How much money should I be making?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by netjaws, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. Mono
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Mono Junior Member

    Salary

    A newly minted NA/ME just out of school would likely start in the low - mid 40k range at a recreational boat manufacturing outfit I'm familiar with on the east coast. This should be a higher number if you're involved with commercial design. However - If you are working for a privately held design firm, your boss is billing you out at an hourly rate, you should know what that rate is! The fact that you are not an intern and are a degreed member of the staff changes the game in that he can legitimately charge clients for your hours as an engineer now. I would think that $21/hr to $22/hr is more than justified for a degreed NA/ME with two summers of experience under your belt.

    Also, you should go to salary.com and do some research. Just keep in mind that the marine industry (especially recreational/yachting) historically pays less than other specialized engineering fields.
     
  2. netjaws
    Joined: Jan 2004
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    netjaws Junior Member

    Thank you for your insight, all of you, it's been extremely helpful and encouraging.

    Mono, I do in fact know that my labor is now being sold for $100.00 per hour. I'm not sure, but that makes the $22/hr figure I've heard thrown around seem a bit low-
     
  3. netjaws
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    netjaws Junior Member

    Also worth mentioning that I was never a 'summer intern' -

    Typically, while classes were in session, I was putting in 30-35 hour work weeks. So I've essentially been a full-time employee for 2.5 years.

    Still looking for my 'number' -
     
  4. longliner45
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    longliner45 Senior Member

    netjaws your gonna do just fine ,,have some patients,,its not uncommon to be sold second hand for top dollar,,,,,you (doing a job for a costomer) being sold by your employer as top dog designer and best thing since sliced bread,,costomer dont know your status in the field ,,and you are not privy to the deal your employer makes ,,but in a short time ,,you will call your own shots,,,,,good luck to you,longliner
     
  5. netjaws
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    netjaws Junior Member

    Update

    Well, I began the conversation by talking about what I think has changed about myself between the time I was hired and when I actually received my diploma - that I can perform most tasks 25% or 50% faster, that I was familiar with and could comfortably meet the needs of our specific clientele, that I was aware of the fact that my boss could now sell me as a certificated engineer instead of an intern.

    I then mentioned that I had performed some quick calculations and, despite the error introduced by my assuming an identical tax rate, I noted that the company would see the same profit (after tax) by paying me 36.50 per hour (before tax). He then mentioned that he had offered interns in the past 56,000 annually (salary) - which I believe corresponds to about 26.92 per hour. And - like you said, Petros - we settled on something in between. We agreed on the hourly rate of 30.00 USD per hour, with a review six months from now.

    I post this so that the thread may serve as a reference to members with similar questions in the future - or just to give some real-world figures to younger members considering a career in the field. Again, longliner, PAR, Petros - everyone - your insight was very useful in helping me consider my approach to this much-dreaded conversation. I was rather uncomfortable asking the question here to begin with (usually like to keep my topics boat-related!) but you can imagine - hearing numbers anywhere from 22.00 to 38.00 per hour - I hadn't a clue what was reasonable and what would just make the guy laugh!
     
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  6. longliner45
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    longliner45 Senior Member

    good for you to post for the benifite of the others ,,coming up in the trade,,,longliner
     
  7. FAST FRED
    Joined: Oct 2002
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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    I do in fact know that my labor is now being sold for $100.00 per hour. I'm not sure, but that makes the $22/hr figure I've heard thrown around seem a bit low-

    Not reaLLY if you factor in the firm is paying you for 40 hours a week , and usually (in US) another 40% in vacation, sick days , retirement contribution and health insurance.

    Of your work week , what percentage of your paid hours gets billed?

    FF
     
  8. netjaws
    Joined: Jan 2004
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    netjaws Junior Member

    red, luckily for you I keep these figures in a spreadsheet!

    Since Sep '05 - out of 4,243.25 hours, 91.25 hours overhead. So, 97.8% of my time is billable.

    What can I say - when I work, man, I work
     
  9. netjaws
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    netjaws Junior Member

    ... re-reading your comment I think you are under the impression that I am on salary? Afraid not- no workie, no checkie
     
  10. Millrtme14
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    Millrtme14 Junior Member

    My Thoughts

    I am a younger guy that just went through the college-real world transition. I am currently a wireless telecom engineer, doing structural analysis on towers and buildings. My education was in Mechanical engineering, I got my B.S. As I have all the confidence in the world in my abilities, sometimes I feel it is better to go in with a lower number and prove you are worth more than that and get a raise, than to surprise them with a high number to start off. I started at $20/hr and and am now at signifcantly more than that 2 years later, although due to lack of business durability from my previous employers, I am on my 3rd job, the previosu two companies are no longer in my regional market. Just my .02
     
  11. OldYachtie
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    OldYachtie Junior Member

    So, where do you live, and do you know enough to do any design job in the firm? Dollars could be US, Canadian, Australian, or New Zealand-
     
  12. Millrtme14
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    Millrtme14 Junior Member

    Good call. I live in Annapolis, MD ,USA
     
  13. mdatrpz
    Joined: Feb 2008
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    mdatrpz Junior Member

    Hey, I will be interested in paying you to answer questions via email.

    Does your company design catamarans?
     
  14. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Petros Senior Member

    That $100 an hour billing rate includes not only your pay and benefits (even if not in direct $ to you) but also all the over head (the building, electricity, secretaries, billing and booking keeping staff etc.), and the company profits.

    In the USA all professional design firms have an average "multiplier" of about 0.28 to 0.32 employee pay to billable rate ratio. IOW a staff designer billed at $100 an hour is worth about $30 in direct pay. If the employee is a contract employee or a sub-contractor than it is will be higher (they would not have the payroll tax or other benefits overhead, but that means you have to pay for it out of your pay), it might be about 0.4 to .5 direct pay to billing rate ratio.

    So it sounds like you are right in this range, and if they do indeed bill you at $100, than $30 hour is good and fair pay. This would be a bit over $60k a year plus benefits for full time work. Not bad I would say for a newly graduated engineer.

    For future reference if you expect more pay, than your firm has to be able to justify billing you at a higher rate. IOW if you think you should get $36 an hour, you had better be worth $120 an hour to your employers customers.

    FYI, I bill my time at $150 an hour to my customers as a senior professional engineer (PE), and though there are firms in my area that charge less per hour, I have more work than I can handle now (perhaps I should raise my rate?). So clearly although my rate is on the high side, I have not overpriced my services since there are still plenty of clients willing to pay that price. Consider that many of my clients have paid less to other firms, and find there was no bargain. I provided better value even at the higher cost, accurate relative error free work that ultimately saved them money on their overall project costs. That is the way a free market system works, the better value you can provide to the client, the more they are willing to pay. It saves them money to pay me more to get a better quality work, it is a better deal overall.

    So no matter how smart you are, or how long you have been doing your job, your pay is a direct reflection of what you are worth to the ultimate customer. Make them want to pay more for your excellent work, and your employer will be happy to pay you what you are worth.

    Good luck.
     

  15. skullhooker
    Joined: Sep 2007
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    skullhooker Junior Member

    I have a civil engineering company in Florida and typical multipliers in the industry are between 2.5 & 3.0. I am currently paying a cad draftsman 25 bucks an hour, no degree. Engineers out of schools like the University of Florida are making 50K, green, no experience. I started out making between 15 & 20 per hour back in 1984.

    It also depends on the cost of living in your area. You need to be able to afford housing, transportation, reasonable recreation, and put some away for retirement. I can't see how anyone can live for under 20 per hour these days without living with 4 roommates or their parents.

    I'd say for you, 25 an hour where you're at. When your ready to step it up and take serious responsibility, 35 an hour. After that, go out on your own or look for partnership / management opportunities. That's the natural progression.

    I would gladly pay someone twice what I make if they did twice the work. I have yet to see that however.

    My .02
     
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