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Forums >> General Discussion >> Revit ROI >> Hourly Charge

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Thu, Nov 2, 2006 at 3:40:58 PM | Hourly Charge




Joined: Sat, Mar 11, 2006
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I have an opportunity to do some work on the side for a daylighting company that needs some details for different skylights.  they wanted someone on the side because they did not want to pay 65 dollars an hour for it.  i am thinking about doing it, but i have never done sidework before.  i have 16 months experience as a Job Captain in the firm i work at.  So my question is how much should i charge for this?  or should i just charge them per detail?

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Thu, Nov 2, 2006 at 6:27:54 PM | Hourly Charge



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coreed Avatar

Joined: Fri, Feb 10, 2006
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do you know on average  how long it would take you to complete one detail.


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Fri, Nov 3, 2006 at 3:59:10 AM | Hourly Charge



Sumex Avatar

Joined: Thu, Oct 12, 2006
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Don't go by the hour...  It ends up not being worth your time... In my opinion, $65.00 per hour is cheap.  You're doing details for Skylights, Right...  Make sure they know what they're getting into..  I mean, if they want a dumb object, it's one thing, but you're going to need to add U-Factors for the glazing, Structural Test Data (ASTM E 1886 and E 1996), AAMA/WDMA DP Ratings, and there are several materials involved.  If we as an industry want to make money, we need manufacturers to know that we offer a premium service that is not readily available, and that these objects are more that just pretty pictures.  If you have any questions about skylights, I can help you out...  In a former life, I was the product manager for the skylight division of a company...

As far as pricing...  Go with what you see as fair, BUT DONT sell yourself short...  Offer them a Setup Charge for the family template, then a per unit charge for Pre Loaded Family Types.  This creates the appearance of a value to the client, and will eventually land you follow up work when they change the glazing type, add skylight sizes, etc...

My 2 Cents...

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Fri, Nov 3, 2006 at 7:16:21 PM | Hourly Charge




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Thanks for the info.  I would say that i could throw together a decent detail for them in 2 hours.  but if they are wanting anything 3 dimensional, obviously it would be longer.  its not just a simple skylight.  its a domed system that has mirrors that follow the location of the sun and reflect down into the room.  its a pretty sophisticated system.  the only reason i thought of doing it hourly is because they may want 3d details but they also want AutoCAD drawings that are downloadable from their website.  so the extra time it takes to fix any of the unpredictable exporting could vary extremely.  basically they want something that anybody can download and modify if needed to include in their drawings.  My firm was going to charge them 65 and hour, but they are a smaller business that is still trying to get out there, so we all know how that goes.  so im wanting to give them something that is worth both our time.  but i will definitely let them know that the more they want from me, the more i am going to charge hourly for the extent of effort.

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Tue, Nov 7, 2006 at 1:53:18 PM | Hourly Charge




Joined: Thu, Oct 13, 2005
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From my experiance $65 an hour is very reasonable.  The firms that I have worked at charge $65/hour for time on a project by non-licensed drafters, $85/hour for color rendering services, and $110/hour for time on a project by the principle Architect.  This of course is to cover the overhead expenses that Architecture firms have, like the cost of leasing a building, utilities, the computer equipment, BMW' know...the usual. 

 Now if you were to do this on your own, you shouldn't have to charge as much because your overhead would be much lower.  Hourly rates are one of the most frustrating issues new firms have to deal with because you want to undercut the competition but then you end up hurting the profession as a whole in the long run because everyone is cutting each others throats.  Thats why lawyers make so much money, and Architects have to scrape the bottom of the barrel. 

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Fri, Dec 1, 2006 at 1:18:02 AM | Hourly Charge



jobcaptain Avatar

Joined: Wed, Oct 6, 2004
42 Posts
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I agree with SUMEX and DERXAJ.

 I create a brief scope of work for the client with a detailed list of tasks for myself. This should define the deliverable for the client. It sets the expectation for the client as to what they will receive. In your case, 2D AutoCAD DWG file (which version), layered or unlayered, metric or imperial, Revit Family files...etc.

If you don't go through the exercise of creating the scope of work, providing detailed tasking to estimate your fee and define the deliverable; they won't know when you've completed the job, or what they'll receive or what it costs to make changes.

 Make sure you include a clause that tells them they are entitled to 1 or 2 or 3 revisions as part of your price. Anything more is an additional cost. Give them options with a price attached to it. Sometimes we offer clients more than what they really need. Or we fail to provide them an opportunity to purchase more services because we haven't listed them in our options.

Remember the cost of an employee (hourly + benefits) is easily $30-40 hour, cost of equipment, software, training, office space, etc. will cost thousands of dollars of upfront costs. At $65 you're doing them a favor. Remember they're selling a product and your drawings should help them make them money selling their product.

I would get a small deposit upfront prior to starting. Create a pilot project of maybe 1-2 skylights. Have them review quality and scope of what you provided them. Have them sign off on revisions and corrections to the deliverables from this pilot project.

Set up another larger deposit for the next scope of work. They get to see your work without investing lots of money, you're not working for free and not left holding the bag if they can't pay, won't pay or they keep changing their minds on your dollar & time.

Lastly, I quote a project cost based on my task list and not an hourly cost. As a manufacturer they're going to try and break it out into pieces. That doesnt work. They are buying a package (deliverable) not a component. Make sure you cover your travel costs for meetings, your reimbursements for supplies (printing, hotel, mileage) as separate items. These are costs that extra to your project cost. Unless you can itemize them and quantify them in your project cost. Otherwise your client is not going to value your time and have you running back & forth to their office.

 It's been my experience over the last 28 years, that if you engage a prospect or client with this level of detail for their project you will gain a high level of respect by them for your time, talents and our profession. It is also the qualifier; does their project meet YOUR criteria for a profitable project. If not, thank them and walk away. In my opinion, projects on the side need to generate more than what you get at work. WIN-WIN


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Fri, Jan 25, 2008 at 3:07:40 AM | Hourly Charge




Joined: Fri, Jan 18, 2008
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Thanks to all who've posted on this thread.  I am hanging out my shingle in the next several weeks as a residential draftsman.  The posts here have been very helpful. 

I agree that by logically establishing a rate, you are more confident as you present it and more likely to be successful in receiving it.  That being said, any other pointers or insight that any of you may have to offer will be greatly appreciated. 

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