Results 1 to 22 of 22

Thread: Pricing for boat work

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Vancouver BC Canada
    Posts
    1,029

    Default Pricing for boat work

    Somebody ( a new acquaintance) wants me to build the standard sailing rig for their nutshell pram (this is assuming it has a trunk, partners, mast step etc.)

    So mast, spars(boom and yard), daggerboard and rudder. Likely lines and blocks too.

    Would it be inappropriate for me to ask here what would be a reasonable price to charge?

    I am up to the build but I have no idea off the top of my head exactly how many hours it would take.
    I don't expect to charge qualified shipwright rates, nor undermine those who make a living out of this.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    South Puget Sound/summer Eastern carib./winter
    Posts
    22,595

    Default Re: Pricing for boat work

    since i have been working for free, about 10 years, i have not had a single problem with getting paid.
    not one
    simply amazing

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Downingtown Pa (S/V NIrvana down in Rock Hall, Md)
    Posts
    2,720

    Default Re: Pricing for boat work

    my shop rate is $75/ hr. part of making money by working on boats is knowing how long it takes to do jobs. Its not like a book rate for car repairs, you need to know from your experience how long it takes to do a job. I know how long it would take me to build a solid spruce mast for a pram because I have done it many times. But 25 years ago I messed up on many jobs learning how long it takes me to complete them. Estimate your timeline and it you are incorrect, take notes and you will know better for the next time.

    And take notes on how long it takes to do each part of the job.
    There is a joy in madness, that only mad men know. -Nieztsche

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Sound Beach, NY
    Posts
    5,155

    Default Re: Pricing for boat work

    When my Pop built his dories, he wanted to sell them. They were pretty good, but not professional. As an amateur, his hours were longer than a pro would take too. I suggested selling them at a materials cost plus a few hundred. He never really seriously tried to sell them though. You might just ask your friend what price would make him happy. I've had success getting fair prices for used items simply buy asking the prospective buyer for a fair price. Are these boats sold as kits? Check if there are listed prices for those parts and think half of that. Good luck, keep us posted.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Long Beach, CA
    Posts
    3,493

    Default Re: Pricing for boat work

    Ooooooo! Making money with your hobby!! It's a slippery slope!!!

    I tried that about 60 years ago.

    Please. Help me stop!!

    It's OK if you get along with your boss, but I can't get away from the constant bickering. He's a real tool.

    The best part is the unhindered power to fire your customers without the fear of backlash.
    Schooner sailors love to get blown offshore!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Charleston, SC USA
    Posts
    248

    Default Re: Pricing for boat work

    i would recommend to your friend that he get an estimate from a boat shop then tell him you will do the job for x - x % because you donít have the overhead of the shop. The job you are describing may to small for a pro to mess with depending on how busy they are at the time.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Norwalk CT
    Posts
    2,873

    Default Re: Pricing for boat work

    Start by asking what the budget is. If they come back with some silly low number just say no thanks. I always start with the budget and then give a range unless its something I know I can do in X number of hours.

    Some stuff is just best done for free and deposits in the karma bank. Al most always winds up with a call back and a real project.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    PNW, an island west of Seattle
    Posts
    3,478

    Default Re: Pricing for boat work

    From someone who ran a custom fabrication business for many years... Two things:
    1. If you work on boats because it's fun and not as a business, then walk away from this. Because it won't be fun.

    2. Don't, please don't call a pro shop asking for a price then use that price to give your buddy a deal. The pro doesn't deserve to be abused like that.

    Jeff

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    South Puget Sound/summer Eastern carib./winter
    Posts
    22,595

    Default Re: Pricing for boat work

    and don't work for eczcema pills

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Norwalk CT
    Posts
    2,873

    Default Re: Pricing for boat work

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    From someone who ran a custom fabrication business for many years... Two things:
    1. If you work on boats because it's fun and not as a business, then walk away from this. Because it won't be fun.

    2. Don't, please don't call a pro shop asking for a price then use that price to give your buddy a deal. The pro doesn't deserve to be abused like that.


    Jeff

    But I work on boats cuz it is fun and people pay me to do it. Its not my primary source of income but it allows me to own my boat and only take on stuff that I want to. I do a ton of stuff for free cuz it is generally fun and I do it for sailing buddies who are always willing to help each other and occasionally pay for stuff thats a little more complicated or out there. And there's always beer.....

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Vancouver BC Canada
    Posts
    1,029

    Default Re: Pricing for boat work

    Well it's not a buddy. Though they seem like a nice person. It's someone I'm doing a sale/trade with. They saw the work I did on one of the boats and wanted to know if I could make them a rig for their boat. At this point I can't afford to do it for fun and or karma, also they would like to pay me as they appreciate these things.
    I will likely ask them for their budget, that's a good starting point and then just ad zeros from there! Maybe I'll see if they can slip in some eczcema pills. hemorhoid help and roofing repairs to sweeten the deal . Them it won't be such a P.I.T.A.
    As a sailor I have a surprisingly small capacity for alcohol, even beer

    Keeping track of hours is a good idea for my own reference.


    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    From someone who ran a custom fabrication business for many years... Two things:
    1. If you work on boats because it's fun and not as a business, then walk away from this. Because it won't be fun.

    2. Don't, please don't call a pro shop asking for a price then use that price to give your buddy a deal. The pro doesn't deserve to be abused like that.

    Jeff

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2022
    Location
    Traverse City, MI, USA
    Posts
    77

    Default Re: Pricing for boat work

    Someone once offered to build me a kit boat for a price of double the cost of the kit and supplies. I thought that was an interesting way of pricing things, though the multiplier might have to change in different scenarios. My rough guess is that based on the pricing of kits, the builder would be "overpaid" for the work putting the hull together, "underpaid" for the epoxy, sanding, and painting, and "rightly paid" for the rigging work. I put all these in quotes knowing that none of the payment prices reflect professional market rates. It was someone who likes to build boats as a hobby and would consider building one if it didn't cost him anything and in fact put some money in his pocket. For me, the buyer, it was a price that was steep but not prohibitive.

    Thanks for the discussion. I am all for hobbyists making some cash building boats, I wish there was more of that going on. There seem to be lots of folks who like building boats equally as much as, or even more than, sailing them. From my perspective, the desire to build a boat is not high enough to delete things from my life that I enjoy that would have to go to make time to build the boat (including, ironically, sailing). I would say my best contribution to the wooden boat world would be buying (either used or to be constructed), not making.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Charleston, SC USA
    Posts
    248

    Default Re: Pricing for boat work

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    From someone who ran a custom fabrication business for many years... Two things:
    1. If you work on boats because it's fun and not as a business, then walk away from this. Because it won't be fun.

    2. Don't, please don't call a pro shop asking for a price then use that price to give your buddy a deal. The pro doesn't deserve to be abused like that.

    Jeff
    Thatís why most pros donít mess with small jobs. These jobs arenít worth the hassle for the $ paid. Donít be offended if a pro turns down your request.
    As a rule I donít charge friends for stuff I do for them. I get paid in dinners, beers and/or payment at the end with out asking because itís the right thing to do. That and the karma bank you are building up. Iíll need a favor from them sometime.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Norwalk CT
    Posts
    2,873

    Default Re: Pricing for boat work

    I get work from the couple of "Pros" around here because they stuff is too small for them to bother with or they are just too busy or simply not interested.

    I got job repairing and refinishing an antique armoire a couple years ago from a guy who does all the serious varnishing and painting around here. One of his clients asked him to do it and he sent them to me. I always recommend him to anybody who needs high end varnish work which I have very little patience for.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    7,043

    Default Re: Pricing for boat work

    Your time is valuable. This is a message my wife has been hitting me over the head with for years as I charge rates which are so low they're practically pro-bono.

    If you want a reference, charge what a cleaning-lady charges.

    The fact that you enjoy making sailboat stuff is not relevant.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    9,737

    Default Re: Pricing for boat work

    Around Seattle, it's about $100 an hour. Obviously less if a long term restoration project.
    Last edited by pcford; 11-17-2022 at 12:20 AM.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    PNW, an island west of Seattle
    Posts
    3,478

    Default Re: Pricing for boat work

    Quote Originally Posted by pcford View Post
    Around Seattle, it's about $100 an hour. Obviously less if a long term restoration project.
    Why would one's worth and overhead be inversely proportional to the length of a project?

    Jeff

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    8,894

    Default Re: Pricing for boat work

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    Why would one's worth and overhead be inversely proportional to the length of a project?

    Jeff
    Volume discount
    What's not on a boat costs nothing, weighs nothing, and can't break

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Long Beach, CA
    Posts
    3,493

    Default Re: Pricing for boat work

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    Why would one's worth and overhead be inversely proportional to the length of a project?

    Jeff
    The same reason that 1 can of marine varnish costs $30 but 500 cans will cost you $15 each.

    If I've got a big job, I don't have to look for another tomorrow. Finding work can be a big part of earning a living. Selling a job can be the hardest part.

    I don't have to un-pack and re-pack my tools every morning, I don't have to run around town trying to pry my pay out of a dozen different skinflints, and working a big job is more likely to lead to further big jobs from the same source, and clients with big jobs tend to have friends who have similar big jobs, and lots of little jobs, which are easy to tend to while doing the big jobs without additional travel time, and I can build a personal relationship with a few large clients to where I no longer have to bid the jobs, I just do what the client needs and send him a bill, and I'm gonna stop now before this turns into a run-on sentence!
    Schooner sailors love to get blown offshore!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Charleston, SC USA
    Posts
    248

    Default Re: Pricing for boat work

    3 words: Contribution to overhead.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Port Townsend, Wa.
    Posts
    925

    Default Re: Pricing for boat work

    FWIW, I just got a rough estimate from a shop for exterior prep. and paint that figured materials at 20% of labor...

    Ken

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    PNW, an island west of Seattle
    Posts
    3,478

    Default Re: Pricing for boat work

    Quote Originally Posted by kbowen View Post
    FWIW, I just got a rough estimate from a shop for exterior prep. and paint that figured materials at 20% of labor...

    Ken
    Interesting. I wonder at the coincidence of that estimate with those of many I heard about when I was making custom furniture. Back then a common "rule of thumb" seemed to be to figure one's labor at five times the cost of materials. That never worked for me in my business. Labor was always much higher.

    Jeff

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •