Hours for “perfection “

Dave C 5

Member
Just wondering - have heard various hour quotes thrown around . Customer dropped off a car which needs blocked and painted- of course taken apart - gapped - assembly - final color sand and polish - he said “for 20 grand it better be perfect “ - I understand his mind set . He said he talked to the guys in St. Louis “speed is the new black “- they told him that AFTER metal work to expect 300 hours for paint in order for him to get an idea of price . Just curious what everyone thinks is a legitimate hour expectation for “perfection “ ? Everyone expects perfection but I’m sure just a few understand the hours and cost involved. - would love to tell people the difference so they can adjust their expectations when I shoot them a price- we’re just talking paint - bare metal to final product
 

texasking

Active Member
I think 300 hours may be a little excessive just for paint, but I've never achieved perfection, and I'm sure they never have either. I've yet to see a paint job that doesn't have something, somewhere, slightly imperfect. 99.9% of people may not see it, but it's still there. Now I have spent over 300 hours on filler work, priming, blocking, assembly, painting, sanding, buffing and final assembly. I never give my customers a price on a complete body restoration, it's hourly + material until finished, paid on Friday. If they want a ball park figure, I give them a very broad range that covers my butt. As soon as some people get a price, all of a sudden things start getting added, gaps are measured with calipers, and the color changes from white to candy red:)
 
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I too charge time and materials. I will not give an estimate or even a rough idea of what the job will cost because I really don't know until I get into the job. I bill monthly so the customer has the freedom to take their vehicle somewhere else if they choose to.

Many of those who have never done this work think it is like replacing a water pump or alternator. However with restoration work you really never know what you are dealing with until you strip it down.

This '55 Chevy truck came to me in pieces that had been painted by another shop. They charged him around 6k to paint the parts without ever being test fitted on the truck. Of course there were parts that were bent, never straightened and painted over, broken bolts and screws still left in the panels and painted over, poor patches that were rusting underneath the new shiny paint job, and parts that didn't fit properly.
Many were chipped from handling as well.
Grill support poor fit upper right.JPG

Tailgate Hinge Rust.JPG

Tailgate Rust.JPG



The other thing difficult for people to foresee is how bad their old, un-restored parts are going to look against that new shiny paint job. It's then that they want to add to your work load and (if you made the mistake of quoting or estimating) will expect it to be included.
Like this dash panel:
Dash as purchased.JPG


Takes a lot of time to restore something like this:
After.JPG

Hood Installed.JPG


I ended up building a console and the interior panels for this truck as well.

Carpet Driver Side.JPG


Carpet Driver Side Rear.JPG

Front View.JPG
 

Chris_Hamilton

Trying to be the best me, I can be
First off that is why I hate nearly all those stupid television shows. Guys that don't know d**k always refer to the guys on those shows as the experts.
As for your question, there is no one answer. Best answer would be "That depends". What kind of standards do you hold yourself to? What kind of standards does the customer have? It's all relative and dependent upon peoples individual perception.
Years ago I was part of a '56 Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing restoration that had over 6000 man hours on it and it was close to perfect. Five of us worked on that car for close to a year. Nothing else. But that was a total restoration done to a very exacting standard. I have a 72 Chevy Pickup in my garage now that was just supposed to be a fairly quick repaint that has now morphed into something that I'll have easily 600 hours or more in. It'll be nice but not perfect. But someone may look at it and think it's close to perfect. Just depends on what someone thinks is perfection. I have only seen a few "Perfect" cars. And I'd be willing to bet if I laid eyes on all of them now I wouldn't think they were perfect anymore.
300 hours isn't going to get you "Perfection". IMO that is more like what a really nice driver should take for final prep and paint. But like I said perfection is in the eyes and mind of the person doing the work and the car owner.

That being said if it was my job, 300 hours is probably enough to make it fairly nice. Or it might not depending on what you are workig on and the size of it. If I was just doing a really nice driver I would have 60-80 hours in cut and buffing. You could easily spend 40 hours getting everything gapped. (metal guys should have set the gaps BTW.) Blocking anywhere from 40 on the low side to 80+ hours. Paint depending on how many pieces you do it in, 40-80 hours. Re-assembly another 40 or so. Then I'd add 25% to account for my underestimating that gets you to well over 300.
All of this is just speculation though. I would count on things taking longer rather than shorter. And in 2019 $20k for a paint job really isn't much more than average.
OH and I hope this won't be true but judging from what your customer said, more than likely he is going to be trouble.
 
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AAE

Learner
First off that is why I hate nearly all those stupid television shows. Guys that don't know d**k always refer to the guys on those shows as the experts.
As for your question, there is no one answer. Best answer would be "That depends". What kind of standards do you hold yourself to? What kind of standards does the customer have? It's all relative and dependent upon peoples individual perception.
Years ago I was part of a '56 Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing restoration that had over 6000 man hours on it and it was close to perfect. Five of us worked on that car for close to a year. Nothing else. But that was a total restoration done to a very exacting standard. I have a 72 Chevy Pickup in my garage now that was just supposed to be a fairly quick repaint that has now morphed into something that I'll have easily 600 hours or more in. It'll be nice but not perfect. But someone may look at it and think it's close to perfect. Just depends on what someone thinks is perfection. I have only seen a few "Perfect" cars. And I'd be willing to bet if I laid eyes on all of them now I wouldn't think they were perfect anymore.
300 hours isn't going to get you "Perfection". IMO that is more like what a really nice driver should take for final prep and paint. But like I said perfection is in the eyes and mind of the person doing the work and the car owner.

That being said if it was my job, 300 hours is probably enough to make it fairly nice. Or it might not depending on what you are workig on and the size of it. If I was just doing a really nice driver I would have 60-80 hours in cut and buffing. You could easily spend 40 hours getting everything gapped. (metal guys should have set the gaps BTW.) Blocking anywhere from 40 on the low side to 80+ hours. Paint depending on how many pieces you do it in, 40-80 hours. Re-assembly another 40 or so. Then I'd add 25% to account for my underestimating that gets you to well over 300.
All of this is just speculation though. I would count on things taking longer rather than shorter. And in 2019 $20k for a paint job really isn't much more than average.
OH and I hope this won't be true but judging from what your customer said, more than likely he is going to be trouble.
All of this is gold but the last sentence is a diamond.
 

Dave C 5

Member
It’s not my main job - hobbies- but my paint jobs do get trophies at local shows - I tell everyone “I’m not perfect ! I try but you will eventually find a flaw after looking at it real hard when you get it home “ I don’t charge them anywhere close to 20 grand- more like 8-10 and end with 200 ish hours- most are happy and understand BUT they all still expect it to be perfect- was just curious what everyone thought cause it would be nice to tell them the difference between a great daily driver paint job and a “tv show” paint job
 

shine

Member
the most important lesson to learn in this business is when to pass on a job . over the years i have turned down many jobs even though they seemed to pay well . after getting tied up with one whiny ,bitchy and picky sob i learned. it almost came down to a fist fight . lesson learned . just like poker learn to read the Tell . first sign , " it cost too much " . if they think they are paying too much they will never be satisfied . my opinion is it cost nothing to sweep the shop floor but spending months fixing things will break you.
this is why i have a pocket recorder. the guy who wants " just a driver " job will nit pick you to death. try it with me and Surprise i have you on tape .
Show jobs can take up to 1k hrs start to finish. if there is a budget then they cant afford it . my advice is to pass on show jobs .
 

Chris_Hamilton

Trying to be the best me, I can be
Don been my experience that many(most?) of those "TV Show" paint jobs look good on tv but in person......not as much. The difference is in that final 10%. It can take 50% or more of the time. Perfect panel fit and gaps is probably the one area where this applies most. Perfect also implies no flaws. Perfectly straight panels, zero peel, no imperfections in the paint. Perfect panel fit, jambs, and undersides finished as the exterior. Etc. etc. Just taking everything and trying to make it look as flawless as possible. Really very few cars ever get finished like that. Very few people can afford for their car to be finished like that.
 
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Carshinebob

Member
One of my favorite sayings "perfection is a place you can get closer to but you can never arrive". It's kinda hard to estimate even a general amount of hours on a paint job because there are so many variables to take into account. One of the biggest variables is how perfect does it need to be. Street driven? Trailer queen? Concourse?
Anyway, here I go.
Each prime and block could be between 20 and 40 hours depending on complexity and amount of surface to cover. A great job will need to be primed and blocked somewhere around 3 to 4 times at least. So getting the primed surface ready could be 160 hours. Then the top coats. Once again, depending on complexity and surface area, 40 to 80 hours. Ok, cutting and polishing, 40 to 80 hours easily. There now, I checked my math and I'm getting somewhere from 140 to 320 hours. My last thought, Perfection is going to be 320 hours or more. ~BOB
 
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We restored a '66 F100 a few years ago that was in decent shape. Needed some rust repair and straightening, but most time was spent on panel gaps and alignment, then skimming and blocking the assembled panels to get the overall shape consistent. Inside the bed was straightened, skimmed, and blocked just like the outside, as was the inside of the hood. The bottom of the cab was also bodyworked. I'm not sure how many hours were spent on just the metal/body/paint work but the whole job was slightly over 2,000 hours. That's not including rebuilding the engine/trans/rear axle/front I-beams which the owner had done himself.

I've started the metal/body/paintwork on another '66 F100 and gave a loose estimate of 600 hours and $5k materials to get similar results for the exterior and interior of the truck. The owner wants the bottom of the cab and bed shot with a tinted rock guard or similar product to cut down on labor. The estimate was also given with the understanding that there might be more work involved once the truck was stripped.
















 
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