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  • Dealing with wierdos/ tinkerers

    How do you guys deal with the occasional weekend mechanic/ wanna-be O.C.C. motorcycle builder/ inventor/ tinkerer/ etc. that wanders into your shop asking for you to modify this, cut that, weld this, change that, make me this or that..... then gets shocked when you tell them it'll cost 'X' amount of dollars?
    I'm sure it's happened to all of you.
    "Can you modify these handlebars, make them 8" longer, cut them in half, weld them up, and knurl these pegs? oh yeah, and make some widgets for me too."
    Then they're shocked when you give them a price?
    UUGGGHHH..............
    I had 2 come in today.

  • #2
    This is where you have to be careful who your friends are.

    I usually tell them it's $87/hr if they want it now and I'm not busy.

    Friends are a bit different. I'll have them leave it and tell them they will have to wait till I can get to it and there reciprocity is a big factor.

    Someone who is never around if I need something can wait months.
    Guaranteed not to rust, bust, collect dust, bend, chip, crack or peel

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    • #3
      Simple i just tell them i no longer do anything , As i am too old and do not feel up to it, Also have not the time, The cost of material is extortionate, And where the hell do i get a decent source of stuff in this de industrialised third world country! AND___ I have not time to run about sourcing stuff from the other side of the country, And then i ask Will you pay the exhorbitant charges for things made

      GOODBYE!. Is the last word as they leave
      Last edited by oil mac; 09-15-2011, 07:42 PM.

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      • #4
        I learned a good "trick" from a pal who is, like me, often asked to do small machining jobs for friends. He's retired, doesn't need $$, and while he does like helping friends he was getting a bit weary of them not understanding the magnitude of the favor they are asking.

        Now his reply is very simple, "Sure I'll be glad to make that for you. All I ask is that you hang around and watch while I do it."

        That way there's no mistaking how much effort he puts into what seems like a simple request.
        Cheers,

        Frank Ford
        HomeShopTech

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        • #5
          Thats what I do too Frank, usually if I say, "sure, bring it around on Saturday morning and we will do it then", they usually dont show and that is the last of it.

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          • #6
            It's not just the "occasional weekend mechanic/ wanna-be O.C.C. motorcycle builder/ inventor/ tinkerer/ etc." that you have to deal with but those are more troublesome than a business customer in some ways.

            Most the business people know what it takes to do things but sometimes they don't think things through. Today a customer was over come by the time it would take to do what he thought was a simple job.

            For the occasional weekend mechanic/ wanna-be O.C.C. motorcycle builder/ inventor/ tinkerer/ etc. if I don't want to do it I just tell them I can't do that or, I don't have time to do it. I have told a few just how much I thought it would cost but gave them a price a full time shop would charge and most give you the deer in the headlight look and say I can't pay that and leave.
            It's only ink and paper

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            • #7
              I experience the same thing as well. I attribute it to ignorance and not malice. Most people just don't realized that some machining operations are really difficult. How many times have you grossly underestimated how long it would take to do something? Well, you just did the same thing to yourself.

              Just tell them your price and let them figure out if they still want it. If they start whining or trying to bargain, then you can tell them off.

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              • #8
                I've also been asked on several occasions to take on small jobs by acquaintances.

                I usually just respond with the truth, "I'm just a wanna-be hobbyist. I don't have the required professional knowledge and experience to properly and safely complete your request."

                In this litiguos society, it's just not worth it. A very few friends get far more consideration and help, at no cost.

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                • #9
                  I use Franks method... and also... when they ask how much, I say "what's (for example) 6.5 hours plus $30 materials and $20 tooling worth to you? I get interesting responses, but there's no illusion as to how long it will take.

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                  • #10
                    I don't mind the custom work. My problem is that I have a habit of pricing it out at what I'd be willing to pay for the same job. It's hard to get out of that frame of thought and realize that not everyone can do the job at any price. I just figure what that time takes away from other work and charge accordingly. If it's just bending a bracket in the press, I'll take it in a cool drink or two or trade something for it.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Frank Ford
                      I learned a good "trick" from a pal who is, like me, often asked to do small machining jobs for friends. He's retired, doesn't need $$, and while he does like helping friends he was getting a bit weary of them not understanding the magnitude of the favor they are asking.

                      Now his reply is very simple, "Sure I'll be glad to make that for you. All I ask is that you hang around and watch while I do it."

                      That way there's no mistaking how much effort he puts into what seems like a simple request.
                      Your friend is wise. The users won't bother. The nice ones will see the effort and be appreciative. And a select few will become infected and want to learn more.

                      And so it begins...

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by CCWKen
                        I don't mind the custom work. My problem is that I have a habit of pricing it out at what I'd be willing to pay for the same job. It's hard to get out of that frame of thought and realize that not everyone can do the job at any price. I just figure what that time takes away from other work and charge accordingly. If it's just bending a bracket in the press, I'll take it in a cool drink or two or trade something for it.
                        I have the same problem.
                        I look at a part and think ... Ok this is challenge ...this is gonna be fun.
                        And in the end I kind off have to pay the guy for the privilege to make the part.
                        It's a really difficult habit to break... Until I have to make 30 or so of the same part... The first is fun the second is ok and number 29 is just mind numbingly boring that's where my guilt for charging goes away.
                        But on the other hand I only charge R180 p/h that's about $27 and I still get guys going geez that's alot.
                        I have also made parts for a pack of smokes or a coke , but these days I think of that fun project I would rather be doing instead of Mr cheaps boring part and that helps to get me to charge them.
                        If you are using violence and it does not work, You are not using enough or it is upside down.
                        You can always just EDM it...

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                        • #13
                          Unless it is something I really, really want to do, I ask when are WE going to do it? And you must leave each session with all your parts and pieces. I am not running a storage unit. Also I have a carport not a garage, So if WE work on your car the same rules as the machine shop. Do you know how cold and damp it is the Seattle area in the winter? I haven't worked on a car in ten years. Several guys have done a WE project and then bought their own lathe, mill or welder.
                          If you don't want to be part of the task, then it is a dollar a minute plus materials and supplies.

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                          • #14
                            If the guy isn't a very good friend, I won't do it for them unless it's dirt simple and easy! I do the odd bit of machining for a friend of mine, usually related to his business (automotive repair) and mostly making stuff for him to help with the repairs. He runs a Rust Check business also and I've made several tips for his applicator wands (which are nothing more than various lengths of 1/4" and 5/16" brake line tubing)that are an order of magnitude (no kidding!) nicer than the ones the parent company supplies. He always asks me what he owes me for my work and I always tell him "You can't afford my exorbitant rates" and give it to him for free. He has returned the favor many times over though and has done a lot of free work (including material) for me.
                            Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

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                            • #15
                              If my friends need anything, I'm always glad to make it for them if I can handle the task. I may ask for material if I don't have it handy, but that's all. No charge, of course. And there is no abuse: they're very modest.

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