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installers: how much would you charge for this install?

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#1 of 6 JoeGibs


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Posted February 10 2008 - 06:29 PM

I'm currently working on doing an install of two subwoofers (non-powered) for a local sports bar. I gave him a relatively cheap quote both because I wanted to help the guy out, i'm not lookin to make a ton of money from my little on the side job/hobby, and he seemed to have a somewhat tight budget. I won't tell you (at least for a while) how much i quoted him at, because I want to see what others would charge.

Here's what I did/am doing:

I went to his bar, looked at everything, and figured out a general idea of what kind of equipment was going to be needed. I then took the time to do research, ask questions (on here, and other forums) and found the drivers I was happy with. I then found the amplifier that would match them perfectly. After showing him several equipment choices, we went with the one I had picked out myself, and ordered all the equipment (amp, drivers, and wire) on my personal debit card.

at this point, i have about 6 hours invested between visits to his bar and ~4 hours of hard time spent doing research. I asked him to pay me both what i quoted him for my labor and the equipment, which he did.

Then, I made my journey up to the local menards, and squeeeeezed a 4x8 sheet of MDF into my jeep, along with all the other enclosure building essentials. Later that night, I took an old enclosure i had laying around and hacked it up to fit one of the drivers for a test enclosure to figure out which direction to point the drivers.

Fast forward a few days to today. We spent about 5 hours hooking up the amplifier in the basement, setting up a PITA crossover that we had a ton of wiring issues with, running wire, and testing direction for the drivers. Got all of that figured out, and i'm about to start construction on the enclosures.

Total time invested so far is about 11 hours. we're thinking of doing ported enclosures, so add on about 3 hours of design time to design two completely separate enclosures to fit two completely different areas of the bar. after the design, it'll probably take me 7 or 8 hours to construct the enclosures from scratch.

So, i'm looking at about a grand total of 21 hours of solid labor.

What would you charge? (sorry for the length)

#2 of 6 Robert_J


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Posted February 11 2008 - 02:56 AM

Did you give him your hourly rate? If so, it's pretty easy to break it down when you give him the bill for labor. If you didn't, then expect sticker shock when you tell him. If you are going to itemize each and every thing, then lower the labor bill. Also, do you frequent this place? Are you a friend with the owner? Will you get more business from this?

For example, I installed a Soundsplinter RL-p 12" in a friend's Dodge Magnum. I gave him a great deal on the sub and enclosure and picked up a few parts for him as well. Since he's a nice guy, I frequent the restaurant he manages at least a weekly and he was screwed by the local shop on his last car I did the labor for free. A week later I was in his restaurant with my wife and her parents. After a few drinks, the bill was over $80. He picked up the tab. So a deal may pay dividends in the future. Only you know your relationship with the guy and how you want to proceed.


#3 of 6 Jrbay



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Posted February 11 2008 - 03:05 AM

Normally you could say you have $1000.00 into the labor at least but on the other hand, you really can't expect your customers to pay you too much to learn/ask questions. Does that make sense? If, as Robert_J mentions, you anticipate some additional benefits from this deal (such as being able to enjoy your work by visiting the bar) cut way back on charging for things like research (stuff you would know if you did this full time).

#4 of 6 JoeGibs


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Posted February 11 2008 - 03:32 AM

he's more of a friend of a friend, and he knows who my family is both because my brother's a pitcher on the local amateur baseball team (this is the only local sports bar), and my ol' man and mom go in for lunch probably once a week.

I charged him 175 bucks for labor, thinking i wouldnt spend nearly as much time as i actually am. and that 175 is already paid to me. The original idea was going to be sealed boxes, which would take me no time to design and build, and it looked to be very straight forward. After digging into it, i started to realize how screwed up the previous owner of the bar had things in this stereo set up, and its taken me a good chunk of time to fix it to make it work with the addition.

i just dont want to sound like an ass asking for an extra 100 or 150 for labor. my "normal" rate for doing install work, whether it be the research or down and dirty enclosure building is 20-30 bucks, all depends on how much of a PITA things end up being.

#5 of 6 Jrbay



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Posted February 11 2008 - 03:53 AM

Ah yes, now it is clear. If you estimated your labor already then technically I suppose you are in some trouble but my suggestion is to discuss this with your customer and work it between you. You are both business men who understand the need to make money and besides your rates are a steal!

Lesson: I figure about 1 in 5 projects go exactly to plan, 3 of those 5 are the customers making changes and the last being my optimism.

#6 of 6 Marc L

Marc L

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Posted February 11 2008 - 06:32 AM

Originally Posted by Jrbay
your rates are a steal!

Yes they are. If you do this sort of thing for a living, I wouldn't charge any less than $75 per hour. A completely custom job like this is worth way more than he's paying, since he's your friend, you would be doing him a great favor by charging him $30 per hour, and keeping track of the clock, and billing for material plus 10%.

Don't short yourself, even for a friend, you could be doing something actually worth while with your time if you weren't doing this, like spending time with your family. So get paid for your time!