SInce anything has to be better than the ongoing disucssion of dialects and accents.......
I have occasionaly done contract schematic capture and PCB designs over the years, but now I am seeing some opportunities for even more work, which I really need, and so I am curious as to how to calculate charges, and if I am under or over selling my services.
I realize no one is going to give away trade secrets, or spill the beans about how much money they make, so I am not necessarily asking for amounts of money, but I am curious as to how others determine how much to charge for a job.
There are many different ways to go about it, but as the complexity of the design goes up, I find it harder to calculate costs since I often spend a lot of time making unique parts for the sch and pcb decals that I didn't used to have be concerned with, plus things like multiple layers can make a design much more complex that the simpler tasks I was used to doing.
If anyone is willing to share basic concepts, do you charge by the pin? How does the size and density of the board work into an estimate? By the hour, or by the job? Do you have a "basic setup" fee? Do you consider who is wanting the job, as in a large company with deep pockets, or a small, fly-by-night place trying to get by. How do you handle the occasional "oops" by the engineer after the board is done, and what about when you make mistakes?
Just curious if I am doing this right, or if there are better ways. To be honest, when I know the people I am working for, its one thing, but when they are strangers and I know nothing about the company or the product, I know that I have to establish some rules and adhere to them so they don't get to feeling I am ripping them off. One place sort of let it be known that I don't seem to charge enough. Strange but true, so I am having to revisit what I am doing.
In all honesty, the problem I have is that some days I can work like the wind, and am in the groove, and other days, concentration is not there, and for whatever reason, I am not up to speed and to charge someone for an hour's work like that, versus the other day when I was rolling along, seems rather unfair. Even at a full time, salaried job, there are good days, and bad ones. I guess I am unsure how to charge a customer for my bad days :-)
It almost seems a taboo subject. Kind of like an unspoken topic not to be broached :-) I don't expect any exact costs, or the revelation of any great secrets, but is anyone willing to share their method of quoting and bidding on jobs that involve pcb and sch design? Stories about customers who balk at the quote and how you negotiate with them?
Thanks for you time,