Value for your investment
Most companies working in the B2B space conceal their pricing strategies behind layers of secrecy and incomprehensible algorithms to justify their prices. We at Creative Mechanisms believe our clients deserve transparency. Informed clients make prudent decisions.
Project fees at Creative Mechanisms depend upon the type of project and the client’s preference. According to their need, clients choose either to be billed on a time-and-materials basis or on a fixed project fee.
Creative Mechanisms has over 30 years of prototyping experience and, therefore, a long history of precedents. We know that many new products encompass existing processes and parts. We apply that expertise to refine project estimates. Our clients benefit from consistent accuracy and realistic expectations of project costs.
Clients focused on speed usually select the time-and-materials pricing option, which eliminates the delays intrinsic to writing proposals and purchase orders. Using this method, the client typically writes a blanket purchase order that covers the project work over a specific period of time.
We prefer to use this method of invoicing with “blue sky” projects that defy efforts to calculate fixed project fees. Such projects encompass complicated mechanical devices that involve groundbreaking innovation—in other words, projects for which we invent brand new solutions. Simply, if something’s never been done before, there’s no precedent for project cost.
Time-and-materials pricing always involves budget discussions to estimate as best we can the project cost. Each of our engineers tracks his or her time and activity on each project, a process known across several markets as billable hours. Because our team-based orientation includes engineers with different levels of experience we bill per individual engineer at a range of $130 to $150 per hour. We also track and bill for all materials purchased for each project. Project estimates calculate anticipated billable hours and expected materials costs; invoices show the actual billable hours and materials costs.
Time-and-materials billing begins with an advance—usually a percentage of the estimated final cost—that we apply to the final invoice. To ensure our clients don’t suffer from “sticker shock,” we invoice on the 15th and 30th of each month.
Many companies prefer fixed project fee billing and some companies require it. No problem. Tell us your budget and we’ll try to work within that. We determine fixed project fees the same way we calculate estimates for time-and-materials billing: we apply our hourly rate to the estimated number of hours we believe are needed to complete the task and add the anticipated materials costs. If our estimated fee exceeds the client’s budget, then we discuss the required deliverables for that budget and adjust accordingly.
We base fixed project fees on project deliverables. Should a client request additional work, the budget increases accordingly.
We frequently receive requests for CNC-machined, living hinge prototypes, with some prospective clients expecting the cost for CNC machining to be similar to 3-D printing. It is not. The accuracy of CNC machining requires much more labor, involving Solidworks® design and manipulation, CNC toolpaths programming, and fixturing to support the part in the machine. The cost for the first CNC-machined living hinge prototype starts at a minimum of $2,500, with copies produced for around 30% of the cost of the first one.
To no one’s surprise, the most common question asked is “What’s the cost of a typical project?” It should not surprise anyone that there is no typical project. Creative Mechanisms’ portfolio spans projects ranging from a minimum of $2,500 to over $1 million. Most customers spend $10,000 to $20,000 per project.
At Creative Mechanisms, we pride ourselves on fairness and transparency in all aspects of every project. That includes pricing. Call us with questions or to discuss your particular situation, and we’ll do everything we can to make it work for you. If you would like to have someone from our team reach out, please fill out the form below.