As is often the case, this discussion has gone in a direction that
I had never imagined. Ray Finch posted that I should "eat" the extra
time to repair a badly warped component. His suggestion might be
germane in other circumstances, but in this case, I had qualified
the discussion and he apparently did not read that qualification.
To begin with, it was a hypothetical situation as if I were rebuilding
for a customer. I was not. I was rebuilding my own stuff. I had
previously stated that I charge by the hour. In fact, that was the
point. Estimates just don't work in a major restoration business.
So my post was an example to illustrate how estimates can't cover
Many experienced rebuilders charge fairly for the hours needed to
complete the task at hand. That removes guess work and establishes
a level of fairness to both the customer and the technician. Advance
understanding of that is imperative to both.
My first post on this topic said, "Some of us charge strictly by the
hour and keep a good log of the hours, which is the only real way to
approach the task. Unforeseen problems always arise." My second post,
to which Ray responded, was an example of unforeseen problems, which
I shared to give credence to my first post. I regret that I did not
make that connection clear.
While Ray may have a valid point about some technicians who quote by
the job, his response does not apply to me and many other professions
who wisely know not to give binding estimates. We charge by the hour.
Some very clean mechanisms go through the restoration in less time to
the customer's benefit. Others do not. Job estimates are foolish for
large total restoration projects. How can I say that more plainly?
That was my intent in the two previous posts under this topic.
On the other hand, I do complete certain tasks for a set charge.
An example of that is rebuilding a complete set of Ampico unit block
valves that are in good, original unrestored condition. After
rebuilding thousands of those valves, there just aren't any real
For total restorations, I charge by the hour. I keep good records.
Estimates are only guesses and that is made clear up front. If I find
something goofy inside, I fix it at the agreed hourly rate.
I hope that clears up any misunderstanding.