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5 Factors that Contribute to Metal Fabrication Costs

Updated: Apr 25

Are you looking for a quote on a metal fabrication job? Waiting patiently to get the quote back? The problem is there is A LOT that goes into the costs that make up a quote. This article will help you better understand the factors that contribute to creating a quote in the metal fabrication world. At Brixius Manufacturing, Inc. we have been in business for over 75 years, let's just say we have done our fair share of quoting. We promise to help answer your questions about how we get our costs, it is important to know that we do not live in a cut and dry business world right now, prices are changing on a daily basis, so we will do the best we can to give you ranges and ideas to better understand costs.


Material Costs

The first, and major cost contributor is material. The price on material is changing

rapidly. When we check prices with companies at 9 am, they will hold their price until the end of the workday. We check with multiple companies (usually around 4) on their prices to get the best price for our customers. Prices of metal depend on who the metal supplier is but on average today's prices are:


Steel= $1.30/lb

Stainless Steel= $5.00/lb

Aluminum= $9.00/lb


Number of Operations

The number of operations a part has to go through will contribute to the cost. A good rule of thumb is the more operations a job requires the more costly it is. Every company has its own capabilities in operations. If a company is not capable of an operation it may need to be outsourced. I know of many metal companies that only cut and bend. The following operations are different operations metal fabrication companies traditionally do.

  • Cutting

  • Welding

  • Bending

  • Punching

  • Milling

  • Assembly

Cost can be saved during operations based on the type of capabilities a company has. For example, if a company has a laser cutter or waterjet it can save money because they are able to cut out operations such as punching or deburring.


Outsourcing

Outsourcing occurs when a company can not do the necessary operation in-house. For example, if a company's brake press is broken, they may outsource to another fabricator to bend the part. The most common operation to outsource is finishing. There is a vast amount of finishing that can take place such as painting, polishing, galvanizing, hardening, and plating. Finishing operations often get outsourced because it is a specialty operation. It is more cost-effective for everyone because a finishing company can do it for a cheaper price.


Shipping

Shipping costs depend on a variety of factors including the weight of the product, gas prices, dimensions of the product, distance, the source of the delivery, and speed of delivery.


Rush

Lead time is how quickly a company can get the product to you once you have done the purchase order. Sometimes a customer is looking for their job to be done sooner than the lead time. If a company is capable of moving some things around, or having their employees work some overtime, it might be possible. That is called a rush order. Rush orders are a factor in cost though because it increases your price. Most rush orders can cost an extra 25%-100% of your final cost. This large range depends on how big of a strain the rush is putting on the company.



I hope you have an idea about the factors that contribute to the costs in metal fabrication. If you are interested in learning more about the capabilities at Brixius Manufacturing, Inc. to get started on your next metal fabrication project, click here.



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