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Blood, guts, & corrosion surcharge

Recent Forums Main Forum Sharpening as a Business Blood, guts, & corrosion surcharge

This topic contains 7 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  tcmeyer 04/27/2018 at 12:02 am.

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  • #40775

    RLDubbya
    Participant
    • Topics: 8
    • Replies: 24

    Does anybody who has a sharpening business implement surcharges for blades that have dried blood & guts covering the blade, especially when the edge is covered to the point that you can no longer plainly see it? What about a corrosion surcharge?

    I had a blade this morning which took me 45-60 minutes to clean, along with 1/2 of a tube of Simichrome (at $12 per tube), some 2000 grit diamond paste, a Dremel tool, two Dremel polishing wheels, a bunch of gun cleaning patches, and wooden handled swabs. Ignoring my time on the grounds that this was an investment made by me in order to land more business and was for a friend who I lean on every once in a while, I still have the cost of the supplies. I have implemented a standard charge of $10 for those.

    I’m not sure what’s fair. I’m not looking to make a killing by selling supplies; at the same time, I want to avoid losing money.

    Any and all ideas are welcome. Thank you!

    As somebody with advanced terminal cancer, there will be dark days when I complain about things you say for no apparent reason. Please consider this my apology in advance for such times. There will be days that what I say is clearly wrong, making no sense: on these days I will often be argumentative. Please do not "let me slide" at such times, but rather call me out, point out what is factually wrong, and demand I explain my position. Please also consider this my apology in advance for such times.

    #40776

    Organic
    Participant
    • Topics: 17
    • Replies: 851

    Wow, that’s an aspect of the business I had never considered before. I don’t have a sharpening business, but I think it would be totally fair to reserve the right to evaluate each blade on an individual basis for cost if it was clear that there were going to be special attention given to the job. Like you said, if the blade has a fair bit of corrosion and is obviously going to take additional time, effort, and materials to clean, then you should be charging accordingly. The only thing I can add is that the customer should know that you’re going to charge them extra for this stuff up front before you’ve done any work.

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    #40777

    RLDubbya
    Participant
    • Topics: 8
    • Replies: 24

    I agree with the customer knowing up front, absolutely a requirement. In this case, however, the customer is a pretty good friend, and If I didn’t charge him, he would just do something like tape a $20 bill to my front door at night and let me puzzle it out. But definitely a lesson learned!

    As somebody with advanced terminal cancer, there will be dark days when I complain about things you say for no apparent reason. Please consider this my apology in advance for such times. There will be days that what I say is clearly wrong, making no sense: on these days I will often be argumentative. Please do not "let me slide" at such times, but rather call me out, point out what is factually wrong, and demand I explain my position. Please also consider this my apology in advance for such times.

    #40786

    wickededge
    Keymaster
    • Topics: 121
    • Replies: 2900

    I think you should always charge for time and supplies. You can choose whether you want to mark up supplies but keep in mind that when they pay you for supplies, it is part of your income and could be taxed, unless you’re also writing them off. Of course it sometimes makes sense to do some freebies or sweet deals to get people started with your service, so you might do the first knife free or something. You might want to consider not quoting on the knife until you see it so you can know if you need to add a cleaning/restoring surcharge. It’s a good idea to photo the knife before and after, and document any damage that you’ll be repairing.

    -Clay

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    #40798

    RLDubbya
    Participant
    • Topics: 8
    • Replies: 24

    Good stuff, Clay – thanks!

    I spent some time thinking about this yesterday as I was going through the same customer’s bag-o-knives. I picked out a couple to work on for him next; and I thought that it would be a good idea to do before/after pics so that I could post them on my website and show people some of what I do. That certainly dovetails with Clay’s observation, above, about taking pics for documentation purposes.

    The thing I came up with yesterday was implementing a “not to exceed” charge. The customer in question, for example, has some knives that really are not too bad in terms of dirt, etc, and the cleaning charge will be quite low. At the same time, there is an Old Timer which is pretty bad; for example, the gut hook is completely filled and clogged with guts, making it unuseable until some effort is put into place cleaning it. I don’t have any issue at all with using a garden hose and then a compressed air hose on a sub-$30 fixed blade prior to sharpening. This approach would result in me investing about 3 minutes into the knife.

    However, a full custom knife with a gut hook that is filled and clogged with guts is a different story: since the handle is wood, finished to somebody’s spec, and the blade (think tang) will rust, I’m not comfortable blasting with water and potentially ruining the knife. I would want to clean such a knife by hand, which means a lot more time.

    Then we can consider the blade material. Suppose that we have a non-stainless tool steel, like a D2; and that we’ve tossed the knife into a bag after the last day in the field when we’re back at base. The knife then gets moved to it’s travel bag, tossed into the plane, and then when we arrive home, it’s tossed into the back of the cabinet in the garage. After sitting there for 5 months, it’s suddenly remembered, and Bob is called to clean and sharpen.

    We’re going to have a higher charge for this case.

    I also think it’s pretty much impossible to estimate the cost up front; the customer might want the blade to be all shiny and new; if it’s something like S35V, that will happen pretty quickly. A non-stainless blade might take a lot more time, effort, and Simichrome. So rather than worry about quoting up front, I’m thinking that I should just do this on an hourly basis, and set the hourly rate high enough that my cost for supplies is covered to prevent the appearance of “nickel and diming” the customer.

    The observation re: taxes is a good one; for now, I’d like to just take the easy way out and just write off the different polishes, etc., as company expenses. That’s a conversation to have with the accountant – oh be still, my beating heart!

    Freebies: I thought that a good freebie would be a lanyard, and I tried that for this customer. The reasons I think it’s good: one, it’s useful (at least to some people) and it’s a physical object. As a physical object, users can see it, hold it, and be reminded that I made the lanyard for them as part of sharpening – so it’s a built-in reminder that I sharpened the knife. Ultimately – and this will take some time – I’d like to include a bead or a tag with the company name and contact info.

    When I was first starting my technology consulting in ’93, somebody offered me this advice: always charge something for every piece of work you do. If you do not, customers will expect that work to be performed gratis in the future.

    As somebody with advanced terminal cancer, there will be dark days when I complain about things you say for no apparent reason. Please consider this my apology in advance for such times. There will be days that what I say is clearly wrong, making no sense: on these days I will often be argumentative. Please do not "let me slide" at such times, but rather call me out, point out what is factually wrong, and demand I explain my position. Please also consider this my apology in advance for such times.

    2 users thanked author for this post.
    #46153

    Mike Mac
    Participant
    • Topics: 1
    • Replies: 2

    Can you readily sharpen D2 on a WE system without eating away at the blocks?  Also may I ask what the “average cost” charged lets say a 4″ D2 blade?  I’m not trying to compete just was ignorant in the ATL area of the service.

    #46155

    Mikedoh
    Moderator
    • Topics: 38
    • Replies: 560

    The diamond stones have no problem sharpening D2. As for the cost in Atlanta for sharpening, I don’t know. Are you wanting a mirror edge, or a nice, sharp functional edge? Mirror edges take a lot of time and therefore are expensive.

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #46157

    tcmeyer
    Participant
    • Topics: 33
    • Replies: 1835

    Mike Mac:  The Mike with the Homer Simpson Doh! on the end of his username, speaks truth.

    I can’t speak to the market prices in the ATL area, but all of the very limited quantity of skinners I’ve made have been of D2.  After hardening and tempering, I’ve never noticed any indication of sharpening being more difficult than other blades.  My skinners have between three and four-inch edges and they seem to take an exceptional edge in a very typical amount of time – maybe 40 to 45 minutes from very blunt to very sharp.

    It’s possible that the WE diamond stones don’t seem to take much notice of the D2’s level of toughness.  Hand-sharpening on Arkansas stones might be quite different.  The knives that I made back when Hitler was corporal (that’s a supposed-to-be funny euphemism) were sharpened the old way and I simply don’t recall any difficulty.

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