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Top Chop???$$$

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by cosmic12, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. Kirk Hanning
    Joined: Feb 27, 2005
    Posts: 1,603

    Kirk Hanning

    It's entirely unfortunate that we live in a day & age where for the most part paying for craftmanship has fell to the wayside over how cheap can you do it.

    I am willing to bet that the asshat that thought you were ripping him off would profit $3000 from his job well before the $3000 you would get from chopping his top was complete. In addition most "wanna be's" have no idea that you'll have say $300 in consumables mig wire/tig rod, welding gas, grinding disks, cut off wheels, sawzall blades, filler, primer and let's not forget the utilities to run the lights as you're doing it after your daily job, cost to run the compressor yada yada yada... realistically you'll walk away with 2k for using up every night & weekend for possibly a month!
  2. Marcosmadness
    Joined: Dec 19, 2010
    Posts: 364

    from California

    As someone on the HAMB said on a different thread.... you can break even sitting on the couch. "Buying work" is almost always a bad idea and a good way to go broke slowly (and painfully). Nothing kills enthusiasm faster than losing money on a job. Most shop owners I know are lucky to actually make 1/2 of their advertised/desired shop rate. Everything takes longer than you plan. A frozen bolt, some hidden rust, a part that doesn't fit or doesn't work after spending hours installing it are but a few of the thousand of things that will send a project time table south. You don't need to own a shop to see this happen. I have spent entire weekends working (and working hard) on something that logic would tell you shouldn't take more than a couple of hours. Pity the poor shop owner. So the lesson is, do quality work, establish a good reputation, and expect to be paid appropriately. Good customers don't want to be ripped off but if you have a good reputation and produce quality work you can demand (and get) a premium for your work. Even then, you won't be making as much as you deserve but at least you will like what you are doing.
  3. To answer the original question. 3K is to cheap by far in my mind. We're doing a 49 shoebox business coupe at the moment. The roof so far has almost 50 hours in it, and finished I'd say it will be 120 hours. That doesn't include the glass, but does include templates for glass.

    We dont do filler work or paint at our shop everything leave in bare steel.

    Like others have said if the guy has a problem with the price, and you felt he got "Pissy" dont take the job you'll have problems later on.

    On the fixed price thing we dont do it and I rather stay home, watch porn, eat twisties and make my dick orange than go to work and go broke.

    With the kind of work we do it's impossible to know what needs doing until you have th task at hand and actually do it. Good communication and honest with the customers usually helps solve any problems later on.

    Mark Shearer
  4. classic L.B.
    Joined: Dec 28, 2010
    Posts: 83

    classic L.B.

    RICKYBOP is absoloutly correct!!! I ve seen customers like that, they quit paying and sue you, (the judge gave the guy his vehicle back and... everything my bud had been paid and then some, plus lawer fees aint cheap!) Judges arent car people and yer screwed, cause they think $2000 is outragous for a paint job on any car /truck...Tell the Idiot to hit the road, trust me, thats damn good advice
  5. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,875

    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    I do this type of work as a second job, not quite full time, though I sometimes do put in a 40 hour week on it!
    The "secret" to having good people let you do this, is your repuation. All odf my customers come from work of mouth. So even strangers come in knowing they type of work I do. To reinforce the way I work, and how fairly I treat people, I also give them names and cars i have buillt in the past,some going back 20+ years. Most real car guys will know the cars I mention, and have build pics in albums, so they know my work is good and long lasting, a sign of a good foundation under the shiny paint. By talking to previous customers, especailly the ones who had cars butchered by other shops, they learn the value of paying the right price for the right job.
    If they dont' get it, I discourage them from bringing the car in. I usually have a wating period, as well, so they get used to the idea the quality takes time, and I wil not rush one guys car out the door to get the next one in....won'tdo it to the guy who's spot you are going in, and I won't do it to you for a new guy.
    Reasonable people will research the shop, and it's customers, and come to their own conclusions. Unreasonable ones, like the OP's customer, hopefully will just go away!

    Like others have said, these are the worst guys to work for! Your 3k$ esitmate is way low, though not unreasonable, if you work out of your own garage, with no employees or overhead. But once you build your repuation, you should consider bumping up your prices, or going to a "time and material" approach to doing work. If your rep is good enough, you'll get the work!
  6. chrisp
    Joined: Jan 27, 2007
    Posts: 852


    I ask 7000 for a complete basic 3" chop on a 50's car then 1000 for every more " off, and 3000 for a pick up or square car. Not talking about raising the w-shield up or laying posts here: it's an hourly rate
    Problem now people want to know the exact cost for something custom, amongst the about 20 chops I did, not 2 were alike, few people understand that.
  7. scottb356
    Joined: Jun 10, 2011
    Posts: 172


    I think you need to forward this thread to Mr Pissypants. Let him know how out of line HE was.

    Let us know how that goes LOL !

    HOT DAMN !! I'm a grenade inspector now. Time for a party:rolleyes:
  8. cosmic12
    Joined: Oct 16, 2011
    Posts: 422


    Morning guys, WOW alot went on here after I shut down last night. Thank you one and all for all the info and I respect every bit of it. Without going into a long drawn out post here let me say that I have kinda been there done that on most of what everyone has said. i am about to turn 60 and have been beating myself up on this chit for way to many years. Stopped doing restos when I did a 40 Chevy coupe for a guy and went to AACA nationals and lost 1st place because we left grease on the front end zerks........that was it said I would never do show car work again, that was 27 yrs ago. Point is I have been out of it for years and was just wondering what the average for that kinda chop was these days. Things change over the years and I have been thinking about getting back into this bis just to try to make it to retirement so I have been putting the word out that I would take on some jobs to test the waters so to say. After this maybe not so much, to old an set in my ways to deal with the BS I hated about it in the first place. If I do I will just set an hourly rate + mats and if they don't like it to bad they know where the door is that they came in. This person has taught me a lesson that I had forgot about but I won't the next time.

    Thanks to all of you
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 8,149


    So, do you get to buy a cup of coffee for .25c due to your "area"?
  10. cosmic12
    Joined: Oct 16, 2011
    Posts: 422


    Point taken;)
  11. metalman
    Joined: Dec 30, 2006
    Posts: 3,279


    Hey Cosmic12, didn't mean to insult you or anyone else that mig welds, just around here we got a bunch of back yard "shops" that ARE hacks, the'll hack the top up with a plasma, lap mig weld it up and lay on the bondo. They work fast and their cheap. They give the average guy around here just what they want! You can't buy a cup of coffee here for a quarter either but you can find $1500 chops so that sets the price.
    I don't work that way so I limit my customer base, that's ok. Right now I have all the work I want, I learned long ago I'd rather do 2 good paying quality jobs then 10 quick and dirty so I don't care if they waffle on my price. FWIW I work by time and materials only but like Chopolds after close to 40 years I have a reputation that supports word of mouth that I provide quailty at a resonable price. Sounds like your just getting back into it so you might not have such a luxury, you'll probably have to work with estimates and/ or quotes for a while. It's tough getting started I know.
  12. MBog
    Joined: May 2, 2006
    Posts: 552


    And don't forget... Payday is EVERY FRIDAY no ifs ands or buts...
  13. cosmic12
    Joined: Oct 16, 2011
    Posts: 422


    No insults and no offence taken,really I understand what you are saying.
    There are a few hacks around here also. Like I said I use the Mig because it is faster than the torch and I don't have a Tig, maybe someday. I don't lap weld anything myself but I have to hand form any parts in might need, wish I had a E-wheel but I don't and the ole saying old dogs and new tricks ya know, shot bag and anvil and a bunch of dollies. Got an old stump that works pretty good to:rolleyes:. If I had stayed in the bis years ago I would proby have all the fancey tools and a nice shop but things didn't go that way.
    I still haven't heard a word from this guy so it is probly over.
    On to the next one.
  14. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 28,325


    this is pretty well one of the best overall threads I have read on what and how one needs to charge for top quality work.

    I've watched a couple of friends take it in the shorts all too often for quoting a set price on jobs and then run into issues that took a lot of extra work to handle.
    When I did a lot of mechanical work on the side it was easy to give a quote by opening a flat rate book and seeing that said job took x.y hrs and that my rate was xx an hour. I usually beat the flatrate pretty good and made money. The times I didn't was when I opened my yap and gave a guy an off the cuff quote and then found out that because that vehicle was a such and such model it took three hours extra to do the job than the same job on the standard model.
  15. cosmic12
    Joined: Oct 16, 2011
    Posts: 422


    He called back yesterday and asked if I was still interested in the job.
    I told him I would do it but I needed 1/3 down 1/3 half way and final on delivery. So after that he says,,,,,,,,well I don't really have that much right now but I need to get this done, I say, tell ya what, when you have all the bucks togeather in one big pile we might and I stress MIGHT be able to talk about it C ya...............

    Pretty sure I will never hear from him again.
    Oh, the buddie that brought him to me has said sorry so many times I can't count and couldn't belive what a dick he was.
    Thanks again for all the great info guys.

  16. Poesrodandcustom
    Joined: Dec 11, 2012
    Posts: 192

    from Kentucky

    Cosmic, glad you got the chance to tell the douche what the deal is and send him packin.

    Mr48chev I agree this is a good thread.
  17. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,445

    Rusty O'Toole

    He may "need" to get something done, that is his problem. Don't make his problem your problem.

    When he comes back double your price. If he squawks tell him everything has gone up. You don't go price a pair of jeans and come back a year later and expect them to be the same price.
  18. cosmic12
    Joined: Oct 16, 2011
    Posts: 422


    Laughed my azz off yesterday at this guy:rolleyes:. He showed up on a 70 something CB750 Honda and wanted me to take it on trade for the chop job, said he needed the car ready for the Syr Nats in July:eek:
    I asked what he thought the bike was worth and his reply was 3k alday:eek:
    My reply was ok so now the chop is 6k:rolleyes:
    Needless to say he rode off pissed off.
    End of story.......:cool:
  19. 1959apache
    Joined: Nov 22, 2009
    Posts: 2,627


    Ha ha ha. Sounds like something I would say. That kid is full of crap on that bike lol
  20. Choff
    Joined: Sep 15, 2009
    Posts: 184


    Print this thread and hand it to the guy that whats the chop, Tell him to take it home and read it, Maybe he will reconsider what he has to pay for this kind of work.
    After chopping my 29 dodge coupe 3" I would not take 3 grand to do it over again, Ya sounds easy, but it's a lot of work.
  21. Russ V.
    Joined: Oct 13, 2009
    Posts: 277

    Russ V.

    Trying not to piss on your parade, but it seems to me your situation is very know how much time/materials you have in your own project and you must have some idea of how much you charge for an hour's worth of simple 6th grade math to find out a reasonably ball park end number. You could factor in the additional time to "customize" the chop to his specs.

    Of course, no 2 chops are exactly the same. Attached pics shows a shoebox woody wagon that my son did....4 inch section, 3 inch chop, windshield layed back, top crowned 1 inch. The car was last in Florida getting new wood installed. We charged time and materials for this job and probably ended up working a lot of it for free.:mad: (But no complaints and the customer was very happy.:) )

    Keep the faith!!


    Attached Files:

  22. notrod13
    Joined: Dec 13, 2005
    Posts: 988

    from long beach

  23. around 10 grand is norm...good work is worth paying for...hard to find..but worth money

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