Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Charges for Repairs

Repairs always cost more than the owner or artist expects on initial inspection.  The cost is very similar to, or more expensive than, the cost of a new panel if the whole has to be taken apart and renewed.

If it is a repair to part of the window or object, you need to be careful that you do not under price.  The cost elements you need to consider are these at minimum:

  • Glass
  • Materials
  • Time
  • Overheads
  • Travel
  • Installation
  • Contingencies
  • Profit

Glass - and the cost of obtaining it.  Can you obtain the same or very similar glass to the original?  If you can’t, is the client willing to have the repair in different glass?  If you get approval, you need to cost it – whether you already have it or not.  If you do not have it in your stocks, you need to add in the cost of getting it whether that is travel or postal order.  You need to include the time either or both methods involve in the costs.

Materials – The materials you will use in addition to the glass need to be considered.  These include solder, Foil or lead, flux, patina, cleaning materials, etc.

Time - labour and admin. You need to assess how much time it will take to do the repairs.  Then multiply that by your labour rate. You do have one, don’t you?  If not, get down to it and create one. Use steps one and two of this description.   You also need to take into consideration the time to recreate a pattern for the broken area if extensive.

Overheads – If your overheads are not included in your hourly rate, this is the time to include them in the pricing.

Travel = Your mileage rate + time to get there and back.  If you don’t have a mileage rate, look at what your local authority allows.  This will be lower than what businesses allow, but are reasonable, and publicly available.  (At the time of writing the allowance in Scotland is approximately £0.50 per mile.)  It takes time to get to the location, so this needs to be included in the cost too. Of course, if they are willing to bring the item, it reduces the cost to the client.

Installation – If you are expected to install the piece, you need to include travel (there and back at least twice) and time.  You also need to include the estimated time to remove and install a substitute (and its cost) as well as installation of the repaired piece.

Contingencies - All repairs have uncertainties.  You do not always know what the progress of repairing will reveal.  You can agree with the client that any work required in addition to the initial agreement will be notified for the client to decide whether to proceed or not.  However, you can take on the risk. This is what the contingency is for. You need to build allowance for these unforeseen developments.  A 10% to 20% of the total costs addition to the price is sensible if you are taking the risk.

These seven elements added together give you the cost of doing the repairs.  That is the bottom line.  But there is one more element to consider:

Profit – You do expect to get a profit from all this work, don’t you?  If not, why do the repair at all?  You are not a charity.  Of course, you can decide to give away your profit.  Before you do, think about what you have to pay for repairs – to your car, your plumbing, etc.  You deserve some profit on everything you have invested in this craft that you love.  The love will die without profit.

The profit level will depend on your objectives, but will range from 20% (very low) to 100% (what shops charge). If you put your work in a gallery or shop on a sale or return basis, you expect to have to pay at least 30% on the sale.  That should be the minimum basis of your profit level on any repair.

This may all sound like it is too much trouble for a simple repair.  Yes, it does take a bit of consideration to start with.  But once you have established the basic labour, travel, overhead and profit levels, the rest is pretty straight forward.  You will have an idea of how long it takes to do the work, to travel, the glass costs, etc., and the profit level. You only need to multiply by the rates you have established to give you the price.  I should warn you - it will be much higher than you initially thought.

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