Created by GYANJEET RAJ on 14 August, 2018

How to Pay a Freelance Sheet Metal Designer? (Pay Per Kilobyte)

Greetings, and thank you for your time,

Our organization's current workflow bottleneck is within our engineering/design department. We are not designing our customer's requests fast enough.

Design, export DXF to laser, bend/cold form, weld/polish, and then ship.

Our organization is growing and contracting freelance sheet metal designers via seems to be a logical solution, but how to structure a fair compensation plan? Our organization specializes in custom stainless steel kitchen equipment. We have one laser cutter and two press brakes that are not being used at capacity in regards to hours of operation. Our welding department has plenty of space and applicants in order to grow, but we are not ready yet.

Attached is a spreadsheet of what we consider a possible compensation plan starting point.

Currently, we respond to a customer's request for quotation with a professional estimate/quotation accompanied by a 3d model of the part via. .DWG/PDF file in most cases. That initial 3d model's data is normally the source of the .DXF files that are exported to the laser cutter, but we don't win every project bid. It is inevitable for some of our time 3d modeling to be spent in vain.

Thank you kindly for any feedback.

1 Answer

I don't understand paying by Kilobyte. With a Kilobyte = $ system I can spend one minute making a sphere, or one hour making an icosahedron, and I get paid the same amount.

By using UpWork and similar sites, it is unlikely the designer will have access to, or knowledge of previous designs. This is a huge loss of productivity and knowledge compared to using in-house talent. Every design becomes a custom design.

Don't make CAD models for estimates, it is wasted effort until the customer places an order.
A competent quoter will be able to estimate within ~10% of the actual cost. Especially if much of the work is similar (i.e. stainless steel, sheet metal products for kitchens). Send estimates, not quotes, unless it is for a design that already exists, and costs are already known.

There are typos, and poor grammar in the Compensation Chart.