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Author Topic: Advice needed on sawing job  (Read 2729 times)

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Offline 123maxbars

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Advice needed on sawing job
« on: January 28, 2013, 02:03:32 PM »
I have a customer who wants to bring me 20 10x10x20 salvaged beams. He just wants the beams squared up to 8x8. I have cut beams in the past but the customer usually wants them sawed into boards, Just curious if anyone on here has did a job like this that could help me on what to charge. Thanks in advance.
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Offline beenthere

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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2013, 02:45:44 PM »
How much an hour is your time worth? and how much for the equipment? Set a minimum, seems to me, depending on your prep time (scanning and removing nails, etc).
When you say "he just wants..." makes it sound like you don't think you should charge your regular rate.

If it were 20 logs, and he wanted 8x8's, what would you charge then?
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Offline dboyt

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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2013, 02:49:04 PM »
Can you do it with two cuts, or are you going to go for a 7/8" board off each side to get some planks? Are they clean (no hardware in them)?  Since you've sawn beams before, consider charging by the hour-- can you estimate of how long it will take to mill them?  Old hardwood beams can be pretty tough and slow going on the mill, and you are providing a service (not everyone can cut 20' long beams), so make it worthwhile.
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Offline torqueporting

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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2013, 02:49:25 PM »
I've cut salvaged beams and learned no matter how good you think you are at pulling nails, you are not that good.

Price it as though you are cutting iron filled logs.  I would either double my BF rate. Or give them the ordinary BF rate and set a price per damaged tooth/blade.

With a 50 tooth circular saw I had 40 teeth rounded after cutting 6 beams. Filing wasn't fun and the loss of tooth material was painful.

Offline AdamT

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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2013, 04:04:23 PM »
I would charge my normal hourly rate, plus blades.

I do not change my rates because if I quote "x" dollars per hour or bf, the person they tell is going to expect the same. Most people don't understand why rates would change up or down, regardless of the difficulties milling different woods.

I generally charge by the board foot, but always tell them my hourly rate and reasons why I would charge hourly. And vice versa..

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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2013, 04:25:11 PM »
I would charge my normal BF rate as it take just as long to load and unload the cants as it does logs and lumber. You might save a bit of sawing time compared to making all boards but it won't be that much.
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Offline drobertson

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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2013, 05:11:28 PM »
I'm thinking the beams won't be quite 10X10, depending on what he wants for lumber, and how clean the boards need to be will take a few cuts for sure, they will most likely be bowed, I am thinking the best He can lood for is an 8X8,  it will take some wrangling fighting the twist and bow, I would charge board footage, it should go fast, and he will be happy, he just should'nt look for too much extra in my opinion,
Just to throw a number out, he should be happy with a $1000 dollar bill, I have to say where else can you by this type of material for 500 bucks a thousand,   no where,
only have a few chain saws I'm not suppose to use, but will at times, one dog Dolly, pretty good dog, just not sure what for yet,  working on getting the gardening back in order, and kinda thinking on maybe a small bbq bizz,  thinking about it,

Offline Bandmill Bandit

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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2013, 05:51:37 PM »
Yup! Normal hourly rate plus blades.

I dont EVER quote a BF price. All that does is confuse most customers. IF the cutting is real good and I make the BF thresh hold or better, I just calculate a discount to reflect that but the invoice still gets issues on an hourly rate basis. Keeps life simple and keeps the customer working hard with me to help reduce the hours to do the job.

Dont fight simple! and $$$ per hour is simple.

FYI when you hit metal and have to dig it out it burns time on your normal hourly rate. I have cut quite a few power poles this way and it has been worth my time and effort.
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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2013, 06:13:52 PM »
Charge by the hour
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Offline woodmills1

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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2013, 06:26:28 PM »
Jobs like this I precharge for 2 or more blades

then charge by the hour for the cutting and the time needed to R and R blades and resharpen them as needed

On the outside chanch no metal is hit I "refund" the blade charge
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Offline Jay C. White Cloud

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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2013, 06:30:46 PM »
As folks here can contest, I tend to do things the traditional way, some set volume or metric, bf, cubic meter, by the stump, you name it, seldom by the hour.

If I can warn you about anything, I work around a lot of salvage wood.  DO THIS BY THE HOUR!!! Seldom if ever do I find anyone that we work with willing to do this work within a metric of some form.  Then we started doing some salvage milling ourselves, boy did we learn quick...by the hour is the only way to not loose your shirt.

Regards,  jay
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Offline kelLOGg

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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2013, 06:31:46 PM »
I have a standing job for beams like that except I saw on the customer's site. They pull the nails (mostly), load the beams with a forklift and offload. I charge by the hour (50$), one dollar/mile travel both ways and blade cost everytime I have to change a blade due to hitting nails. I may go thru 5 or more blades in a day. I spend too much time waiting on them but it is their dime. Since you will be pulling nails, definitely charge per hr because you will probably spend a lot of time pulling them.

They sell the lumber I cut at a staggering price to architects and builders and it is a nice feeling to a part of salvaging old timbers. I hope you enjoy it as much as I.

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Offline T Welsh

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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2013, 06:40:43 PM »
By the hour!! + blades and get a metal detector ;D I,ve done hundreds of resawn timbers and beams. You will go through a lot of blades. Tim

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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2013, 08:20:23 PM »
     When practicable I prefer to charge by the bf.  Not always practicable.  In this case hourly; no question.  Plus bands!
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Offline drobertson

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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2013, 09:16:17 PM »
This is where I have to step in it again, as usual. This is a premium product, that cannot be picked up at the big store, and if one wants to buy these beams they will pay a premium.  At 65 bucks an hour you are looking at $325. At ...a mere $26.50 a piece there is a potential of $530. Now blades have to be considered, and should be, whatever you are paying per blade,  I still would go board foot, plus blades and make the cost a minimum of $40 per 8X8,  I know this is a fair price for a 20' 8X8 of recaimed, antique wood. Just go price a 8X8 pressure treated pine and then figure. Just saying, I don't and never will rape anyone, but how many times have we cut for free?  hourly, and you will kick yourself later, unless you just need the work, and I have been there as well.  If you are the man, I would go for it, just don't short change yourself,  run the numbers, and make the call, but per piece plus blades is the way to go in my opinion.  Any extra boards will be an extra, but I really doubt there will be that much if you want straight beams.  these things cut up quick, most nail positions should be easily located by the previous joint unions. I would even go as far as to mention that each beam should be examined prior to cutting or expect at least a $20 charge if nails are hit.  A quick look over should not take that long for yourself,  Most folks will do the ground work, unless they don't have much concern in the cost. Again, this is a big market for the folks that have plenty to invest.  david
only have a few chain saws I'm not suppose to use, but will at times, one dog Dolly, pretty good dog, just not sure what for yet,  working on getting the gardening back in order, and kinda thinking on maybe a small bbq bizz,  thinking about it,

Offline Chuck White

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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2013, 10:47:13 PM »
I'd go with the board foot rate since large cants require more handling!
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Offline Jay C. White Cloud

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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2013, 11:00:07 PM »
Hey Everyone,

Also, if any of you that knows me personally are reading this, join and add you two cents.  If anyone mills "vintage wood" full time and thinks I'm speaking folly, let me know, because I want to under stand this.

Hey David,

I can't believe I'm on this side of it this time...feels weird. You know me well enough by now that there is old school systems and then there is me.  I'm traditional with extra added most of the time.  I do everything by the unit, I don't care if it is stump, cubic, meter, board foot, or you name it, it's by the measure.  I still say, and folks can disagree, if you know your craft, you don't charge by the hour, you charge by the unit, big mill or little mill, hand tools or power tools. This is why when I go for bids I won't let a client put my bid against another person if they are going "time and material," unless they have a "high number," they wont go past.  It is also what I tell clients that have trees they want milled.  That is just my position on it, more than 95% of the time, but...

Vintage Lumber is a whole different game. It is that 5%, I just spent this weekend looking at 5 vintage barns to save as full structures and to fill an order for vintage wood from "past gone barns," in excess of 30,000 bf.  That is one weekend of design, field examination/reporting, and consulting. That is a lot of "vintage wood."  I haven't met anyone that deals in the processing end of "vintage lumber," that will do it by the board foot, only hourly, there is just to many variables.

As you can imagine, I don't pay subcontractors by the hour either for very much of anything. This is one of those exceptions.  Because I may have found what looked "clean" in the field, but when you "wand" that wood beam you thought was clean, they beep all over the place, and that means big problems. So, for 123maxbars, warn the client, do it by the hour, charge for blades and and take your time, because this stuff can be rough on you, and the machine.  That is why you can spend in excess of $5.00 a board foot or more for some of this stuff.

Regards,  jay
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Offline drobertson

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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2013, 11:31:31 PM »
Hello Jay, and yes I can agree, with you for the most part.  I have cut  a few of hard dried beams down to a clean appealing product.  And it does depend on the what the custormer requires for the finish product.  I just fell and believe that a 10x10 square that has any age will at best yield a clean, straight 8X8. Unless some charactor is required on one or more of the surfaces.  I am mainly going for a clean beam, minimal bowing and cracks that uphold the beauty of what is most likely a timeless timber.  And I believe that with age, beauty is timeless. Age and beauty are priceless, and to cut this by the hour, in my opinion from a sawyers perspective would limit the potential of profit.  It really depends on what the custormer wants of course, and we have all gave in to the "whats' fair" mentality. I just feel that in this case, a charge by the piece, figuring the bdft/g' would be fair, I do not know all the circumstances for sure.  I have resawn beams for as little as .10/ft and kinda regretted it later. and by the hour would have amounted to near the same.  I am almost sure that there are those, not on the forum, that do this service and the price is well up there,  especially if it is a custom job.  I am just a country boy, but learning that everything has a price, and typically the older, and nostalgic the product, more value is placed on it.  david
only have a few chain saws I'm not suppose to use, but will at times, one dog Dolly, pretty good dog, just not sure what for yet,  working on getting the gardening back in order, and kinda thinking on maybe a small bbq bizz,  thinking about it,

Offline redbeard

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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2013, 11:40:22 PM »
Nice post Jay n David good info I think there are Lots of factors sawing reclaimed beams, this should pertain to all species metal being no. 1 even though the nails are pulled and the lag bolts are un threaded or the bolts have been sawed off and hammered out with a punch. There is still metal deteriation in the wood with lots of staining. Which is hard on blades even carbides. No. 2. Checking you have to figure the is dirt, sand and even small rocks  in the cracks. No. 3. You will often need to straighten some twists and bows and on a band mill you will be trying to make paper thin cuts on very old timber with super hard knots that will play havoc on your set in your blade. Use a heavy set blade just for this don't try to make a final cut on a money beam there's a good chance you will get blade wander and ruin final grade cut. These are just my learning curve things I have run into on sawing my reclaim beams which are mainly old growth Doug for beams. I prefer carbides on these especially the ones free of center and tight grain. Hope this helps.
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Offline 5quarter

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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #19 on: January 29, 2013, 12:04:50 AM »
I usually saw by the hour and I really know my craft.   :o ;) But in this case I would saw by the BF plus blades. My rate is .40 BF when sawing beams and off the top of my head that job would come in at a little over $1200. at the end of the day. more than fair $$ for my time and a bargain for the owner. Your rate will depend on how you and the owner define "fair" and "bargain". Ditto the above cautions when sawing reclaimed wood, esp. Redbeards comments.
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Offline Jay C. White Cloud

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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #20 on: January 29, 2013, 12:53:46 AM »
I wasn't sure how to post this, then I remember a conversation I recently hand with a broker.  Most of the time, I am compensated for my labor base on a unit of production, as is tradition.  It does not matter the value of what I am sawing, only its difficulty.  The tree is doing most of the creative process and all I am doing is revealing that. So a White Pine is worth less than a Black Walnut, when I am acting as a sawyer, I only concern myself with the work.  Yes I could make it better or worse, depending on my talent, but all in all the value is from the wood's own inherent beauty and what we as humans place on it.

Now if I split a rock and fashion a stone beam, then carve a scarf joint in that beam, I am working in concert with my tools and the material.  The value is in the creation of my talent as a carver and timber wright and I will be compensated accordingly.  The stone was free, or nearly so, compared to the value of the finished product, which came mostly from me.

Fair, and bargain I never really have considered those elements.  I look at a current market, what is charged for a unit of product; then render that unit if it can be done consistently and accurately, at that market price.  I'm not being terribly creative, just working and producing something. 

This post thread is about a commodity that has way too many variables to consider in a unit fashion.  Consequently, an hourly rate must be charged, then the product will have a value including what I had to charge for it.  I have done reclaimed oak that was way easier to mill than some vintage hemlock with hard knots and tight grain.  In that case the hemlock was more expensive than the oak for the client, because the unit of product cost more to create.

I hope that all made since. :-\
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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #21 on: January 29, 2013, 06:47:32 AM »
I'm thinking the beams won't be quite 10X10, depending on what he wants for lumber, and how clean the boards need to be will take a few cuts for sure, they will most likely be bowed, I am thinking the best He can lood for is an 8X8,  it will take some wrangling fighting the twist and bow, I would charge board footage, it should go fast, and he will be happy, he just should'nt look for too much extra in my opinion,
Just to throw a number out, he should be happy with a $1000 dollar bill, I have to say where else can you by this type of material for 500 bucks a thousand,   no where,                  By  Solomon;I was thinking that $1000.00 is about right.  I have a customer who owns a small lumber yard. He gets $125.00 a piece for 16 ft 8x8s  not treated and not dressed.  Over 16ft around my neck of the woods the price goes up substantially.  You do the math.
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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #22 on: January 29, 2013, 10:00:49 AM »
Jay, You said; "if you know your craft, you don't charge by the hour,". That's a pretty bold statement that I take exception to.  I DO know my craft and I know how to run a business, and I charge by the hour!
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Offline Bandmill Bandit

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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #23 on: January 29, 2013, 10:30:02 AM »
Jay, You said; "if you know your craft, you don't charge by the hour,". That's a pretty bold statement that I take exception to.  I DO know my craft and I know how to run a business, and I charge by the hour!

Yes stumpy you are bang on. I too know my craft. BUT practising ones craft ALSO requires knowledge of your market and the Clientele one serves. If i am cutting for a farmer that has lots of good logs or a some one that is a forestry contractor then things are very different.

BUT to date the majority of my mobile business has been acreage owners that moved out of the city and drive back to the city every day to sit behind a desk. They LOVE the hourly rate because they can see the approximate bill at the end of the job. AND most of what I cut for them is salvage of some type and they feel like they are doing their part to keep "good" lumber out of the landfill.

Even farmers and forestry people in this country prefer and expect an hourly rate because EVERYBODY that does any kind of contract work that touches the oil patch in any form has a stand by rate that is the minimum hourly rate. In this part of the world around here. Once you leave your yard for the job site the clock starts to tick and it dont stop till you arrive back in your yard. Some charge milage starting at a $1.00 a Km and up.   
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Offline Jay C. White Cloud

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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #24 on: January 29, 2013, 11:15:15 AM »
Hello Stumpy,

As of this entry, 12 of us have said hourly-me included, and 4 of us have said by the board foot.  This is the advice we have offered to 123maxbars.  This is our advice, based on our individual experiences.  I have my experiences, and from that I explain my position.  I make no effort to offend anyone, and apologize if it does, that is not my intention.

I stand by my words, "If you know a craft, you charge by the unit," be it a knife, a painting, 60 feet of dry laid stone, 1000 square feet of timber frame structure or 1000 board feet of lumber.  That is my position, it's not meant to offend anyone.  As was pointed out to me on another post and off line, if a client brings you 10 logs to mill and you tell them you charge $50/hour plus others set fees, but the bill won't go over $1000.00, then you have given a metric of measure.  However, when I'm bidding and someone states they charge $50 per hour and leave it nebulous with no ceiling to how much they will charge, I take umbrage.  I've given a set amount, but what a client often hears is $50, not understanding that the bill will be much more, often more than mine.

If I'm talking to a client, a layperson to our line of work in most cases, and they ask me how I work and why I charge what I charge, I explain it from my perspective of being in the guild crafts for almost 40 years.  Craft work: sculpture, painting, timber framing, black smithing, ceramics, plaster work, dry laid stone...I could go on...or sawyer, 95% of the time, now and through history, this work was by a unit or metric of production.  Often this work is very expensive, because of the embodied labor and skill it takes to form a portion of clay, plaster, steel, or wood into something. 

There are cases, when all the mitigating conditions will not allow a unit measure, consulting work is one, and, IMO, sawing lumber that has as many variables as vintage wood can have in it.  There are too many unknowns in most cases, and if I can identify them I would give a set price.

Respectfully submitted,  jay
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Offline Tom the Sawyer

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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #25 on: January 29, 2013, 12:02:44 PM »
Just a general observation... a lot of these threads present a scenario where a member is seeking advice or options on how to handle their particular need.  There are almost 14,000 members on this forum and there will be a lot of different opinions out there.  When we contribute we can let them know what has worked, or hasn't worked for us, and go into detail as appropriate.  The original poster (and other readers) can evaluate the ideas that might work for them. 

When you post a comment that harshly criticizes someone else's method or suggestion then, in my opinion, it ceases to be educational and becomes condescending and dismissive.  After many years of reading posts it seems that those members whose opinions are most respected were the ones who were supportive and informative - not the ones who were bullies.  There is an art to positive criticism.

In my former occupation I learned that people in pain may comply, but they do not learn.  I'm sure that there are many members who read but don't ever post for fear that they may appear to be ignorant or unworthy of asking a question.  Some of the responses they have read may be responsible for that. 

Just a thought,   
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Offline Jay C. White Cloud

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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #26 on: January 29, 2013, 12:16:38 PM »
Thank you Tom,

I will try to be better. I'm just not sure sometimes how to share a concept and reply to a rebuttal.  I'm do'n the best I can, and really like how you explained it, I agree, and will make every effort to have my post be neutral, but informative.

Regards,  jay
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Offline torqueporting

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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #27 on: January 29, 2013, 12:49:15 PM »
Either charging method has its pros and cons. I have witnessed companies charge by the hour and slow way down to boost pay. I have seen companies charge by the unit and speed way up to boost pay (quantity). 

Balancing quality and quantity is the issue at hand while securing a fair deal.

Charge by the hour puts the company in the drivers seat of controlling how much they will be paid. Charging by the board foot places higher risk of mis-judging mill cost but sets a known cost for the customer.

Offline beenthere

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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #28 on: January 29, 2013, 01:09:52 PM »
Quote
Just a general observation...

Tom, that was well said.

Amuses me too when a few can't just state their opinion and then not feel they have to keep re-arguing and re-defending their opinion. The best I can, I try to give a viewpoint the way I see it, and then let it go. Unless a retraction or a different point of discussion is raised, I move on (or at least think I do  ::) ).
I will readily admit that I don't know everything, but can have my own opinion on many things of which I often pass on as brief as possible for whatever it might be worth.

I like the forum for the different viewpoints so many members contribute. There is a wealth of information.
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Offline Bandmill Bandit

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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #29 on: January 29, 2013, 02:30:39 PM »
Just "another general observation"!

From a read and following of this thread I think it is quite obvious that each contributor is in fact a professional in the craft/trade.

BUT what I see the most of is that each persons contribution is a result of being tuned into his personal market and clientele!

Each respective post reflects the advice based on that particular knowledge.

SO What is my point?

While all of the advice is good advice and is tried and proven for each contributor, does not mean it will work for you.

YOu need to work through this thread and glean the things you think you can employ in a SIMPLE manner that will work for you. You will make a few mistakes as you learn but at the end of the day you will develop a system that is you and works with you.

JMHO
 
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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #30 on: January 29, 2013, 06:59:02 PM »
Either charging method has its pros and cons. I have witnessed companies charge by the hour and slow way down to boost pay. I have seen companies charge by the unit and speed way up to boost pay (quantity). 

Balancing quality and quantity is the issue at hand while securing a fair deal.

Charge by the hour puts the company in the drivers seat of controlling how much they will be paid. Charging by the board foot places higher risk of mis-judging mill cost but sets a known cost for the customer.

     Depends.  On a mobile job, if you're depending on the customer to supply the labor, charging by the bf can bite you.  I prefer to charge by the bf.  I think it's more fair.  But too many times I've had a customer "supply the labor" by bringing out a lawn chair for himself.  One fella figured "helping" was standing in the kitchen waving to me out the window.  Or it's the hired hand who keeps getting dragged away from me to go help do this, that, or whatever.  In all those cases the owner gets informed that we're switching to hourly rates.
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Offline scully

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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #31 on: January 29, 2013, 07:46:25 PM »
Uhm I would charge hourly plus blades ,just a thought.....
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Offline POSTON WIDEHEAD

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Re: Advice needed on sawing job
« Reply #32 on: January 29, 2013, 07:53:10 PM »
Uhm I would charge hourly plus blades ,just a thought.....

This is exactly what I would do SCULLY.....and be done with it.  smiley_thumbsup
The older I get I wish my body could Re-Gen.


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