Contact US

Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!

*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here

Mechanical rates and contracts

Mechanical rates and contracts

Mechanical rates and contracts

I have 2 questions.

I've recently incorporated a company to do some product design and development consulting work and am on the verge of starting a small project with my first client.

I'm wondering a bit about liability since hearing about people suing McDonalds over spilled coffee. Is it common to set up some sort of contract or insurance to establish liability in the event of an accident, mishap, or malfunction?

I would also like to know if anyone is familiar with the going rates for Mechanical Engineers doing product design and development in northern California.

There is a great post detailing rates for Structural Engineers, but I'm not sure how much the rates across disciplines would vary.

I've referenced it below
thread731-186377: US charge out rates survey: US charge out rates survey


RE: Mechanical rates and contracts

As always, an unclear answer to a probing question.

Many design companies, me included, cover this in the proposals' terms and conditions clause or clauses limiting liability and discovery, both for items such as failure, injury, and IP infringement.  Depending on jurisdiction however there is controversy regarding terms and conditions in force, i.e. your proposal / contract vs. their purchase order.

Generally, design companies may carry errors and ommissions insurance.  Product liability is different as you aren't producing or selling goods.  In the case of an action against a company you did work for, they may name you as contributor.  This is where your contract terms and conditions limiting liability and discovery comes into play.

Generally, in all jurisdictions, deepest pockets principle is enacted.  You're a small, thousand+ $ enterprise, they're a million+ $ company.  There's little reward going after shallow pockets.  As a cavalier example, Mcdonald's was sued, not the designer of the coffee cup.

RE: Mechanical rates and contracts

I also limit liability in my proposals.  Whether it is enforcible I do not know.  If you have bought services from other design companies, take a look at their proposals.  I design and build machinery. I had purchased a lot of machinery over the years, so I had some examples of how other companies do it.

One other thing that I do, is have several design reviews so that the customer is involved in the process; I document who attended and what risks and challenges were discussed, and what "we" decided as a team.  Then I follow up with meeting notes and have the customer confirm what was agreed to.  With a paper trail, they can't claim that I delivered something different than what was agreed to.  There are no surprises when the machine arrives.

RE: Mechanical rates and contracts

Are you saying you don't have liability insurance?  If not I'd get some.

Regarding rates, I just got a quote for drawing checking in Northern California and it was $65/hr.  Another quote for the same type of thing but by an 'expert' in central California $75/hr.  Not quite the same but hope it helps.

KENAT, probably the least qualified checker you'll ever meet...

RE: Mechanical rates and contracts


are those engineers rates? - seem low to me.

RE: Mechanical rates and contracts

As I qualified, they are for checking.  Doesn't strictly require a bachelors and being normally in exempt industry definitely doesn't require PE.

Several of the example resumes though do state that they have BS in engineering.

KENAT, probably the least qualified checker you'll ever meet...

Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Eng-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Eng-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members! Already a Member? Login


Low-Volume Rapid Injection Molding With 3D Printed Molds
Learn methods and guidelines for using stereolithography (SLA) 3D printed molds in the injection molding process to lower costs and lead time. Discover how this hybrid manufacturing process enables on-demand mold fabrication to quickly produce small batches of thermoplastic parts. Download Now
Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM)
Examine how the principles of DfAM upend many of the long-standing rules around manufacturability - allowing engineers and designers to place a part’s function at the center of their design considerations. Download Now
Taking Control of Engineering Documents
This ebook covers tips for creating and managing workflows, security best practices and protection of intellectual property, Cloud vs. on-premise software solutions, CAD file management, compliance, and more. Download Now

Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close