View Full Version : some parts i am working on ,i have no clue on price for single parts ?

12-08-2012, 08:53 AM
i have been building thing for people for many years now , when i first started i sucked and i was pretty slow so for me to make stuff i probably charged $5 and hour . i mostly build air rifle parts and ive been having trouble figureing out what to charge as most stuff i build is 1 or 2 single parts which if they came from china would probabaly cost $10 :) .
i always figure paying by the hour is the worst way since some people work 2x faster and better then others so now im lost as to what i should charge .
for a home shop should stuff you build reflect the price of others with the same product ?

what would be a good price for aluminum parts like these if a machinist was to estimate cost to make them insted of do by the hours ?


12-08-2012, 09:07 AM
How long does it take? Charge 30 per hour plus material.

12-08-2012, 09:58 AM
Well, seeing as I've been one of the people who's watched and admired the parts you put out, I'm not exactly an impartial observer. (CAF member). You're selling into a premium market. People use them to enhance the look of their guns, not so much their function (although some of the parts do improve function). If you consider them as a luxury good a high price is definitely justified.

I guess what I'm getting at is don't underprice yourself. You're making the parts cause you enjoy it. There's definitely a high level of craftsmanship involved. If you price too low, you'll have more customer, meaning more demands on your time. That means it goes from hobby to job, and there will be a possibly unspoken but still real time pressure hanging over your head. That can suck the enjoyment right out of the hobby real quick. Especially when you turn around one day and say to yourself "I spent 5 hours making that perfect, and I got paid less than minimum wage for it". Price at time and materials, and hold your price. If someone (like me) can't afford it, there'll be other things they can't afford too and that's just life.


michigan doug
12-08-2012, 04:31 PM
The folks who analyze sales vs price curves have discovered that most stuff follows a pattern. If you price it too low, it will actually hurt sales. It's like seeing an add for a Ferrari for a hundred bucks. You know it can't be true, so why even bother.

The next stage is when you hit the typical market price for your kind of widget. I'm going to make a wild guess that your trigger guards cost $40 plus shipping. Charging 35 won't drastically improve sales. Charging 45 won't drastically hurt sales either.

But, there will get to be a price where sales will fall off by 50% or more. Unless you want to kill your business on purpose, that's too high. The most profitable region of the curve is just before the "knee" where sales drop off a lot. In other words, if you're not scaring a few people off because of your price, you're selling too cheap.

Pricing can get weird. I'll give you a real world example. I knew a vet in TX that didn't like the idea of cropping dogs' ears just for "fashion" let's say. It's not that he wouldn't do it, he just didn't like it very much. So, to discourage people from doing that procedure in his practice, he decided to charge double of what every other vet around there charged. The crazy high end dog people got the idea that he must be some kind of specialist at bobbing dog ears, and he ended up doing more procedures than when he charged the "normal" price.

What are your typical sales per month?

Finest regards,


12-08-2012, 05:15 PM
Its not quite the same thing but when my shop was busy and I had employees , I had a bunch of shop rates my favored customers paid $45/HR the ones that we hated to go to paid $85/HR its the same thing they thought we were gods and they called all the time, charge what is fair and makes you happy.

12-08-2012, 05:27 PM
If you can buy it at a store for $30.00 and you made it you sell it for $90.00 . Custom stuff is expensive Period. If they want cheep tell them to go else where. It does not matter if you enjoy doing it ,You are doing it for the money. To buy more tools so you can make more stuff. I charge $60.00 an hour min. 1 hour Can`t afford that well go else wear. Mine time is worth a lot to me. Their are a lot of machine shops around and they will charge 75-100 per hour . Take your car to a shop $75 and up per hour. Go to a Dr. $150.00 for 15 minutes worth plus a 2 hour wait to see him. Dont be afraid to charge people for custom work. They can`t do it are they would not have come to you in the first place.

12-08-2012, 06:00 PM
If you are charging less for your product than the market price for your product you are subsidising the buyer.

Do that and the word will soon get around from those that know and would pay the going rate that you are a sucker or letting a chance to make money pass you by that they keep in their pocket.

12-08-2012, 09:34 PM
some interesting thoughts , i probabaly will charge more in the future to keep with a realistic pricing , as i do want to be takin serious some day :) , i doubt i charge over $20 an hour for anything i do now , i enjoy it so much that money doesnt make much difference . (mostly a hobby ) i figure im going to charge the guy $40 for the part , im sure any machinist would take about 2 hours to make one .
im kind of priceing along the line of duckman .. good client =good price . karma has a value no one can buy :)

around here ive seen many job listings for manual an cnc machinists offering $14-$35 kind of strange i figure , working for my self is one thing , but what kind of machining do companies expect from a $14/h machinist , take what you can i guess .

Jaakko Fagerlund
12-09-2012, 02:41 AM
around here ive seen many job listings for manual an cnc machinists offering $14-$35 kind of strange i figure , working for my self is one thing , but what kind of machining do companies expect from a $14/h machinist , take what you can i guess .
Wages is not the same as shop hours. 14-35 USD seems like a usual wage, but shop hour still costs to the customer anywhere from 40 USD upwards. It includes the wages, electricity, machie maintenance, cutting tools, everything. And a little extra to put in the companys piggy bank.

12-09-2012, 02:57 AM
When you look at the price there are several things that you should take into account.

First is your cost. Include the wear on your tools, electricity, postage, packaging, etc. Then there are consumables, like the end mills, the sanding belts, the gas to get to the post office. These add up.

Second is the market price. If the part normally sells ( at the same quality ) for $30, then that is the value the buyer has accepted.

Third is your time. You only have a certain number of hours to make money per day. There are roughly 200 hours a month to work. If you need $3000 a month to live, you better be charging 3000/20 per hour over your cost.

Last is the value that your product adds to the buyer, especially for custom work. If an engraved trigger guard costs you $30 to make and takes you 3 hours, you might consider a low price of $50 or $60. If that part adds $300 to the value of the gun, then you can justify charging a lot more because of the value the buyer is getting.


12-09-2012, 06:36 AM
How long does it take you to make one of those? It may not take you as long as I think it would take me, but my WAG is that something like that might easily have $200 worth of your time in it. If there is no way you can sell it for that, then you don't have an economically viable product.

If you are willing to sell at what amounts to a loss, just because you want to, that's up to you.

12-09-2012, 07:06 AM
If you have zero overhead and after subtracting materials and tooling you make $10 hr it is not a loss... not much of a gain but a gain. If your retired and you make $10 hr well that is $10 in your pocket. I charge any where from $0 to $1.75 per minute. When I charge by time it is for the time I think a well equipped shop could make it for. This gives me incentive to look for ways to save machine time when making the parts.

If your in a shop with paid employees and all the taxes and rules to go along with that it is a different story... it does say "Home Shop Machinist" at the top of the page.


12-09-2012, 07:25 AM
break down for making it is hard to figure out the time , but about 10-15 minutes to do a cnc program , 30 minute to set up and to cut out on cncmill 2d shape . the rest on manual machine, about 30-40 minutes to cut the bottom out ( hard to cut straights into radious then straight , then drop the radiuos by .03 ) . 5minutes to drill , 20 min to file and sand and 15 to polish and clean ... :) thats probabaly it max

the more i think about stuff the more i think i should be charging , just thinking about how much all the machine cost make me think $1000 per part would be good haha .

12-09-2012, 07:30 AM
Yea, $1000 per part sounds right to me.

How are you cutting the part out to the 2d shape? Laying on its side? A photo of that setup would be enlightening.


12-09-2012, 08:51 AM
I have ran into the same problem. I was cerakoting guns lowcountrycamo.com. I did a really good job but at 200-250 per gun I was making about 5$ per hour. I should have just charged more but 350$ for a cerakote seemed high, so I haven't taken any more jobs untill I resolve the pricing. It seemed like others were charging about 200 and I don't see how they made money. Maybe they did a lower quality job, but I could not let anything go out the door that I was not proud of.

12-09-2012, 12:38 PM
Charge the same or more than the most expensive equivalent part available, some parts tend to go for amounts that are all out of proportion to their size/complexity/material because they are the only ones available.

You should definitively not charge less than the most expensive equivalent(or similar) part out there.

What airgun is it for(cheap parts for cheap guns, expensive parts for expensive guns...)?

12-09-2012, 02:09 PM
Figure out how much you need to live on per week, how many billable hours you work per week, then divide need by billable hours to get rate. Example, you need $500/week and can bill 20 hours/week: 500/20 = $25/hour.

If it takes two hours to build a part then it is worth 2 x hourly rate = $50.00 plus materials. If nobody will pay that much then don't make that part. If they're willing to pay more then charge more.

12-09-2012, 03:46 PM
for something like this when i set it up for the 2d cut i lay the original part on paper , outline a tracing / silhoutte . then basicly have one corner as my x0 y0 , then i measure the part realy quick as to where everything is and lay out exact numbers and (almost exact:) points on the paper. . then i use a compass to figure the curve radius by fallowing the lines haha HI TECH . it seems to work pretty well .
the whole outside takes 11 movement 5 being radius from one end around the curves to the other end then repeats from x0 y0 . the inside cut is 4 radius an 1 straight . . the widest part (bottom) is held on the stock bar , a 4x.75'' stock and cut off with a band saw .

12-09-2012, 05:24 PM
That's the trick I could not see using the stock to hold it in the vise... for some strange reason I was trying to envision how you would make that part with a blank the size of the part. It all makes perfect sense now.

Very nice work!


12-09-2012, 06:35 PM
works great when you have extra feet to clamp on , some times i set up hold downs on one side of the part , cut that side and stop my program , switch the hold down clamps 1 by 1 to the finished side then cut the other side , but these parts just are straight one side so realy nice to machine one side and chop :) . i wish i was a cnc master and could do it 5 axis .... but even my 3d cuts are limited .

12-09-2012, 09:09 PM
I would think that a higher price could be commanded if you were to electro-etch them with your colophon, name, emblem or some such. Very quick and easy to do and it would lend a certain bling value to it. This is what I use:


I don't make knives, but this page describes what I do quite well. I don't have the stencil maker kit, as a 4" x 6" stencil costs only about $30 from Martronics. Send them a printout of what you want and they send you back your stencil. If your mark is small, there will be s number of iterations on the stencil they return.


12-09-2012, 10:17 PM
funny you post this , i actully asked him if he wanted some engraving and he said ''no i just want them plain'' . which i felt bed because im an pretty great artist and can do some awesome leaf work and should be able to engrave any thing
looks like a cool product , and good price tho , not sure what it would do to aluminum ... may have to read the page thur tomorow .

12-10-2012, 02:29 AM
The customer not wanting them engraved should not prevent you from putting a manufacturer's identifier on the item, though.

the kits do work for aluminum, but you have to specify when you buy the etchant solution. The stencils I use now are the ones that are created with photo transfer. However, I do have blank wax paper stencils which I can pop with the dot matrix printer, typewriter or a stylus and make my own design with. I use them for one-off etching. Matronics carries both.