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Old 08-30-2007, 04:37 PM
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Im doing my first few interiors on my own now, and was wondering how I should price them as far as labor time. I talked with a good friend of mine who does motorcycle seats and a few cars now and then what he thought. We both felt that 20 and hour would be fair with me just starting out and all. These guys want to keep their cars pretty simple, but what things would you charge extra for and how do you figure a time period. Do you think of it as a basic flat rate scale kinda or just go by your abilities.

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Old 08-30-2007, 07:45 PM
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Funny you should ask this question, Whitney. In class Tuesday night, the instructor said that the most common pricing method is to take the total cost of materials, then multiply by 6. That would give you a starting point for the total cost to the customer for the job. He said you could always negotiate from there. I thought that was a bit high, so I asked him about it during a break. He said that the majority of automotive shops use this or a similar method, and some even multiply by 7. He went on to say that a few of the more famous top-end shops can multiply by 10 or 12, but they have the reputation and talent to back up the price.

He told us that as beginners, we should stick to doing our own vehicles until we had a few under our belts, then graduate to the cars of good friends for the price of materials only - with no warranties. After four or five complete interiors, we should think about charging a discount price - multiply the total cost of materials by 3. He told us that we would know for sure when it was time to start charging more for our work.

Now, I have to say that this is just what he told us, and I don't know if that's a local or regional thing or if it's really common practice all over the country. I'm so far from that point that I can't even see it on the horizon yet. I am eager to see the answers that the pros on the forum give you though, because ever since word got out that I have a sewing machine and am learning how to use it, I've had jobs lining up. People who haven't said hello to me in a year are suddenly telling me about their interior woes...

It's kind of like a weldor friend of mine told me - if you have a truck and can weld, you'll always have more friends than you can do favors for. And for the record, he told me this while I was helping him move...
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Old 08-30-2007, 08:41 PM
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Hmmm Ill have to go back over my materials cost and see what it would come out to doing it that way. One is a 3 window, full interior - fiero buckets, and I quoted him 2500-2800. The other is a 5 window, also full interior with a bench and I told him 3300-3500. Both were happy with the price and they were showing me another 5 window they really liked that was 3800 I believe, so it sounded fair. But Im curious to see if that method would come out to what I thought...
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Old 08-31-2007, 12:02 AM
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Pricing depends on what materials you use, what the customer asks for, and the amount of time it takes to do the job. If you're doing a sewn headliner with bows, it would cost 1/10 of what a custom hard headliner would cost. For example: The hard headliner in this '47 Ford 5 window coupe took almost a week just to build the framework to support the base for the headliner. There were no metal supports across the roof of the car, so all of that had to be fabricated to screw the base for the headliner to. Are you laying carpet? Are you adding sound deadener or padding for the carpet? Are you doing the trunk? Are you building a console? All of these things change the final price, and a lot of times it's impossible to know how long something will take. This particular car cost extra because it had power seats in front. The back had to be tilted at a certain angle to get at the bolt that held the back to the seat. Every time I turned around I was connecting or disconnecting the power to the seats. I dyed the plastic trim on the seats, restyled the rear seats to match the front seats, and covered all the window trim with matching vinyl. This car also had a power trunk lid that had to be disconnected and worked around. All of that adds to the cost. If you ever do an airplane, all of the raw materials need to be FAA burn test certified which makes them extremely pricey, so multiplying their cost by 6 would be unfair to the customer. I charge a set amount per week that I work on the car (or whatever) plus materials. Shannon Walters charges per week plus materials also.

No one lives forever, the trick is creating something that will.

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