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Old 05-02-2012, 11:33 PM
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anyone do commission in a restoration shop?

any thoughts on this? I think it makes ZERO sense.

The boss tells me on average two weeks for rust, two weeks for body, and two weeks for prime and blocking. Actually sounds good but the thought of the "little" things that make a show car a showcar in my opinion will go unappreciated. We have this old man who takes a while to line up panels but the guy can line up ANYTHING. I've seen him lower a fender line/top by 1/2" by twisting it a certain way on the ground. He's always slicing metal, breaking spot welds to move the metal, and just does all kinds of things. I ask the boss if he's willing to get better parts or accept panels not perfectly lined up and yeah, it's a whole different story then. MAN, what a way to mess up my day. Apparently the boss goes and tells the owner of Gearhead of his "brilliant" idea and as you can assume he didn't like the idea either being we're doing all their work. I guess in a way it shows his ignorance of the trade by even thinking about telling the owner of Gearhead. I dunno, sorry for the rambles. Love to hear your restoration shop commission stories.
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Old 05-03-2012, 06:29 AM
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Number one there's no place in a good Restoration shop for commission pay. That's a production shop. Restoration shops should be by the hr. and you charge for the hrs it take to get the car to what the customer wants or as close as you can anyway. The difference between a used car job and a show car is nothing but time and money. Just like anything can be repaired just how much do you want to spend.
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Old 05-03-2012, 07:51 AM
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"any thoughts on this? I think it makes ZERO sense."

"I guess in a way it shows his ignorance of the trade by even thinking about telling the owner of Gearhead. I dunno, sorry for the rambles."

"Love to hear your restoration shop commission stories."

I do hope you're ready to slop bondo OR find a new job (good luck with that).

Your boss's job is to get work into the shop and the bills paid. The time and place for re-fi and second mortgages to pay for joy-toys is fast dissappearing if not gone already.

Good luck with it but welcome to the 21st century.
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Old 05-03-2012, 08:37 AM
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I disagree Oldbodyman, there is ALWAYS money. There may not be quite as much, but here is always money.


Henry, I can wrap my head around how this can work. For "restorations" yes, for "show cars" that is a whole different story. But you and I may have a different image of a "show car". I am talking "America's Most Beautiful Roadster" where the detail is what wins the show. That detail is done by someone with passion, I don't care if they are being paid $5 or $50 an hour the guy with the passion to detail it takes at that level is going to do it regardless of pay. It's like a musician, if you say the famous Metallica in the early years show on MTV years ago, they ate a lot of "Bologna on hand" sandwiches. But on the same respect it is simply time, if the guy making the "estimate" knows how much the last three show cars took, he can make a pretty good educated estimate at what the one in front of him is going to take. We are talking a LOT of money, six figures at the very least. When you have a lot of money, you have a lot of "cush" for the things that come up.
It's about the skills of the writer as much as the body and paint guys.

For your average "restoration" work I can see that knows what they are doing can take a long hard look at a particular 69 Camaro and have a good idea what it will take to do it. If one can't look over your typical 69 Camaro and know what it will take to do after doing a few, they need to go flipping hamburgers, this business isn't their thing.

If you have good men in the shop, who know how to do this work, you CAN make an "estimate" at how much it will take. There is not one single difference in restoration est as there is in collision est, you have to dig in to capture every turn of the wrench. Sure if you write an estimate from your desk and never take a good look at the car, or if you give a rock solid est before the car is torn down, you are screwed. This goes for restoration as well as collision.

And if I know you like I think I do (a brilliant thinker) if you let go a little of the caveman old school bodyman thinking people have tried to stuff in your head you will see it.

Does it take striping the car to bare metal to give this solid "estimate" amount? Maybe, but that would sure do it right? If you took this 69 Camaro and gave it a once over, put it on the rack, take a good look at it, look at the spot welds in the rockers, in the quarter wheel openings, pull back the carpet a little, dig around in the trunk, you could get a REAL good idea of what it will take based on the ones you have done in the past. I KNOW you could come up with a pretty solid number. Now, you give that number to a customer and then you strip the car and strip the paint. NOW you can get a real good solid number. You sell it to the customer and put the car in the shop with your best tech on it. The car has 300 hours paid on it and you tell the bodyman he can have $7500 when the car is done TO THE OWNERS EXPECTATION OF QUALITY. That guy is going to get the job done faster than he did at "T&M" (Time and Materials) right? If he is skilled, he will get it done faster than an open clock, you know he will.

Now, if you have a tech that doesn't have the skills, that is a whole different story. We are "restoring" the bosses 67 Chevelle in the shop right now, if you want to see the MILES of difference a couple of techs can have you should see this! It is mind blowing how different these guys can be. There are techs who will do this stuff in less than half the time as another one,WAY less than half the time, it's amazing.

They could make money on a commission basis, while the slow guy wouldn't.

Really, it's up to the guy writing it knowing what he is doing and the tech who does the job being able to get the job done. It is no difference than collision work.

Brian
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Old 05-03-2012, 08:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldBodyman
"any thoughts on this? I think it makes ZERO sense."

"I guess in a way it shows his ignorance of the trade by even thinking about telling the owner of Gearhead. I dunno, sorry for the rambles."

"Love to hear your restoration shop commission stories."

I do hope you're ready to slop bondo OR find a new job (good luck with that).

Your boss's job is to get work into the shop and the bills paid. The time and place for re-fi and second mortgages to pay for joy-toys is fast dissappearing if not gone already.

Good luck with it but welcome to the 21st century.
Wel if my job is screwed than on my way out I'll have a long talk to the owner of Gearhead to let him know what my boss is planning to do. He deserves to know being the heat we take for having pride. The guy is just a business man.Knows nothing about restoration. The old owner was much better.
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:19 AM
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I believe a guy would have to take a long hard look at your employees work ethics. Do you have some of the guys getting the same pay but doing half the work? Using a commission to motivate may help, personally I would think bonuses would work better.

I looked at the Gearhead website, these guys obviously handle the high end cars where money may may not be the object in the end run of having perfect or close to perfect car. 200k for a 69 Camaro. I can't wrap my head around that, I don't have that kind of money and if I did, the first thing I would do with that car would be a gnarly burnout, just for shock value. The owner of your business is going to have to make some solid decisions or he may be greeting people at Walmart.
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Old 05-03-2012, 11:19 AM
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I think you are right Dan, there are guys who can milk a job and STILL not produce outstanding work. Who cry and moan about not having enough time but they need time because frankly they are slow as hell. Another guy in the shop never asks a thing just does what the RO says makes better time. It's so obvious it isn't funny, the guy that says nothing and just works with what ever is given him does it faster than the guy who is crying all the time about times and repair vs replace and aftermarket or used parts and on and on.

One of the things that scare away people and yes even people with money, is that open ended est time and materials idea. The shop can capture a lot more work with a closed bid on jobs. If it is done properly you CAN do this. Yes you will get a thing or two along the way that you have to bury in the job but it CAN be done if everyone accessing the job does their job.

I just don't think this is so out of the question.

Brian
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MARTINSR
I disagree Oldbodyman, there is ALWAYS money. There may not be quite as much, but here is always money.


Henry, I can wrap my head around how this can work. For "restorations" yes, for "show cars" that is a whole different story. But you and I may have a different image of a "show car". I am talking "America's Most Beautiful Roadster" where the detail is what wins the show. That detail is done by someone with passion, I don't care if they are being paid $5 or $50 an hour the guy with the passion to detail it takes at that level is going to do it regardless of pay. It's like a musician, if you say the famous Metallica in the early years show on MTV years ago, they ate a lot of "Bologna on hand" sandwiches. But on the same respect it is simply time, if the guy making the "estimate" knows how much the last three show cars took, he can make a pretty good educated estimate at what the one in front of him is going to take. We are talking a LOT of money, six figures at the very least. When you have a lot of money, you have a lot of "cush" for the things that come up.
It's about the skills of the writer as much as the body and paint guys.

For your average "restoration" work I can see that knows what they are doing can take a long hard look at a particular 69 Camaro and have a good idea what it will take to do it. If one can't look over your typical 69 Camaro and know what it will take to do after doing a few, they need to go flipping hamburgers, this business isn't their thing.

If you have good men in the shop, who know how to do this work, you CAN make an "estimate" at how much it will take. There is not one single difference in restoration est as there is in collision est, you have to dig in to capture every turn of the wrench. Sure if you write an estimate from your desk and never take a good look at the car, or if you give a rock solid est before the car is torn down, you are screwed. This goes for restoration as well as collision.

And if I know you like I think I do (a brilliant thinker) if you let go a little of the caveman old school bodyman thinking people have tried to stuff in your head you will see it.

Does it take striping the car to bare metal to give this solid "estimate" amount? Maybe, but that would sure do it right? If you took this 69 Camaro and gave it a once over, put it on the rack, take a good look at it, look at the spot welds in the rockers, in the quarter wheel openings, pull back the carpet a little, dig around in the trunk, you could get a REAL good idea of what it will take based on the ones you have done in the past. I KNOW you could come up with a pretty solid number. Now, you give that number to a customer and then you strip the car and strip the paint. NOW you can get a real good solid number. You sell it to the customer and put the car in the shop with your best tech on it. The car has 300 hours paid on it and you tell the bodyman he can have $7500 when the car is done TO THE OWNERS EXPECTATION OF QUALITY. That guy is going to get the job done faster than he did at "T&M" (Time and Materials) right? If he is skilled, he will get it done faster than an open clock, you know he will.

Now, if you have a tech that doesn't have the skills, that is a whole different story. We are "restoring" the bosses 67 Chevelle in the shop right now, if you want to see the MILES of difference a couple of techs can have you should see this! It is mind blowing how different these guys can be. There are techs who will do this stuff in less than half the time as another one,WAY less than half the time, it's amazing.

They could make money on a commission basis, while the slow guy wouldn't.

Really, it's up to the guy writing it knowing what he is doing and the tech who does the job being able to get the job done. It is no difference than collision work.

Brian
speaking of techs with skills, this commission thing will hurt him the most. He's the oldest and slowest. I'm the fastest one there and do the cleanest bodywork/metalwork but I think it has more to do with having young hands that can still feel the panel and young eyes. This won't hurt me, it will hurt the quality overall though. Our cars are $100.000 showcars but we don't see that money, most of it goes to Gearhead. I'm doing an Impala and for the first time I find myself just sticking metal behind and tacking it in not solid but enough...I do NOT like doing rust repairs that way...it's ghetto if you ask me. I'm also finding myself spray bombing outer wheel houses now where before we'd epoxy them after spot blasting at least the bottom of them. Something is brewing though and the team, which is why Gearhead uses us, might split and take his account. I guess sometimes being a business man will screw you in the end if that means all pride goes out the window.
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MARTINSR
I think you are right Dan, there are guys who can milk a job and STILL not produce outstanding work. Who cry and moan about not having enough time but they need time because frankly they are slow as hell. Another guy in the shop never asks a thing just does what the RO says makes better time. It's so obvious it isn't funny, the guy that says nothing and just works with what ever is given him does it faster than the guy who is crying all the time about times and repair vs replace and aftermarket or used parts and on and on.

One of the things that scare away people and yes even people with money, is that open ended est time and materials idea. The shop can capture a lot more work with a closed bid on jobs. If it is done properly you CAN do this. Yes you will get a thing or two along the way that you have to bury in the job but it CAN be done if everyone accessing the job does their job.

I just don't think this is so out of the question.

Brian
the one who's complaining the most is the most valuable employee. He's slow but the guy is phenomenal and love working with him. I think you're too used to production to really think about what you're saying. Commission is not in the best interest of the company's who's reputation replies on our efforts and work. He has to remember WHY he's still in business and it's all because of Gearhead, but eventually his ways will raise an eyebrow over there.
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Old 05-03-2012, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by tech69
the one who's complaining the most is the most valuable employee. He's slow but the guy is phenomenal and love working with him. I think you're too used to production to really think about what you're saying. Commission is not in the best interest of the company's who's reputation replies on our efforts and work. He has to remember WHY he's still in business and it's all because of Gearhead, but eventually his ways will raise an eyebrow over there.

My ideas here are a mixture of the both. I have done plenty of both and I like a good marriage of the two in everything I do. In good collision work you "restore" it back to pre-accident condition making sure welds look factory, seam sealer looks factory, color matches, and has the proper texture, underhood colors and shine match. What I learned in restoration work made me a better collision tech.

And learning the ways of collision and it's need to get the car out quickly and get paid for every turn of the wrench has taught me how to do restoration work more efficiant.

I am by no means saying a restoration/hot rod shop can work well under a commission pay program. What I am saying is I can see how it could, I can see how as a business you can look for ways to make money and this could be one of them.

There's an old saying in business, "Change or die". Sometimes we need to look at things a little different.

Brian
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:38 PM
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The only way I can see commission working well in a restoration shop is as a bonus system. The techs get payed a fair hr. rate and the guys working on the car work as a team.Then when its done if their under the time bid on the job its split up in some kind of a bonus. But it still comes down to the guy in the front office has to know what he's doing as the bid has to be on the mark.If not everyone looses. The techs don't get what their worth, The shop doesn't make what it should. And the customer gets a poor job on his car because everyone is cutting corners trying to get it done in the time on the bid. I've found myself and I been doing this a long time, If I just walk around the car and kind of add it up in my head or say well the last one took this many hrs. so. Nine times out of ten if you take a estimate sheet and go panel by panel, and then make sure you have all the little things added in and accounted for your bid will be way high and more on the money.
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Old 05-03-2012, 06:57 PM
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so what we're doing now is having commission but a cushion of + 20% of the allotted time allowed to get the job done. If we get it done in the time allowed we get half of the cushion time as a bonus, if we can't it's our loss.

The only problem with this is his estimates. Here's a great example of how OFF he is. I'm doing an Impala...quarter skin (horrible brand), fabricate two lower door skins, over 20 rust patches including fender braces big patches on the fenders, numerous holes, and at the onset he expected this to be ready for prime in two weeks. Keep in mind we skim coat ALL our panels. This guy is just unrealistic. Now just imagine what a company who outsources their +150k showcars to us would think about that.
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Old 05-04-2012, 08:31 AM
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I would think if your working on $150k cars there should be plenty of money to go around. There should not be a shortage of cash to pay for the restoration work. Unless one or two people are tring to get overly fat on the deal.
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Old 05-04-2012, 12:50 PM
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The way I would est something like that is like this, a little odd but it helps me a lot on stuff like that.

I would look at each panel and think, "If this panel were to be sitting in the techs stall at 8:00 in the morning, when would it be ready for primer?"

Would you take an entire day to get one panel in paint? That is a long time, 8 hours, a rust hole, a skim coat over the entire thing, 8 hours is a long time.

But just look at it that way, how about two days, 16 hours? Not counting the quarter that is 12 days. Now would it REALLY take two days for each panel, I don't think so, a few maybe yeah, but not all of them. So let's say more realistically a day and a half average. But honestly, 8 hours is a long time on something like that. But let's go with 12 hours each panel. That works out to 84 hours, 10.5 days. Now the quarter, two or three days, so we are at 13-14 days work.

This is to you bare metal with all parts needed to be removed, removed.

Does this sound realistic to you Henry?

Brian
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Old 05-04-2012, 08:20 PM
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what about lining it up? Today I spent half a day just lining up a decklid...socket in hinge to lower corners...but don't go too much, ok, let's get porto and push up on quarter seam/rear body...perfect! Ok now let's finalize our gap to rear body to create a base...oops, someone didn't push out the left quarter...good thing I didn't put the porto away... Push push push. Ok, now let's go find some mock up rubber stops...wow, looks like I have to push up on the quarter top with a porto + 2x4...push-push- push... yes I see gap on the other side too and still contemplating whether to slice and push it out or just live with an uneven gap to the rear body...well at least I know what I'd do if I wasn't properly compensated for all this crap. ... eat the cost and birtch about it later.
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