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Author Topic: figuring out how to charge  (Read 1062 times)

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Offline Qweaver

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figuring out how to charge
« on: November 13, 2017, 02:24:35 pm »
I just finished a 7 large log job (40"+ dia) and the customer felt that he was greatly overcharged.  He says he normally uses a sawyer that charges him $125 per 1000 BdFt and that includes an off bearer.  That's about 3 24" logs and that would take me about 3 to 3.5 hours on my LT28 with a paid off bearer.   fuel and blades come out of that also.  That's if the logs were straight and good.  So about $180 if I don't hit metal.   I've got about $200,000 in equipment to pay for before I really make a profit.  Is anyone really charging less than I am? This is not a pathway to become a millionaire.  Good thing I just love to saw.  BTW I charge $45 per hour for me and the equipment and I pay an off bearer $10 per hour if one is not provided.

Quinton
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Offline ronwood

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2017, 02:28:55 pm »
Qweaver,

I charge 35 cents per bd ft. I would not do it for any less.  I would  suggest that he goes to back to his other sawyer if he can get it done for less.
No point of working that hard otherwise.

Ron
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Offline Qweaver

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2017, 02:31:24 pm »
His sawyer could not saw 40" dia x 20' long logs.   We lost about 1/3 of his logs due to rot.  It takes longer to saw the bad out of the way then if the log was fully sound.
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Offline TKehl

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2017, 02:42:37 pm »
The local Mennonite sawmill won't even saw them that cheap... and you take the logs to them...
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Offline rjwoelk

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2017, 02:44:21 pm »
Sounds to me that other sawer probably got tired of his complaining and refused to saw them. Just told him they are to big.  ;D
Tell him you have the capacity and you charge for the capacity.
Some folk just cant help but complain.
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Offline killamplanes

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2017, 03:08:19 pm »
200,000 in equipment charging 45 an hour? You have a much sharper pencil than I do. At 125mbf custom sawing I don't believe you will have competition to long.
 
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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2017, 04:35:43 pm »
I would charge him what ever you think is right and never look back. If he could have had it sawed for anywhere near what he claims he would never have called you. The way I do things, would be to never saw for him again at any price.
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2017, 06:12:56 pm »
   I am not that far from you and similar market I am sure. I charge $.30/bf with the customer providing the helper, more if I have to stack. I charge $60/hr if small or special orders which would include under or over sized logs that would slow me down. Minimum order 1,000 bf/$300 plus mileage for me to move my mill - no minimum if they bring their logs here. With logs that big I would have refused or insisted he split them as too big for my mill too.

    My opinion is if other people charge less than me they know what their work and time is worth. I have watched many piles of logs rot or get worm infested waiting on some of my bargain sawyer neighbors wait to get around to sawing them.

    As long as the customer knows up front what you are charging and accepts you should not worry about charging him accordingly. I offer a copy of an International 1/4" log rule and have one on the back of my business card so the customer can estimate. I  tell them with good logs we will beat that. I finished an order yesterday where the customer used the log rule and estimated 3400 bf and finally tally was 3825 plus whatever short boards he wanted to salvage out of the scrap pile. He was well pleased and no surprises.
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Offline Percy

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2017, 06:29:12 pm »
Pretty much what Starmac said.

Related info, it took me quite a while to learn this way back when I started...heh...most folks wanted "by the board foot" pricing. I would, like an idiot, charge them for whatever was in the pile of lumber i cut from their logs......that dont work. They would get me to cut cull logs or some weird shaped rotten butts and if I didnt get hardly any board feet, it was no sweat to them. I was so busy and I was not makin a cent. Now I charge by the volume of the piece. Log quality improved drastically when I implemented the new pricing.....The Queaver customer clones were angry at me but since they left, my bottom line has improved. That customer was just trying to bully a deal.
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2017, 07:20:51 pm »
   Somebody (but I forget who - maybe cwimer? They say your memory is the second thing to go and I can't remember what the first was) recently posted his policy of charging a flat rate fee per each log and had a specified size restriction on how big the log could be based on his mill constraints.

    I still keep kicking that around and if anybody else is or has been doing so I'd love to hear an update. Both the customer and the sawyer know exactly how much it will cost before the first board is ever cut.
Howard Green
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Offline Qweaver

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2017, 07:31:27 pm »
I sawed the left over scraps for him this AM and made 6 2 x10 boards and plenty of stickers. Spent 3 hours of time.  I did not charge him and told him to never bring me any more logs.  He still has some 40" logs and I have no clue who can saw them around here without splitting them.  How long does that take?
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Offline Chop Shop

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2017, 07:32:46 pm »
His sawyer could not saw 40" dia x 20' long logs.   We lost about 1/3 of his logs due to rot.  It takes longer to saw the bad out of the way then if the log was fully sound.

I can always saw way over scale, so I know Im an efficient sawer, but if they bring me hollow logs, I charge either Bd/Ft for log scale or Bd/Ft for lumber produced, whichever figure is larger.

If they bring me a big ol heavy pile o garbage, would it be fair for them to pay for only a few boards and make me deal with a huge mess and extra work?  Rotten wood also dulls teeth faster.

This is cedar country (pnw) and I regularly deal with rotten cored cedar and most of it can produce some of the highest quality CVG boards around and are well worth sawing usually.

 Once in a while someone brings a POS with a big ol cat eye, tons of rot, ants climbing out and limb stubs all over and you tell them its not even good firewood.   "Well just saw it up and see what we get anyways", they say.

After paying for scale on a 40"x12'  rotten butt (700+bf) and getting only 300 bf of lumber they tend to get an education much faster.

Some folks you cant talk CENTS into until they see it on the bill.

Offline Peter Drouin

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2017, 07:35:17 pm »
 I had a guy bring me ˝ rotting logs and he payed .35 a BF for ˝ rotting lumber.
I tell them rotting log make rotting lumber crooked logs make crooked lumber, And if the chain saw comes out it's $ 100.00 an hour. Softwood, Hardwood is more.

When I was on the road I'd tell the customer to cull the junk logs. I will saw what's in the pile, Ants, or rot you will pay for all the BF I handle. :D ;D
Tell him to pay up,
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Offline Magicman

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2017, 08:01:01 pm »
If you are only charging $45 per hour and paying a helper $10 per hour, that would equal out to about $125 per Mbf.   :-\  I'd say that you are already on the fast track to going broke.

I charged $75 per hour today and the customer proved two helpers.  I never had to touch a single board or slab.  At an average of 2Mbf per day @ $300 per Mbf, it equals out to the same money.  I will not saw for less.
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Offline Qweaver

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2017, 08:23:26 pm »
I charge $45 plus $10 for one helper.  so $55 per hour....plus blades...still not enough!  But maybe I'm just slow.
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Offline Magicman

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2017, 08:39:19 pm »
OK, I misunderstood the way your last sentence was worded about the $10, but I agree that you are still too cheap.  If he complains and can get it for $125, then he needs to do so, except that the cheap guy can't do it.   ::)  Surprise Surprise!!!
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Offline Chuck White

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2017, 08:46:09 pm »
If you charge too much, it might be cheaper for the customer to sell his logs (or leave them standing) and go to an Amish mill and buy his lumber!  Just sayin'!

$300.00 and up per 1,000 seems unreal to me!   :o
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Offline Magicman

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2017, 09:01:20 pm »
I'm $250 for framing lumber and $300 or hourly rate for everything else.  We don't have Amish.
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Online starmac

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2017, 09:05:15 pm »
Qweaver, is that 45 + 10 for sawing at your place or the customers?? If at your place how do you charge to clean up, slabs,junk wood,dust etc??

Here if we paid a helper 10 bucks, we would have to charge 20 to cover his wages, ss, wc, etc.

Is your mill manual or hydraulic, I am just trying to wrap my head around why 45 bucks an hour is all you can charge in your area.
A couple of years ago there was a young man here, bought a new manual lt28.
He was a hard working guy with a wife and baby to support. He started out charging 50 bucks travel and set up fee, then 35 bucks an hour, if you brought him the logs, it was just a straight 35 bucks. I told him I would be better off giving my mill away and hiring him to cut anything I needed.
He was planning on keeping his day job, at least till he built up a business, and said he might have to raise his rates after he got his customer base built up.
To my way of thinking, it is harder to raise rates once your customers are established though.
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Offline Peter Drouin

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2017, 09:07:05 pm »
I'm at .35 a BF and you bring the logs to me + blades with no chain saw work, Hardwood is .45 a BF. Over 16' is $100.00 an HR all day.
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Online starmac

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2017, 09:14:49 pm »
Here is a pricelist for our only real source for rough cut spruce.

https://northlandwood.com/roughlumber/
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Offline ButchC

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2017, 09:18:05 pm »
All of our local mills are Amish and they all quoted me the same rate for custom sawing. 50 cents a Bft. And they keep the slabwood.
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Offline GDinMaine

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2017, 09:23:20 pm »
I only saw by the hour $65/hr for first three hours and $55/hr after that. That is the only system It is fair to saw by the hour as it compensates for the wide range of log quality. Otherwise I would have to have a different bf price for every job based on logs.

I had a guy ask if I can beat a quote, that seemed way low. I told him to hire the other guy and walked off. I don't work for people who only care about taking advantage of others.

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Offline PAmizerman

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2017, 09:24:39 pm »
I call those kind of guys "tire kickers". They are just trying to see if they can get you to drop you're price even when they know they got a good deal especially when no one else in the area could even handle the job. Or didn't want to. Let me guess after you did the job he wanted you to saw more? When I get a customer like that I tell them to go back to their cheap Sawyer. They generally come back with their tail between their legs and have me do their sawing. And they are much easier to deal with from their on out.
If they give me too much hassle I just refuse doing any more work for them and I am better off. I know it is agrivating but sometimes their is nothing you can do. People are goofy. Sorry for the rant but hopes this puts you're mind at I ease. I don't think you are doing anything wrong except maybe not charging that guy enough😂😂
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Online starmac

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #24 on: November 13, 2017, 09:26:35 pm »
Peter, why the change to hourly over 16 foot? Is it just because it is more work to handle longer logs and boards, or does the longer logs slow down your board foot average. Just trying to learn something here.
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Offline Peter Drouin

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #25 on: November 13, 2017, 09:38:46 pm »
A lot more work and heavy, Most times it's long timbers, Side boards are cut shorter.
Boxing the heart and stuff. Going slower that way. 8' to 16' I can jam. :D
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Online starmac

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #26 on: November 13, 2017, 09:45:11 pm »
I can understand that. I just had it in my mind that the extra board foot in the log would compensate for it taking longer, but I haven't sawn anything over 16 foot to speak of.
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Offline POSTONLT40HD

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #27 on: November 13, 2017, 09:56:58 pm »
I'm sawing framing lumber now. Big nice SYP.
Today I sawed 1000 BF of 2x12x12. Beautiful boards.

I charge .25 cents a bf or $250.00 / thousand.
Just me and my Backhoe with forks on it.

Each board cost him about $6.00. About 42 boards.
A 1-1/2" x 11 1/4" x 12 Pine board at the building center is $25.68.

Just saying.
I'm thinking......

Offline Peter Drouin

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #28 on: November 13, 2017, 10:00:30 pm »
Just like when I sell timbers,  the customer pays for the whole log, not just the timber out of it in the price. Then I sell the boards again. ;D
 

  

  

  

  
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Offline POSTONLT40HD

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #29 on: November 13, 2017, 10:02:42 pm »
BAM!
I'm thinking......

Offline Peter Drouin

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #30 on: November 13, 2017, 10:07:20 pm »
2008 LT40 super,2008 edger, Cat telahandler, JD 5410 And can cut up to 45' long
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And a license NH soft wood grader.
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Offline RPowers

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #31 on: November 13, 2017, 11:24:08 pm »
I don't see how the OP is cutting many 40" logs on an LT28 unless he's splitting them first. Back with my LT28 those sized logs would take a half-day or more each. I'm $.50/bdft or $75/hr now, straight through. I decide which when I look at the job and see which works out the best overall. I like the idea of just going straight board foot pricing and scaling the logs instead of the lumber. With the often crooked and half-hollow hardwoods I cut that would improved the bottom line and make things simpler.

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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #32 on: November 14, 2017, 12:32:01 am »
I wouldn't even turn my mill on for 12 cents per bdft.
 :D :D
I charge 50 cents per bdft and turn people away from getting too much business.  I refused two jobs today.  I have more than I can do to feed my kilns anyway.

I was the highest guy around, everybody else charged 30 cents per bdft, and Craigslist was full of sawyers.  Now, they are gone, out of business, and I'm the only one around, at least that's what the customers are telling me. 

Charge what you are worth and what it takes to keep you in business, let the other guys race toward the bottom.

Don't let a customer make you feel guilty.  Tell him to go buy a mill and give it a go. 
 
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Offline Chop Shop

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #33 on: November 14, 2017, 01:46:24 am »
A smart man told me years ago,   "double your price, you will only have to do half the work for the same income and the customers you receive will be twice the quality of the cheap ones".

I cant/wont compete with low quality/price.

Offline Peter Drouin

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #34 on: November 14, 2017, 05:35:10 am »
Chop Shop, Yellow Hammer, You guys are right on the money. smiley_beertoast
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Offline PA_Walnut

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #35 on: November 14, 2017, 06:57:46 am »
Yellow is right on the money...may become my new hero!  :D

That's my model also. (particularly with my other business). Right now it's a race to the bottom over there, but our quality and top-of-pyramid paradigm remains. Customers migrate back once they feel the pain near the bottom.  It can test one's patience in the meantime though.  :-[
I own my own small piece of the world on an 8 acre plot on the side of a mountain with walnut, hickory, ash and spruce.
LT40HD Wide 35HP Diesel
Kubota M62 Tractor/Backhoe

Offline florida

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #36 on: November 14, 2017, 07:23:21 am »
I can't imagine how you could possibly be making any money at that price. I'm not in the sawmill business but I am in the service business and I'd be bankrupt quickly at $45.00.  I have a $4,000.00 pressure washer we use a lot and if I'm not making $125.00 an hour off of it and 1 man I leave it home. Even at $125.0 an hour, I'm not getting rich.
General contractor and carpenter for 40 years.

Offline rjwoelk

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #37 on: November 14, 2017, 07:24:19 am »
When I started the firewood business,  I tooknall my cash costs my investment costs labour everything that cost me money. Then added profit. If they did not buy my product that was just fine I do not need to go broke because some one wants to do it cheeper. I see lots of guys on here doing things for next to nothing, maybe making a wage if that,  a good product and good service will win over cheep price.
Lt15 palax wood processor,3020 JD 7120 CIH 36x72 hay shed for workshop coop tractor with a duetz for power plant

Offline Qweaver

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #38 on: November 14, 2017, 08:00:05 am »
I don't see how the OP is cutting many 40" logs on an LT28 unless he's splitting them first. Back with my LT28 those sized logs would take a half-day or more each. I'm $.50/bdft or $75/hr now, straight through. I decide which when I look at the job and see which works out the best overall. I like the idea of just going straight board foot pricing and scaling the logs instead of the lumber. With the often crooked and half-hollow hardwoods I cut that would improved the bottom line and make things simpler.
I sawed them with a Peterson.
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Offline plowboyswr

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #39 on: November 14, 2017, 09:34:44 pm »
   Somebody (but I forget who - maybe cwimer? They say your memory is the second thing to go and I can't remember what the first was) recently posted his policy of charging a flat rate fee per each log and had a specified size restriction on how big the log could be based on his mill constraints.

    I still keep kicking that around and if anybody else is or has been doing so I'd love to hear an update. Both the customer and the sawyer know exactly how much it will cost before the first board is ever cut.
Yep you're right on cwimer. He charges for a base price for 8' logs regardless of diameter. $100 I believe.
Just an ole farm boy takin one day at a time.
Steve

Offline bkaimwood

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Re: figuring out how to charge
« Reply #40 on: Yesterday at 06:59:36 am »
YH  Took the words right out of my mouth. I won’t even walk down to the barn to hook the mill up to the truck for $.12 a board foot. You can’t possibly stay in business charging $45 an hour with $200,000 in equipment unless someone gives you all your equipment. 😂 Doing wide slabbing is an altogether different animal… As you already know, few people can even saw that big, so not that you need to take it advantage of the situation, but you very easily could be charging at least 2 to 3 times what a standard mill fee would be. Your new customer is best off being your competitors customer at the rates mentioned… He clearly sees no value in your services or being able to saw as big as you can, or the 40 inch logs that he provided.  Craigslist and the market in general is flooded with sawmills, new sawyers, portable sawmill services, wood slabs, rough cut lumber and related materials...at least in this area. It hurts us all to some degree, how ever the impact is relatively minor and short term. We are in it for the long-haul. There are plenty of guys out there charging anywhere from $30-$60 an hour to run portable sawmills.  I’ve seen lots of them come… And lots of them go… And the cycle continues. We are double that price, and pretty darn busy. For wide sliding, we are triple the price… And pretty busy there too.  Never compete on price alone. You will lose.
BK