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'[TECH] Pricing of PCB job'
I have been asked by an acquaintance if I would be interested in doing
some PCB board stuffing/soldering on a piecework basis. I said that I
would be interested and of course the question of costing came up. The
boards he wants done range in size from approximately 4"X3" up to 6"X8".
They are all of the ThruHole type. The components will be supplied with
the boards so all I have to do is stuff them and solder them. A run will
be all of one size, only two sided and will never be greater than 30
boards. The component count will be reasonable for the board size. There
is a possibility that the boards will already contain a few SMT components.
I am at a loss to know how to price a job like this out. I consider
myself competent to do the work satisfactorily and am confident that I
can do the work in a timely manner. I would appreciate any comments as
to how to quote a job like this.
Any enlightenment will be appreciated.
windswaytoo ATSIGN gmail DOT com
----- Original Message -----
From: "Vic Fraenckel" <gmail.com> windswaytoo
To: "PICMIT" <mit.edu> piclist
Sent: Thursday, February 04, 2010 2:46 PM
Subject: [TECH] Pricing of PCB job
It doesn't matter how much you guess, you'll never get the right price.
The only real way of doing it is to ask for a sample, build a board up and
see how long it takes you. You can then work out what you want your hourly
rate to be and work from there.
I've lost count of the jobs I've underquoted and ended up grinning and
bearing working for a far lower wage than I'd have liked. On one job I
managed to make about half the UK minimum wage for a week.
Alan B. Pearce
> I am at a loss to know how to price a job like this out. I consider
> myself competent to do the work satisfactorily and am confident that I
> can do the work in a timely manner. I would appreciate any comments as
> to how to quote a job like this.
I would suggest offering to build up one PCB, as a sample to see how long
each one takes, and work out a price from there. From that you may be able
to work out a useful time/component type that you can then use to quote for
|At 09:46 AM 04/02/2010, you wrote:
IME prices are all over the map for low quantities like this. You should
estimate the time to make sure you'll be making enough, and probably
check out the market to see what others are charging. Don't forget to
allow enough time to organize the parts and deal with shortages/overages.
You'll need to clean the flux off the boards in order to be able to
inspect them properly. Also consider the cost of solder, cutters and
cleaning chemicals if they are not supplied. A decent first MINIMUM
estimate might be double what you'd pay in gross salary to a skilled
employee to do the work, plus materials. The maximum depends on what the
customer is willing to pay, and if you bring any special talents to the table.
A guess might be 30-50 cents per component with fewer than 20 leads, but it
could be half that or double that. Regular arrangements of similar parts
(say an 8-output relay board or 16-input opto-isolator board) are
faster per component to stuff and check than tightly packed designs with a
large number of different parts. Relatively high quantities can get
prices down to the penny a part or less, but nobody in a developed country can
afford to do that by hand (and often not by machine). Expect the first ones
to take longer, of course.
Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..." "The Journey is the reward"
interlog.com Info for manufacturers: speffhttp://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog Info for designers: http://www.speff.com
M. Adam Davis
Hand stuffing a board with about 100 through-hole components, around
300 solder joints, ends up costing about $80 per board for a small 100
quantity run in a US assembly house. This is around $0.25 per pin.
It's vastly cheaper in Asia (I've seen $0.01 to $0.05 per pin), and a
reasonable middle ground can be found in Mexico.
It's unlikely that you will make minimum wage and still be competitive
with every these expensive services.
But if you have more time than money, it can still be lucrative,
especially if you work up a system where you can make your own
assembly line of sorts. The majority if your time will be spent
finding the right component. You can spread this out by building up
20-40 boards at once so that you only have to find the component and
all the places it goes in each board once, insert it into all the
boards, then go through with the soldering iron and clippers very
quickly before moving on to the next component.
But there are many variables that depend on the design, BOM, and other
factors, so the advice to build up a sample for a nominal fee (1-2
hours at an hourly rate) and then provide a quote is reasonable.
Keep in mind that if you make a mistake, though, the customer is going
to expect you to fix it for free. Most assembly houses know their
defect rate, and build that into the cost up front. Since you don't
have a lot of experience you will want to increase your rate by at
least 10% to 50% to account for your guarantee that the job is done
Be sure you understand whether he wants you to program and/or test
them, and find out the testing process (it can be involved, and he
might not even realize how long it takes to test his design) so you
can account for that appropriately as well.
On Thu, Feb 4, 2010 at 9:46 AM, Vic Fraenckel <gmail.com> wrote: windswaytoo
M. Adam Davis wrote:
> But if you have more time than money, it can still be lucrative,
> especially if you work up a system where you can make your own
> assembly line of sorts. The majority if your time will be spent
> finding the right component. You can spread this out by building up
> 20-40 boards at once so that you only have to find the component and
> all the places it goes in each board once, insert it into all the
> boards, then go through with the soldering iron and clippers very
> quickly before moving on to the next component.
> But there are many variables that depend on the design, BOM, and other
> factors, so the advice to build up a sample for a nominal fee (1-2
> hours at an hourly rate) and then provide a quote is reasonable.
This reminds me of the time we used to build our devices in-house. My
U-shaped computer table became the assembly line, with one person stuffing
the boards and another soldering. It took us about six months to realize
that buying PCBs from 4PCB.com is cheaper than etching and drilling them
in-house, and another six month that hand assembling boards is not a very
good use of our time when board houses can do a better job for less. :)
But I digress.. one way to come up with a reasonable price is to find out
what others are charging for assembly. Once in a crunch we paid aapcb.com
$50 per board to assemble 10 prototypes of a small (~1.5x3") mostly SMT
board. Perhaps Vic should request quotes from a few local and overseas
I agree with other posters that the biggest danger is to quote too low. It's
much better to quote too high and lose the order (unless you're starving).
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