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Thread: How much should I charge

  1. #1

    How much should I charge

    I work for a Hardwood lumber company. We specialize in exotic lumber, Domestic Lumber Tools and supplies for woodworkers. Often people come in needing things done like re-sawing, Glue-ups and other odds and ends. These are often woodworkers that do not have the equipment to do it them selves or contractors needing things. What would be a decent charge for the following if I take it home to the shop and do it.

    Resawing?
    Panel Glue-up
    Planing a board
    Straight Line Rip


    Greg

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Hi Gregory,
    I think you need a basic minimum charge whether it be the cost of 1/4 of an hour labor fee ( check out the fee at a fair mechanic shop at 50.00 75.00 or more per hour) or a full hour fee if in fact you are in the shop already. Don't sell what you do cheap or people will think what you do is pure labor, minimum wage. Sure, you can "Robin Hood'' people but consider the time you are doing their work as hourly, plus electicity, plus the mortgage of that portion of your "shop" for that period of time, plus the the insurance on your vehicle and your health insurance for that period of time, applied to a number tagged on for use of your equipment and the cleanup afterwards. The amount of time it is worth for you not to be with your family for that period of time to do their work and clean up and all of a sudden you are worth more than you imagined. These are considerations that keep people in business, OH YES, I FORGOT, ADD IN PROFIT... Plus all the extra time you spent talking to them and handling their material before it got to the saw. You already owe me $50.00 Be fair, be good, love one another.
    Shaz
    That number can only be decided by you.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Are you doing this for the store or on the side? Is there no store policy set? My suggestion would be to allow x number of cuts at no charge. This is good customer relations and people will remember that. after x number of cuts are done, I would think an hourly rate would be the easiest and fairest way to handle the situation.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gregory Hairston View Post
    ...for the following if I take it home to the shop and do it.
    Greg,

    Seems to me that it would be more practical for the business to put some tools in their shop and do it right there.

    It isn't something I would want to take on as a side business. Those are some of the more boring and time consuming parts of this hobby! In a shop they could justify buying some beefy tools, that would do this job much faster than you would at home (ie: a home lunchbox planer is going to be slower than a large stationary model)

    I've seen a number of places here that charge 25 cents a board foot for planing. I've never seen someone offer re-sawing, but again, that shouldn't be that much time involved if you have a decent big bandsaw there. The panel glue-up though... that requires a lot of work. You'd need to be very careful to figure out the time involved before coming up with a price.

  5. #5
    To clarify. No this is not being done by the store. We do millwork at the store and our charge is $100.00 per hour. However on a daily basis someone comes in and needs something outside of what the store offers. Example a guy buys a board of 8/4 Zebrawood and wants it resawn into two 3/8 pieces, and bookmatched. He or she saw it done on some DIY show but does not have the tools or know how to do it. Or someone wants some board cleaned up to 1/4 inch which our huge double sided planer cant do but my planer and drum sander can handle. So these are all things I would take home and do for a side fee.
    On a side note their is no issue with the store as I am the General Manager. Just wondering what you feel these different services are worth. I am not advertising or offering these services but it helps to be able to quote a price if someone needs it. I often farm out a lot of work to local woodworkers. I may do this on my own or even work up a price list that the store could get a cut if we farm the work out to someone else.

    Greg

  6. #6
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    Tough question. A lot depends on whether you are trying to make a decent profit or are providing a good will service with only minimal profit. Consider, you have to haul, do the work and, maybe, deliver. Plus your machinery must be amortized. Also consider what happens if you make a mistake and mess up their wood. Off the top of my head, I would suggest $50.00 an hour, not counting hauling, with a $20.00 minimum. e.g. one board planed, five minutes = $20.00. Let us know how it works out.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  7. #7
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    Just a word of caution. I did my 1st serious resaw on a piece of 8/4 cherry to get a book matched top. It warped alot!! People MUST undertand that resawn 8/4 will warp since you have changed all of the internal stress.

    This will happen over a day or so, then they will be unhappy and be coming back. You will then need to be ready to run the lumber thru a jointer and a planer to get back to a usuable piece of wood.

    Also the difference in shop temp and humidity can change the board once you are finished with it.

    If I am wrong on this, I hope someone will correct me.

    As for charges, I think Frank is on target. It's your equipment and time, do not give it away.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bartee Lamar View Post
    Just a word of caution. I did my 1st serious resaw on a piece of 8/4 cherry to get a book matched top. It warped alot!! People MUST undertand that resawn 8/4 will warp since you have changed all of the internal stress.

    This will happen over a day or so, then they will be unhappy and be coming back. You will then need to be ready to run the lumber thru a jointer and a planer to get back to a usuable piece of wood.

    Also the difference in shop temp and humidity can change the board once you are finished with it.

    If I am wrong on this, I hope someone will correct me.

    As for charges, I think Frank is on target. It's your equipment and time, do not give it away.
    To some extent with table tops and panels captured in a rigid carcase frame, you can use other structural elements to compensate for bow and warp, but it is a case by case sort of thing and best avoided when possible. It is pretty alarming when your nice piece of 8/4 turns into two potatoe chips, and thats a good thing to consider when resawing for someone else.

    My only other bit of input here would be to suggest that you set the prices high enough to discourage nussiance work. Even if this is more or less a favor, someone is sure to come along with a bad idea that they want you to help them execute, and a $50 to $75/hour charge is usually helpful in discouraging them. You can always charge less for easy stuff after the fact without any hard feelings, but it doesn't work the other way around.

  9. #9
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    Trinity County - 160 miles north of San Francisco. Redwood forest.
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    How Much

    When I just moved to this area last year and needed hardwood for my WW workbench, the hardwood dealer charged me $1.25/minute to mill and glue up European Beech for the top. I thought that was quite fair.

    And where can you find a friend who has a planer with 40" capacity?

    Gary Curtis

  10. #10
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    I would charge the same the store does, $100 per hour, and then as John suggested, give them break for simple stuff. Probably makes sense to charge for pickup and delivery, if offered, separately. I like the idea of a minimum charge, too.

    You probably want an order sheet that the customer signs acknowledging that while you will use workmanlike techniques, the end results cannot be guaranteed as wood can be dynamic.

    And above all, I would never allow customers in the shop while work is being done - huge liability.
    Don't believe everything you think!

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