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Author Topic: How to charge for chainsaw milling  (Read 1082 times)

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Offline Mfrost459

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How to charge for chainsaw milling
« on: April 20, 2019, 10:14:22 AM »
I have a Alaskan mill that will cut 56Ē wide. Use this mil to slab out large trees we have acquired from our local area. Works well cause the land owner want the tree removed and we get the slabs.
Yesterday I got a call from a customer who wants me to slab out a tree and he wants to market the slabs. What is a fair rate for this service? Not sure if it would be best to charge the hour or  Bdft.  Would at least have to have  minimum of $250.
Have a great day milling!

Offline richhiway

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Re: How to charge for chainsaw milling
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2019, 10:53:56 AM »
Travel, time on the saw,  fuel, oil,bars, chains, your time. 

Charge enough to cover it all and then add what your time is worth.



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Offline Tom the Sawyer

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Re: How to charge for chainsaw milling
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2019, 11:05:38 AM »
It can be difficult to accurately figure board feet with natural edges, taper, crotches, etc.  Around here, the common rate is $65-85 per hour.  But "per hour" can vary: does it mean milling time, or on-site time, or total trip time?
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Offline Den-Den

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Re: How to charge for chainsaw milling
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2019, 11:18:28 AM »
I don't have a chainsaw mill so this opinion is not worth much.
Possibly a charge for square footage of sawed surface + a time charge for handling heavy materials.
You may think that you can or may think you can't; either way, you are right.

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: How to charge for chainsaw milling
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2019, 11:44:32 AM »
   I took a big walnut to a man in the next county with a slabber and he charged me $.50/bf which I felt was very reasonable. He measured the cut slab at several points and used an average to calculate the bf. I could see you charging more for mileage and set up time/fee and such. Does he have equipment to handle the slabs once cut? The smallest one I had cut was 43 bf which was over 200 lbs if the tables I used were correct. While cutting he'd place a couple of wedges to keep the slab off the log/cant and he had pieces of pipe for rollers to get the slab off onto a roller table at the end of the log.

   Good luck. Let us know how it turns out.
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Offline offrink

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Re: How to charge for chainsaw milling
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2019, 03:03:19 PM »
Most of our cutting is for shares but when itís straight cash itís $75-$100/hour and cost to get there. If we know we donít need a skidsteer to rotate and move slabs the price to get there changes. Some of the big logs can take upto an hour per cut so worth the time. We donít cut much under 40Ē with the chainsaw mill due to it being unstable. Early this year we bought an LT-15 wide to deal with the smaller logs. 

Offline terrifictimbersllc

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Re: How to charge for chainsaw milling
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2019, 05:29:55 PM »
Possibly a charge for square footage of sawed surface +


This is how I charge for Peterson slabbing, by square foot area sawn.  With minimum charges, increasing rate for wider cuts, etc.  You have to ask yourself 1) what are you really willing to do this kind of work for, and 2) what is the customer's alternative to getting the same result elsewhere.  Then charge accordingly.  Don't get caught up in BF or hourly rates for other kinds of services.  You aren't or don't want to be competing with more efficient machines.  Dont do that kind of work. Do something else instead. 
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: How to charge for chainsaw milling
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2019, 07:40:09 PM »
TT,

   I like the sq ft rate much better than the bf rate. I left a 4.5" center in the walnut I had slabbed so it was 122 bf while the cuts on either side were 9/4 and about 57-59 bf. The man's rate was very reasonable but square foot charging is more reflective of the actual work involved. Good call.
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline Jon1985

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Re: How to charge for chainsaw milling
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2019, 07:47:35 PM »
We usually charge by the hour, $75 for 1 person $125 for 2.  This includes travel time to the jobsite until we leave.  The only additional charge is if we damage a chain on embedded items. 

This can change if we are keeping any wood.

Offline Southside

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Re: How to charge for chainsaw milling
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2019, 09:27:15 PM »
I have not done any CSM work myself but have watched it done and in my opinion it's worth at least as much if not more than band saw work. It is a specialty product, which involves unique gear, working in pretty much a miserable environment.  Do you think you can get a guy to climb into a sewer line and repair a break while paying him the same wage as the guy who is running the excavator in an A/C cab?   
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: How to charge for chainsaw milling
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2019, 11:05:49 PM »
I've still got my old CSM and remember the joy...

I'd not charge by the hour because I would be taking rest breaks and wouldn't want a landowner telling me to hurry up.

I'd not charge by the bdft because it cause the customer to faint and would end up at $3SGU's per bdft. :D :D :D

I'd might charge by the square foot, hadn't thought of him.

I'd probably take a swag and charge by the job, and it wouldn't be cheap. :D  



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Offline John Bartley

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Re: How to charge for chainsaw milling
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2019, 08:22:33 AM »
I have always believed that the only way to make money is :

- ignore what the others are doing (unless they are doing it better/more profitably)
- figure out what your hourly "COST" is to run your machine (supplies, maintenance etc)
- figure out what your equipment cost is to replace and estimate how many hours your machines will last
.
- add your hourly working cost and your hourly machinery cost together, then to that add how many dollars per hour you need to make to live well and save for retirement.

If you can't get that hourly rate (no matter how you charge it out , bf, sq ft, cu ft, /hour) .... save the mill for a hobby and go find something else to make your living doing.
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Offline Mfrost459

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Re: How to charge for chainsaw milling
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2019, 12:14:50 PM »
You all are so right! When we have gone out and slabbed trees for the lumber we always have to take the loader to handle what comes off. Totally forgot about that cost. I am sure this customer doesnít have any equipment. My first response in this situation is to tell the customer to rent a loader and have it at the job. Then I give them my cost for bringing my equipment. After getting a rental quote they understand my charges for extra equipment.

I agree with you Southside. Even though I enjoy these job I sleep very sound when we are done. Really feel like the charge will be more than my bandsaw milling prices. Seems like these are two different types of jobs. Different equipment and the equipment life spans are much different
Have a great day milling!

Offline Southside

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Re: How to charge for chainsaw milling
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2019, 02:36:46 PM »
Had a potential customer a few weeks back that just didn't understand the costs.  I told him he would save money renting a loader himself, but he insisted I supply one, well it would add $1K to the job to hire a low-boy to bring my Lull, plus paying me to run it.  Some jobs you just don't want to do, that was one of them. 
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Offline Brad_bb

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Re: How to charge for chainsaw milling
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2019, 06:00:19 PM »
CSM is hard work.  It's miserable above 70 degrees out.  Anyone I've seen trying to do it for money, don't seem to do it for long.  I only do it for myself.  To slabs in volume (which is the primary use for a CSM), better to get a wide band mill or Perersen/Lucas mill.  The other use for a csm is to cut a log into a cant onside to reduce weight and make it easier to move.  I did that with a 25 foot Ash that was 40 at the base and 30 on the small end.  Made and 18.5" cant that could be moved with the skid steer and loaded on a trailer.
Anything someone can design, I can sure figure out how to fix!
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Offline Mfrost459

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Re: How to charge for chainsaw milling
« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2019, 03:40:14 AM »
You are so right. I priced one job real high because didnít really want to do it, and he still accepted the price.
Have a great day milling!

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: How to charge for chainsaw milling
« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2019, 07:50:27 AM »
There you go, thatís good.  
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Offline John Bartley

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Re: How to charge for chainsaw milling
« Reply #17 on: April 28, 2019, 10:07:33 AM »
You are so right. I priced one job real high because didnít really want to do it, and he still accepted the price.
Ha!   Now that you know what "the market" really is ..... how do you plan to price?  :)   That was rhetorical .... but I've been working for myself for 3/4 of my working life, and a consistent pattern I've seen is that hard working people tend to undervalue their skill sets.
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Offline terrifictimbersllc

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Re: How to charge for chainsaw milling
« Reply #18 on: April 28, 2019, 05:53:09 PM »
I priced one job real high because didnít really want to do it
Someone said here in a slightly different context, and i'll paraphrase,  what if you got an order for a hundred of these jobs, then what would you do?   

If you don't like doing it does the money really make a difference, or do you just plain dread getting requests for this kind of work?  A message there. 
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