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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wanted to see how other contractors treat certain tools/equipment they own in terms of additional charges.

Where do you draw the line in terms of what is included in your hourly charge out for tools and equipment?

For example we commonly use small 2KW generators to operate various power tools or charge lifts etc. Is this an item you are charging a daily rental fee for?

What about items such as larger hammer drills and coring bits, or specialty ladders above and beyond your typical extension ladder or step ladder?
 

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Basically everything has a charge for it. Everything.

You can do your best to capture each and every single expense like gas, drop cloth, shoe covers, trash bags, van generator, drill bits, ect. But this is time consuming and I Always forget something. Or you can just tack on a set fee for each job.
  • Job layout $15
  • job clean up $15
  • tools & shop supplies $25
  • gas $25

You get the idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Basically everything has a charge for it. Everything.

You can do your best to capture each and every single expense like gas, drop cloth, shoe covers, trash bags, van generator, drill bits, ect. But this is time consuming and I Always forget something. Or you can just tack on a set fee for each job.
  • Job layout $15
  • job clean up $15
  • tools & shop supplies $25
  • gas $25

You get the idea.
Is this something you’ve always done or have you found over the last few years you need to be doing this?

We have been established for over 15 years and the last 5 have been the toughest years yet. I was thinking of doing a “shop supplies” line item that is a percentage of the bill that way it’s proportional.

We always charge for items such as scissor lift or bucket truck but I think it may be necessary to start recouping some of the other operational costs that once were covered with our hourly rate.
 

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I quit my mechanic when his shop supplies went from $8-10 per invoice to $20.
Never saw that they were doing anything other than a new line item that cost me.
I always had all used/replaced materials returned to me. So they had some towels to clean the guys hands between jobs. I would have handled a cost increase better.
 

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I’m probably not fair lol but I often toss a tool into a job. I needed to punch a ton of 2” knockouts so instead of wearing out my arm with the slugbuster, I just added the cost of a powered one into the job. Got lots of specialty stuff that way over the years.

Other than that, I just hide expendables in the material. It takes too long do divide out expected life over the tool so I just make it easy. I need a hole saw for the job, I bill for the thing. I need to core a 4” hole through concrete, they bought the whole bit. I do it on every job, I figured each paying for a hole saw eventually covers the cost of the tools and batteries. You need more than half the roll of Romex you bought the whole roll. Who cares about line item stuff like that, they’re happy their project is done, I’m happy I made money.
 

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I put items I charge extra for into my parts cost. An example word be PVC heat blanket. They have a certain number of uses and they need replacement. So I charge $5. After 30-50 bends it will be replaced. And I got paid for it by the customers that it benefited, not spread out among all customers.
I do the same thing. This way the customer doesn't question any charges and I feel it is fair to both of us. However on all of my larger jobs I just have a single total price line item and it is not broken down If I have a job that needs a specific tool that is expensive, I just add it in on my side and that job pays for it. I do not list it. In 20 years I've only had one customer ask me to break down my pricing on larger job to each part/labor, I just said "I don't do that, here is my price." Still got the job. On public works sometime I have to break down parts and labor, I will have a line item for rentals if that is the case.
 

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For invoicing I will put a separate line item for equipment that cost over a couple grand, just as if you had to rent them.
Manlift, Threading machine, Bending machine, Generator, Digging machine and similar. I include the cost of loading, transporting, fuel and security. If your working at a place that is not secure, you may need to transport items daily to keep them in your possession. Losing a $10K piece of equipment at a job site is not something your customer is going to pay for, so you need to charge them for transporting and securing them.

For other tooling it's best to roll those into your labor and material pricing. Generating a mile long invoice with numerous tooling and equipment charges is something that no customer likes to read. Put it into your internal itemized bidding sheet to be sure you have covered all of your costs, but don't present it to the customer this way.
 

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Is this something you’ve always done or have you found over the last few years you need to be doing this?

We have been established for over 15 years and the last 5 have been the toughest years yet. I was thinking of doing a “shop supplies” line item that is a percentage of the bill that way it’s proportional.

We always charge for items such as scissor lift or bucket truck but I think it may be necessary to start recouping some of the other operational costs that once were covered with our hourly rate.
This is what I do now. I also don’t break down estimates like these other guys are talking about.

For service calls, add $15 to every job to cover misc. stuff. This is on top of your materials, labor, profit and mark ups. For regular jobs, add anywhere between $35-100. For big jobs, add more.

Btw, this is not for materials, equipment, and line item costs. That NEEDS to already be added up. This is for stuff like drill bits, headlamp batteries, hole saw, if you break your drill and need to swing by Lowes and get another one. Stuff that’s really hard to account for.
 

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I've noticed over the years it depends on the items.

For example, some people charge a rental fee on a ladder over a certain size. Usually a 12' ladder is what is rented out.

Generator gets rented out, cost includes one tank of fuel, cost of an oil change, and delivery of the generator (delivery only when being left for a duration of time). If more fuel is needed, an additional line is added for fuel.

Things like coring holes, although we have the equipment to do most holes, gets rented out to the client. Why? $1200 drill we buy, or we can go rent one from home depot, either way, they get billed for it.

For expendable items like drill bits, augers, hole saws, saw blades, etc, those need to be factored in. If you know you have 1000 holes to drill, take that into account when pricing the job, as you'll likely need new bits after that. They're disposable items as far as the customer is concerned.

For service calls, expendable items may be listed, they may not, it depends on what it is, and why it needs to be billed out. Did you drop a screwdriver in the wall? Customer shouldn't pay for that. Did you break an auger while drilling something you shouldn't have had to? Yeah it will get billed out.

Anything we rent gets a mark up, and hourly labour charges to deal with the labour for it. If we have to rent a lift, we bill for the time to call and book it, the time we stand around waiting for the lift, and the time we spend dealing with the return of the lift.

If an extension cord gets damaged or stolen from site (for example, it was charging your lift), it gets billed to the customer, because they're the ones responsible for that item being damaged or missing (no one on site should be damaging or stealing anyones items...)

In the end it all comes down to what you feel. If you know the customer is up tight, they're going to argue the cost of the item if they don't feel it's something they should pay. In these cases, you burry the costs in material.

It's different for everyone.

Just my 2 cents.
 

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This thread is a good reminder to me: ive got a bosch hammer drill that is winding down, a sawzall that is on its last leg and a hydraulic knock out kit that is out it way out.

The goal is have all these tools paid for through misc tool charges spread out across all the jobs I do. If I need something specifically for a project, it gets billed directly to it.
 

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This thread is a good reminder to me: ive got a bosch hammer drill that is winding down, a sawzall that is on its last leg and a hydraulic knock out kit that is out it way out.

The goal is have all these tools paid for through misc tool charges spread out across all the jobs I do. If I need something specifically for a project, it gets billed directly to it.
I highly recommend the milwaukee electric knock out kit once your hydronic one fails. It's really nice not dealing with the oil and the cross marks on thir dies are really helpful in lining things up.
 

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I highly recommend the milwaukee electric knock out kit once your hydronic one fails. It's really nice not dealing with the oil and the cross marks on thir dies are really helpful in lining things up.
Does Dewalt carry one?

I made a change from Dewalt to Milwaukee a few years back, and right now I’m thinking about going back. Their pack outs kits and tool boxes are amazing, well worth every penny, but I’m not sure their power tools can last as long.
 

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I have a customer who came to me about a phone line during a tenant fit out. I specifically exclude low voltage wiring on these jobs because the client usually has their own LV guys who do their IT, POS, Cameras etc. This guy was up against it because the telco wanted to install his service and his LV Guys weren't scheduled to be there until everything was ready for them. Turns out he needed about 100' of cat V from the buildings demarc to the office in his space. I said no problem. He said "what's that gonna cost me?" I said "don't worry about it". I've done all his work since then and ended up being friends with him outside of work. I still run his "phone line" for "free" on some jobs.
 

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Does Dewalt carry one?

I made a change from Dewalt to Milwaukee a few years back, and right now I’m thinking about going back. Their pack outs kits and tool boxes are amazing, well worth every penny, but I’m not sure their power tools can last as long.
I have no idea but all the dewalt stuff I've tried recently from others seemed really good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I've noticed over the years it depends on the items.

For example, some people charge a rental fee on a ladder over a certain size. Usually a 12' ladder is what is rented out.

Generator gets rented out, cost includes one tank of fuel, cost of an oil change, and delivery of the generator (delivery only when being left for a duration of time). If more fuel is needed, an additional line is added for fuel.

Things like coring holes, although we have the equipment to do most holes, gets rented out to the client. Why? $1200 drill we buy, or we can go rent one from home depot, either way, they get billed for it.

For expendable items like drill bits, augers, hole saws, saw blades, etc, those need to be factored in. If you know you have 1000 holes to drill, take that into account when pricing the job, as you'll likely need new bits after that. They're disposable items as far as the customer is concerned.

For service calls, expendable items may be listed, they may not, it depends on what it is, and why it needs to be billed out. Did you drop a screwdriver in the wall? Customer shouldn't pay for that. Did you break an auger while drilling something you shouldn't have had to? Yeah it will get billed out.

Anything we rent gets a mark up, and hourly labour charges to deal with the labour for it. If we have to rent a lift, we bill for the time to call and book it, the time we stand around waiting for the lift, and the time we spend dealing with the return of the lift.

If an extension cord gets damaged or stolen from site (for example, it was charging your lift), it gets billed to the customer, because they're the ones responsible for that item being damaged or missing (no one on site should be damaging or stealing anyones items...)

In the end it all comes down to what you feel. If you know the customer is up tight, they're going to argue the cost of the item if they don't feel it's something they should pay. In these cases, you burry the costs in material.

It's different for everyone.

Just my 2 cents.
This is more or less how we have been doing things aswell, in the past we would never charge for items like larger hammer drills, and small portable generators.
In reality everything needs to be charged in some shape or form otherwise hourly charge out rates would be enormous to really cover everything.
 

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what ever costs me money to use on the job goes on the ticket
any thing that i dont normally carry on the truck ; no matter whether i owned it before or not
8ft ladder is the longest i keep on the truck
 

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Years ago, when I first bought Greenlee hydraulic knock out punches 1/2"-4", I used to charge $50/hole. It was never a line item, just figured into the total cost. I quit doing that when the set was paid off 3 times over.
Why stop charging, make it a profit center. :)
 
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