• User avatar
  • User avatar
  • User avatar
  • User avatar
  • User avatar
User avatar
By BigRig
#3010
I just settle for the fact I know I am going to be working for $10.00 an hour :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: And I am not pulling stitches like @LeatherJohnny for redos. Like John said 80% of the job is labor and mine just run me a little long sometimes! How is your hourly wage looking on that Trike seat @Cody ?
Click Here to Remove Ads
User avatar
By Cody
#3015
@BigRig so far I’d have to factor my hourly rate at somewhere between zero and -$40 lol. But once I get a good useable pattern hopefully it’ll increase lol. I have a tough time with pricing as I’m slower than most on a lot of projects. But like I said in the trike post. I’m never consistent, so one time I make good money the other I make money but no where near as much if I factor hours. Having a full time job otherwise this doesn’t bother me as much. If this was my living I’d be worried. So I’m taking this time to more or less learn and fine tune my skills.
John liked this
User avatar
By BigRig
#3021
@Cody,

Sometimes taking your time pays off. I sent out a seat that I really spent time on and it brought me more just like it. The second one I tried to be a factory and rushed it and could not even fix my own screw ups. The third I nailed three times over with great satisfaction and will end up getting faster and faster on the design.
John liked this
User avatar
By Cody
#3023
@BigRig thats awesome. That how I try to treat everything. Where taking my time will hopefully pay off. I try to warn people if they are in a hurry, and I know I won’t be able to whip it out quick, that I may not be the best option. I’ve gotten good at fixing snowmobile seats and atv seats. Those I don’t say much about time. Car seats I do. Small town life, one screw up and it’s hard to recover (pun intended)
User avatar
By John
#3038
Nice work guys! The speed will come with practice. But also remember that this stuff takes time no mater how good you get. So don't beat yourself up to much.
kl4bidn liked this
User avatar
By Cervantes
#12054
It looks like this is an older thread, but I like the idea @Joel Pierson brings up.

Mechanics have a book and it tells them brake pads on a 89 Alfa Spider should take around X hours. If the calipers or rotors are bad, that is extra beyond the X hours.

I know there are a lot of unique variable on each trimming job, but it would be really helpful to have some ideas on averages for some basic types of jobs... just for non-fancy "stock looking" stuff. Foam or seat repairs would be extra and depend on the extent of the damage. Just the teardown, cutting out and sewing the new vinyl, reassembling, etc. Just for a starting point.

Something like:
* Typical bench seat, like in a Chevy Ford truck: X to Y hours plus materials, repair work.

* Typical bucket seat like in a typical economy car like a Hyundai: Estimate A to B hrs plus materials, repair work.

* Typical per basic door card recover. C to D hrs plus extra for non standard trim, replacing the backing.

That kind of thing. Just a balloons to start with., and just simple, not custom jobs. Any thoughts on that?

I figure by the time I'm doing fancy work, I'll have a better feel for it. But at this point I would want to charge based on what it *should* take for a Trimmer with a bit more experience. If I take twice as long, the extra would be on me... the price of learning.

I've had a few friends ask, and I'd love the opportunity to practice, and they've seen my work. I don't mind a bit of a "friend" discount while I'm learning, but really don't know what would be a fair baseline.

Thoughts?
Cervantes
User avatar
By John
#12064
Unfortunately there are no estimating guides or software for upholstery like there are in other industries. The reason I believe no one has done it is because there are sooooooo many variables between makes and models. Then add in all the hidden unknown problems that can be found only after disassembling and interior. Also then most customers want something custom witch completely makes any time standard not usable. This is why it is sooooo important to make 100% sure the customers understand that estimates on this type of work are not guaranteed. Any customers that wants you to guarantee a price is usually more trouble than they are worth.

That being said It is something I would really really like to put together and have been thinking on it for years now. Problem is It will be a huge undertaking and I would hate to misguide people in to estimating jobs and it taking way longer than they are getting paid for. I have made that mistake many times and its really not fun. Also I feel that I would need to collaborate with other professionals on that project but as many of you know most professional trimmers hold their knowledge very tightly and dont want to share.

I do plan to eventually put together an upholstery business course and would like to include something like that.
Cervantes liked this
User avatar
By Cervantes
#12085
That would be helpful. I would be interested in the Business Course, if that comes about.

I think having a starting point of some common basic types, with clear instructions to add to it for repairs or fancy stuff would be so helpful. In the end, each of us will have to work through it and learn from our successes and mistakes... but this would give us a better starting point. For example, in the Custom Seat video, you showed how to make patterns and create a basically stock seat cover (before you did the custom stuff.) I'd be really curious how many hours you would estimate on something like that.

In another discussion I saw on here, there was a link to a page on convertible tops. I followed that and found that the baseline for installing one of their tops onto a Alfa Spider would be 4.5 hours. It would probably take me a little longer, others less time... but that was a great starting point.

Anyhow, I hope you do the business course! I have a full time computer job that I love - so for me this would be a hobby business. But I still would want to do it right and learn from others!

All the Best,
Cervantes
By Mark M
#12086
This is coming from someone who has structured many businesses. You have to account what I call "Fluff time". In other words, you cannot nail the job down to the minute. If I was quoting someone, I'd have something on there saying something like this in its simplest form which can be expanded upon.

If you are pricing by the hour

xyz yards of Vinyl = $$$
Labor @ $100 an hour +/- 2 hours for unforeseen circumstances. eg broken hardware of the project that is currently not apparent. Estimated time is 5 hours.

If you are pricing by the job

$500.
This does not include parts and labor for any unforeseen circumstances such as broken hardware of the project that is currently not apparent. Hourly rate is $100 thereafter.

Customer MUST sign/agree before any work is even started.

Just my 2.5 cents
Cervantes, John liked this
User avatar
By John
#12109
Great advice @Mark M :thumbsup:

@Cervantes Yeah, when you put it that way your totally right . I some times get overly cautious because some people try to hold me to exactly their interpretation of what is said or information I provided. Putting together something basic like described wouldn't be so hard like I was thinking. Ill add it to my project list and try to get to it sometime this year. I am currently in the process of moving to Alabama and building a larger shop for The Lucky Needle. As soon as I get the shop all set up I will be going full throtle creating more courses and YouTube videos all based on the requests and suggestions you guys have recommended.
Click Here to Remove Ads & Support the Forum!

We built a custom couch / window seat in our tiny […]

french seams for sure. This was just a mock up si[…]

Foam Saw

I have never used it so my opinion may not be vali[…]

The videos

We are just getting started, but so far we are enj[…]