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what to charge for Pinstriping.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by RoscoeFink, Feb 12, 2008.

  1. RoscoeFink
    Joined: Mar 29, 2007
    Posts: 126

    from Idaho

    Hey Hepcats,
    I am a Pinstriper out of Idaho, I've been pinstriping for about a year and a half now. I have always pinstriped in exchange for favors on MY hotrods: Body mounts, Electrical, etc. but I was recently offered a Job at a local shop pinstriping on a regular basis, problem is , I have no Idea what to charge.
    Any suggestions from other stripers?
  2. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792

    Member Emeritus

    Got any pics of your work?
  3. What do established stripers charge in your area ?
    Prices vary wildly across the country.

    You probably can't expect to get NJ prices in Idaho.

    And don't forget to allow for travel time,in your pricing.
  4. vivalahotrod
    Joined: May 6, 2007
    Posts: 743


    I think of pinstripeing almost like getting a tattoo How much is your time worth to you? What is it gonna take to get the job done ie materials, time,listening to the customers wants and needs etc.
    Every time I get something done on my car or bike the first question out of my mouth isn't "how much is it gonna cost?"

  5. vivalahotrod
    Joined: May 6, 2007
    Posts: 743


    Why wouldn't he?
  6. Do you think people in Idaho will pay $200
    for a double line down both sides of a car ?

    I know they won't in Ohio,Kentucky,etc.
  7. RoscoeFink
    Joined: Mar 29, 2007
    Posts: 126

    from Idaho

    Wow, thanks for the quick respponse guys:

    I don't have a camera, and haven't had any pictures of my work taken in a while.

    -Unkl Ian,
    I have never met another Pinstriper in my area, The closest one I have heard of is an hour away.

    Thanks, I'll keep that in mind, but I don't even know what's fair, what do most people charge?.
  8. Chevy Gasser
    Joined: Jan 23, 2007
    Posts: 712

    Chevy Gasser

    My opinion, but someone who has only a year or two experience should be on the lower end of the pay scale for your area, just to get your name out there. The more people like your work, the busier you'll be, the more you can charge. It's not uncommon in the midwest to travel greater distances and pay a lot more for someone who has built a reputation for beautiful work.
  9. Not2low
    Joined: Sep 5, 2007
    Posts: 83

    from Eaton,Ohio

    I am not a striper or an artist but I love to watch you who are.If you bring your car to the dealer I work at you pay $68.50 an hour.A local rod shop charges $40.00 an hour.If a repairman comes to your house he charges you for the trip and the repair.If you have talent and are good at what you do,you should charge for it.Just my opinion.Good luck from the land of Buckeyes.
  10. hotrodladycrusr
    Joined: Sep 20, 2002
    Posts: 20,764


    First thing you need to do is get GREAT shots of your current work and put them in a portfolio. No way I would even consider allowing anyone to strip anything for me without having seen their work or without them having a stellar reputation in the art world, not even for free. Examples of your work set up at the place you'll be working at would be a good idea too for folks to be able to see and touch and hold the work.

    Are you going to be setting the prices? Is the shop getting a cut? You going to charge per hour or per job?
  11. hillbillyhellcat
    Joined: Aug 26, 2002
    Posts: 595


    Wow, $68.50/hr is reasonable... We're $74 and the cheapest around for a dealer...soon going up to $80/hr... Ugh!
  12. I began striping many years ago and quickly learned that it is a lousy way to make a living. I went on to other things to earn a living and recommend that to you. I have remained proficient over the years and always charged a price that would pay for my time and materials. If you are making a good living in a profession, you can stripe because you love it.
    Now I am going to get a bunch of responses from stripers, but this is my experience.
    There are stripers that claim they can do 40 cars in a day, and in that case it would be a gold mine and you could retire early.
  13. G V Gordon
    Joined: Oct 29, 2002
    Posts: 5,710

    G V Gordon
    from Enid OK

    I struggled with this as well when people actually started asking for me to do work for them. The first thing I always do is direct them to a website where some of my work is displayed or show them samples I have on hand. Everyones style is different and if they don't like your style they need to have someone else do the work.

    Assuming they like what they see we discuss the job and I usually price by the job. Then if I am dissatisfied with something and decide to wipe it and start over that is on me and the price doesn't change. (it happens, lol) Like has been stated, get paid for your time and materials. I do have a minimum of $30 regardless of how simple the request. It is worth that just to unpack my gear.
    Hope that helps.
  14. jonny o
    Joined: Oct 26, 2007
    Posts: 836

    jonny o

    I would find a local aspiring photographer who needs some shots for a portfolio and see if you can get some great photographs of your work. You have to have a product to "sell" first.
  15. RoscoeFink
    Joined: Mar 29, 2007
    Posts: 126

    from Idaho

    Thanks for the the Info and advice guys.

    hotrodladycrusr - Portfolio, got it.

    <SCRIPT type=text/javascript> vbmenu_register("postmenu_2578286", true); </SCRIPT>hotrod1940 -I am not really planning on making a career out of this, I have a job as a Concept Artist. However I am a young man, and do like having extra cash to throw at hot rod projects. When I say Regular basis, I mean as regularly as hot rods come in to the shop and are out of paint and ready for striping.

    GV Gordon - Thanks for the tip. Having a base price is a good Idea.

    Johnny O - Good plan. I think I'll do just that.
  16. Pinstriper40
    Joined: Sep 24, 2007
    Posts: 3,478


    Usually I go cheaper for the first car at a show just to get attention drawn to me- lowering your price at first will get a job faster. Then it's a matter of people seeing you. As for how much to charge, for me it depends on who it's for, if I like the car, and how much they want done. If I don't like the person, love their car, and they want a lot done, I'll charge them $150 bucks for a 2 hour striping job. If I like the person and like the car I'll charge $100 for the same job. If I don't like the person or thier car I won't even mess around with them. Usually within the first five minutes of talking with a person you can tell if they'll pick at every little detail or be really indecisive in what they want. My favorite customers are ones that hand me a beer and say, "go for it, kid-just make it kool". Striping can be a good "fundraiser" for your car, that's for sure!

    Oh- and Suedes members always get a discount!
  17. Brett88
    Joined: May 14, 2004
    Posts: 51

    from ILLINOIS

    There should be a couple things to think about. Is it a 3/4 ton pick up or a big dollar street rod? Does the customer just what something cool or is he going to have 6 of his expert buddies pick it apart. Back to the question...a starting point could be a basic two color design...

    Hood & trunk $ 50 each
    Tailights $ 25 pr
    Headlights $ 25 pr
    Door handles $ 25 pr
    Motorcycles $ 100 & up needs to be some of your best work cause everbody stares at the stuff on bikes.

    If your going to be working out of there shop do acouple panels for the wall.
  18. Lil' Toot
    Joined: Sep 25, 2002
    Posts: 185

    Lil' Toot
    from Tulsa, OK

    Like Unkl Ian said, prices can vary widely depending on where your at. If there isn't any real competition in your area, that would make a difference. First of all, are we talking about repair work at a body shop, dealership work, occasional complete stripe jobs on late models, or full custom stuff?

    First of all, I wouldn't suggest an hourly rate. You may be slow now, it may take all day to do one car, but if you get better with experience, why should you be penalized for getting fast. When I got started, it took forever, now I'm reasonably quick, but I know guys that are real speed demons. If I ever get to their speed, I'd hate to think that I'd have to do twice as many cars in a day to make as much as I used to just cause I got fast. Price per car, per job.

    At Body shops for repair work, I usually price it per panel cause rarely does an entire car need to be done. I charge 35 for the first panel, $25 for the second, and 20 for each additional. Striping designs are $10 to $30 depending on size and complexity (there never real big on late model crash jobs, that's hot rod stuff) I don't charge for traveling to the surrounding area as I'm all mobile anyway, unless they are over about 20 miles away (I live in a nice central location in Tulsa, so that works good for me, but might need to be modified if you live on one far side of town, or out in the boonies) And I have a two panel minimum. If they call me out and tell me the car is ready, and I get there and it isn't, I start charging a 40/hr rate after about the first 30 minutes. I'm not a real hard case, but I can't have my time wasted either.

    Full jobs? If it's for an individual (I.E. They just call me up, no busines, shop ect) & a late model I usually get $150 for a car and $175 for a truck to do two lines down the side, designs on the hood and trunk/tailgate. Just start adding from there for extra areas, usually 15 to 25 per area depending on how big (thats usually for 2 designs, cause after you've done the front and back, almost every thing is on the side and has to be done in pairs; in other words, add designs to door handles, $15 for both sides). My prices are basically the same for body shops because going throught them, they are going to add to my price when billing the customer. If it's a deal breaker, I will lower that price about &#37;15 to %20 for loyal bodyshops so they can still build in some profits for themselves.

    For dealerships (which I don't do any right now, and haven't done that much of in the past) I usually did the 15% off my prices because they would get me 10 or so cars ready for me all at one time. Basically, loyalty and return business garners a certain amount of discount.

    For hot rods and hot rod shops, things are a little different. I hate to say it, it's a little bit more seat of your pants. Like Pinstriper 40 said, it kinda depends on how much you like the guy, the car, whatever. I don't over charge gold chainers, pro shops, or the obviously more well to do, but I'm more likely to cut the little guy a deal. You know how it is. Not all rods are gonna get long lines, sometimes it's just designs, but if its old school, those designs can be elaborate. Most rods are gonna end up falling between $100 and $300, but it can get more depending on what they want.

    Now that I've written a novel, let me just say that an hourly rate is a good place to start when figuring out your prices in your mind, I try to decide how much I wanna make a day, figure that down to the hour, and then estimate how much time a job will take in my mind and throw out the price. But by not telling them an hourly rate, I'm not held to anything. If I can get work at a certain price, but happen to get faster at it with time, then that's just that much more I can make as I gain experience. Just remember that they're paying for your skill, not your time. Oh, and another good thing Pinstriper 40 mentioned was, when working a show, doing one cheap is good way to get the ball rolling. I usually will talk with the host club to see which members might want some work and hook them up cheap or even free. Not only does that get people interested in what I doing (never underestimate the power building an audience and getting momentum) but it gets me major points with the host club, which can definately pay off down the road. Sorry for the long reply, hope this helps.
  19. All good points and really shows that there are no hard and fast rules. My only disagreement is that lowering the price because you like someone isn't very professional, this isn't a date, it's a business agreement. I also, year ago, would have a job lined up to get people interested and then you could charge pretty much what you wanted from the spectators.
  20. vivalahotrod
    Joined: May 6, 2007
    Posts: 743


    I think lil'toot just about covered it
  21. kopis
    Joined: Dec 27, 2006
    Posts: 1,028


    What do you think you are worth, in other words, if your lines are nice, people will pay the bucks$$
  22. SlowandLow63
    Joined: Sep 18, 2004
    Posts: 5,957

    from Central NJ

    Same reason why real estate is cheaper, same reason why cost of living is cheaper, same reason why taxes are cheaper, same reason why wages are higher. Its simple economics, it almost boils down to supply and demand if you think about it.
  23. I had started to reply to this thread last night and then thought better of it.Now after reading some of the replies,I would like to inject my two cent's worth.I will try to address the original questions first.

    As has been stated before there is a vast difference in pricing dependent upon the region of the country in which you live.I've seen double stripes down the side of a car run from $20 to $250 and there was very little variance in the quality of the work.The type of job will definitely influence the price.For example,you would obviously charge more for an antique vehicle that might involve removing side mounted spare tires or an accessory trunk and dodging around various obstacles than running a couple of quick stripes down the slab sides of a modern car.The amount of striping may not be greater but the effort expended to achieve it is.

    If you are doing mainly repair work for body shops(as I do now)you have to figure out such things as what to charge per panel,time traveled to the job,etc.,and it has to be a constant for all shops.
    I right now charge $30 per panel or $100 per side which includes proper blending of colors into the original(not easy at times).A complete double stripe on a modern car or truck(I don't do 18 wheelers)is $200.I also have a travel fee of $25 for distances up to 40 miles.Anything above that I do on a case by case basis or have them bring it to me.

    Custom striping I figure at $30 and up per design for larger areas and $20 per design for areas around door handles and such.Outlining a flame job starts at around $150 and goes up depending on the complexity.Small lettering jobs in two colors(car names,etc.)start at $40 per side.

    Motorcycles start around $150 and go up depending on how many pieces are involved.

    Lettering on doors starts at $125 per door.

    There are a couple of rules I follow:

    I do not negotiate prices with customers.I give them what I feel is a reasonable price and if they try to cut the price down I refuse.If they persist,I walk away.

    I do not give a,"discount" price to the first customer at a show or wherever.This has a nasty habit of coming back and biting you in the ass.I also don't consider it professional.

    I do not charge one person more or less for a similar job based on the fact that he may be wealthy(or poor).I have worked for average people and multi-millionaires and treated them all equally.

    If I perceive a person to be someone whom I might not be able to work with(for)I refer them to someone else.

    As a case in point,I worked for many years for a Mercedes-Benz dealership as a parts manager.We had a customer who was a complete ball buster for a number of reasons.I still treated him as I would any other customer.

    One day he came in and asked if I was the person who did striping and lettering.He then told me he needed his and his girlfriend's name lettered on the side of a bobsled and asked how much it would be.I told him it would be $25 per side(the amount I charged at the time).He then said OK I want it done this weekend.I politely told him that I had several jobs to do that weekend and the people had been waiting several weeks for them to be done.
    He then proceeded to offer me $50 per side if I would do them that weekend.As I don't consider myself a whore I told him it would be several weeks before it could be done.To make a long story short,he wound up offering me $500 if he could bet them done that weekend.I refused and told him unless he had other business to do here like buying parts,the conversation was over and I walked away.
    The service manager who had heard the whole conversation came over and opined that I was a fool not to take his money.
    Was I? Maybe so,but one thing I cannot stand in this world is people thinking that everything has a price.It doesn't.

    Anyway that is my take on the thread.It may not be the most popular but I'm not out to win any popularity contest.

    One final thought:I would think VERY carefully before sharing ideas with 40,000 of your closest friends.They may just come back to bite you on the ass.
  24. swazzie
    Joined: Mar 30, 2004
    Posts: 940


    RIGHT! If Skratch lived in Idaho (LOL) he would still get paid ......
  25. Some people CAN be bought,and they think
    the rest of the world is the same as they are.

    I've noticed dishonest people are more likely
    to have alarms on their home and cars.
    Same deal,they think everyone is as dishonest as they are.
  26. WOW, safariknut, that is some very, very good information for anyone!!-MIKE:cool:
  27. Irish Dan
    Joined: Jan 19, 2006
    Posts: 1,231

    Irish Dan

    Safariknut never fails to achieve the bottom line on these topics with such style and grace!....he is, IMO, the epitome of professionalism;....and his work says it all.

  28. I don't claim to do 40 cars a day but I have done over 58 in a weekend ( 3 day show). I'm not making a million dollars, but it's hard to price your jobs when you're as fast as I am. Even $100/hour wouldn't make me any money. So, my prices vary from job to job, and I am even lower than most stripers. I travel all over the United States, and some people are used to paying high prices for great work, and others are stuck in the 60's and want their car striped for $20.

    My advice is to talk to people in the area who have striping on their cars, and ask them what they payed for it. Prices vary from area to area, so it is hard to gage what you need to charge.

    Goodguys for example, are expecting to pay high prices where it is an established show. But Joe Blow's cruise in at WalMart, they don't expect anything over $50 for the most part.

    If you ever have any questions, message me. I would be happy to answer them. I have been striping for 31 years, and I doing shows all over the US for years.
  29. Vance
    Joined: Jan 3, 2005
    Posts: 2,135

    from N/A

    This has happened to me several times.

    I once did this at a show where I was working side by side with another striper. When that customer approached the other striper with the same song and dance, the other striper did exactly what I did. Made me feel A LOT better about what I did.

    Listen to safariknut. There's a reason he's been striping for over 40 years and has cutomers travel many mile to come to him for work.


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