The primary thing is experience, but you can learn pretty quickly. What we’ve had over a period of years is a chart that we can look at the size of the plaque or the headstone to know how long it takes us and we charge a dollar a minute for our machine – besides the materials, we upcharge the run time. We don’t charge for setup or anything like that because that’s quick for us, but this may differ for you and your job.
To estimate the time depends primarily on font size you are using. It takes a lot of experience to be able to come up with a reasonable time when you do a plaque. When we create a 5 X 7 plaque, we only use five different fonts. We know it is going to take us about 10 to 12 minutes to do five lines on it. If I put a photograph on it, it’s going to take 20 to 25 minutes more.