are way too high (they don't care if it's CNC or manual).

    JMHO

    -Ron

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  13. #8
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    My opinion,

    Sounds to me like a trip to a hardware store for a cheap air compressor to get by......

    Your equipment problems are not their concern or their business.



    Was it is a repeat job or a one off?

    Repeat I'd say bill normal pricing with an expedite fee................A reasonable fee, not something from left field.

    One off .... bill as time to meet their deadline.......
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    When the dust settles figure out and publish your rates, so that there is no ethics questions or any questions, as to why the price is what it is...

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    Marcus,

    This actually came up in an ethics class in college. A buddy of mine in the class was minor part owner of a car repair shop. He asked what happens when you quote a job at 4hrs and it ends up taking just a few minutes? My contribution was, and what if the 4hr job ends up turning into 3 entire days?

    So I deal zactly with this conundrum every week.

    My bare bones shop minimum is half day. Even if it takes 30min to do the actual job.....It still took an hour to quote. An hour+ (more like years) to cull together potential suppliers/expert resources (like yourself)/outside vendors that I will need to manage/ etc etc... maintenance $$$, storage of tools/equipment/backup compressors/therapy/ fees/permits and more fees. They are paying you more for your expertise, and less for your time.

    That said, if the emergency happened a week prior what would you have charged? (Probably not enough)

    That that said, Their emergency overrides pretty much everything. If they allowed for a week, you would have time to order and swap out the motor, etc.. order the correct tools, instead of cobbling together what you had, etc etc.

    I hate charging "rush" fees. It just makes me look like the $$$ guy to the procurement/penny counters. I also hate being the guy they only call in emergencies. But, there is a real attributable cost to same/next day service. Even without the comp fail, what else were you pushing aside for their failure to plan? (And yes, some emergencies are just emergencies. Impossible to anticipate)

    Being a long term customer changes a few things above, but the fundamental principles are the same. When in the mood, will share a rush story I had with my #1 regular customer, company president as courier boy, and the $400 screw.

    clay

    I will be sure to invoice you for my Friday night rush advice... Billing a part milled manually that was supposed to go on the CNC

    Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk

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    No likely turning handles? A pain but I sort of get into a groove once in a while if I can shut everything else out.

    3 hours vs 8 hours.
    Do the manual and the cnc bill at the same hourly rate? That would be weird.
    Now what is the rush job rate on either?
    What is reasonable expedite? 2X? Some would think that nuts but I'd think it in line with costs incurred.
    If the air compressor fine but the cnc was full, the manual empty and one day needed?
    Suddenly 2 times the standard cnc cost makes total sense and no need to feel bad.

    On the other side is your care and worry for the pricing which says so much about you as a person and as a businessman.
    The fact that you post it and this worry here, that talks so many miles to me.
    Bob

    BTW I have two small used and very old plug in compressors as a spare just because this happens.
    Mostly they just get loaned out to employees and friends for home projects so that makes them worth the cost paid.

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    And yes. I have a 5hp screw as a backup, and a backup backup compressor in the other shop with a very long hose.

    Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk

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    I guess with this setup you could sell your cnc and buy 10 manual machines and make a killing

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    Rule #1;

    NEVER DO RUSH WORK FOR ANYONE THAT IS NOT YOUR MAIN CUSTOMER.

    Unfortunately, in this case, it would not be fair to charge for your equipment failure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by otrlt View Post
    Rule #1;
    NEVER DO RUSH WORK FOR ANYONE THAT IS NOT YOUR MAIN CUSTOMER.
    .
    So much to learn.........

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    Send a proper bill for both ways of doing the job with a brief explanation of what happened. Let them send you a check filled out at their preferred amount. You might turn out to be their hero. Or you might find out how much you will (not) jump through your ass next time they come calling with a problem.

    If I had an employee who worked crazy hard and stayed 4 hours over to get a job out I’d think about a raise or a bonus. The guy who left at 4:30, not so much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarbideBob View Post
    So much to learn.........
    Hello Bob,
    15 years ago, I quit jumping for little "rush" jobs from strangers. I did not "learn" this strategy myself, I emulated this rule from a very successful businessman.

    His advise was quite simple; little jobs from little people = failure.

    Think about this Bob thoroughly, before you put your foot in your mouth ... again.

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    If they told you to do it on the manual, and you told them the cost for doing it on the manual, then bill them what you told them.

    Doesn't matter if you could sub it out to India for 3 cents on the dollar if the lead time is six months.
    Same deal here.

    Fair pay for fair time.

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    Avoiding little jobs for little people is a fast way to become a dick. The failure lies is being unable to handle little jobs and blaming the customer for it.

    As for the OP, I gotta say.....who gets crippled over a compressor, when the need is maybe 1CFM? I can walk 1/4 mile from my shop and buy that for under $100 (if I didn't already have three compressors sitting around).

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  29. #19
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    I have a war story or two:

    1. In the 1970s, I was the USA rep for a small Swedish manufacturer of an instrument for pharmacological research. Their stuff was very well made. We sold a machine to the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH), in Bethesda MD, which instrument didn't work correctly on arrival. (I'm sure it was OK when shipped.) It took me visit after visit to fix that. I had lunch with the customer after I at last got it to work, where I commented that if I had realized how badly damaged that unit was, I would have sent it back to Sweden for a full refurbish. I thought that that was the end, that we would never get another order form him. A year later, he ordered another of the same kind of instrument. Turns out that he was deeply impressed that we did not abandon him, that we made it work.

    Well, when #2 machine arrived at Dulles Airport, I arranged to clear it through Customs and physically deliver it to NIMH. At the loading dock, I observed the NIMH personnel unloading a delivery truck from a Scientific Supplies vendor. Where I observed the personnel drop a large box containing scientific glassware, and could hear it breaking. At that moment, the light-bulb went off. Instrument #1 had not survived the receiving dock at NIMH. Instrument #2 worked perfectly.


    2. Somewhat later, I was working on a large weather radar, and we had some serious software bugs that needed to be hunted down and squashed. After at was all solved and done, the Task Manager commented to me (with praise) that I had been there for him when he needed it. This, you can take to the bank.


    I would charge the original price, as was originally agreed. The customer is not responsible for your compressor.

  30. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by otrlt View Post
    .....
    15 years ago,
    Think about this Bob thoroughly, before you put your foot in your mouth ... again.
    Not to worry, I have been putting my foot in my mouth in the maching world for way more than 15 years.
    Sometimes those "little people" you help grow up to become plant mangers and corporate VPs.
    Be fair and honest, help all you can. Short term this is often a loss.
    Bob


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