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Soliciting CNC Work from Other Shops5/22
Recently we converted from manual to CNC production. Since then a steady stream of customers, vendors and others keeps telling us to develop a separate revenue stream by offering panel processing to local shops without CNC capabilities. Just curious how many here have tried it, and how it worked out for you. Also wondering about an appropriate/fair fee structure (hourly vs. X$ per sheet, etc.)?
Just looking for ways to keep the router busier, since it has to eat every month!
Search the archives here. There are plenty of threads on the subject. Responses always vary from sheet pricing, sheet pricing depending on files provided, complexity, and so on.
In our experience it can be nice when you have time and a nuisance when you dont and a lot of it will depend on whether your customers will be handing you a hand or computer drafted sketch than you then have to generate code from or if they are supplying you with files you are confident to work from directly (never the case for us).
In my world I have two main shops that I cut for periodically but they only supply drawings. No CAD, no .dxf's. So the entire job has to be input and then output to the machine. That adds to the per-sheet cost. If we had someone that could ship us .dxf's that we could quickly and easily toolpath it would be a different story.
The variables will mainly be dependant on the what your customer ships you and how standard/non-standard are their typical jobs.
Then, at least for us, you will have to overcome the delusion many of them will have at the onset with regards to your per-sheet price and drawing price as many of them will insist they can process the panels just as fast or faster/cheaper themselves (when they see the total price for XX sheets) as they are not accounting for ordering/receiving material, multiple ops and setups, packing, clean up, and precision parts.
Many that have contacted us are firmly in the fuzzy math category with regards to all the processes and ops that factor in to non-cnc panel processing.
Just my $0.02 Search bar is in the upper right corner, its your friend.
MarkB -- Thanks for the insight. I did search the archives -- most of what popped up was quite dated -- but thanks for taking the time to reply.
Figure on redrawing everything they send you, whether in DXF form or scribbled on the back of a receipt. Customers' geometry is not to be trusted. As a starting point, for cabinet parts I charge $55 every time I need to push the start button on the CNC, whether it's one-sided or two-sided operations. That includes programming, and while it works for me and my overhead costs, yours will likely be different.
I cut for about 8 shops. I required that they use Mozaik since it's innexpensive, they email me the files and withing a few minutes I'm cutting the parts. If they do not have it, I put a fee for laying it out from their numbers. If it is a shop that sends me a lot of work, I credit them back the $50 monthly Mozaik fee. I charge $30 a sheet to cut, 65 cents a foot to edgeband. I do not do by the hour since they can figure their costs easily with the sheet and foot calculations. Has worked well for me the past 4 years
Do you have to set up their materials / schedules and parameters so it opens on your pc exactly as they send it?
I am thinking of doing the same thing with my customers. Good idea with the Mosaic fee credit.
I setup the material library on how they like it to be, save it as their company name. They set the parameters on their end in the design. All I do is import the file, apply the material library for the casework, drawers and hardware and go straight to cut. That way the liability is on their end when it comes to the design and parameters. I would say it takes me 5 minutes to import their file, apply material/hardware, print cut sheets and labels. They all have been happy with it. I have 1 customer who doesn't know what a computer is, so he brings me his drawings on a etch and sketch, or at least my version of it. I do charge him a small fee for laying it out and giving him renderings but that's only for jobs that are a go, not for estimates.