Freelance engineering

Hi all,
As I am a qualified engineer and now have my own workshop, I thought that whilst I am between contracts (I am currently a freelance web developer)
that I could earn something from my own facilities.
I have put an advert in a small circulation club magazine and have already had an enquiry, however, I am not sure what the current freelance rates are for engineering.
I would appreciate some pointers. As this can be sensitive, you may send to my private account ( david dot colliver at revilloc dot com ). Any that come to me privately, I will of course keep confidential.
Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks. Dave Colliver. ~~ Customise your internet experience http://www.FOCUSPortals.com/customise.asp
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Being in business is not the same as being employed where everything is done for you.
Set your own rates - if you are too greedy, you won't succeed for very long. (Perhaps why you are now "between contracts"?)
If you are lower than the competition you will succeed if your income exceeds your outgoings..
It's business.
If you are desperately worried that others are raking in more than you are, then perhaps you should consider seeking permanent employment? You'll then get the same rate as others in the same situation.
Another indicator of a genuine wish to do business is to consider your prime motivation - is it to do something for your clients or to get the maximum cash out of them?
If one of your motivations is just to fill in inter-regnums, how will your customers be treated when you get another contract?

are
to
come
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Well, thanks Airy, but you obviously don't know me very well.
Fistly, I have been in business on the computer side for 8 years, so I do know business. I know you can get a feel for how much to charge but there are always pointers.
I am between contracts (only just finished one) as it is fairly quiet at the moment (holiday season and xmas are always quiet.). I am not making extra special effort to get work, I tend to choose what work I want to do. Having a fairly healthy bank balance helps me achieve that.
Between 2001 and 2003, the bottom fell out of the IT contract market. Many IT contractors had to shut shop because they couldn't survive. I managed (just) to keep mine going. I had set myself up another skill for the eventuality (I am a qualified helicopter flying instructor) but just before I finished my contract (in 2001) I became very seriously ill, so flying was now off the agenda.
It couldn't have happened at a worse time.
So, now that I got myself a healthy cashflow again, I am preparing myself for similar situations again. This is called resourcefullness. I now have a number of businesses to aid the rough part of my contracting journey.
I am interested in rates, purely that I don't undersell myself. It is a fair question to ask. I don't want to get too much work that I can't cope as I do have other businesses to run. Finding the current market level will help with that. My father runs a wedding car business. He has been going for 12 years and has practically become the market leader in the area. He can set a rate for a wedding and the others will follow. He very often gets phone calls from other businesses trying to find out rates, even the previous market leader is calling him. (anonymously of course.., but you can nearly always tell).
As they always say, if you don't ask, you don't get, so I am asking.
As to pleasing my clients when I get back into another IT contract, that won't be a problem.
Best regards, Dave Colliver. ~~ Customise your internet experience http://www.FOCUSPortals.com/customise.asp

that
already
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Greed, then?
"Dave" < snipped-for-privacy@revilloc.REMOVETHIS.com

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Yeah, alright then!!! Whatever you say.
If you offer anything constructive, then I will respond if I need to. If not, then I won't. This is the only time that I will break the rule just to let you know. I see no further reason to continue down this branch of the thread.
Regards. ~~ Customise your internet experience http://www.FOCUSPortals.com/customise.asp

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Remind me, when was it you 'left' Westinghouse? Have you had a job since?

I assume you currently charge about 20p per hour? You must be worth that for entertainment value. ...(_!_)...
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Could you tell us exactly what you know of business? Your so called business is defunct. You can't even put together a kit for a hacksaw. You got sacked from Westinghouse for screwing up. Then there was Securicor.
(Being on the dole isn't being in business.)
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On Tue, 06 Jul 2004 08:34:38 GMT, "Dave"

To be quite practical you need to be charging around 10-15 an hour for your labour, facilities, etc.
Any less than that and it's not worth doing unless you want to run a loss-leader, and much more will see a lot of smaller stuff considering using a 'proper' machine shop for the work.
If you can get more, say 20 an hour then go for it, especially if it is commercial work where the customer would probably have to pay 30-40 an hour for a commercial site.
To put it in perspective for those doubters, our local Jaguar dealership is on 75 an hour, the Vauxhall dealer is on 65 an hour.
Peter
-- Peter & Rita Forbes snipped-for-privacy@easynet.co.uk Engine pages for preservation info: http://www.oldengine.org/members/diesel
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Thank you Peter,
I was thinking around that sort of rate, maybe up to 20 per hour (which incidentally, is much less than IT freelancing pays). I remember when I was in engineering (prior to me joing the RAF), I was told the company were charging my skills out at 20 per hour. (This was aerospace/turbine products). That was 15 years ago.
The idea of it is to keep a positive cashflow going instead of just wasting away in front of the telly when between IT work.
Incidentally, I am a qualified tool and cutter grinding specialist (though obviously not done it for a while). If I was to equip myself with the correct tooling, would there be much call here for freshly sharpened tooling?
Best regards, Dave Colliver. ~~ Customise your internet experience http://www.FOCUSPortals.com/customise.asp

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On Tue, 06 Jul 2004 13:53:06 GMT, "Dave"

Depends on what tooling and what facilities.
With so much being offered on ebay these days, a lot of Model Engineering and other people just throw tools away when damaged or blunt, or use replaceable tips.
There will always be a market for a tool/cutter sharpener, but I don't have my finger on the ulse to say whether you could earn enough at it to make it worthwhile.
I have a Clarkson T&C grinder here in nearly new condition, and it has the drill/reamer sharpening attachment, but it will be a while before I need to get is out and use it in anger as I have boxes of drills and tools already sharpened!
Regarding the hourly rate, you maybe need to charger what the market will stand, but bear in mind that the guy with the home workshop (and foundations for, as well!) will be looking at the pennies when it comes to buying in a service like yours, so judge pricing according to the market but don't go silly and give yourself away.
We charge 45 an hour for on site stuff or 680.00 day rate including meals and travelling, extra for overnighting.
Peter -- Peter & Rita Forbes snipped-for-privacy@easynet.co.uk Engine pages for preservation info: http://www.oldengine.org/members/diesel
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Peter A Forbes wrote:

I take it Gordon Ramsay cuts the sarnies for the day forays? :-)
Tom
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On Tue, 06 Jul 2004 13:53:06 GMT, "Dave"

I can buy decent 6mm cutters for 1.93 each and a special ground up from a 8mm blank for about 10 quid as a guide -- Regards,
John Stevenson Nottingham, England.
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On Tue, 06 Jul 2004 13:53:06 GMT, "Dave"

Probably not round here, we're a bunch of cheapskates and an occasional cynical trader, mate!
It would be a matter of finding your market. For example, if you can put a surgical edge on a pair of Ginghers (dressmaking shears) and the word gets out in the wrong circles, you're liable to be trampled in the rush. Anastasia says "where is he based?". I touch her shears only at the direst peril...
Upper bound on price would be the cost of the back-to-the-factory overhaul (googling "Gingher shears factory sharpening" might work) and I guess you'd have to come in well under that to attract business, but it might be worth looking into.
- Brian
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My point exactly.
If you can agree a price which gives you a _REASONABLE_ profit and makes both you and the customer happy in what you have openly admitted is a pin-money side-line, then trying to milk the customer for everything that you can get from him does not seem ethical.
Now, who's on the customer list of the Forbes's? I reckon anyone of us with our home workshops could undercut his 680 daily fee easily!

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wrote:

Dave
I used to work for a large technology development organisation, and we used self-employed 3rd party subcontractors quite a lot. The going rate for electronic development engineers with their own facilities was 250-350 per day. Mechanical development engineers commanded a bit less - 150-250 per day. If the work was simply machining prototype bits and pieces (i.e. no design input) the rate was about 150 per day. This was in Cambridge, where such resources were in demand and rates were correspondingly high. You will need to adjust for other parts of the country.
Hope this helps
Mike
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