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    Default Admin fee?

    Anybody charging an admin fee to customers or potential customers when they bury you in paperwork? We have a customer that we did a small minimum charge ($35)job for that has sent us 15 pages of paperwork they want filled out to set us up as a vendor to pay us. They will probably have us at least bid on some more work that they had me look at but unless they come up with something else they probably won't exceed $3-5K worth of parts at most. There's been zero approved bids other than the minimum job from above. I'm just curious if others just do as we have in the past and chalk it up to the cost of doing business, or if they are charging for it. I know other businesses charge an admin fee to deal with the paperwork in other industries. We recently had to pay an admin fee to my daughter's daycare for getting all the paperwork processed for example. I've had three customers in the last couple of weeks want this amount of paperwork. I'm not trying to get over on anybody or rip off a customer by overcharging. I'm just looking at is as I could be out in the shop for 2 hours making our shop rate or I could be filling out paperwork that I'm not charging for at the moment. I'm not talking about signing an NDA. Thoughts?

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    Punishment for not demanding a check on pickup

    I guess I would remain calm and inquire if that paperwork is required for the 35 bucks or if there is an approved bid waiting in the wings

    If it is for the 35 bucks it is your choice whether to just let it go or show up with a hatchet and demand someone hand you 35 bucks cash

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    Interesting question.

    I am running into a broadly similar situation because I customarily reply to requests to quote our flagship product with a 3D CAD model using the client's dimensions. As business has increased I find myself overwhelmed with requests—all of which take at least some time, because even though they are basically assembled from an array of previously modeled stock components the assembly and mating process can take a while. If you have to re-extrude a component from, say, 26.45 long to 27.31 long and relocate all its features, it affects any number of other components and the finished model can piss away an afternoon. So far the cost of the product allows for this sunk time, but that just means those who end up placing the order are paying for those who turn out to be timewasters.

    I don't like it, but I just can't see charging a fee specifically to generate a quote. That just seems arrogant. But of course large automotive clients are arrogant; they have very clever payment barriers involving tons of paperwork. My answer to that is, they have to pay before we cut metal—period, not subject to discussion. Their prestige doesn't make my nut.

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    Having been on the customer (engineer, not buyer) side of this I can say a direct "fee" would not go over well. Also, any sort of after the fact fee other than a "You're changing the print and causing more work after we put in time/materials" requote or after PO expedite request has not gone well.

    Putting it in up front as a customer specific PITA charge (obviously not labelled as such) tends to go just fine. If you want to help your customer out have a side conversation with the engineer (or whoever) and explain why the prices are going up. IME you could have this with a smart and understanding buyer as well, but I wouldn't call most both smart and understanding (as with any other position).

    Sadly from the engineering side my usual response to this has been "It's outside my control, I understand your pain, but all you can do is quote higher because I can't get the paperwork to go away". I'd like to think over time this will give an edge to companies that are smart about their paperwork.

    The same goes for places that pay slow (up quotes by the interest rate you want x payment term length) or have other time consuming habits.

    If you aren't still competitive at those prices someone else is either willing to work for less or has a more efficient way of handling it/another part of the process.

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    I've had it from the other side (how many times does an IT department need to buy Helicoils?) Several times I had to buy things on my own money and put in an expensed claim after the company did away with the concept of petty cash and a departmental credit card.

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    Usually no...but push the issue and I'll charge.

    I added a BS charge to one clients job...only did a couple more jobs after that. I'd get some good jobs...but most were nothing to write home about and each came with at least an hours worth of BS where I had to hear how he came upon the job. The meetings about the job, how its being used. Quote the job, get the job then be told its ASAP and being changed. Every job was hours of talking about it and a final couple hours to run it. So I charged for every conversation that did not pertain to the exact job that I wound up doing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rand View Post
    I've had it from the other side (how many times does an IT department need to buy Helicoils?) Several times I had to buy things on my own money and put in an expensed claim after the company did away with the concept of petty cash and a departmental credit card.
    Boy that brings back memories!

    One time I was sent to the local ALro outlet to get some stock so I could get started right ways, hot HOT job. I asked how I was going to pay (no petty cash) "I'll give you acredit card number, just go and get it ordered and cut" OK...

    I was there over an hour waiting to get a credit card number from someone. I finally said fuc* it and used my personal cc. It took something like 3 weeks to get paid back from the company. FREE LOAN I guess..

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    Are a lot of customers requesting very similar things to be filed? I find that construction contractors I work for all want similar things on file, so I just keep a folder on my computer with the forms pre filled out as much as they can be. Usually no one complains about it not being "their form" they just need something to fill the file.

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    I recently went through the process about a customer wanting a W9 for an item I sold that didn't require a 1099. After being passed up the ladder a couple of times I finally reached someone who knew how to work the system so a W9 was not required.

    My guess is these are minions asking for the paperwork. There may be someone a couple of rungs up who knows how ridiculous their requests are for a $35 charge.

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    It's absolutely what you can get away with from the customer's side. When I was at a large Tier 1 automotive place I saw suppliers literally fly across the world to design reviews in person for early stage prototype parts. Mold flow analysis of cast parts was expected before even handing over a quote. I then worked at a smaller place where our suppliers basically told us that we could pay for those things if we wanted them, but they certainly weren't handing them out for free. Then again, our customers (big 3) were expecting us to put in several months of engineering work to build a quote, and that was years out from maybe getting a program, once more, because they could get away with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldwrench View Post
    Interesting question.

    I don't like it, but I just can't see charging a fee specifically to generate a quote.
    Just like getting your car "diagnosed " at the dealer for a dealer only repair and them charging you 140 bucks to tell you something you already know...It would be one thing if it got credited to bill.


    On another note, i had a customer send us into a fire drill, asking for the parts to be picked up and fixed ASAP...Quote"we're not sure whats wrong with it yet but its not lining up"
    after 2 hours of pulling spares and trying to figure out what could be happening i get the " sorry this part isnt yours" email.
    I felt like billing them on one charge of incompetance

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    I think your shop minimum is too low.

    Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by gbent View Post
    I recently went through the process about a customer wanting a W9 for an item I sold that didn't require a 1099. After being passed up the ladder a couple of times I finally reached someone who knew how to work the system so a W9 was not required.

    My guess is these are minions asking for the paperwork. There may be someone a couple of rungs up who knows how ridiculous their requests are for a $35 charge.
    We get the W9 request once in a while. NO. Some suit in a windowless office thinks they need it for a $13.00 purchase.

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    Hmmm ... this might be a place to fight policy with policy.

    "I'm sorry, but our company policy does not allow generating a _____ [W9, 1099, fill in the blank for whatever forms] for any jobs totalling less than $5000 [or whatever limit is suitable]."

    This takes you off the hook, and puts you on the same playing field as the buyer or agent who is insisting on the paperwork. They get to hide behind company policy - "it's not me that's requiring all this paperwork; it's company policy." So you get to hide behind company policy - "I'm afraid we can't do that; it's company policy."

    If they point out that you are a sole proprietor or the boss or whatever, you can say, "Yes, but company policy is established in consultation with lawyers and accountants and business consultants, and as the boss I more than anyone need to follow the policy. Now, I can go back and talk to my people to see if there is any wiggle room, but if I do that, I expect you to do the same thing: you talk to your people and see if there is any wiggle room on your policy."

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    Personally, I don’t think , a $5k policy is enough for BS.

    Need to make it a percentage of what the customer is worth.

    Machine shops aren’t banks , but banks charge a processing fee for paperwork.

    I had enough of bureaucracy , hiding behind a policy...

    If it’s the only way to win, then play to win...

    The race to the bottom continues ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cole2534 View Post
    I think your shop minimum is too low.

    Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk
    We get a lot of walk in quick 5 to 15 minute welding jobs. In this instance I tig welded to a broken tap and pulled it out. I might have taken me 5 minutes at the most including setting up the machine. If they take me 10 minutes including paperwork, we are making $210/hr with minimum jobs. 15 minutes per is still $140 per hour. We don't machine parts for our minimum charge unless it's something super simple like throw this in a vise and drill a hole or two. A lot of the time our little minimum jobs lead to a lot more work. We had one a couple of weeks ago lead to $6200 worth of machine work with a new customer.

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    Just to be clear, I'm not talking about a simple W9. I can generate one of those in two minutes. To me, that's part of doing business to business work. I'm talking about 15 pages of company information, history, banking info, references, inventory levels, etc. Stuff that really takes time to get together. I think I had less paperwork to fill out getting the mortgage for my house than some of these guys are now wanting. We're talking an hour easy at minimum to fill all this stuff out. Some of it is none of their business either in my opinion. Stuff like wanting to know history of how long each employee has worked there, etc. This was all to be filled out before even giving and accepting a quote.

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    Unless you knew for a fact a lot of good profitable work is possible in building this relationship, I would tell the customer to pound sand.

    And that's exactly how I would handle it...make them commit to let you quote more and bigger jobs, else "I'm a small shop, and don't have time for this BS paperwork, I've got real, actual, paying work to do."

    ToolCat

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    Quote Originally Posted by Griffin View Post
    We get a lot of walk in quick 5 to 15 minute welding jobs. In this instance I tig welded to a broken tap and pulled it out. I might have taken me 5 minutes at the most including setting up the machine. If they take me 10 minutes including paperwork, we are making $210/hr with minimum jobs. 15 minutes per is still $140 per hour. We don't machine parts for our minimum charge unless it's something super simple like throw this in a vise and drill a hole or two. A lot of the time our little minimum jobs lead to a lot more work. We had one a couple of weeks ago lead to $6200 worth of machine work with a new customer.
    Then I must defer to your expertise.


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