Installation rate vs man hours

gnubler

New Member
Does your installation rate change based on how many installers are needed? I have a flat install rate of $60/hr because usually the installer is just me. On bigger jobs I hire helpers - should I be charging a higher rate, and how much more?
 

CanuckSigns

Active Member
We charge our standard rate for the first installer, then a bit less for each additional installer, in your case with2 installers you would charge $60/hr for yourself plus $45/hr for your helper.

Also have you sat down and figured out your true shop rate yet? Unless you are working out of your home $60/hr seems very low!
 

gnubler

New Member
Thanks for the input. I'm a one person shop just starting out, most of my installs are vinyl on vehicles/windows and I can manage on my own. I was going to start doing what Canuck said, charge additional for each extra person I have to take on for bigger jobs.
 

Gino

Premium Subscriber
So, if you take 6 guys with you and you get it done in 10 minutes..... I don't see a need to raise prices. You just need to split the pie a few extra ways, but you're done 6 times faster. All works out in the wash.
 

gnubler

New Member
Gino - that's kind of been my thinking so far, but it's been cutting into profits too much as I get more and more jobs where I have to hire help.
 

Gino

Premium Subscriber
I was being facetious.

Ya need to re-figure how you communicate with your customers. Regardless of how many people you take, your first hour will be XX amount of dollars, based upon what truck you take, what equipment and whatnot. After that the hourly rate will reduce a little bit. Now, let's suppose you have another person working for you. What would you charge for his/her hourly work IN the shop ?? $60 ?? Well then, you need to charge maybe $75 or $90 an hour for his time outta the shop and on site. His/her workmenscomp will now be different, not to mention you can get more done in a familiar environment, than you can 15 miles away from your shop in someone else's place. So, by raising your initial hourly rate and adding all the necessary people with proper overhead included, many time installations cost more than the frickin' signs. Don't forget, you need to add in permit costs, obtaining those permits and engineer drawings if necessary.
 

gnubler

New Member
Good points. I've been paying my helper more for installs as opposed to in-shop work due to travel, hauling equipment, etc. but haven't figured out how to account for that in my installation rates.
 

Texas_Signmaker

Very Active Signmaker
Average rate is between $90-$120/hr for one guy non-bucket work. You have to add to that if you have a helper. I usually do $60-$75/hr for a helper. So if two guys show up to knock out a job in 2 hours.. that should be around $400. You can lower those prices if you have an 8 hour job.
 

Notarealsignguy

Active Member
You should be charging for travel time too, not just time on the job.
How much time do you spend loading up your truck and getting everything together in the shop? Then there's the morning coffee stop and the drive to get lunch. That's another reason to charge more. If you have 2 hours of non billable prep time/travel for a 2 hour job then 120/hr for that install actually only works out to 60. If you can't get your shop rate on the road, you might as well not even do it.
 

JBurton

Signtologist
Good points. I've been paying my helper more for installs as opposed to in-shop work due to travel, hauling equipment, etc. but haven't figured out how to account for that in my installation rates.
You have a helper that you pay variable rates depending on what they're doing? Have you noticed it takes longer to do the more expensive work?
I've always wanted to pay my guys more for certain work, in the hopes that they'd move faster, but everybody says the same thing. Why would that work faster when its still an hourly rate. Now commission/contract type pay is another beast, but 2 different rates just doesn't add up.
 

gnubler

New Member
You have a helper that you pay variable rates depending on what they're doing? Have you noticed it takes longer to do the more expensive work?
Yes I do and no I haven't. These have generally been pretty small jobs where it's just the two of us working side by side - there's no screwing around because we both just want to get it done. Different pay rates isn't unheard of, some restaurants do it with delivery drivers. I figure the higher rate for off-site installs is like a small bonus because the work is harder, plus the travel involved.

Anyway, I definitely need to refigure my installation rate now that this thread has taken off. I took over for a shop that went out of business and it's becoming more and more clear to me why they had to close their doors. As a result I'm having to reinvent nearly everything while trying to hold onto the customer base.
 

ProSignTN

New Member
Years ago, when lunch was less than 5 bucks, my nephew worked for me part time. I did pay him different rates for different work. 8 bucks an hour for riding around in a pickup with his uncle. 10 for just work. 12 to dig. 15 to climb. He was happy. I did charge the client accordingly. General rule then was it cost twice hourly pay for employee, so charge three time hourly rate to client. Nowadays in my old age I pay extra (quality) help 20 bucks and charge 60 and he still owes me for lunch.
 

Jester1167

Premium Subscriber
Everywhere I have been there was a labor rate and we charged the same for everyone. A seasoned employee gets paid more than a newer employee but the seasoned one takes less time, a newer employee takes twice as long but gets paid half as much. Either way, your profitability is similar. I don't understand why you would use different rates based on how many workers you plan on sending or their skill level. Let's say you plan to send out a lead and a helper and the helper calls in sick the day of the install. Now you have to cover for them at a reduced rate? Not me.

As far as travel goes, if you can stay in your shop and make X$ per hour, why would you leave your shop for a reduced rate and travel for x number of hours. Never made any sense to me to charge less than your hourly rate for travel? I also charge for my vehicle when I travel over and above my hourly rate.
 
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$78 per hour per installer, install and travel time. Minimum 1/2 day rate. $375.00 wholesale $475 retail. Just need to make sure you are covered base you "your" expenses. it is different for everyone.
 
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