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Thread: Is it fair?

  1. #1
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    Default Is it fair?

    When you quote on a job and need to make jigs,tooling, templates to do the job to charge the client for the cost of these things?. Especially if you may never use those things again.

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  3. #2
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    Yes - as long as you give or offer the client all the tools/jigs/templates.

    If not you should charge prorata relative to the likelihood of future use plus a fudge factor.
    Maybe something like a max charge of ~50% of the cost of making the gizmos.

    Another way to think of it is "How long would it have taken by a non-gismo method" - then charge accordingly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
    as long as you give or offer the client all the tools/jigs/templates.
    I absolutely disagree.

    The client is paying for the finished product; you charge them for your time/skills to make it and that includes your intellectual property of figuring out how to make it in the first place.

    The client owns the final piece, not the method you used to make it.

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    Agree with elan!

    You charge what it costs you to do the job! I do almost 100% one offs. You don't want to give away your time for free! Sometimes I don't charge for learning time (eg lately it was learning my CNC). However making jigs for a one off piece should definitely be charged to the client.

    Obviously there is the real world challenge of what someone is prepared to pay. However I find that educating my clients about the real cost of things means sometimes they will forgo the purchase initially but ultimately some will come back later once they've adjusted their expectations.

    It also depends who you're competing against... Other people, a mass produced product or just the client's budget!

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    I look at it this way, for instance if you get anything printed and the printer does not have your design already they will charge a one off set up fee. So you should charge something. If however the cost of making the jigs is near what you are charging for the item then some thought needs to go into the jig charge.

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    I agree with Elan - the client does not own the jigs used etc - unless - that was explicitly part of the original contract. If the jigs etc are developed to produce one or a limited number of items by yourself and you hand over the jigs you have no protection from the client then taking them to a "low cost" competitor to produce more. You not only lose the ongoing work, but also your competitive advantage - your skills in innovation etc. as the "new" maker has been gifted them by the client.

    We tend to be a trusting lot but we must always be conscious of the value of our intellectual property i.e. our experience, knowledge, development, innovation skills. There is an element out there who will exploit our trust for their gain.

    In industry it is common to purchase a competitors product/s to strip them down, analyse the parts, how they were manufactured, to what tolerances, then reverse engineer the production methods etc either to benchmark their own products, or to acquire the intellectual property (IP) development from their competitor.

    Your intellectual property includes the design of jigs, design of the product, the process, the development of specific tooling or programs (CNC etc) and it does not necessarily have to be unique or new.

    I certainly would not hand over jigs unless contractually bound and even then I would be seeking some form of protection to recoup development costs as either upfront payment, or contractual guarantees for minimum order quantities before hand over.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mobyturns View Post
    I agree with Elan - the client does not own the jigs used etc - unless - that was explicitly part of the original contract. If the jigs etc are developed to produce one or a limited number of items by yourself and you hand over the jigs you have no protection from the client then taking them to a "low cost" competitor to produce more. You not only lose the ongoing work, but also your competitive advantage - your skills in innovation etc. as the "new" maker has been gifted them by the client.
    Hang on, the explicit statement by the OP was "especially if I'm never going to use these jigs again" - that seems to have been missed out by all the follow up posts.

    If I'm never going to use the jigs I would definitely offer them to the client (of course they probably won't want them) but I won't be losing any money on future sales AND more importantly they won't be cluttering up my shed. Don't forget, SPACE = $$$ too.

    It really depends on the client - most are completely not interested in how something is made -" tell me what it costs". In that case I would always add something for the cost of jigs etc depending on the likelihood of me reusing them.

    Its not just a physical thing. Unless I'm are making repetitive product I inevitably end up taking time to learn something when making a one off product so do I charge for that or should I be wearing the cost?
    Do I charge the client for the time it took me to learn that something new?
    Will I every use that knowledge again? and/or should I charge for it?

    Now for something more controversial, do you ever charge for mistakes?

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    When I was in the automotive business and spent a lot of time on the phone I took a leaf out of the lawyer's book and even charged for phone calls to organise stuff for a job. It is time spent so the customer pays for it.
    CHRIS

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    Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
    Do I charge the client for the time it took me to learn that something new?
    Will I every use that knowledge again? and/or should I charge for it?

    Now for something more controversial, do you ever charge for mistakes?
    This is a fundamental part of being in business. You need to make enough money to put food on the table, right? So your overall rates should cover all your costs which will include ongoing learning and mistakes (because you're human). Certainly need to allow for that if you have employees, so why not as an individual?

    So you probably won't charge an individual client for a mistake but hopefully your rates are high enough to cover your costs over the long term. Otherwise time to go and work for someone else!

    Just to add, I get what you're saying Bob, but seems odd to me to hand over jigs to a client, even if they're one off. I guess it depends on the type of client!

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    Is it fair? For such a short question that is an extremely complicated question and gets into the murky area of what is ethical and what is not. In recent times I looked into ethics a bit and its a fascinating rabbit hole to go down and can lead to finding questions that are exactly the same, but expressed differently, that can extract passionate and polar opposite reactions from the same person depending on how they are put across, despite being exactly the same question.

    Ethics can be approached in more than one way, so I would ask the OP, do you think it is fair that the client expects you to spend time and money and resources to produce their project but are not willing to pay for all this time and effort?

    Is it fair to charge for the sawdust and offcuts, after all the client is not going to receive this? As for the suggestion of offering any jigs to the customer, should you offer them the sawdust from the job if they paid for it and you are not going to use it?

    Is it fair that a Doctor can charge $80 for a 5 minute appointment because he spent 10 years at school, but if a craftsman wants $100 an hour they are robbing you blind despite many decades honing their craft?

    So after that short(ish) rant my answer to your question would be yes, it is totally fine to charge for everything you do and all costs incurred, well based on my ethics it is anyway.

    Cheers Andrew

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    Full payment= right to ownership.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
    Hang on, the explicit statement by the OP was "especially if I'm never going to use these jigs again" - that seems to have been missed out by all the follow up posts.
    The maker may never use the jigs again, however the client may. All I'm really saying is be careful who you trust, and assess what their real motives are.
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    My thinking is the jigs remain the property of the manufacturer, not the client. The client has employed the manufacturer to create an end product, all items created (jigs etc) used in the manufacture of that product remain the manufacturers unless explicitly agreed upon between the two parties. 99% of the time the client wouldn’t know whether you made jigs or purchased specific products or tools to complete their job.
    Costing a job is something that should take into account depreciation, new purchases, materials, time, etc etc.
    Many tradespeople add a % to every job to cover new tools, equipment and repairs.

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    IP is more expensive than an hourly rate. If you're contracted by a client to deliver something for a set fee, that's what you do. How you do it, how long it takes you, what tools and jigs you used is not important.
    In my field (IT), if I develop an automation to do some work for the client, that script is my IP. Whether I reuse it or not. If the client asks me to develop a script for them, then that will be charged accordingly, not just based on the hourly rate.

    Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk

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    A jig is just tooling to produce a product. You make it to help yourself be more efficient at producing the product.

    If the product is a one off you make the jig, it is yours, and the cost is included in the price of the product.

    If the product is a multiple run with the possibility of repeat runs you price the product at $X plus $Y for the jig.

    If the customer comes back for more you only charge $X. The jig belongs to the customer because he paid for it and if he asks for it you hand it over.

    In most cases if there is a repeat run he will still come back to you because if he takes it to somebody else the jig may not suit their equipment or they don't know how to use it.

    This is assuming that the jig is relatively complex.

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