Quoting. It's a necessary evil. You spend time and money drumming up new business. Then you get requests for a quote. Sometimes you receive lots of requests, and they take time - which equals money. Several mold makers said recently that they've gotten so many RFQs lately that all they do for 10 hours a day is sit and quote jobs.
Some jobs, because of size or complexity, require several hours to quote. Care must be taken to ensure that you haven't missed a dimension or an undercut that could make a significant difference in the cost of the mold. And what do you get in return for all this time spent poring over blueprints? Sometimes you get the job. Many times you get nothing.
A molder told me recently that he called a carpet firm to get an estimate on new carpeting. The guy spent about a half-hour measuring and figuring. He then handed the molder the estimate along with a bill for $50, due and payable on the spot.
The carpet man said that he had to start charging for doing quotes because they're time consuming and in many cases he doesn't get the work. If he gets the job, he rebates the $50.
The molder lamented to methat he wished he could start charging for quoting.
``But until everyone in the industry does it, there's no way I could do it and get away with it,'' he said.
It wouldn't be so bad if molders and mold makers booked most of the jobs they quoted, or even half the jobs. But often, quote requests aren't even for real.
I remember quoting a package of about 12 molds and the molded parts for a company. A few weeks after I turned the quotes in, I called to see where I stood.
``Oh, this job is already being molded,'' he said. ``I just wanted to get a comparison quote to keep my molder honest.''
One mold maker said he suggested to an industry group that members start charging $100 to do a quote. Mold makers who win jobs would rebate their customers $200. Sounds fair, right?
Wrong. He said he was nearly drawn and quartered by other mold makers for even suggesting such a thing. And he also knows that one mold maker alone can't start charging for quotes and be taken seriously.
So maybe it's time firms begin considering a charge for quotes. After all, mold quotes are based on the number of hours it takes to build a mold, and everyone knows that time is money.
It's time molders and mold makers stopped donating their valuable time, and let original equipment manufacturers put their money where their RFQ is.
Goldsberry is a Plastics News correspondent based in Phoenix.