How much would you charge for this?

Hello everyone. Just got this client for a hospital table. I don't know how much to charge him.He provided me with the table, I took the measures and made the 3d. He's getting 3 drawings; 1.exploded with BOM, 2.overall dimensions and 3.instructions along with 6 renders and also another set for a table that's exactly the same but a bit longer.

I would charge by hour but I am known for not being very fast. I do not want to overcharge because I want to keep this client and I don't want to undercut either because that will hurt me in the long run. Any suggestions? the table looks a bit like this with a different mechanism. I live in Canada if that changes anything. Thanks.

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2 Answers

Another factor is where the client is located, but let's assume you are both in the same general area.

If I were going to bid on that job, I'd base everything on time. It is the most logical unit to keep track of the project by, and allow for a repeatable billing method.

I know you say you are not fast, but who are you comparing yourself to? I've been using SW for 20 years and am always amazed at how long it takes to produce designs, but I've mostly been the only, or the best SW user where I worked, so I have no idea if I am slow or fast.

For time I'd charge:
- three hours to measure and create the CAD models.
- One or two hours to make the drawings. The BOM and exploded view taking the most time since all of the parts will need to have data entered for custom properties.
- Maybe another hour for the renderings? It really depends on their appearance. If the image you uploaded is a rendering I'd charge the full hour. For rendering I usually only charge the time I take to set it up. I would not charge for the actual rendering time (unless it was an animation which was going to take hours. Then I'd plan to render it overnight, or on another system).
- maybe an hour or two for the second assembly that is a bit longer. Really, all of the work is completed from the first one, but it will require new renders, and some minor changes to parts to add configurations, and update properties, and the BOM.

That leads to a time between 6 and 8 hours. Basically one day of effort.
The last company I worked at charged between $80 and $110 per hour for my design time.
If I were working on the project at home, I'd charge a minimum of $20 per hour. That amount would go up depending on the complexity of the project.
For something like this with simple linear measurements, and simple extrusion shapes, I think $20 per hour is reasonable since it does not require much specialized knowledge or skill to complete. If complex curvy shapes were involved, the time and rate would increase. If asked to design this table without having one as a reference, the time and rate would increase.

But, if your client is in far away location, who knows what the rate should be? I recently posted a question about this very topic, but it did not lead to many response:
There was one good response, but I did hope for more..

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Don't cut yourself short. You have expenses. Do a salary survey for you area and beyond. Remember you need to pay self employment taxes and such. you can find all that info on line or sometimes you can get free advice from an accountant. I got my\self in trouble because I didn't figure that in to my bid. Check out bids from the big guns (design firms) they charge upwards from 200.00 per hour or thousands for simple projects and cut it in half or so, as a starting point, and go from there. I guess if you can keep your fees between half and 3/4% of the big guns you ought to do well.

I wouldn't worry so much about time. The big guys are not very fast either. Take your time, avoid errors and do the best you can.

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