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Old 04-22-2006, 06:47 PM
adtkart@aol.com
 
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Most popular question

One of the most popular questions on this board appears to be, "What does it cost......?" I have seen this question ask for most every repair or modification that there is, and am still amazed when I see them.

The easiest way to determine what it costs for body/paint repairs or customization, is to go get estimates from where you plan to have the work done. Every area has different labor rates and practices when it comes to auto work. Back a few years ago, in the area I worked as an insurance adjuster, which included SE Virginia and NE North Carolina, the body labor rate was ranging from $28 to $36 per hour. That was at equivalent shops as far as equipment and work quality, doing general body repairs and paint. I have seen cases where a repair was $400-$500, or more, to be repaired in one area as compared to another, just because of the prices, and practices in those areas.

Keep in mind, before you post a question like that, the fact that the person that is answering it on this board is most likely not the one doing your work. If you ask me how much I would charge, it wouldn't matter a thing to the person that is doing the work. When I price a job, I don't care what someone else is willing to do it for, as that has no bearing what I will do it for.

Aaron

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Old 04-22-2006, 07:03 PM
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i always go with the cheapest, and make them stand behind there work, thats just me, that wont work with a show car, but i do a lot of work my self
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Old 04-22-2006, 08:40 PM
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I agree aaron, it is a question brought up a lot and not only here. A lot of people have no idea of costs of bodywork and hit a rude awakening if they actually go get some estimates. It is also almost impossible to answer. If its collision type work you can get a general idea based on looking up times in a mitchell manual and knowing the labor rate in that area, and what the average cost that is charged for materials per refinish hour in that area. But there can be hidden damage that is not figured for when parts begin to be replaced. With custom work or rust work there is no way to really say what it is going to cost. Too many variables and "it only needs real minor bodywork" to someone may be far from the truth. Everyone is going to look at the repairs needed and may estimate the time that is going to be spent on it different, and there are many things that can pop up during the course of the repairs that were never planned for. One guy may be using budget materials and another may be using the most expensive materials there are. Also two different shops may go about the repair totally differently with one doing things the right way, another taking short cuts so it only looks good out the door. A lot of the of the cost may depend on how well known the person is and thier reputation, although another small guy who isn't well established may do better work at a better price. Some shops may not even want to take the work and just shout out a huge price figure.
Funny thing you should bring up this topic aaron. A little slow here today and was just browsing through some threads on other forums. One was a similar topic. I got a laugh out of this thread. Killamuh50 gets my vote for wienee of the year. I bet he really has some killer paint jobs, lol. Reminds me of a former member here, but more annoying. And the other guy who says a half pint of paint to do a hood? I've used more then that on a rice wing. A pint I think would be really pushing it, or is it just me?
http://www.allfordmustangs.com/forum...ad.php?t=19778
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Old 04-22-2006, 10:37 PM
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Kenseth... I just read that thread. It doesn't look to me like any of them have ever bought any paint. A few months ago, my son bought a qt of a rust color Dupont base for his 95 Ranger. He got a qt because it was only $125, and a pint was $85. I only needed about 1/2 pint because I was only doing a fender and header panel, but he figured he'd hit something else later and need more. That price was only for the base, not the basemaker, clear, or activator. It also did not include any primer.

Yes, the shops that have their own mixing systems will save some money. Those guys don't seem to understand that the tints are not free either. A pint should be plenty for that hood, specially if it is just the outside, but again, that is only the base, not the other componants to go with it. It also depends on the color and coverage.

Back on subject, consider that hood. Is the price he was quoted for just the outside, or maybe includes the underside. The color could make a big difference in the cost to have it painted. Also, you have to consider the condition of the hood. If it is glass, from a poor mold, it could require a considerable amout of prep before it can be painted. With a relatively small job like that, look at the numbers. Figure 5 hours to paint it at $40/hr on the east coast, and $22/hr for materials. That's $310 to have it done here, with nothing added. If on the west coast, I believe their rates are closer to $65/hr. That would make the labor alone $325, then figure atleast $100 more for materials. That is a considerable difference.

Aaron
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Old 04-23-2006, 09:26 AM
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I've been tracking my time and materials more now than ever, and I think every shop should. Last week I did a hood and fender repair on a collector car. The hood was R&I'd, stripped, four areas repaired, primed and blocked three times, and the fender repaired, with the typical emblems, lamps, and wheel opening trim r&i. The fender was blended and cleared complete. Three coats of clear, then blocked, flowcoated and buffed. And a large vinyl stripe install.

Believe it or not, I spent a shocking 29.75hrs on this job! And materials start to finish from stripper to buffing compound added up to $220!

Years ago I did many scuff and shoot paint jobs charging only 20hrs labor . When you track your time on some of these projects it's amazing how much time you can actually spend. Collision work on the other hand is fairly easy to estimate. Bob
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Old 04-23-2006, 10:00 AM
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"Collision work on the other hand is fairly easy to estimate. Bob"

That is true, to an extent. There are estimating books that do most of the math part for you, as long as you can see all of the damaged parts. The repair labor times are always a point of contention. The problem now days in collision work is that the people think that their 2002 Ford Focus was a "show car" when it was wrecked. There will be differences in estimates due to the repair times, if all shops do the same proceedures, like striping a door of handles and trim, and things like that. Most shops in a "local area" will be pretty close as far as their labor rate on collision work. It's the other stuff that makes the difference on the prices.

When you are estimating work for an unusual car, as having been, or is being modified, the lines are not as clear. Where a paint job for a DD may be reasonable at $2500, someone's "baby" is going to take alot more time and effort, and that is estimated completely different. Where you may be able to get away with only sanding "Nibs" and buffing that area on a DD, you may have to sand and buff the whole vehicle for the "Baby", as everyone of their friends will be drawn to the one "Nib" you missed, or the slight "peel" that showed up. You are basically guessing how long you will have to spend on it. On a DD, collision job, I will usually only prime and block it one time. On anything special, I will usually do that atleast 2 times, just to be sure everything is straight. I also will spend hours on body alignment on something like that, not only before, but after paint, as they may have changed due to the thickness of the paint. The "paint materials" you can get pretty close on, but you may be way off on how much you will spend on sandpaper, masking materials, any fillers, and primers you will use.

Too many variables.

Aaron
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Old 04-23-2006, 10:30 AM
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Bob, I don't track my time and materials. Probably should for various different types of repairs, it would make estimating easier. I am afraid to though, then I would truely know how much of my time I am not getting paid for when doing it. Hate to see how many hours I actually spent on the mustang I worked on and would do the estimating a lot differently if I were to do it again. Would have made a lot more working part time at mcdonalds. But I was out of work at the time, so any money was good money. Live and learn. I have raised my estimates a little, but still have been quoting low compared to many. I try to give people a good deal since my bills aren't payed by the work. I have a full time job that pays the bills, but you can only go so low. The majority of people would like to have the work done, but really can't afford it, or have to save up awhile for it. Maybe thats why a lot of people end up doing it themselves, because of the costs it takes to do the repairs right and will last. Looks like I have possibly a few neat projects coming soon, but know I'll probably be grumbling in the middle of the job after hours of sanding. But will forget and come back for more. Sometimes I wonder why I continue, Think I must actually enjoy it. The average bodyshop that does mainly collision work, it isn't really worth the time to take in older cars with a lot of work needed, doing a complete paint job. Better off taking jobs that don't take up shop space long and can bill insurance and keep all the overhead payed and still make a profit. I can see it takes years to build up a reputation doing restoration type work, or custom-complete paint jobs with enough work continully flowing in that pay well enough to keep doing it. My hats are off to the all the small guys doing restoration and custom work not well known, who struggle to keep the bills paid and make a living doing it, but keep turning out nice work and continue to do so.
I know all too well about glass hoods aaron, or glass parts in general. Spent many hours cutting, refiberglassing, fixing pinholes and cracks on one. Something like that your better off getting one that is known to be of quality from the getgo.

Last edited by kenseth17; 04-23-2006 at 10:40 AM.
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Old 04-23-2006, 11:15 AM
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Just imagine the material costs for a hood that took 29 hours to do VS the Mitchell guide that may pay 6 hours.

With that said just imagine how much different the job looked when done.

I just laugh my self silly everytime someone asks the how much question.
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Old 04-23-2006, 02:22 PM
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Aaron, you sure are right on that question "How much does it cost" For your
average diyer the $$ can add up real fast. Depending on the area of the
country you are in there is lots of choice of paint to use. In a Nutshell the
main manufacturers would be.

PPG
Dupont
Sherwin Williams
Valspar
Matrix
Kirker
BASF

I may have missed a few so no big deal. The things that can really screw
a newbe is lack of knowledge on the actual paint and or paint process before
they begin. Without fully knowing the ins and outs of the actual paint at
best its a shot in the dark for the newbe.

People may have a tendency to just go with a brand name such as PPG or
dupont for paint ,,,, and pay royally for it !

My point is this. Before you begin a project one needs to identify paint
technology thats best for their application first before all else. Then hit the
pavement and shop for the best quality vs price. If all else fails, this great
forum will be a huge help !

><
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Old 04-23-2006, 02:30 PM
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Good thread guys... I have been tracking my time and material cost most recently... I knew I was undercharging some to re establish myself, but after keeping track on this last one, prices are going up... Almost made myself upset when I broke down the cost of material and the rest for my labor Lucky customer
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Old 04-23-2006, 09:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adtkart
"Collision work on the other hand is fairly easy to estimate. Bob"

That is true, to an extent. There are estimating books that do most of the math part for you, as long as you can see all of the damaged parts. The repair labor times are always a point of contention.

Aaron
Aaron, You're right. Collision work is usually way different than restoration and custom work. With the estimating systems it's easy to estimate a job but yeah, the guides need work. The estimating systems are a guide and I agree always a point of contention. I see times that seem way low and high just about every day. The bodyshops and specifically the techs really need to monitor the times that are published and inquire when there are mistakes, the Insurance companies do this regularly when parts prices, labor times, and included/not included operations are wrong. I really think more policing is needed from the bodyshop side. The times can be way off. I remember all too well how much work it was skinning a door on a Cadillac Coupe DeVille vs. a Yugo and the little amount of labor time difference, I was one pissed off tech that week.

Another note on labor time, Considering some of the auto manufacturers are now recomending epoxy primer under any filler applications can you imagine what effect that would have on repair time, turn around time, and material costs if it became an industrywide recomended proceedure? Bob

Last edited by baddbob; 04-23-2006 at 09:15 PM.
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Old 04-23-2006, 09:28 PM
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I think custom work is different and when some one ask. I don't think they are asking for a firm number. When I ask it just to get an Idea. Because I know there is a lot more to it. So I would not go Type A just because some ask a question.


Craig
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Old 04-24-2006, 05:49 AM
adtkart@aol.com
 
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Bob.... You are right as far as the epoxy goes. If I am estimating a collision repair and required to use epoxy first, I am going to have to figure higher than the guy that isn't using it. Besides the cost of the added materials, the added time involved has to be covered. You know the saying, "Time is money".

Craig.... The problem with those questions is that there are such variables. There is always someone that says that the price is way over what it should be. Then the person that ask the question is thinking that they high price they got is a big rip-off. Like the question of how much a paint job should cost. You nave Earl Scheib or you could go to Chip Foose, and of course there are a million and one in between. It is something that is really impossible to compare over the internet. It's like, many years ago, I had a general auto repair shop. I had a customer call and say. "My car won't start. How much is it going to cost me to get it fixed?"

Aaron
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Old 04-28-2006, 09:42 AM
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Glad I am not alone

I only do custom and resto work. People don't seem to understand you can't give them an exact figure. You can't look at a 62 chevy and see everything that has been done over the past 44 years. I know I charge to little for the work do but i do enjoy what I do. As one of you stated I have a full time job that pays my bills. I feel bad for the average guy that wants to build his dream car, he doesn't have $100,000.00 to spend on it. Thats how I justifi my lower prices. What gets me and I know you guys have run into it is the guy you give a price to that is half what some big rod shop would charge and he acts like you are robbing him.
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Old 04-28-2006, 10:54 AM
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Boon.... That is typical of society today. Everyone believes that they are underpaid for what they do. On the other hand, they feel that everyone else charges too much for what they do. With me, I am almost never afraid to try doing something new. That way, if I have to pay someone else later to do it, I know how hard, or easy it really is.

Aaron
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