Need a book? Engineering books recommendations...
Re: General business questions[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
- To: seaoc(--nospam--at)seaoc.org
- Subject: Re: General business questions
- From: "Jill T. Shuttleworth, P.E., S.E." <andeng(--nospam--at)televar.com>
- Date: Mon, 09 Feb 1998 13:21:09 -0800
This didn't go through earlier so I'm trying again > > Kathleen A. O'Brien wrote: > > > > I would like to get feedback on some or all of the following issues: > > > > The Problem: I am a civil/structural engineer and the sole proprietor of a > > home-based business. I showed a tiny profit last year (yea!), am getting > > steady work and know my limits. One of my limits is that I have no clue how > > to run a business. > > > > So: What do other people (sole proprietors in particular but I would like > > to hear from others, too) do about the following issues: > > > > What to charge for time picking up blueprints, photos, going to Kinko's > > etc?. if I had an assistant, I might be able to charge for their time, but > > I can't bill my standard rate for errand running. What about time traveling > > to and from a jobsite? > > __________________________________________________ > > I do not charge time for running errands IE picking up photos, but I do > bill for time to and from the jobsite plus an additional mileage fee > ($0.30/mile) We do charge clients for photos taken on the job. By > considering film developing battery etc costs I not charge $0.75 per > photo. I always make double prints so I can keep a copy in my file > while submitting a copy with my report. > ________________________________________________ > > > How to charge for getting on the Net for information/advice about a > > particular problem for a particular job? How do other people bill that > > time? Do they bill that time at all? > ___________________________________________________ > > I wouldn't bill for general information but If there is a specific issue > which needs to be researched I would tell the client up front before > beginning and explain to them the need and let them know that they will > be charged an hourly rate for this time. > > ___________________________________________________ > > Could someone tell me a range of hourly rates for a home-based sole > > proprieter who mostly does residences? Is it fair to charge more for > > commercial work? What about clients who are EXTREMELY (i.e 6 > > months) slow to pay but give you lots of work? Should you charge them more? > _____________________________________________________ > > Hourly rates in Washington probably vary from those in California. > Experience and liscensing also should be factored in when setting your > hourly rate. Don't under sell yourself. Most people will pay a little > more knowing they will get a solution that works. Plus you need to > cover your expenses "overhead ie: internet time, computer hardware & > software, etc we can't afford to be to far behind the technology. In > our Engineering Services agreement we have a clause stating that if the > bill is not payed we will charge 1-1/2% finance charge per month. Some > of my clients I require a down payment up front and the remainder at the > completion on the project. I do not vary my hourly rate between > residences and commercial. > ____________________________________________________ > > > What about a cap/not to exceed figure? I don't usually eat time on the > > simple jobs any more, but the complex (i.e. fun) ones I REALLY do. > _________________________________________________________ > > I usually don't provide a not to exceed figure. I either give a > estimate which may be low or high or a give a fixed rate. With the > fixed rate I try to set it above what I will actually spend, but > sometimes I have to eat it. Most of the time I work on an hourly rate. > ____________________________________________________ > > Is there a rule of thumb for how much time to charge when the technical > > aspects of the project are brand new and you are learning as you do it > > (because the deadline is tight and there is no time to do it any other > > way)? When I'm learning something new I will not usually charge more than > > half the time to the job, sometimes, less (depending). > ____________________________________________________ > Care should be applied to providing services on something brand new. Do > you have another professional engineer which you could have review your > plans and calculations in this situation. Washington State Law states > we can practice in the area of our expertise. If you are a sole > proprieter this should be considered prior to taking a job which you do > not have previous experience. On the other hand we are all expected to > keep learning and keep up with technology. If you are just trying a new > proceedure you can check it with a method you feel comfortable with. > Even if you lose money on a job learning a skill you will use in several > other jobs it may be money well spent to have someone else review your > work. > _________________________________________________ > > How do you know when it's time to hire someone? And how do you know whether > > that Someone should be an errand runner or a Jr. Engineer? Is there some > > benchmark? How do you know when you need a Partner? How do you pick a > > Partner? > ________________________________________________________ > Check with your local laws on home based business concerning who you can > hire in your home. If you hire a Jr. engineer realize that training > will be involved? Figure that it will take a couple of years befor they > totally pay for themselves. Maybe if you are overwelmed with errands > and other paperwork you could hire someone for a couple hours per week > to run errands. I would anticipate before you hire someone you need to > be able to cover their expenses by the revenue you currently bring in. > Also realize that a single person office is hit much harder during the > times of slow construction. > _________________________________________________________ > > I have been developing good habits; ie. run all errands at one time, don't > > go answer the home phone during business hours, etc., but I still feel > > overwhelmed and inefficient. > > > > Any advice will be very appreciated! > > > > Kate O'Brien, P.E. > > Simi Valley, CA > > > _________________________________________________ > > If you would like to discuss this more please email me at > andeng(--nospam--at)televar.com > > Jill T. Shuttleworth, P.E., S.E.
- Prev by Subject: Re: General business questions
- Next by Subject: Re: General business questions
- Previous by thread: Re: General business questions
- Next by thread: Re: General business questions