View Full Version : Pricing our shopbot work.

08-13-2009, 11:28 PM
How do we compete with 100k cnc machines?
What pricing method are shopbotters using to quote jobs? Per inch Pricing seems to be most logical.
What kind of pricing are my fellow shopbotters getting for their work. Please advise with your knowledge or experiences.

08-14-2009, 07:26 AM
Hello Chad,

I expect you will receive quite a few opinions on this, all of them are right for the folks that are giving them.... none of them my be right for you, but I am sure you will find your answer in the mix. So here goes one opinion...... mine.

You cannot compete with a $100K machine. Your machine is not going to give the same quality of cut at the same speed. Your overhead will be much lower. Your initial investment is much lower. The cost to run, train, repair etc... (overhead) is much lower. You should charge less and expect to product a lesser amount of work. Now, with all of that said, you can make money with your ShopBot. As much as you want in fact. Your cut quality can be very good as well.

I talk to, and read posts by folks who have the attitude that they will not even turn on the machine for less than $xxx dollars. I have also talked to and see posts by folks who say that making $50 with their machine is better than making nothing. Both are correct, in the proper setting. IF you are so busy you just cannot justify stopping to cut some small job, then you could charge more or let that job go. If you are sitting by the phone waiting for a job, so you can buy food, then that $50 job is a much needed blessing.

Your CNC Router is worth the same as all the rest of them.... NOTHING! It is the operator and his experience that is bringing the price to bear on the job.

I have a very well outfitted shop and I don't assign a price or cost per hour to each of my machines. I have a price I charge per hour for my labor, in my shop. That price takes into account the running of my machines. Some charge different amounts to run the CNC Router or design a file on the computer. Different skills and thus a different price. I just charge my labor rate. It works for me.

I am sure your expense to keep your shop open is different than mine. I bet you and I will charge different rates for the same work. I bet the fit and finish will be different as well.

Bottom line is, charge enough to cover expenses (all of them), make a profit and be able to stay in business by attracting more business. Be fair to your customers and yourself.

This may not be the direct charge this much for your work, but really, you have to figure out what you are worth. Each area in the country will also be different.

Best Wishes,

08-14-2009, 07:56 AM
like what you said, one size does not fit all.
people buy from people. so many things are custom and so many are not custom. if the shop bot was like a coca cola vending machine it would be different i guess. You put in your $50.00 and press 3d then press great white owl 12'' hdu.
The story can go on... but Ed you really said it all.
a bigger issue may be how to get the work if you do not have enough. that can take away pricing confidence if you need the money. We still need that money by golly. Ed suggests a balanced approach to stay calm and not over react either way. That is where i need to be mentally. but you may be different. You are, i know.

08-14-2009, 08:21 AM
I am a small custom shop.
I may be building custom
cabinets one day or custom carvings or millwork the next.Almost all or in part is done on my Shopbot.
I don't know how much flexibility or "ease" of flexibility a big iron machine will have in a true custom environment.


08-14-2009, 08:24 AM
I don't compete with 100k cnc machines. I use my knowledge and craftsmanship to stand out above them as a custom shop that offers quality at a reasonable charge. Many clients have no idea what type of machine I have or need to. All they know is they have a need and I fill it. Many of my clients don't have enough volume to interest the big boys but they don't know I'm not one so they feel like I take there work and money and they are happy with the service. The pricing is another issue, You have to make this work for you. Other people have there pricing and I have mine, Can't be everything to everyone.
Good Luck

08-14-2009, 09:01 AM
Erminio, without trying to sound like a smart Alec, why not ask? While most of my career has been directly involved in manufacturing, I spent a few years in retail (hated every minute of it). It was common practice to send personel to the competition and price compare. While it may seem a little distateful, I'm sure you could submit a few different kinds of jobs for quotes to known competitors. By comparing the time/material it would take you to complete the jobs versus what they would be charging, you should have a pretty good handle as to the going rate. After that, it's pretty much what Ed was saying. Either the job is worth it to you or not.

It has been my experience that the firms who are highly capitalized generally have high volume to support their investment or charge a lot more for custom/quick turn type jobs.......of course, these guys could be a lot more hungry these days..but old habits die hard.

I have often thought about various means of calculating how much to charge, and for me it all boils down to how busy I am. (keep in mind I shopbot on a part time basis). If I can more than cover my direct expenses, I don't worry about machine time unless I have capacity issues.

Hope some of these thoughts help.

08-14-2009, 09:34 AM

I think we have all check out our competitors to a certain extent.
What I was getting at is,My Shopbot allows me a measure of flexibility that is an asset in these uncertain times.
As far as pricing it is pretty subjective,especially, today.


Forum Admin
08-14-2009, 10:20 AM
Threads moved and consolidated here. Duplicate posts only scatter the responses.

08-17-2009, 11:43 PM
Chad, I am a custom woodworking shop. I agree with Ed & Bruce. I have a shop labor rate, and no matter what I am doing, that is what I charge. Makes it real simple for me to calculate costs.
As Bruce stated, I offer my knowledge & craftsmanship to stand out. I also feel i am more flexible then bigger shops. I am willing to try new methods, not tied into a set of rules.
The big thing is, not trying to be everything to everybody. No matter how much you want to do the job, sometimes you must walk away after serious consideration.
Best of Luck to you

08-18-2009, 08:47 AM
Michael hit something that I am just getting comfortable with. Not feeling like I need to cut every job that comes my way. I have a few products of my own, and I jig up the machines in my shop to product those items. I am not taking on many "other" jobs any longer. It is one think to have enough work and do this, and another think to need every job that walks up to the door.

As always, each shop will have a different opinion on this.

02-06-2010, 08:54 PM
Being the new kid, I would suggest the following.
Check the competitions price, add 20%, and see what the market does. Remember, unless your loosing 20% of your quotes your prices are too low. Don't be afraid to charge, If they want your product, and its good, price is not an issure.

Good Luck, Bill H, at Alcona Sign