How much are fabricators worth?

blueeyeddevil

Well-Known Member
If this has already been discussed then delete it.


Since this is one of the best sources for info and new technology; I'll ask this question here.

How much is a good fabricator with solid mechanical skills worth to a shop these days?
Now, I know you all are GREAT fabricators and everyone else is hack-n-slash, but seriously, how much is good help worth to a busy shop? I also realize that it depends where you live and who you work for ( or who you are ), don't over analyze it. A friend of mine works for Penske Racing as a fabricator and I have a good idea of how much he makes.

So, if you don't mind sharing...
 

atomicjoe23

Well-Known Member
I would love to know a general ball park answer to this question as well. . .

. . .I'm getting ready to finish up school and I would love to work in a fab-shop, but I don't know if it's financially feasible. It seems like it must be since most of you guys are down in So-Cal and when I lived down in San Diego from '05-'07 I couldn't really afford it and I didn't make chump change either, but there was no way I was gonna be able to afford a house for a LONG time!!! Heck I had trouble just paying rent, utilities, and groceries sometimes!!!
 

Ryan B

Well-Known Member
it all depends on who you work for, where the shop is located, and what they do there.
small shop
big shop
auto mobile fab.
structural steel.

just between a small shop building prerunners, and a small shop with a contractors license doing structural steel. there is a huge pay difference.
I've done both at my work, and we make almost 3 times more money working the same 40 hour weeks doing structural.
 

Ryan B

Well-Known Member
i'm not saying race car builders don't make good money. I'm sure like jimco, or geiser do pretty darn well.

but different shop specializing in different types of metal fab will have vastly different amounts of income, and thus the guys in the shop will get paid different amounts.
 

CMazzulla

Well-Known Member
$10-$25hr, I feel like you should get what you deserve and base your pay solely off of how valuable you are to a business, well at least that my opinion. If you build "x" and it comes out in poor condition and took too long, then you deserve $ ? . If you work efficient, have tons of knowledge then you deserve $ ? . I think its pretty simple, if you can do the job of 2 average guys then you should get paid more then them. I also believe in incentives and piece work.
 

arqangel67

Well-Known Member
If this has already been discussed then delete it.


Since this is one of the best sources for info and new technology; I'll ask this question here.

How much is a good fabricator with solid mechanical skills worth to a shop these days?
Now, I know you all are GREAT fabricators and everyone else is hack-n-slash, but seriously, how much is good help worth to a busy shop? I also realize that it depends where you live and who you work for ( or who you are ), don't over analyze it. A friend of mine works for Penske Racing as a fabricator and I have a good idea of how much he makes.

So, if you don't mind sharing...
Well, for starters i think it actually depends on the tasks that are required of the said "fabricator" that actually determines their wage . Will the fabricator need to just know how to fabricate and know the basic hand tools to perform basic mechanical tasks or will that person need to know engine trouble shooting ,suspension,trans,diff's, elec. etc. From my past working experience I've worked at dealerships in automotive service where some top techs were paid $20-$28/hr . I've been on production welding jobs that have paid $21-$35/hr . Conbine the two and that would about average $50/hr . But at that wage how could shops afford to stay in business unless they are a big team Penske,DIR,RCR,Gibson, for the most part i think that it really boils down to how much is someone willing to work for given the taskes required for the job. We all want more money! But we've all done more for less,so i think it depends on the fabricator. just my 2 cents:cool:
 

atomicjoe23

Well-Known Member
Because off-road vehicle fab work is what I really enjoy doing I would be perfectly content with $25/hr (the starting wage at my last job). . .it wouldn't be work!

I know that you have to deal with deadlines and there are stresses and there is the potential to get burnt out by doing your hobby for a living, but having spent 9+ years in the Navy underwater I think it would be quite a while before I got tired of building race trucks and buggies!

Thanks for everyone's input so far!
 

blueeyeddevil

Well-Known Member
By "fabricator" I mean the guy that does the R&D, understands what they are building, why they are building it, and how to make it better. Along with the mechanical ability to see the project thru and catch a problem on step 6 before you get past step 2.

A "welder" in my opinion just welds what they are supposed to weld and do it well. I've worked with some top-notch aerospace quality welders that couldn't fab up a box.
 

Chase 2

Well-Known Member
The guy who does the R&D and makes it better? Wouldn't the R&D work have developed the best possible design to begin with?

Fabricators are worth their weight in gold, what they get paid on the other hand is a completely different matter.

The quality of person with all of the talents you are talking about is actually a pretty rare guy. In off road racing today there are maybe 10 or 12 guys that can go all the way from the R&D through the final build. Seriously. In the real world Fab guys rarely design. He typically takes other people's designs and with his knowledge cuts, forms, and joins materials to fabricate to that design.

The best prototype builder's I've met tend to be tool & die makers, not fabricators.
 

amr126

Well-Known Member
Y.S.a D

Please interpret???
I think it stands for Your Such a D--K, which I have to disagree with. Chase was pretty much spot on; there are hardly any guys with both a design and fabrication background. Design is definitely no easier than fabrication which makes learning both skills very difficult. Personally, I'm going to school to be a ME and don't have enough time on my hands to do much of anything else and haven't for years just dealing with getting my degree. It's quite the task to be determined enough to master both.
 

atomicjoe23

Well-Known Member
I just finished up my welding degree and I'm working on a Technical Design and ME degree right now. . .so hopefully I will be one of those few one day.
 

mikeyfrombc

Well-Known Member
i have to agree with Chase as well 22yrs in the trade as a jobber shop machinist , and now slowly stepping into the world of fulltime welding and fabrication , i,ve come across very few capable of being a one man show so to speak . i gave up $5 and hr and a good pension and benifit package plus 5wks pd holidays every yr to gain experience in other aspects of the trades . with my move i have gained knowledge and hands on skills in the design and manufacture of a-arms , mandral tube bending , cnc turning , fixture design and manufacture and am working towards some more hands on welding experience tig welding thin wall SS and aluminum on a part time basis .

i also have plans to go to nite school in the coming yr to learn autocad , cnc programming and take some more welding and fabrication courses , i never thought at 41 i,d be looking at going back to school if i could i,d go fulltime for a couple yrs got way too many ideas i need to put to paper and learning autocad will open many doors for creativity
 

ZTFab

Well-Known Member
The guy who does the R&D and makes it better? Wouldn't the R&D work have developed the best possible design to begin with?

Fabricators are worth their weight in gold, what they get paid on the other hand is a completely different matter.

The quality of person with all of the talents you are talking about is actually a pretty rare guy. In off road racing today there are maybe 10 or 12 guys that can go all the way from the R&D through the final build. Seriously. In the real world Fab guys rarely design. He typically takes other people's designs and with his knowledge cuts, forms, and joins materials to fabricate to that design.

The best prototype builder's I've met tend to be tool & die makers, not fabricators.
Very well said.
 

atomicjoe23

Well-Known Member
That's what I decided to do. . .I have taken a year and a half off of work to go to school full-time. I was able to finish my welding, half of my technical design and start on my ME degree.

I will have to go back to work in January, but I will continue to go to school at night to finish up the Technical Design and ME degrees. It's well worth the time and money if you ask me.
 

JEFFRPM

Non Sugar Coated
If I was to EVEN mention what I paid out during the build of the first collins 3 seat TT I'd get castrated. We had a deadline that was in no way could be done without STUPID money but we finished the 2000 Baja 500 with honors.
 

loufish

Well-Known Member
I think the race world isn't a hi-paid atmoshere...(ok- for some but the number making big money is few...)but not because people aren't worth it...

The "average" guy loves the type of workmanship he see's on desert trucks, Class 1's, and hi-end rock crawlers, but has no idea how much work actually goes into the level of craftsmanship....That unfortunately narrows down those who can actually afford that work...

I'm always explaining to outsiders why a truck can cost 250-300k...they just see the tubing welded together and have of course no idea the design time and effort to build the fixtures and such...

I do free-lance fabrication, but not for race cars, for studio vehicles...My rate in $35/hr minimum....and I've made more on a few jobs...Just about every guy I've met who does studio special effects fabrication is a car/motorcycle guy....
 

Wild bill

Well-Known Member
In my circles, a fabricator that can take a print and make the part, piece to spec gets paid about $35.00/hr. A fabricator that makes the print then produces the part get paid $50.00/ hr. Production fabricators get paid $20.00/hr.
 

ZTFab

Well-Known Member
In my circles, a fabricator that can take a print and make the part, piece to spec gets paid about $35.00/hr. A fabricator that makes the print then produces the part get paid $50.00/ hr. Production fabricators get paid $20.00/hr.
Are you hiring? :D
 
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