Welcome To Signs101.com: Largest Forum for Signmaking Professionals

Signs101.com: Largest Forum for Signmaking Professionals is the LARGEST online community & discussion forum for professional sign-makers and graphic designers.

 


  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

What to charge for flatbed cutting?

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by cmykpro, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. cmykpro

    cmykpro Member

    77
    0
    0
    Jan 15, 2014
    Well our Summa F1612 Flatbed cutter is installed and up and running. So far I am very impressed with the machine (we did get the router option as well). My concern now is I don't have any clue how to set up a pricing schedule for it. I know what to charge for the substrates I cut but I didn't know if folks used some type of lineal per ft charge or a standard cutting charge? I have a huge amount of money in the machine and it certainly has opened up new doors to us but I need the machine to start paying for itself. Any insight would be much appreciated!
     
    Tags:
  2. Biker Scout

    Biker Scout Very Active Member

    1,505
    4
    38
    Jan 24, 2008
    Las Vegas
    Typically most CAM programs will tell you how long it will take to cut something. Then use that time vs. your shop rate + substrate costs down to the sq. ft.

    (My price sheet says $1.50 per minute + 4x8 sheet of substrate)
     
  3. cmykpro

    cmykpro Member

    77
    0
    0
    Jan 15, 2014
    Thanks for the response.

    I have thought about this but see a problem with it. In order to quote a job I would have to have one of my designers set up the cuts/design which is allot of work for a quote on a job I may or may not get. How do you approach that aspect?
     
  4. Asuma01

    Asuma01 Member

    324
    42
    28
    Nov 19, 2013
    Bend, OR
    I'm curious too!
     
  5. Biker Scout

    Biker Scout Very Active Member

    1,505
    4
    38
    Jan 24, 2008
    Las Vegas
    Well, you shouldn't be designing on spec in the first place. Seems to me that you should already have a deposit on hand or have been doing other work for the client. And it doesn't take that long to come up with a basic quote to do cut paths and tool changes etc... Like 5-10 min tops.
     
  6. Biker Scout

    Biker Scout Very Active Member

    1,505
    4
    38
    Jan 24, 2008
    Las Vegas
    Alright, check it... I took me longer to come up with a fake sign design, than it did to show you the creation of tool paths etc...

    Now if you notice in the lower right hand of the screen it tells me how long it will take to cut this out. Obviously an estimate, if I played around with the perimeters more, I could dial it in. But for sign foam, this is a good estimate.

    So by my shop rate that would cost $42 worth of cut time. Plus how ever much it would be for the sheet of HDU. Now keep in mind this has nothing to do with priming, sanding, painting, sealing, coating etc... those are obviously based on your shop rate, not mine. But I could let this sign go out the door for around $800 - $1000 on the low end. So, I'm not really worried to much about the 15 minutes it would eat up if my designer were to figure out cut paths and tool changes. Big deal.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. Biker Scout

    Biker Scout Very Active Member

    1,505
    4
    38
    Jan 24, 2008
    Las Vegas
    Now obviously I'm a big fan of V-Carve and Aspire from Vectric. See how fast that was. You don't have to know CAM stuff, and can still design in your favorite vector software. I made the logo in Illustrator, saved as an .eps the opened windows, and imported it in to V-Carve Pro. Plus the software is super cheap, and compatible with anything can can run G-Code. They have a huge list of exportable file types from Haas, ShopBot to Zund etc.
     
  8. cmykpro

    cmykpro Member

    77
    0
    0
    Jan 15, 2014
    We don't operate like that. We draw the artwork in illustrator to customers spec, print to flatbed printer, then route. We design the artwork with a spot layer for our cuts and only use the cutting software to select tools, initiate cutting/routing, etc. The example you showed looks like a very generic simple sign which we rarely do. Our signs are often multi layer (stand-off), have different types of cuts such as depth engraving, etc.
     
  9. cmykpro

    cmykpro Member

    77
    0
    0
    Jan 15, 2014
    The more I look at that software the more I like it. It seems like it could save me some serious time. Hrmmmm....
     
  10. Biker Scout

    Biker Scout Very Active Member

    1,505
    4
    38
    Jan 24, 2008
    Las Vegas
    OK... just tried to help.

    The point is, no matter how you set up your files to be cut, a proper CAM software will still show you how long it takes to cut. The method you describe is even easier than what I just did. So really, I don't see the issue in figuring out an estimation? Why can't you just have a base rate of $15 – $20 sq. ft. for any sign you make. Seems to me that ought to cover it, regardless of your machine's cutting time.
     
  11. cmykpro

    cmykpro Member

    77
    0
    0
    Jan 15, 2014
    Oh trust me I appreciate the help! My issue is; Let's say a guy walks in my shop and wants his company logo and text printed to pvc and routed. Of course he doesn't have vector art and "isn't sure" what all information he wants on it. He has a ballpark size he wants but no specifics. All this and he wants a ballpark price for what it would cost to design and make the sign. Now obviously I have a design hourly charge and I know what the substrate would cost me. My issue is how to accurately give him a ballpark quote for the whole thing when I have no idea how long it will take to cut without actually designing it?
    But from what you said above it doesn't sound like you charge allot to cut. This is kind of mind numbing to me as I spent over 80k on my cutter and was under the impression cutting wan't cheap.
     
  12. Biker Scout

    Biker Scout Very Active Member

    1,505
    4
    38
    Jan 24, 2008
    Las Vegas
    Price it till they holler, then back off a dollar.

    You paid 80K for the automation aspect of the machine, the bells and whistles so to speak. Routing is actually very cheap if you got a dedicated machine to do just that. But a finished sign costs good money.

    Don't commoditize your work down to the penny for the customer's sake. Remember, you are selling a sign, a piece of art. You are selling lasting value. You can tell your accountant how much the materials cost, your hourly labor rate etc.

    Well, since you've got your new machine all set up, I'm guessing that you are going to be playing around with it a lot. Keep track of every thing you cut and every fake sample sign you make. That way, when a customer walks in and sees your cool sample sign, you can say, "Well, a sign just like this would run you about $XYZ, then over here we have a more simple sign, much larger, but it's only $QRX" And so on...
     
  13. Jester1167

    Jester1167 Premium Subscriber

    Briefly explain all the variables, especially the ones they're responsible for and give them a wide range. Make it low enough to interest them and high enough that they give you good art on the first shot and they don't ask for a crazy amount of revisions. If they come back or provide you with art, quantity and size, they are no longer tire kickers. Now you can spend some time on an accurate quote.
     
  14. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

    5,164
    521
    113
    Jun 4, 2007
    Home Office
    Certain costs are unavoidable and sometimes forgotten. One of them would be "make ready" time followed by clean up. Never underestimate the cost of tooling. Always add for substrates that "kill" cutters. Do you send tools out for sharpening? If so you need to spend extra time in the program compensating for the new diameter. Resharpened tools need to be labeled as such and have their own storage or you'll create major headaches.
    Maintenance costs are another issue. Do you run servo or stepper drives? Steppers are disposable, servos can be rebuilt. Although the bill for a rebuilt servo will make you cringe it's usually less than half of buying new.

    My comments are based on industrial applications/experience, but are still relevant. CNC is CNC and rules apply across the board.
     
Loading...

Share This Page

 


Loading...