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Author Topic: Portable Sawyers -- How far do/will you go to do a job?  (Read 890 times)

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Offline DR_Buck

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Portable Sawyers -- How far do/will you go to do a job?
« on: October 08, 2018, 08:16:59 AM »
When I was in northern VA living on the outskirts of DC I had more milling opportunities than I could handle or even wanted to handle.  Over the years I became very selective on the jobs I'd take on.    I tended to pass work to other sawyers in the area if it was an extremely large job or more than about 50 miles one-way travel.   After all, I had a full-time day job keeping me occupied during the week.

Since retiring from my day job last December (WoW, almost a year already) and moving permanently to central Virginia I have only milled for myself.  But all of that is about to change as I have recently started an advertising campaign for the sawmill business and, just picked up my new LT40 Super-Wide.    8)     This brings me to the question of just how far will I travel to do a milling job.   I have a minimum cost to do any portable job that covers the first 1000 BF and I never charged a mileage fee in the past and, no minimum for logs brought to me, just the BF cost.   Farmville, unlike northern Virginia is in the center of no where and the town and surrounding area population is just under 10k.   Most of the large population centers are at least an hour or more drive.

  • Richmond - 60 miles
  • Petersburg - 68 miles
  • Charlottesville - 56 miles
  • Lynchburg - 50 miles

There are many small towns and houses/farms scattered between the larger cities in every direction from here but if it's like northern Virginia as word gets out about my services I will be getting calls from all over, most likely more than my previous 50 mile distance threshold.

So, should I consider adding a mileage/distance fee?   Other than Magicman, who normally travels 723 miles for each job  :D, how far of a distance do you travel to do a milling job and what extra charge do you apply for longer distances?


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Offline Magicman

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Re: Portable Sawyers -- How far do/will you go to do a job?
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2018, 09:00:23 AM »
Other than Magicman
I ain't going away.  I firmed up a sawing job this past week that is 105 miles away.  $1.50 per mile one way for travel/setup and he will furnish lodging and meals.  My normal sawing rate will apply.  Traveling 40-60 miles is about my normal for portable sawing jobs.  If they furnish lodging that is fine or we negotiate an agreeable daily travel allowance.
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Offline Revival Sawmill

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Re: Portable Sawyers -- How far do/will you go to do a job?
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2018, 09:01:34 AM »
$2/mile one-way distance.  

Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Portable Sawyers -- How far do/will you go to do a job?
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2018, 09:17:36 AM »
I charge a set up fee of $75 that includes up to 35 miles one way.  So far I've not traveled much above 15 miles one way.

Above 35 miles, I charge $1.00 per mile one way.  Haven't exceeded 35 miles yet.

I also have a minimum fee + set up fee.
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Offline Ga Mtn Man

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Re: Portable Sawyers -- How far do/will you go to do a job?
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2018, 09:54:02 AM »
I try to limit my drive time to no more than 1.5 hours one-way.  Around here, that usually equates to about 60 miles.  The mileage fee is $1/mile one-way, first 30 no charge, minimum sawing fee is $200.  I'm thinking about increasing my mileage fee to $1.25.  Sawing is done by the hour and the clock starts when I arrive and goes until the customer says we are done (excluding lunch break).
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Offline Resonator

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Re: Portable Sawyers -- How far do/will you go to do a job?
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2018, 10:33:27 AM »
Depends how busy you want to be, if your willing to travel there's work out there. If you stay within a couple hours away, you could be home at night. As a business, you have to decide if traveling farther is profitable or not. Additional charges/mileage fees would have to be spelled out in the sawing contract, and discussed with the customer before work begins.  
Under bark there's boards and beams, somewhere in between.
Cuttin' while its green, through a steady sawdust stream.
I'm chasing the sawdust dream.

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Offline Tom the Sawyer

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Re: Portable Sawyers -- How far do/will you go to do a job?
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2018, 12:12:07 PM »
Although my published travel range is 50 miles, I sometimes go further (up to 85 miles so far), and still get requests for MM distances.  I will normally try to find them an active, portable mill closer to them but, out here, there may not be any that are closer.  KFS publishes a sawmill directory but there are a lot of 'portable' mills listed that never move.  ;D

I charge $3 per mile, one-way, plus a $50 Setup Fee.  The Setup is pro-rated after 600 bf - no minimum to travel (ala carte pricing).  Mileage fees depend on how much you want to personally subsidize your milling trips.  If you have a vehicle that is dedicated to hauling your mill and associated equipment - your mileage fee should cover the costs of operation (acquisition, maintenance, fuel, plates, taxes, insurance, etc.)  In my case, my location means that I must have USDOT authorization (private, interstate motor carrier), which adds in higher insurance, annual inspections, medical card, paperwork, and so forth.

If you add up the total ownership costs of your mill vehicle for one year, and divide by the number of business miles driven, you'll have your baseline 'per/mile' amount.  If that is less than your current mileage rate, you are subsidizing it somehow.  Of course, that doesn't take into account the value of your time driving to and from the site.  YMMV  ;)
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If you call and my wife says "He's sawin logs", I ain't snorin'.

Offline Chuck White

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Re: Portable Sawyers -- How far do/will you go to do a job?
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2018, 12:27:37 PM »
I travel, at most 25-30 miles!

I don't charge mileage, or setup fee, but I have a minimum of 1,000 bf, even if the customer only had 500!
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Offline Bandmill Bandit

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Re: Portable Sawyers -- How far do/will you go to do a job?
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2018, 12:33:14 PM »
I have driven up to 4 hours one way. My minimum is an $800 deposit BEFORE the mill moves. I don't think I would drive much further. 

I charge from the time I leave the yard till I shut the mill off. If I am far enough away that have to use a hotel and restaurant that get added to the bill. 

If the job warrants, I will pull my 5th wheel in to the site and I do charge to do that as well.  
If you ain't livin on the edge you are takin up way to much room. Of course at my age if I get too close to that edge any more theres a good chance I may fall off.
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Offline terrifictimbersllc

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Re: Portable Sawyers -- How far do/will you go to do a job?
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2018, 12:52:36 PM »
I'm limited by the size of my little state to about 125 miles from home. Most of my jobs are probably 40-60 miles away.  That being said,  the southwest corner of my state is where a lot of my business is,  and 80-100 miles is the norm to get there.  I charge 65 cents/mile RT ($1.30 one way), but this does not pay me for driving time which can be up to about 2.5 hr one way.  So I make the same amount of money for a job 10 miles from home as one 100 miles from home.  I've dealt with this by having a increasing minimum charge going up to 9.3 hr (I charge hourly) for jobs over about 80 miles. 40 miles would be about 4 hr minimum, 60 miles 6 hr minimum, and so forth.   In other words I don't drive 2.5 hours, 100 miles, for 4 hours of work.  As time goes on I get less enthusiastic about spending 5 hours in the truck in addition to the day's work.  Especially sitting in rush hour traffic on the way home.

Look at the price of a new truck and how much time is spent driving in factoring in what practices you want to maintain.  It is one thing to get a lot more business but sustaining it is an issue too. 
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Portable Sawyers -- How far do/will you go to do a job?
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2018, 01:38:00 PM »
I will not refer a customer to another sawyer nor recommend one by name.  My feeling is that if I refer a customer to another sawyer then my reputation might be judged by that sawyer's work.  I prefer to be judged by my work.
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Offline Chop Shop

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Re: Portable Sawyers -- How far do/will you go to do a job?
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2018, 02:17:37 PM »
I will not refer a customer to another sawyer nor recommend one by name.  My feeling is that if I refer a customer to another sawyer then my reputation might be judged by that sawyer's work.  I prefer to be judged by my work.
Ive learned that the hard way before.

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Portable Sawyers -- How far do/will you go to do a job?
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2018, 03:16:42 PM »
   So far about 50 miles is as far as I have traveled. If too far I recommend they check here on the FF or the Woodmizer Pro-sawyer network.

   I now charge $1/mile one way one time. I have a minimum equivalent of 1,000 bf to move the mill. I would go further if required but I'd be looking for per diem and housing if we get over about 60-70 miles.
Howard Green
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Offline Stephen1

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Re: Portable Sawyers -- How far do/will you go to do a job?
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2018, 09:07:07 PM »
I have travelled 200 miles. I charge by the hour, 4 hr minimum and $35 for damaged blades. 3 blades are included, so if the logs are dirty, I charge a damaged blade rate after 3. My rate for travelling is based on my yard hourly rate , plus how long it took me to get there, so an hour drive is $20 hour on my base rate for my whole time on site...including coffee's and lunch. if I'm there for 8 hrs its $160 extra for the day, 80$ for travelling each way. 
I find the all inclusive price is what my customers like. one price, no nickel and dimeing for this and that. The only extra is damaged blades which they can control to some extent, especially dirty logs.
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Offline E-Tex

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Re: Portable Sawyers -- How far do/will you go to do a job?
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2018, 11:22:08 PM »
I've done several jobs over 100 miles but most are in the 20-40 mile range.  I have a large SYP job in a few weeks over 100 miles.  I'd absolutely go further for a good job,  I love mobile work!!!!!  (gets me out of my insurance office!!!)

Like most others do, I charge mileage with minimum sawing fees.  I bill hourly plus blades.  I also have a truck camper and charge for it's use as well.

Go mobile and Bill for it!
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Re: Portable Sawyers -- How far do/will you go to do a job?
« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2018, 05:53:23 AM »
Most of my jobs are at least 100km away.  I charge 60$ mileage fee anything under 100km. Above that its a case by case thing. I have done jobs as far as 800km away and camped out and made an agreement with the customer to charge them for a few extra hours a day since thats time I would still be milling if I was running the saw at home in my shop for the whole day.
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Re: Portable Sawyers -- How far do/will you go to do a job?
« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2018, 07:45:16 AM »
Welcome to the FF Poweredward
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