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Hot Rods What's your shop rate?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by adamshumard, Mar 24, 2014.

  1. adamshumard
    Joined: Jan 18, 2007
    Posts: 1,380


    I'm in the process of opening a shop. I'm curious what the going rate is throughout the industry.

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  2. hinklejd
    Joined: Jan 20, 2010
    Posts: 146

    from Fort Worth

    $40 to fix it
    $60 if you watch
    $80 if you offer advice
    $100 if you try to help


    Seriously, $90/hour seems common around here, with a 250% markup on any required parts availae at the local parts store.
  3. saltflats
    Joined: Aug 14, 2007
    Posts: 10,941

    from Missouri

    The shop I work at in town is 80 an hour I charge 70 at home.

  4. I'm $84 per hour. Do work for a couple fleets and other shops for $65 per hour. I'd think it really varies depending on location though. Seems like you'd be better to ask shops close by. I get along with all the shops near me, and we have had discussions about keeping all our door rates the same.
    I find it matters more how you charge versus door rate. My neighbour has similar door rate, but his bills are a lot higher than mine.

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  5. Dreddybear
    Joined: Mar 31, 2007
    Posts: 6,031


    55-95 an hour is what I consider normal.
  6. I think location is a big thing. Shops in areas with higher cost of living obviously want to charge more. Our shop is in a low cost agriculture area. We charge $50 an hr. currently but shops just 3 hrs. away in the Seattle area can charge close to $80 from what I hear. You're biggest competition will be the guys doing jobs out of there home garage bidding little jobs flat rate or only charging half of what you can.
  7. depends on the type of work you're doing.
    many shops have different rates for different types of work.

    mechanical repair
    body & paint
    'straight time'

    my shop rate is $85/hr for most jobs
    if i gotta work under the dashboard its more.
    i flat rate most jobs, but straight time is where its at.
    dont forget parts sales if that's part of your business.
  8. racer_dave
    Joined: Nov 16, 2012
    Posts: 206


    For racecar setup I charge $60pr hour, first visit is minimum 4hrs. That is chassis setup only (caster, camber, wedge bar angles, ride height, axle alignment), no fabrication, only adjusting what I need to get them set up right. If I have to fabricate parts or fix other stuff its either $80pr hr, or agreed upon price before I start.
  9. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,114

    from California

    there should be a direct correlation between your shop rate and how much equipment you have. my neighbor used to charge $120.00 in his fab shop. he bent up a piece of metal for me on day, he was gone for 5 minutes, came back and said "$35.00" I pointed out he was only gone 5 minutes, and he pointed out he used a $100,000.00 worth of machinery to make it.

    it would have taken me an hour to make.
  10. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,707

    Atwater Mike

    My home shop I was charging $100 per hour for BMW/Porsche service;

    Hot rod fab was $80 per hour...(reduced because no 'job' was clear-cut from jig to weld, each setup was different, so production is not minute-efficient)

    Being California, all the shop time is higher...even here, in the central valley.
    I have rescinded to my own projects now, tired of 'dickering' with hot rod people's 'dream- menus'...
    Porsche/BMW customers told me I wasn't charging enough! Go figure.
  11. sk8wnec
    Joined: Mar 24, 2014
    Posts: 1

    from Ohio

    This is true and sometimes its programmed on $25000 software.
  12. tltony
    Joined: Jan 11, 2009
    Posts: 295

    from El Cajon

    we're at $90 and some of my competitors are at $100. San Diego. When I do hot rod projects in my back room, it's less since I'm not paying a tech out of that and I select projects that I want to do. My guys make $30 +/- per hour billed to our customer, called flat rate hours. If you're going to have employees you need to make this margin on their labor to be able to pay your bills.........ask me how I know this.
  13. ultimately, it boils down to what YOU need to make to pay your bills, not what the guy down the street charges.

    business license
    etc. etc. etc.

    take ALL of your overhead, then add your wages and taxes and what you'd like to see in profit then divide that by the billable hours in a month.

    then hope you have a full month, every month.
  14. Koz
    Joined: May 5, 2008
    Posts: 2,382


    Damn! I'm moving to the West Coast. I just moved my rate to $40.00 a few weeks ago. I think I do the nicest work, in reasonable time in the area. Many of the other shops are in the $20-30 range around here and only one is worth anything. I can't pay my insurance for that let alone anything else. If I can't get $50 by June I'm closing. At $40 I'm subsidizing every build.

    I'd also like to know what a typical build, (I know none are typical), is going out the door for?
  15. summersshow
    Joined: Mar 3, 2013
    Posts: 899

    from NC

    ... Wow I work cheap... I charge $45 per hour, only have 1 employee, (well not now but usually). So over all im making $90 per hour since were rarely working on the same car...
    Fab work is $65 per hour though... (I define fab work as making a body panel/part, not installing a patch or welding.)

    Im currently booked up until next may...

    One of my typical builds ranges from 15-32k depending on the type of car, condition, etc.
  16. Koz
    Joined: May 5, 2008
    Posts: 2,382


    That's about where I'm at, build cost wise. I work pretty fast. I have plenty of work as well.
  17. This is a hard question to answer Most shops around here run close to 60 an hour but out coast of living is not what other places are by the way GOOD LUCK with your shop.
  18. neilswheels
    Joined: Aug 26, 2006
    Posts: 963

    from England

  19. This is good advice. I am not self employed, and have worked in a smaller division of a large corporation. I'm curious how some of the smaller single man or small shops handle overhead tasks (parts ordering, parts chasing, or in some cases even planning) Do you bill at full rate, discount rate? or not at all?

    If you charge $80 an hour but only when your fabricating, it could net the same as the guy charging $60 but charges time for fab, parts chasing, ordering etc.

  20. The guys that think the West Coast is high on shop rate have to take more things into consideration.
    For instance, what is your rent per square foot - not uncommon to be a buck a foot or more in Orange County where I am.
    How about Workman's Comp, if you have employees, in So Cal you are going to pay $8-9.00 per $100.00 in salary. So if your mechanic makes around $30.00 an hour, you are going to pay an additional $100 a week in workman's comp.
    Then there are taxes on that employee that you pay.
    Phone, electrical, water etc.
    How about business insurance so that if one of your employees screws up and a car crashes you don't loose everything - you guesses it, higher in California.
    My 3,000 sq foot shop, with two employees used to cost me a minimum of $20,000 just to open the doors and keep those two guys in 40 hour weeks. So that is 200 hours of billable labor at $100.00 an hour, before I could make a dime! And that didn't include any equipment payback or supplies and materials.
  21. Pewsplace
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 2,799


    Labor rates on the West Coast are higher than most as is housing and everything else. Our local shops charge anywhere from $100 - $125 per hour plus parts (marked up 30%) and often will not provide a quote for the job. The standard time and material billing procedure normally protects the shop from underbidding. If you have a Bureau of Automotive Repair (CA) in your state, then you are required to provide a quote and stay within that quote +/- 10%. If you have a reputation for quality work then you can demand the higher rate, otherwise call around a see what others are charging and set your rate to be competitive.
    Bottom Line:
    1. Determine your cost (overhead)
    2. Determine your desired income (realistic)
    3. Determine your break even point on a weekly/monthly basis
    4. Determine how many billable hours you need to meet #3.
    5. Look at your customer list for at least 3 months, i.e., small jobs, large jobs, walk-
    in's etc.
    6. Do a lot of praying!

    Good Luck - it is not easy starting a new business in today's economic climate but success awaits those who accept the challenge.
  22. HammerDown
    Joined: Jun 5, 2007
    Posts: 393


    Cheap. Fast. Good.

    Pick two.
  23. castirondude
    Joined: Jan 26, 2012
    Posts: 496


    The grass is NOT green over there. I moved from the west coast because in the midwest/south I can live in greater wealth even if I make half as much as I did in CA. They don't call it "The Golden Cage" for nothing. You even have to buy your own cage.
  24. PushnFords
    Joined: Dec 2, 2011
    Posts: 52


    I do general late model repair and keep a restoration/hot rod project or two. I'd like to move more towards the resto but haven't pushed it yet. I charge $50/hr and use Chilton's flat rate time. If it is a resto job I keep track of my time then subtract non productive time. Chasing parts, answering the phone, etc is killing me though...can easily eat half my day. Not sure what I'll do about it yet. Other shops are up to $65/hr and the dealers are $83-85.
  25. Our shop rate here in Phoenix for a normal tire/service center is $99/hour. That seems to be the standard across the valley except for some family owned or specialty shops where it'll go up or down from there.
  26. Koz
    Joined: May 5, 2008
    Posts: 2,382


    The odd time kills everybody. I could live OK if I actually made the $40.00 an hr. I pretend to charge. You wrap so much unpaid time into a week your lucky to break half of that so we all end up working 80 hrs. to make up for it.
  27. Master of None
    Joined: Dec 18, 2009
    Posts: 2,279

    Master of None

    Mine is $40 and hour. I work with people who I feel confident enough to help or learn. No sense in beating around the bush. If you feel like you can/want to help and can take direction; I am more than happy to let you help. It may be slower, but then they don't feel as bad writing checks when they get a taste of the work.
  28. summersshow
    Joined: Mar 3, 2013
    Posts: 899

    from NC

    This is how I handle all that... I do all my parts ordering and chasing parts, and I charge 10% on top for all parts I supply which ends up paying for my time... And when im chasing parts me and my son dig around everywhere for just what were looking for...

    When you work for yourself you usually only half to work half the day... Just pick which 12 hours...

    My insurance is actually not very expensive and I just eat it. All billing is at full rate, I dont discount rates for anyone except sometimes I do some work to help charities and use that as a tax write off.

    Planning... I have a giant dry erase board in each bay (4 bay shop) and put weekly plans on it. But before I start I have a rough time frame for the entire build based off of past experience...

    I am lucky though I own my shop so no overhead there on rent or mortgage. (its an old general store I converted into a shop)

    That cover all your questions?

    O and my insurance actually does not allow customers inside the work area...
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2014
  29. i charge $50 and i let the customer chase parts, if they won't or can't i charge them and add a %, for doing so. most customers would rather do it than pay me, it gives them something to do while they are at their job:eek::cool:

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