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So here's a long shot

I have what most would call a “decent” yeast lab for my brewery. It includes all of the normal candidates for yeast collection, staining, counting, plating, growing, and long term storage. Plus, many of the tools needed to test for and identify the source of various forms of biological contaminants. And apparently this has not gone unnoticed. I have been contacted a few times now by commercial breweries/wineries to track down and identify the source of a contamination issue. This of coarse means drawing numerous samples from their facility (liquid, swab, and membrane filtration), culturing samples, staining cells, etc. This also means that I supply all of the tubes, pipettes, medium with yeast inhibitors, stains, slides, etc as well as the use of my microscopes, incubators, and other lab equipment.

Anyways… Anyone have an idea as to where one would find a price guide as to what to charge these parties? Considering the amount of interest I am assuming that I am priced fairly low. While I am making them pay for all materials used as well as a hefty hourly wage, I am just not sure of a price point for the service. :roll:

FWIW using the average salary for a diagnostic lab technician to determine a price point for hourly wages is not going to work. I already charge more for my services than that. And I do not advertise that I offer this service. All parties have tracked me down by word of mouth.

^^ This. You need to charge them for your free time, first and foremost. Your free time that you spend doing this is worth cash money. I would think about $30/hour should be a decent ballpark figure. Plus all your materials. Plus some percentage of your permanent equipment costs. Plus figure a 15% profit on top of everything else to make it all worth your while – no need to charge them exact cost – there’s got to be a little something extra in it for you. That’s business.

Sorry I don’t have a more specific price point, but since you’re one of the only guys in the world who does this, you’re probably not going to get one. Name your own fee.

If I had to guess, I would say that folks should be willing to pay at least $50/hour, if not closer to $75 or even $100, depending on all of the specifics. This ain’t a cheap skill.

Thanks for the response Dave. I am already charging $65/hr service fee on top of the material costs. This starts at the beginning of my travel time. After samples have been obtained I add a 10% fee for occupying my lab and equipment usage. Then a 1hr fee to discuss and reveal my findings. Sounds like I’m on the right track. Just still a bit on the cheap side I guess. Not looking to take advantage of anyone. But, not looking to get taken advantage of either!

It sounds like you are right in line with what I would expect someone to charge for a service like this. If you don’t feel it is worth all your time and effort, then of course your free time is valued higher, and it is thus time to give yourself a raise! I wouldn’t go much higher than $100/hour though, people might scoff at that a bit. Or perhaps not.

My wife has a business. She charges enough so that it’s just barely worth her time, and a tiny bit extra. If it wasn’t worth the time, then she wouldn’t do it. (My wife does not NEED to work – I get paid enough to support my family. She works part time in her business because it’s a little bit fun, and to make a few extra bucks that we don’t really need.) What I’ve observed is that you really need to find that certain balance between two things:

  1. if you charge too little, then people are calling you way too dang much, and it gets really annoying or overwhelming;

  2. if you charge too much, then no one calls.

You need to find that balance to get at the workload that feels right for you. Your fee is specific to you, and to no one else, and that’s okay.

Pretty tough to set a price given I kind of doubt that there are others doing the same type of thing. Goes back to the old pricing strategy saying, “What is something worth? What ever someone is willing to pay for it.” :cheers: Think about the cost of the problem though, if they are dumping batches it gets expensive for them real fast. Also if they are seeking you out it has probably gone on more than a single batch.

Much like many consulting roles (ones where the consultant is actually useful) it isn’t their time you’re paying for, it is all their knowledge and experience. Same goes for you what you’re able to help them with.

I know a lot of businesses like to know the full cost of something up front. Instead of charging an hourly rate + additional fees, Have you thought about offering your services as a flat rate? Sounds like you’ve done a number of these so take the average time spent @ $75/hr. Add the cost of supplies, travel and whatever else. Average that out, add 10% = fixed rate.

You could also do something like fixed rate + travel outside x miles. Just make x inclusive of most potential clients. A flat rate also makes you sales/marketing pitch a lot easier. $xxxx = problem solved.

I tried a flat rate at first. And won’t be doing that again. Most of the facility has to be void of people and production is at a standstill during the time I am there. Especially if doing membrane filtration. Needless to say, some shops are ready when I arrive and others just think they are and then you wait forever. And I’m not a patient man. Lol Size also comes into account. Some facilities simply require more testing simply due to size and number of equipment.

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