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profit on parts?

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Unread 09-13-2009, 08:15 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Cheyenne
Posts: 514
profit on parts?

Do custom gunsmiths charge a profit margin on parts or just labor?

i.e. If a part costs you $10 from Brownells, do you charge your customer $15 for that part? Or is your profit solely made by your labor fees? I don't mean to pry into private business matters, just what is the industry norm?

I ask because I see lots of parts for sale on the forums and elsewhere and wonder (assuming I've done my homework and they're the exact same part) how much more economical it'd be to buy those and ship them to a gunsmith vs letting him acquire all the parts he'll need for my build.
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Unread 09-13-2009, 08:19 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Southern Wisconsin
Posts: 1,381
Re: profit on parts?

I can't speak for all of them, but for the few I have dealt with you pay for the labor. Some I've talked with don't care if I order the parts and ship them there or if they order, one even told me he could get the part cheaper than I could, and he was right.

Ignorance can be treated with education, sadly there is no cure for stupidity.
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Unread 09-13-2009, 08:33 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Wilmington NC
Posts: 4,691
Re: profit on parts?

Gunsmiths get dealer pricing on parts from Brownells and other distributors, action makers, barrel mftrs, stock makers etc.

Hey, but they have to make $ to stay in business also. It costs money to stock inventory. Nothing is free.

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Unread 09-14-2009, 12:42 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Madras, OR
Posts: 4
Re: profit on parts?

If your smith wants to charge you more if you supply the parts get a new smith. If we order the parts we bill for the list price that you would see from the suppler.

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Unread 09-14-2009, 01:55 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Blackfoot, Idaho
Posts: 8,831
Re: profit on parts?

I've given this a lot of tho't from time to time.

If the smith orders the parts and pieces from a supplier he should get the margin and I would even expect to pay the shipping and time for ordering.

If I order the parts, as I did for my current build in progress (bought everything from LRH posts of stuff for sale) the smith then quoted a guestimate for what special components that he had to provide (dies etc).

If a bit factored in for not making any margin on parts and pieces, so be it.

Whatever he does I have no way of doing.

Just had a new shingles put on the roof. A well known roofer, highly recommended by all, and just an ordinary man, scout leader, father, husband etc took a little under a week to getter done. Did a superb job. His labor charge was only 600 bucks. Hell, I wouldn't expect anyone to do it for that little when I could do it myself but am too lazy and old to get on the roof in 90* temps. I told my son, who is a tight wad, who had already written the check, to bump it a bit. Too late. He starts the siding this week, I catch up with him on the siding labor.

On the other hand, there's a socalled smith a couple of towns up the valley that took a total of 10 months collectively to install a brake then later swap barrels and reinstall the brake. To him I don't return and if I do, its for something like a quick bore scope task that I beat him out of.

Good wives, barbers and rifle smiths are way to hard to come by to not treat them right.
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Unread 09-14-2009, 05:23 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: PA
Posts: 1,274
Re: profit on parts?

Unless you have a FFL, its easier to have the gunsmith order an action, and he will make about a 30% profit. Other parts, you can get them and the smith will usually install them with no upcharge. Pull out a Brownells catalog, and you will find retail price on the right. The last three or four digits of the part number to the left is price to legitimate dealers and smiths.
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Unread 09-14-2009, 06:16 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: SW Wisconsin
Posts: 225
Re: profit on parts?

When supplying parts for customers, some manufacturers have a minumum advertised price (MAP) policy, (RRA for instance). They will give the dealer/gunsmith a discount, but want you to sell it at an amount set by them to retain value on their product. I personally usually tell a customer don't waste you're money at midway, I can save you a bit. Do I make all my $ on labor??? Not a chance, it takes $ to keep the lights on and the equipment in the shop. But I don't sock them the full suggested retail either. Usually a straight 10-15% will cover shipping and my time sourcing parts for them. I am just a small-time gunsmith, don't advertise and do it around a full-time job and family. If I was doing it for my sole source of income, I would probably charge a bit more...If you think about it, where is the customer going to get it any cheaper????
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