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Hours for “perfection “

#22
I had a guy ask me to paint his s 10 pick up and change colors from red to white and he said just paint over the dents don't fix them, I said we are not on the same plane here. I told him I would have to fix all the dents and repair rust or I don't do it, He said he would do it himself. That is probably 75% of the people here, They want things done quick and inexpensive. Beware of the hurry up and fix it crowd because they are the ones who cause a lot of trouble.
 
#24
I had a guy ask me to paint his s 10 pick up and change colors from red to white and he said just paint over the dents don't fix them, I said we are not on the same plane here. I told him I would have to fix all the dents and repair rust or I don't do it, He said he would do it himself. That is probably 75% of the people here, They want things done quick and inexpensive. Beware of the hurry up and fix it crowd because they are the ones who cause a lot of trouble.
Believe me, JC, it's not just 75% of the people where you are, it's everywhere. I couldn't afford to sink the money into a lot of the vehicles that my customers do, but I know what it takes to do a nice job, and that is the only ones that I care to do. There are plenty of other shops near me that don't care what the finished product looks like or how long it lasts as long as they get paid, and will give the customer ONLY what they pay for and not a scratch or dent extra. They use the cheapest material they can find without a second thought. I just don't want my name on something that I would be ashamed to say "Ya, I painted that". I don't worry about that 75% that want it cheap and quick, I concentrate on the 25% that will pay to have it done right, and they are the customers that normally cause a lot less grief.
 
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#25
Like I said- it’s just a hobby to me but I do want to make money doing it . Have to admit though it is intimidating enough to keep my prices down when I here stuff like “for that much it better be perfect “ . Suspect they say stuff like that TO keep the price down
 
#27
Putting aside tv show examples, I have a book titled How to paint your show car from approx 10 to 15 years ago. Written by someone that spent time in shops like Jay Leno's & Foose. Haven't looked at in years, but it has some time & materials examples done in some of these shops. I remember 10 gallons of filler being listed as a show car average on what is a pretty straight car metal wise. Of course most is sanded off & I'd imagine a lot is just wasted during mixing compared to those of us paying directly for materials. One example Foose's I think 2002' or so new Thunderbird project listed 400 hours on colorsand & buff, where I've spent 40 hours back then on a larger vehicle to get to what I'd call pretty damn good.

Haven't went again this year , but I usually attend Daytona turkey rod run which can have from 6 to 10 thousand cars for show & sale. Many have that average decent repaint look, but every so often you see one that stands out in fit & finish & overall smoothness, especially when in black. The things like simultaneously adding filler across areas like between hood & fender & blocking together & using long sanding blocks early on in process really set some cars way ahead of the pack of average repaints & combined with all the high dollar items make a 100,000 dollar for sale price seem a reasonable asking price. Less noticeable to the average person is time spent perfecting areas like door jambs, which can total more hours on a show car than all bodywork on a decent repaint.
 
#29
Putting aside tv show examples, I have a book titled How to paint your show car from approx 10 to 15 years ago. Written by someone that spent time in shops like Jay Leno's & Foose. Haven't looked at in years, but it has some time & materials examples done in some of these shops. I remember 10 gallons of filler being listed as a show car average on what is a pretty straight car metal wise. Of course most is sanded off & I'd imagine a lot is just wasted during mixing compared to those of us paying directly for materials. One example Foose's I think 2002' or so new Thunderbird project listed 400 hours on colorsand & buff, where I've spent 40 hours back then on a larger vehicle to get to what I'd call pretty damn good.
There are two examples that change my attitude to car shows. You have the guys like the fantom works guy basically shit all over every car he gets. You get the shows that laugh at all the bondo that is on a car, then go ahead and put an entire coat of bondo over the entire car to make it straight.

Things changed a little for me last week when I looked at that TDS for the Kindig paint, with 5 minute flash times and 30 minutes to clear, even though the guy on the show says they bake the first coat so they can sand off all the nibs.

Paint should at most be 2 days, its getting there that people need to be more realistic with. Those two episodes for a car are usually condensed from 4 months.
 
#30
There is a thread on the Mopar Forum I go to from time to time where the author is complaining that he should be able to get a paint job for under $5k.
Many replies there similar to the ones here about what you will get for that price.

I looked up my records and the '55 Chevy being a custom built project had just under 950 hours and it still isn't finished. He took it to get the power windows installed, front end aligned etc. but I found out none of it ever got done. He is wanting to bring it back to me to finish.

This '62 Chevy truck in SPI Dark Red had just over 500 hours and had to be stripped to bare metal because of the "cover it in bondo" method used prior. IMGP0009.JPG

This '90 Miata was in pretty good shape when I got it so just over 200 hours for paint, new interior and some mechanical work like new A/C, brakes etc.
Front Right View Finished.JPG
Seats Finished.JPG

The '62 was a "driver paint job" when it came in. He has since won a trophy with it at a local show.
The Miata was shipped to me from California and then shipped back when completed so I don't know it's history since completion.

I am not a professional by any means but strive to do quality work since my name goes on everything.
This '85 Dodge was a "paint it all the same color" job for a lady I used to work with. I couldn't let it go out the door with major problems but still wasn't happy with the "issues" I knew were still there. I lost money on this truck charging her just under $2500.
Front Left View.JPG
Driver's Door.JPG

Just a few examples of my learning the hard way about the time involved to get a job done right. None of these are "perfect" as I can point to every flaw in them.
The closest I come to perfection are on my own projects where time isn't a factor. I just take as long as necessary to get it right but even then I see areas that could have been done better.
 

Chris_Hamilton

Trying to be the best me, I can be
#31
68 you do very good work. Especially so if you haven't been doing this most of your adult life, which I gather from being a Pastor that you haven't. Better than many, many guys who have.:)
The thing I struggle with is stopping when it's "good enough". I just can't for whatever reason. Not that I have to get everything "perfect" but I have to get to where I'm happy with it. It has bitten me in the but in the past, and being unable to take my own advice, has bitten me on the job I'm currently working on. (working the inside of a pickup bed to a high level is a nightmare:mad:) I'll have something like 750 hours in this stupid truck and I'll end up making $10 bucks an hour . :rolleyes: When you realize something like that it just kills your motivation. Shine's advice about sweeping the floors is spot on. I know I'm not going to make the same mistake again.
And for anyone else reading this, be careful when you take a job in and then the customer starts adding things on to the job. That is what bit me on this one. I added to the estimate but not nearly enough. In the future with stuff like this I'm done giving estimates. Time and materials only. If it costs me "work" so be it.
 
#32
The thing I struggle with is stopping when it's "good enough". I just can't for whatever reason. Not that I have to get everything "perfect" but I have to get to where I'm happy with it.
Man this really hits the nail on the head. I'm exactly the same way.

As someone that considers taking on side work I really appreciate all these posts. Its a big step, and one Im not sure if I will take, but if I do its information like what has been shared that could be the difference maker in having success.
 
#33
I may have mentioned it before. I'm not sure. Way back in the 90's I had so many people wanting me to work for them I opened a small shop in Knoxville, Tn. I very quickly decided I could have a career or a hobby building these old cars but I could not have both. I told my wife when I finished a '55 f100 cab, I could have a hobby or a career but my hobby could not be my career.

You guys know what I chose. I love my time in the shop but I sure am blessed to be able to do it on, what I want, when I want, and how I want, Not to mention how fast I want. Like others, I need for the hobby to pay for itself but I have been able to do that by showing a little profit on my projects and not by doing customer work. I have helped out friends on small projects occasionally but there certainly is no shingle hanging out front. Also as Barb's health deteriorates, play time becomes minimal. Thank goodness at this point the shop is not what puts meat on the table.

John
 
#34
I’ve carved out a little niche for myself by promising nice clean driver quality work. Sort of a promise less deliver more strategy. Usually I deliver more but I don’t have to sweat a small flaw. It seems to be working as I have several repeat customers and I’ve got more work than I want. I only work on one car at a time so folks appreciate the relatively quick turn around versus the years at some shops.

I charge time and materials and don’t even try to give rough estimates.

Don
 
#35
Dhutton01 - that’s what I try to do - I tell everyone I’ll try to get it perfect but don’t expect it cause I just can’t out of my small- no booth- decent lighting but not perfect garage - I also don’t charge them anywhere near what a body shop would. I take pride in my work so the talk about not knowing when to stop and before you know it you made $10/hour - that sounds familiar ... but it still doesn’t stop them from pointing out every tiny flaw the find 2 weeks later after getting it home - then bringing it back to see if you can fix it ! Of course this is after I tell them I’m not perfect and I don’t charge $20 grand ! They still want perfection - I have a couple repeat customers that understand but everyone else expects what they see on TV for $8000 dollars
 
#36
Dhutton01 - that’s what I try to do - I tell everyone I’ll try to get it perfect but don’t expect it cause I just can’t out of my small- no booth- decent lighting but not perfect garage - I also don’t charge them anywhere near what a body shop would. I take pride in my work so the talk about not knowing when to stop and before you know it you made $10/hour - that sounds familiar ... but it still doesn’t stop them from pointing out every tiny flaw the find 2 weeks later after getting it home - then bringing it back to see if you can fix it ! Of course this is after I tell them I’m not perfect and I don’t charge $20 grand ! They still want perfection - I have a couple repeat customers that understand but everyone else expects what they see on TV for $8000 dollars
I have no problem repairing something I screwed up or missed, but if the customer knows they will have to pay for something ridiculous, they will decide they can live with it almost everytime. That is why you never give a set price. I would tell them we can keep working on it from now on, but you will have to keep paying until you're satisfied. As crash said above, an understanding about expectations is mandatory, and what MOST customers think is perfect is just nice to me. If you have a vehicle you painted to show them, that really goes a long way towards getting on the same page as far as expectations. I've seen some of those TV paint jobs I wouldn't even put in the nice category, and would hate to see the mess they turn into down the road. One in particular that comes to mind was a pickup that was painted in pieces and the hood was so far off, it was pathetic. No way would I have tried to deliver it, but they delivered it on TV. I've had a few customers tell me they wanted it perfect. I just tell them my name is not Jesus, and I am not perfect, but the shop down the street has a painter named Jesus, and maybe he can help you.
 

Chris_Hamilton

Trying to be the best me, I can be
#39
If I had to sand 10 gallons of bondo off of any car I'd quit:) That is a gallon per panel! I'd much rather spend my time straightening the metal and aligning panels than making them out of filler.
Amen to that!
Again maybe just me, but if I'm doing something high end and striving to achieve a very high level, coating every panel in body filler is the antithesis of what I want to do. To me the finest cars are the ones that have been metal finished. Panels and gaps aligned by metal working them rather than coating them with body filler. The word that comes to my mind is "elegance". One of the reasons the hours piled up in my current job is the fact I worked everything so that I wouldn't have more than a 1/16" or so of filler anywhere. Stuff like that is sometimes where I wished I cared less. But that type of ethic was drummed and sometimes beaten:) into me at a young age by my father who was a perfectionist. Example, I was 10 and Dad had me weeding our very large garden. Everything done by hand and a hoe. When I would tell him I'm done weeding he would walk up and down each row inspecting it. If I missed a weed he would tell me, then chastise me for not doing my best. After years of that, trying to do your best sorta gets ingrained in you.

Funny how the many of the most successful (at least financially and notoriety wise) Shops are using hack methods like that. Wish I was better at marketing.:) Boyd in his last few years simply ran a production (think collision repair) like hot rod shop. I have firsthand knowledge of what they did to one car. Completely covered in body filler. Front to back. 1/4" thick in places. Then there are ones that you never have heard of doing incredible work. Jim Hery in Tennessee does incredible restorations/recreations of pre-war Bugattis. One of my personal hero's Herschel "Junior" Conway. Done some incredible work. He was my inspiration to be the best I could be and he still is. Dave Lane (who is relatively well known) does awesome work as well.

About the only show I can watch is Chasing Classic Cars. mainly because the focus is not on the build. Carini strikes me as maybe he might be a blowhard but I'm not sure. I do enjoy that show though.
Seems to me there are the guys who want to be on TV and then there are the guys who want to do the work. Showing some guy block sanding for 80 hours doesn't make for good TV.
 
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#40
did once an estimate. a car after accident civic, silver, new bumper hood and fenders from certifit/keystone. gave the price 400$ to paint parts with jams and blend to doors. at the end he told me "its better to be PERFECT cause maaco paints the whole car for 375$". :) painted, buffed from dust, guy came and was really disappointed.
 
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